One of the problems you might encounter when selling your house yourself without an agent is not being able to find a buyer. This can cause all sorts of problems like having to make your payments on the house… which is even worse if the house is vacant. Another problem if the house isn’t selling is you might not be able to move to a house you wanted to till the current one is sold.
Of all the reasons a house might not sell when selling it yourself, there are 2 that make up the majority of issues that will prevent you from finding a buyer.
1. The Price
If you price your house too high about market ranges, you’ll find yourself with a limited supply of buyers who will pay over market rate. This is even more important in a regular to slow market. Sometimes during really hot, bubble markets, it is possible to get a higher price from the “buying frenzy,” but generally those periods are far and few. For the majority of time you’ll be in a normal to slow market where you’ll need to be competitive to attract buyers in that economy.
Now if you don’t know how to price your property to sell quickly, here’s an easy way to figure it out. Go to online real estate sites such as Realtor.com or Zillow.com and find 3 to 5 houses in your neighborhood that sold in the last 6 months. For each sale, take the sales price (not the listing price) and divide it by the square footing to get price per square foot. Take the 3 to 5 price per square foot number and add them together, then divide them by the number of properties you used to get the average price per square foot. Then take this average number and multiply it to your square footage and get a round price. Take this price and multiply it by 0.98 and this should get you a pretty accurate price on what your house will sell for. Now if you have some big upgrades or additions, or your house isn’t similar to the ones in your neighborhood, you’re going to have to adjust for this. Otherwise, this simple formula will get you close to the price you need to be at for a quick sale.
The second most important aspect in selling your house by owner is doing aggressive marketing. Now if you listed with an agent, and they were on top of their game, you wouldn’t have to worry about it. However, if you are handling the sale by yourself, then you will have to get your property information out there… and in a compelling way. Meaning, you need to focus on the benefits of why buyers would be better off buying your house rather than the all the other properties on the market. Most folks just put out an ad in the their local paper’s classifieds (which don’t draw nearly the attention they used to) or just put up a few pictures and a description on Craigslist and expect their phone to be ringing off the hook. The reality, however, is much more different.
Of all the ways you can market your house, including listing it online in different housing sites, nothing beats signs. Pound-for-pound, signs will get you the biggest exposure of qualified buyers. The key is do them right. This means hand drawn, ugly signs put up on busy intersections using the right words that get buyers to pick up the phone and call you. Also, having a hand written sign, preferably on bright colors, in your front lawn will get you a nice volume of interest from eager buyers.
There is one other factor, though not well-known about, that can get your house sold fast for full market price… even higher sometimes. And that is selling with a lease option (also known as a rent-to-own). This is simply giving a qualified tenant/buyer 12 to 24 months to qualify for a mortgage. As you know, mortgage standards have gotten extremely tough these days. And many good folks, who have the income and are qualified, just get approved yet. You simply provide them a lease term to get their financing in place so they can close you out for cash when their loan goes through. Selling rent-to-own like this is also good since you net full market price, as you don’t pay any commissions or fees when they cash you out.