Ann Sansbury - FSBO V2 - Best Practices For Selling Homes F…

Best Practices For Selling Homes For Top Dollar

Your guide for the complete FSBO process

By

Ann Sansbury

Published by Legacy Media Networks Copyright ©2016 Legacy Media Networks

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Printed in the United States of America

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Table of Contents Part 1: About FSBO (For Sale by Owner) ONE | 5 Why People Sell FSBO TWO | 12 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Selling FSBO THREE | 19 What are the Costs of FSBO? Part 2: Tips to Prepare and Advertise FOUR | 26 Staging Your Home When Trying to Sell by Yourself

FIVE | 35 Determining the Right Price When Selling Your Home by

Yourself SIX | 43

Advertising for Selling Your House by Yourself SEVEN | 50 Showing Your Home While Selling It by Yourself

EIGHT | 56

Using Curb Appeal to Sell Your Home for More

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NINE | 66

Staging Solutions and Options

Part 3: Negotiating and Closing the Deal TEN | 74 The Preparation and Steps to Negotiating Your Home (Screening Buyers) ELEVEN | 81 Negotiating on Your Own TWELVE | 90 How to Write a Contract and Sell Your House without an Agent THIRTEEN | 98 Inspections and Closing – Dealing with and Doing These without an Agent

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Chapter 1 Why People Sell FSBO The advancement of technology constantly boosts the market and improves our standard of life. However, with an increasingly flexible job market, we are often required to move in order to grow personally and continue to develop our professional careers. All too often, this also means that while we are preparing for this big change in our lives, we also need to sell our homes. We all know that owning a home is much better and financially wiser than renting. However, when it comes to moving, selling a house might not always be as easy as it seems. While some people consider the convenience and easiness of selling through a agent the absolute best way to go, others decide that the extra thousands of dollars obtained by selling their house on their own is well worth the time, effort, and trouble that FSBO might imply. As one may expect, the complex house selling market has its own tips and tricks that people need to respect in order to make the most out of their sale. Let ’ s see what makes people sell FSBO, as well as the pros and cons of this highly debated practice.

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#1 – Why Do People Choose to Sell by Themselves? FSBO, or “ For Sale by Owner, ” happens when homeowners decide to put their house on the market and advertise it without the help and support of a professional real estate agent. FSBO implies that the owner must know how to professionally market, show the property, negotiate an advantageous selling price for the house, and (of course) manage to get all the necessary paperwork completed for the eventual home sale. That last aspect usually includes finding an attorney to draft the necessary sale contract, as well as a title company to support and help complete the sale. All these aspects can turn out to be pretty challenging for someone who is not fully prepared to take on this challenging task. It is also important to do extensive market research on the matter in order to avoid unwanted surprises. Based on reports, quite a number of people who start confidently with FSBO end up losing the sale or hiring an agent. So, if you are determined to sell your home on your own, make sure you have the energy as well as the necessary time to perform all these tasks before starting on the road to FSBO. The number one reason why people to decide to sell their homes without an agent is to save money. That comes first and foremost because a real estate agent usually charges about 4% to 6% of the selling value as commission. With that, the real estate agent also brings vast experience and a wealth of market- specific knowledge that the seller can truly benefit from. They also usually help owners set a fair, realistic market price for their house. That is an important aspect in order to manage to sell the property successfully in a reasonable amount of time.

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The National Association of Realtors and Bankrate.com have reported on their sites that most FSBO homes are overpriced. That is true and is usually a natural effect of people knowing the actual cost of their property and the value of their hard built equity, all combined with a desire to draw some profit out of the sale. Sadly, overpriced properties are far less likely to be sold and far more probable to scare off potential buyers. While the correct pricing aspect can be quite easily bypassed with some solid real estate and community sales market research, the following negotiating part cannot. It is a known fact that a lot of owners who lack professional presentation skills and/or developed negotiation skills end up selling their houses at far lower prices than their home is actually worth. Per statistics, a professional real estate agent manages to sell homes at an average price that ranges about $27,000 more than the prices that private homeowners settle for. So, considering all these aspects, saving 4-6% of your house value in commission can be lovely and tempting at first glance, but is it really worth it considering the percentage you might lose on the final selling price? If you lack negotiating skills and you don ’ t know anything about the real estate housing market, hiring a high-performing professional real estate agent might be a small price to pay. You ’ ll also get a fast, sweet deal on your property and get the matter solved with a nice profit, based of course, on what the market can offer. You get to work at your own pace, give the house a personal touch, and make all the decisions. Some of the other aspects that frequently encourage homeowners to go the FSBO route is the privacy, knowledge, and decision-making aspects of a sale.

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It is clear that the owner knows their house best, making it easy for them to focus on the good aspects of the house and stay away from the bad. With this, however, comes the challenging part of cleaning and preparing the house for a viewing. Cleaning and preparing means that the house needs to be cleaned inside out, emptied of personal objects and unnecessary pieces of furniture in order to make the house look as cozy and comfortable as possible while neutral at the same time. The seller must not only be able to present the house in an appealing, professional way, but also help the buyer imagine himself living there, all while negotiating the best price. FSBO does indeed enable the owner to make all the decisions without having them all brokered by an agent. That brings a definite plus as far as individual privacy goes, considering that the owner can schedule all viewings according to their own possibilities. The final price negotiation will also take place between you and the buyer without an extra person in between. That sounds nice. However, making all the decisions and negotiating the final price yourself also holds a huge amount of responsibility. This is particularly hard to bear for those with no real estate experience and/or no extensive house market pricing knowledge, especially if they end up agreeing to sell their house under the listed market value. #2 – The Unexpected Cons of FSBO The debate over real estate agent vs. FSBO sales has been getting more and more heated over the past several years. However, even if the necessity and the roles of real estate agents have been seriously questioned, they remain America ’ s favorite way to sell and buy homes. As per statistics, approximately 80% of American home sales are currently brokered by professional real estate agents. Numbers don ’ t lie.

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So, let ’ s review some of the cons of FSBO in the attempt to further understand why so many people choose professional support when it comes to selling their homes. Selling the property as FSBO takes longer than usual and requires extensive time and effort from the owner. FSBO is not an easy task. On the contrary, it requires special knowledge, hard work, time, skill, and dedication to make it happen. Cleaning and preparing the house for showing can be a challenge in itself without professional help and counseling. A home that has not been properly cleaned and prepared for selling will probably give the buyer the idea that the owner must have slacked in maintenance matters and thus leads to a decrease of the final selling price. The owner must also consider that real estate agents present and sell homes as a full-time job and, therefore, be prepared to allocate a considerable amount of time to this aspect when choosing to put his/her house on the market without professional help and support. It is also a common fact that houses take considerably longer to sell through FSBO. So, at the end of the day, when choosing between FSBO and a real estate agent, one has to wonder how much effort they are ready to invest in this aspect and how much their time is worth. FSBO listing enjoys better support nowadays, but is still a far cry from the real estate agent pool. FSBO listing now enjoys far better online support than it did a few years ago. There are several networks that support FSBO properties and their owners. These networks offer nationwide listing services and marketing tools, all at low or flat rate prices. However, they are still hard to compare to the large pools that real estate agents usually tap into.

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All these aspects cause the house to take a longer average time to sell and thus cause further inconvenience to the owner. FSBOs are usually overpriced, but still end up selling below market price. Very few of the owners who opt for FSBO have extensive knowledge of the housing market or honed skills in the real estate trade. That and the emotional factor, combined with a natural want to draw profit out of the sale, causes owners to overprice their homes. Overpricing usually scares off potential buyers, leaving the house on the market for a longer period (which can be a real disadvantage to those who want a fast sale or actually need the money). When these houses actually get interested customers, the owner might end up negotiating and accepting a lower price than a real estate agent would either because they are in a hurry or because they have an untrained negotiating muscle. Overpricing and accepting final selling prices below the real market value of the property are two of the most common mistakes people make when selling FSBO. Many buyers don’t trust FSBO and prefer to work with a real estate agent. There is also the matter of trust involved. For fear of getting scammed or out of a desire to undergo a smooth bureaucratic sale process, buyers usually prefer to work with real estate agents. The professionalism and experience of a high-performance agent inspires confidence in buyers that the process can bypass paperwork effortlessly, which clearly puts FSBO at a disadvantage, no matter how you look at it. As we all understand, it is a buyers ’ world out there, after all. As a conclusion, FSBO might be a great strategy only for good negotiators who have great real estate trading skills, are not in a hurry,

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and are willing to dedicate a considerable amount of time and work to the process. The FSBO represents a huge responsibility for the owner, as it puts all decisions on his or her shoulders. However, if you feel up for the challenge and are in search of a new adventurous experience, selling your own house is definitely the way to go. On the other hand, it is strongly recommended for you to opt for a real estate agent if you find yourself busy, have no time to put in the required research, or cannot afford to take the required time The same applies if you find it difficult to input the effort to prepare the house for showing, think with dread about the numerous home presentations, or are simply not confident in your negotiating skills. While some might not have the necessary skills to handle negotiating or the hassle of the paperwork, others might simply value their time enough to choose a real estate agent and the benefits that come with this choice. Whatever you choose, make sure you take the time and consider all details and possibilities. Your house is your life investment. Selling it is a big decision. Make it count!

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Chapter 2 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Selling FSBO (For Sale by Owner) So, why do people want to sell their own homes without relying on the help and support of professional real estate agents? It keeps coming up time and time again: to save money. Depending on the service used, the sale fee can range from 4% to 6% of the total property sale amount. In order to avoid this, some people try to sell their property on their own in the attempt to save some money. Unfortunately, they forget the fact that those agents are trained to do that for a living and know almost all the required tips and tricks on how to do it right. It is their job and no one can do it better. The owner can stumble along the way upon many little bureaucratic and marketing aspects. This puts the owner at a loss, thus preventing him from making the property sale efficient, smooth, and most lucrative. Let ’ s look at the most common things people can overlook when not relying on professional real estate agents and their extensive experience. Mistake #1 – Not Understanding the Correct Market Value of Their Property You should always be aware of the correct market value of your property when selling. An overpriced listing of the property will end up scaring off all potential buyers. On the other hand, selling the correct market value can cause you to lose some of your hard earned equity. In order to get the right listing price, the property needs to be evaluated neutrally.

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Due to emotional attachment, many sellers tend to add value to some decorating aspects of the house, not realizing that the potential buyer might consider it a hindrance. It might be anything from room decorations, tapestry, and wall painting to added structural changes. Anything that requires changes or costs money to remove might not appeal to the client. That is why a neutral evaluation is a good thing to do before listing the property on the market. There are lots of variables that can affect the house pricing. We are talking about aspects including house/apartment size, location, number and quality of the services in the area, availability of reliable public transportation services, and neighborhood reputation, among many others. It is also subject to the regular house market pricing levels of the area. Homeowners lacking real estate agent specific training and experience are faced with the almost impossible task of evaluating all the aspects that affect the market price and the variables within that. Real estate agents have current, extensive knowledge of the setting trends of the market. They are also experts in pricing and all the details that affect it. They have the professional skills to evaluate the selling property neutrally as they do not let their emotions affect the quality of their work. Mistake #2 – Not Making the Property as Lucrative as It Can Be, Thereby Failing to Market the Property Properly One of the most common mistakes in FSBO is in property marketing. When the private seller starts to advertise his/her property, the pictures might not be lucrative and the description of the house not professional enough, therefore failing to give all the necessary, correct information to the potential buyer.

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It is exceptionally easy to give too little or too much info on the related matters. Therefore, making professional and tempting property ads can turn out to be a challenging job. Another aspect that needs to be acknowledged is the fact that with a little work and investment, many aspects of the house can be positively presented. Cleaning and arranging the house is essential before any showing. Investing in a few plants and storing away personal items and unnecessary pieces of furniture can make the house look cozy without being too personal. Failing to do so can imply sloppy maintenance and reduce the earnest interest of the potential buyer. If it ’ s a house, taking good care of the garden and walkway can do miracles as far as giving potential buyers a perfect first impression. It ’ s also imperative to fix all the minor possible flaws in the house. A little renovation can get you a long way and really boost the property value. Sometimes, using the services of a professional staging expert can do wonders. One must remember that potential buyers will have every little detail under a magnifying glass since they are prepared to invest a lot of money in the property they decide to buy. In opposition to owners, real estate agents are professionally trained when it comes to property presentations. They will make sure the house will be as presentable as it can ever be. They will use all the methods in the book to make the presentation as pleasant and convincing as possible. They might change the lighting of the rooms, rearrange some pieces of furniture, or offer refreshments and/or fresh baked pastries to all attendants. They will do whatever is needed to make the premises look as cozy and comfortable as it can be in order to persuade the potential buyer that this is the perfect place for them.

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They also have full training on how to “ seal the deal. ” They can easily recognize among the people at the presentation those who are truly interested in investing in the place. Mistake #3 – Marketing in a Wrong Place: Failing to Use the Best Marketing Channels MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is the way to go. Many property owners who desire to sell their home/house/apartment fail to market their property accordingly because they don ’ t want to spend fewhundred extra $$$ to list their property on the MLS. That is one of the greatest mistakes people make when selling FSBO. MLS is basically a huge and comprehensive database which is normally used by real estate brokers. It ’ s a very good way to attract the interest of many potential buyers as well as their buying agents. Even if you decide to use FSBO, working with buying agents is the way to go in order to obtain a fast buy. Real estate agents have access to MLS. That is how they are able to find potential buyers for any and all of their clients. They usually also have tons of personal and professional contacts to refer back to when needed. Contrary to owners, agents work on commission. Striving to obtain a hot deal at the highest possible price is in the agent ’ s best interest. They will put all their skills and experience to work in order to get it because, contrary to owners, agents make their living out of this and have a reputation to uphold. Mistake #4 – Not Understanding the Necessary Paperwork Not knowing what papers are needed for selling your property can cost the owners that opt for FSBO dearly. There are lots of documents

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and many disclosures with accurate dates that need to be signed and submitted for filing. One must consider scheduling appraisers, arranging necessary inspections, and meeting many other conditions. Failing to meet the required accuracy and dates might cost the owner and buyer extra money and time – this time in the courtroom. That is why all the aspects of the official documents and agreements within the selling contract must clear and execute within the set legal date limits. Real estate agents have thorough training in timely handling all the necessary paperwork concerning a property sale. When it comes to contract terms and necessary documents, real estate agents hardly ever make any mistakes. It ’ s part of their job to do the paperwork right. They have their good reputation to uphold, so they are going to do their part to finish everything in an accurate and timely manner. Mistake #5 – Not Knowing the Proper Terms When It Comes to Property Rights It is easy to welcome potential buyers inside your house and give them a tour, but when they start to ask about escrow, oil-, gas-, and/or water-rights, maybe even about the possibility to lease the property, do you know what to say to them in order to appear professional? Most people can ’ t, and that is another mistake that people usually make when selling FSBO. This is also one of the reasons why people use real estate agents, as they are trained effortlessly give answers to questions you normally can ’ t even think of. Unlike private owners, real estate agents are trained and experienced to look for all the details that buyers may want to knowmore information about. They have a checklist of any and all matters that affect the property. They will have all related answers prepared, just as any true

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professional should. Again, it ’ s their reputation and expertise on the line, so mistakes and misinformation are something they should avoid at any cost. Mistake #6 – Saying the Wrong Things at the Wrong Time during the House Presentation Selling a house is art. It ’ s all too easy to describe something with sentimental value to someone who doesn ’ t see it the same way. It ’ s easy to use the wrong kind of adjectives or to exaggerate and say the wrong things at the wrong time. What seems to be wholehearted and innocent to you might actually be annoying to a stranger. It might be quite hard for the owner to present his/her property neutrally, because of the emotional attachments linked to it. That can be a hindrance to the property selling process and is another common mistake made by people when selling FSBO. On the other hand, real estate agents have professionalism when it comes to property presentations. They know exactly what words to use, to make the sale happen. They can put bad property aspects in a better light. To repeat, selling is an art, and no one knows better the tricks of the trade than an realtor when comes to selling the property. Mistake #7 – Details There are plenty of blunders to be made when selling your own property without the support of professionals. You need to be available for all the contacts, set up home-showings, and answer to various questions. There is much to do. The house should be clean, empty of unnecessary furniture pieces, pets, and personal objects. It might even be a good idea not to have the kids home. Real estate agents have experience dealing with all of that. They present the premises for houses on a daily basis, all throughout the year.

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Where you, as a private owner/seller, might stumble, they will succeed. That is because of their exquisite training and vast experience in the field. They are familiar with all the probable mistakes and problems that might occur and complicate the process. They know how to dress up all the risks, take advantage of all the loopholes, and avoid the possible downsides of the deal, since it ’ s in their best interest to do so. That being said, FSBO (or “ For Sale by Owner ” ) is truly an option for those with real estate experience and good negotiating skills. For all the others, FSBO is not recommended unless accompanied by thorough research on the subject. Real house market professionalism and knowledge is something you can only achieve through training and experience. Try to avoid all the most common mistakes that people make when selling FSBO and refer back to a professional real estate agent if you feel overwhelmed. Selling your house is important. Make sure your home gets the attention it deserves as your most important financial investment. The result will be well worth it.

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Chapter 3 What are the Costs of FSBO? When engaged in a transaction, it can be confusing understanding all the costs. Regardless of whether an agent is involved in the process or you are selling the property on your own, you have selling costs. This chapter will help break down the different costs so you can easily understand the costs associated with selling your house while putting more money in your pocket through these proven strategies. Breaking Down the Bottom Line Included in this section are a list of the costs that you may incur while selling your property. Some items may not refer to your specific situation, but if they do, write in the amount for each section. Back Payments and Taxes = $________________ When you go to sell your house, if you missed any payments or if your house is in foreclosure, there may be back payments that you will be required to catch up on. There may be other liens on your house, including Home Owners Association (HOA) fees or other taxes. An important thing to keep in mind is that there may be penalties for the back payments, liens, or taxes. These costs are important to factor in because you will not be able to sell your house until they are paid. Loan Pre-Payment Penalties = $_________________ Some loans, usually non-government loans, have a pre-payment penalty. A pre-payment penalty means if you pay off your mortgage, typically within the first five years, there is a penalty for doing it too quickly. If you are unsure if this applies to you, pull out your paperwork and see if you have a “ pre-payment penalty ” or “ pre-payment rider ” on your note. If you do, that section will outline the terms and conditions.

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Sometimes, there is a penalty for settling the loan within a set

period, regardless of the circumstances.

Other times, there is only a penalty for certain situations. FHA, VA, and USDA loans never have a pre-payment penalty whereas other non-government (conventional) loans do. This penalty can impact your bottom line, so it is important to know if you have a pre-payment penalty and what the terms are. Holding Costs = $ _________________ Holding costs are costs that you still have while you wait for your house to sell. Most real estate experts suggest that you will need to pay 4-6 months of payments even after you have listed your house. Some of these costs include:  Monthly mortgage payments

Monthly taxes and insurance

Utility bill: electricity, water, gas, trash

Maintenance: lawn care or snow removal

 Pest control Research statistics from Realtor.com state that nationally, homes are on the market for about 86 days. Looking at your area ’ s average days on market, or their “ inventory age, ” gives you a good idea of how long your house may stay on the market. This information is accessible either through Realtor.com or through Zillow.com. To gain a better idea of what your holding costs may be, let ’ s use the national average of 86 days, or about three months. Once an offer is put in on your house, the buyer ’ s lender usually takes about 45 to 60 days to close; however, that process can be even

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longer. Keep in mind that until you officially sign the closing documents, you are still paying your monthly mortgage payments. So, if your house is on the market for three months and you spend at least two months in the contract, you will end up with five monthly payments. Regardless of whether you are living in your house or not, you will still be responsible for your monthly mortgage payment and holding costs. You may run into a situation where you accept an offer from the buyer, start the closing paperwork, and then the contract falls through. According to Realtor Magazine, about one-third of all real estate transactions fall through. If this is the position you find yourself in, you may need to fix the problems and start this same process all over again. Transaction Expenses = $ ______________ Commonly referred to as “ closing costs, ” these expenses may account for 2-3% of the total amount of the loan. If you live in a high- cost region like California or New York, closing costs may be much higher and can account for roughly 5-6%. If you are unsure of the average closing costs for your area, you can talk to a lender who specializes in your county or state. Fortunately, transaction expenses are typically negotiable between the buyer and seller, so if you can negotiate for a higher selling price but pay some of the closing costs, it can go a long way, as the buyer will not have to bring as much to the table. Cosmetic Fix-Up = $ __________________ Most houses need some kind of cosmetic design fix-up, whether it is a new carpet, paint, or yard work. If you want to sell your house for the top dollar, your house needs to be in excellent, move-in-ready condition. When buyers view your property, they are mentally assessing what they will need to change or update.

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If they choose to put an offer in, they take these changes into

consideration, which may lower the purchase price.

Properties that are in move-in-ready condition generally sell faster and for a higher price than properties that have not made any renovations or changes. In today ’ s market, a FOR SALE sign is no longer enough to sell your house. If your house needs more than paint, carpet, or yard work, then you may need to consider selling it as a fixer-upper or adjusting the selling price to include the renovations needed. Remember: this can limit your potential buyers, but if you invest in those minor cosmetic changes, you will definitely see a faster selling time and a higher purchase price. The Bottom Line Selling a house without a real estate agent can save you thousands of dollars in sales fees. Even though this can save you money, there are many costs associated with selling a house that an agent habitually covers in their commission fee. Furthermore, the time that is involved in selling a house without an agent is transferred to the FSBO seller. A meaningful amount of time and money are involved when selling a home by FSBO. The costs involved in selling a house without a real estate include:  Determining the Sales Price of the Property The seller can do this by comparing recent sales prices of similar properties in the area and adjusting their price to match those, or they can use a professional appraiser ($350 and up).

Writing a Sales Contract

You can get a real estate attorney to write one up for you, or you can purchase a boilerplate contract or find one free online ($200 and up).

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MLS Listing

You can purchase a listing on MLS from some real estate agents, as agents are the only ones that can list on MLS. If you use this option, you must stipulate a commission amount you are willing to give a buyer ’ s real estate agent ($200-$500 for the MLS service plus a 2-3% final sales price commission fee).

Advertising the Property

Advertising costs can vary widely. Several websites like Craigslist will list a house for no cost, but others like eBay can charge for a fixed price listing. Advertising materials such as FOR SALE signs, brochures, pictures, or classified advertisements can become costly ($50- $2,000 on average).

Home Inspection

Having a professional home inspection is strongly recommended for many FSBO sellers. Most buyers will hire a professional inspector to find any flaws or deficiencies in the house they are considering purchasing. A seller is liable for main deficiencies in the house that they know about (or should know about). Having a home inspection done gives the seller guidance on what a buyer will find in the house and offers the seller a chance to repair any deficiencies before listing the house for sale ($200-$500). Surveying the property is important in order to define the exact scope of the property being sold.

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Usually, you can find this information in a local tax office and for a small fee, you can get a copy of the property boundaries ($15-$200 or more).

Open Houses

Most real estate agents will hold at least one open house, but you ’ ll need to prepare your house and advertise for your open house on your own ($100).  Other costs include : staging your house to impress buyers, assessing the buyer ’ s financing on your own, your own financing of the deal, house warranties, the closing attorney, and negotiating the deal with the buyer. Compared to an Agent Choosingwhether to sell your house FSBO or through a real estate agent depends on your position and how motivated you are to take on this process by yourself. There are plenty of options and resources available to you regarding selling your house, but as seen in the previous section, costs can become quite hefty. Using a real estate agent, most of those fees are covered in their commission rate. Even though 6% seems like a lot, when you break down the costs individually, it isn ’ t that much, and it may expedite the selling process. Unexpected Costs If you start planning ahead of time, you may find ways to reduce some of the costs whether by handling the tasks yourself or getting competitive bids. Before the sale, here are some expenses you should expect:

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 Cosmetic repair whether by painting, window washing, carpet repairs, landscaping, or other fix-ups.

 Staging your house can help impress buyers in a large way.

If you choose not to stage your house, add decorative or new items to your house.

 Pre-inspection reports and other holding costs

When closing the deal, you ’ ll hopefully get a good payout, but

there will still be some expenses, including: 

Real Estate Agent commissions, other credits to the buyer, transfer taxes, house warranty for the buyer, capital gains tax, and moving costs.

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Chapter 4 Staging Your Home When Trying to Sell by Yourself How Much More Money Can Sellers Get from Staging? According to the National Association of Realtors (Jan. 27, 2015), “ The majority of homeowners know how important it is to make a home bright, clutter-free, and clean while on the market. ” However, according to Realtors®, sometimes, going an extra mile in staging a home can significantly boost its market value, thus giving the seller more money. According to Chris Polychron, who is NAR president and an executive broker, “ Homeowners should try as much as possible to carry out thorough home management practices such as brightening the home, keeping it clean, and fixing any major aesthetic-related issues. ” Another good option is to stage a home to help potential buyers visualize themselves in the home, thus increasing the value of the home for both the seller and buyer. In a survey carried out on Realtors®, forty-nine percent of real estate agents believe that staging a home has a great effect on how a buyer views the home. Another forty-seven percent are convinced that only on some occasions does staging have an impact on how a buyer views a home. The remaining four percent said that the perception of a buyer is not in any way affected by staging a home. On the side of the buyer, Realtors® believe that there are several ways staging a home affects the view of buyers. 81% of realtors said that buyers see the property as a future home, and 46% said potential buyers are willing to walk through a house that is showcased online. 45% said

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decorating a home to the taste of a buyer positively boosts its property value. However, a small ratio (10%) of agents believe that decorating a home contrary to the taste of a buyer affects its value negatively. On the side of the seller, most agents use staging as a means in some instances; 34% use staging on every home, while 13% stage a home when it is hard to sell. Another 4% will stage only homes that are highly priced. The average cost of staging a house is six hundred and seventy- five dollars ($675). 62% of agents that represent sellers say the services of home staging are offered to sellers, while 39% say a home is listed only after a seller pays. ” Cleaning and Organization Staging can greatly increase the value of a home, thereby generating more money for the seller. Staging may include keeping the home clean, de-cluttering, and making the home brighter and more beautiful. Below are some steps to take in cleaning and organizing a home for staging:  The entire house should be studied . Sellers should erase any sense of assumption. They are advised to go through all the rooms to make sure everything is in place. The reason for this is to make the home look very attractive.

Make piles .

Piles should be organized as each room is being cleared by the seller. The value of each item should be in their mind. Items that you don ’ t want the prospective buyer to see during staging should be kept aside.

Have a spreadsheet .

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Make a list of rooms that require organization. This will be very helpful. It will also help in prioritizing expenses like staging elements, paint, and home improvement.

Empty closets .

Before staging a home, it is advisable that sellers ’ closets should be emptied and cleaned. Any unused items in the wardrobes should be properly disposed of.

Clear off bookcase and counters .

Since most readings are done online now, clear off books that will not be reread. Add some decorating items to keep the home sparkling. A neutral style should be the final reflection.

 The exterior of the home should be inspected .

The exterior of the house should be well taken care of. The outside of the home may pass a significant message to the buyer on how the inside will look.

Bathrooms should be made spotless .

Not all sellers have spa bathrooms, but clean tiles, grout, a vanity, and a shower door can contribute greatly to an average bathroom

The kitchen should be cleaned up .

The kitchen is considered as the place where most things are gathered and dumped – cell phones, backpacks, car keys, and much more. Sellers should not stuff the cabinets or pantry with anything, and the freezer and refrigerator should be cleaned out.

Purge attics, garages, and basements .

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This is another important thing to carry out when preparing to stage a home for prospective buyers. Neutralizing Gender Whether you are arranging to sell your house or to update your decoration with a sparkling appearance for the season, it is vital that you bear in mind some styling tips that will be appealing to the personal tastes of both genders. Below are some of these tips:  Nature ’ s elements should be added . There should be a natural touch that includes earthly elements like woven baskets, tree stump stools, wooden tables, interwoven tree branch patterns, and natural fiber rugs. Instead of silk flower arrangements that are feminine in style, try cactus plants or other faux greenery. Artwork on the wall with nautical or coastal themes are ways to add a pleasing style for both genders.

Fabrics should be mixed and matched .

You can neutralize velvet or leather fabric furniture by including accent pillows in cotton, canvas, or linen. Keep your window treatments simple with mild and free-flowing fabrics.

Go for a neutral color base .

A fast and hard rule to follow when neutralizing is by commencing with a shade of beige, white, and gray for flooring, larger furnishing, countertops, and walls.

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To add depth, use tones like black or navy coupled with pops of colors with emphasis on rugs, wall art, curtains, and pillows.

Bring in patterns and texture in accents .

One great way to add generic appeal is through a patterned rug with accents such as comfortable textured pillows and woven throws. Avoid delicate trinkets on shelves and tables. Instead, try adding vintage or industrial style with metal, chrome, or brass side tables and floor lamps, along with other final touches.

 Go for tailored furniture that has modern accents .

Floral patterned sofa or big tufted velvet has more of feminine taste with a formal style, while a sofa that is streamlined in neutral fabric joined with contemporary coffee tables and modern accents bring about a relaxed and welcoming feel. The combination of herringbone couch fabric and orange leather chairs is lovely to both sexes. Well-Maintained Outdoors (Curb Appeal) How do you see your house when you stand in front of it to view it? Is it attractive or not good at all? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself if you wish to stage your home. There are some maintenance practices that are required of you to make sure that your home is pleasant to the eyes in order to attract buyers and add more values to it. Here are some of the practices:  Replace windows.

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If there are windows that leak, stick, or are peeling on the sides or bottom, changing them will give the exterior of your home a new and beautiful look.

Repair or clean the roof.

You can easily remove mold and dirt from your roof by simply using a water and bleach solution. Fixing up any damaged parts of your roof can significantly improve its structural integrity.

Replace or clean gutters.

The gutters on your home are easily damaged by the weather. It is advisable that you clean them, but when this is not yielding a good result, replacing them will be the next and better option to consider.

Fix the stoop or porch.

Buyers will spend a considerable amount of time here looking around when they want to come into your home. Ensure that your porch is very sound and that there are no wobbly railings or missing blocks.

Redo the walkway or driveway.

If your walkway or driveway is broken or there is unwanted vegetation around, it is wise to fix the cracks and kill the weeds. Do whatever it takes to make your stony driveway look new.

Replace the siding or repaint the exterior.

If you believe your home needs a new look, one nice and budget- friendly step to take is to give it a new painting. If the paint is peeling

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off or fading, you can simply trim. Remember to paint your front door with a pop of color.

Your flowerbed should be livened up.

Get rid of debris and trim overgrown plants. Flowers with colorful arrangements should be added to give your home a chic look.

 Position potted plants in strategic positions.

These colorful flowers should welcome buyers to your home. Two potted plants should be mounted on each side of the front door.

Install modern hardware.

Check your lighting fixtures, house numbers, mailbox, and doorknobs to ascertain if you can benefit from modern hardware. This new hardware is easy to fix and also cost effective. Ensure that the material of all the hardware is the same. Kitchen The most vital selling point for your home is the kitchen. To engage the attention of buyers here is the best way to stage your kitchen. There is more to staging than mere de-cluttering, cleaning up, and ensuring that plumbing, electrical service, and appliances are in perfect working condition. It also has something to do with the emotions of buyers. The kitchen is a tricky area of the house. It must be functioning well, with mechanicals and appliances that are up to date and clean. The kitchen is the main social hub for many families, which implies that a buyer must be able to have foresight on how his family will gather in the room to prepare and share meals comfortably, as well as use it for other functions like homework. Here are tips that will help in polishing your kitchen ’ s appeal:

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 There are some points in a home that are attractive to the eyes. They are called focal points. They can be natural, like picture windows or fireplaces or well- designed artwork. Neutral focal points are key to selling your home.

There should be focal points in key rooms to draw the attention of buyers. There should be a natural focal point in your kitchen.

 De-cluttering is another good tip while staging the kitchen. Appliances that are rarely used should be cleared off to give the buyer a better viewing.  Lighting in the rooms should be well adjusted to add more flair to the presentation. Make sure all corners are well cleaned so that any flaws are not seen when the kitchen is lighted. Repairs and Touch Ups If you wish to sell your home and you expect any problems to arise when staging the home, you need to do repairs and touch-ups to make the house look presentable and sellable. Most buyers ’ first impression is greatly determined by their first sight of a house. If there are any damages to your home, before staging, make sure you fix all the problems and give the house a finishing touch. If you are still not convinced about this, below are some good reasons why you need to make repairs before staging a house:  A house that is well maintained will get more and better offers.

 If your house is in good shape, you can firmly hold on your price.

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 You have a good possibility of selling your home if you do all necessary amendments.

 It becomes smoother and faster for you to get a buyer for your home if everything is in place

You avert most of the risk of losing the deal

 The value of your home may be reduced if repairs are not made before inspection. Most potential buyers will want to use any flaw in your home to bring down the price of the house.  You have to do repairs before selling your house because every prospective buyer will inspect the house properly before any agreement is reached.

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Chapter 5 Determining the Right Price When Selling Your Home by Yourself Importance of First Listing Price When it comes to deciding the selling price of your home, you can never underestimate the importance of the first listing price you project to the buyers. Generally, as the homeowner, you will always have the general idea of the current worth of your property. However, what we are speaking about here is the listing price you are supposed to quote, which will be one of the driving factors to promote the sale of your home. In this regard, the first listing price must be as attractive as possible to set a good pace for the selling process. While the industry experts advise of only a few successful strategies regarding this, they are worth looking at. Fast and low is a winning strategy that can guide you in deciding the first listing price. This means if you are looking to sell off your home as fast as possible, list the property 5% to 15% below the market value after studying the current market trend. This will attract the buyers easily, as they will see a good deal in it. This strategy is the best when you do the sale yourself, as while moving through an agent, you are going to pay a huge commission that needs to be considered. For instance, the statistics show that on average, buyers across the country are paying 2.5 percent more than the asking price. But this

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calculation does not take into account the concession or incentive you are prepared to give to the buyer. Also, if you have brought down the listing price 15% below the market prices, then the implication is that you are only reducing the price 6% to 7% lesser than what you would end up getting while working through an agent. Therefore, cutting down the holding costs and netting more will work to your advantage. Though the scenario might differ between regions, this can guide you on how to decide the listing price. Making the prudent use of the Internet search pricing secret is yet another way to decide on the first listing price. In order to trick the buyers, most property owners fix the price using more nines to induce a feeling that the property is cheaper. For instance, some might quote the price as $199,900 rather than $200,000 with the intention of letting it sound more attractive. However, know that the existing Internet searches are not tuned to reach the buyers effectively if you use this nines strategy. To be clear, the majority of real estate sites employ search parameters that are organized as categorical groups. $175,000 to $200,000, then $200,000 to $250,000, and so on. Given this trend, if you are quoting the listing price as $199,000, it is likely that your property will reach buyers searching for properties within the $175,000 to $200,000. However, if you quote it as $200,000, then it can figure in searches under both $175,000 to $200,000 and $200,000 to $250,000 categories. How the Wrong Price Can Hurt Your Sale Understanding the market and the customer behavior requires a lot of insight into what actually happens in the real estate domain today. If your first listing price has followed an imprudent decision, it could work against you and act contrary to your beliefs.

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Therefore, rather than going by what you feel as the working strategy, you need to do research on how things happen in the market. Let us talk about this with an example. Marking down is one popular strategy that most sellers resort to. We can understand this as follows: it is natural that every owner will want as many dollars as possible over the amount of their property sale. Therefore, most sellers prefer to quote the first listing price considerably higher than the existing market trend so that, by chance, they can end up inviting unwieldy buyers. Subsequently, during the process of negotiation or delay in selling, the seller will keep lowering the price. Though there is a likelihood of selling the property for more value if the buyer has not acted smartly, this strategy is considered somewhat unsuccessful. For instance, if the properties are not sold within 30 days of listing, then the buyers might be apprehensive, thinking that there could be something wrong with the property. Also, some buyers tend to think that if you are prepared to lower the price, they can continue bargaining as much as possible to land the best deal. This strategy might end up hurting you, therefore, it is very important that you fix up the first listing price in line with the market trends to sell your property faster. Getting a Comparative Market Analysis CMA (Get for Free from the Agent) Most home sellers are familiar with the idea of comparative market analysis. This is a popular tool used to ascertain the real value of the property intended for sale. Comparative market analysis, or CMA, is the process of analyzing the sale deals of homes comparable to that of yours in the region.

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