When you have a nice home in a great location it is easy to want to take on the job of marketing. We can understand the pride of doing the job yourself, or, wanting to save yourself and/or the purchaser the cost of a commission. In order to help you with your undertaking, we’re providing some information on Open Houses and Selling Your Own Home Without Representation.
However, remember that your job doesn’t end with finding someone who loves your home. Negotiating the purchase price (the buyer may be hoping to save the same commission you are hoping to pocket!), navigating contract contingencies, particularly the ‘gotchas’ that arise during inspections, appraisals and loan approvals, and, finally, bringing the deal to the closing table can be challenging without a mediating party. As Realtors we think a big part of our job comes down to keeping the buyer and seller apart – so they can get together.
HOW TO SELL A HOME AS AN UNREPRESENTED SELLER
Place an ad in the local newspaper. Always include the area of town, the price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms. These are the most important considerations for a buyer. Consider some type of internet presence – and put a sign in the front yard, of course.
Design a flyer or brochure for your property. Include a photo (color is best) and detailed description of the home.
Know the current interest rates and points on fixed and adjustable rate loans. Serious buyers will want to know the total cash down payment, including closing costs, and monthly payments. Prior to accepting an offer, follow up with the lender to confirm that you have a qualified buyer.
Know your current annual taxes and homeowner insurance premium amounts.
Consider having an appraisal done on your home to help determine the current value. Note, however, that an appraisal is based on sales during the past six months. In a changing market, offer price may need to be adjusted up or down. Beware, buyers typically offer less than you are asking. You are trying to save the commission and so are they! If a Realtor represents the buyer, you may want to ask them to provide sold comparables to substantiate a lower price offer.
Consider paying a “co-op” commission to Realtors.
When talking to a prospective buyer, follow these guidelines:
- Pre-qualify buyer’s interest (motivation) and ability to purchase – prior to showing
- Set an appointment at their convenience
- Have your property brochures available
- Introduce yourself at the front door
- Ask for name, address & phone for your own security
- Let them tour the home with as much privacy as possible. Buyers feel uncomfortable making comments in your presence.
In the event you receive an offer from a buyer, put it in writing on the standard Colorado Real Estate forms including Lead-Based Paint, Seller’s Property and Square Footage Disclosures. Be sure to collect an earnest money check and deposit it where agreed upon by contract. Consider paying an attorney to review the legalities of such a contract – and to represent your interests in the transaction.
Be prepared for “looky-loos”. Although they may show great interest, their ability to finance their dream home and consummate the transaction may not be a reality.
Think about what you’ll need to do after you’re under contract: Follow up with lender, arrange for a title company, negotiate inspection items, etc.
Be professional, avoid emotion. Staying detached and objective is critical for getting to closing.
OPEN HOUSE TIPS
- Look in your local newspaper, in the classified real estate section, to determine which is the most popular day for open houses. In Denver, Sunday is probably the best!
- Schedule your open house at least one week in advance. Advertise in a major paper and send invitations to neighbors.
- Restrict the total open hours to 3 or 4 (i.e. 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.) to reduce the stress of waiting for buyers and to increase the odds of people visiting simultaneously. This may be a bit hectic, but it enhances the sales atmosphere by having prospects see others looking at the house at the same time.
- Place directional arrows toward your home from about three or four blocks away, preferably from a major road.
- Place a highly visible open house sign in your front yard.
- Leave space for visitors to park.
- Remove all debris from the around the house.
- Your front porch area and entry way should sparkle. Sweep up leaves and wipe fingerprints from door jams.
- Turn on all lights, including closet lights, and open draperies.
- Place your brochure or other printed material in an obvious location (dining room table or kitchen countertop).
- Have extra clean bathrooms. Close all toilet lids.
- If your home features very organized closets, open a few for inspection.
- Verify that valuables have not been left where accessible.
- Tune in soft music, on the same radio station, in each room.
- Consider a guest registration book for visitors to sign.