Tips for FSBOs
I was reading the thread about mistakes that FSBOs make and agree with everything that was said. It got me thinking that it might be nice to have a thread about how to help the folks selling their own homes.
We're in the middle of selling our fourth FSBO. All have been under contract in under a month. We chose to go FSBO the first time because we have relatives and friends that are agents and didn't want to cause hard feelings. The last three we've done FSBO because I love to do it!!!
1. Know your competition. Check the MLS daily for new listings in your neighborhood. Go to open houses to see your competition and then make your house look better! Keep track of the listing & selling prices of comps. Start doing this several months before you're ready to sell.
2. Get everything in tip top shape. Take care of all the little things that you let slip by during day-to-day life. Caulk that tub, scrub those baseboards, clean out the cabinets, etc. Declutter and pack away things you won't need for awhile. It's also a great opportunity to purge things you won't need at your new home.
3. Curb appeal is everything. Cut & edge the lawn, trim the shrubs, freshen the mulch, put pretty flowers in the pots, pressure wash everything (except the windows...clean those by hand). Touch up caulk & paint.
4. Keep it squeaky clean. Always. Adopt a new routine of getting the house taken care of first thing in the morning. You never know when you'll get a call! We had a couple call while they were parked in front of the house and we invited them in for a tour. The bought our home.
5. Photos. If you've got a good camera, by all means take your own. Do not take them with a cell phone or iPad. Make sure to take pictures of the entire rooms on days you have good lighting. If you aren't confident in your photography skills, hire someone to do it for you. If your pictures are bad, people won't even bother to make it in the door.
6. Price accordingly. If you've been keeping track of the info on the comps you have a pretty good idea what your home should sell for. Now take a few thousand off that price. Really!!! You're not paying a listing agent, so let your buyers feel that they're getting a good deal on the front end. You have to get your buyers in the door. When it comes to negotiating price later you can remind them that you're already priced lower than the comps.
7. Advertise. We use flat-fee services to get in to the MLS. This time it was $399. Our listing shows up everywhere that the realtor's listings do. We also list on Craigslist and with other free local advertisers.
8. Yard signs. DO NOT use the red & white signs you get at your local home improvement store. No matter how neat your penmanship may be, it always looks like a third grader wrote them. Design your own signs on Vista Print. They look great, are inexpensive and are delivered quickly.
9. Love the agents! Not only are they working to find a home for their buyers, they are bringing buyers to you. They deserve to get paid for their services. We offered 2.5% on this house and every showing that we had was through a realtor.
Make your home available. When an agent calls to show your home say yes. Since you're already "show ready" all you have to do is turn on some well placed lights and back out the door. We have never been there when an agent shows our home. We leave a few minutes before their arrival time and leave the door unlocked. Just be sure to ask them to lock the door when they go.
Unrepresented buyers. Get the rest of the family out of the house and turn off your TV! There's nothing more unprofessional than showing your home while a TV is blaring in the background. I do walk through the main floor of the house with them and point out things that they might not notice just by looking. For example I wouldn't mention the obvious things like granite counters and maple cabinets, but I would mention the appliance lifts and soft close drawers. Make sure your valuables have been locked up and are out of sight.
Negotiate. They want your house and you want to sell it. Don't get stuck over a trivial amount of money or an appliance so that you can "win". Be sure to ask your buyer for a pre-approval letter from their lender.
Contracts. If you've used a flat-fee listing service, they have all of your state's contracts available for you. Print them out and write them up. We use the same attorney for all of our real estate transactions. They happily look over our contracts for us (free of charge) since they know they'll be getting the closing for our new house....and usually the one we're selling too.
Inspections. Your buyers will be in your home for several hours with the inspector going through your home with a fine toothed comb. Take care of as many little things as you can before the inspection. That leaky faucet or wobbly toilet that's a 5 minute fix will go down as a "ding" on the inspection report. Too many "dings" and buyers get worried.
Phew! I didn't mean to make it that long of a post. :) These things might not help anyone, but they have worked well for us in the past. Anybody care to add things that worked for them?