Step-By-Step Guide To For Sale By Owner Part I

Alright, you are ready to sell your house by owner. Let's roll up those sleeves and get the ball rolling. This step-by-step guide to sell your house by owner will walk you from listing your house to the closing table. The first part, of a two part series, will focus on the steps to get an offer and assumes that you are occupying the residence you are trying to sell.

Getting The Best And Strongest Offer

1. Set realistic expectations.

Put on your buyer's hat and check out homes that are currently for sale within a half mile radius of your location. Pay attention to the list price, the condition of the home, and how long it takes to sell. Your competition will help you gauge what it will take to sell your home.


2. Repair major defects and make updates.

What are the demographics in your area? If it's inexperienced first-time buyers, young/growing families, or ready to retire downsizers, then the majority of your buyers will want a house that's in move-in ready condition.


3. Determine the market value of your house.

If location is the number one rule of real estate, then property value is the second rule of real estate. To get this important step right, try doing at least one of these actions:

  • Talk to a real estate broker who specializes in your neighborhood. Most agents will be able to give you no cost, no obligation comparative market analysis for your property.

  • Pay for an appraisal through any bank that offers mortgage services.

  • Research online and come up with a ball bark figure. Be weary of using websites like Zillow.com though. Their Zestimate has a median error rate of 6.9%. On the average Indianapolis home, which is worth $193,000, that translates from a low of $179,683 all the way to $206,317 high. Listing your home too high will automatically alienate buyers who don't qualify in your price range, and pricing it too low means that you're leave money on the table.

4. Stage your home.

Make your home look as big and spacious as possible.


5. Take high quality photographs.

A picture is worth a thousand words; or an extra thousand dollars in your pocket. Make the first right impression to draw interest into your home.


Read more about Getting Ready For Picture Day here.


6. Create a sizzling listing description.

Use buzzwords that sell to paint a picture for your potential buyers so that they'll want to walk into your house.


7. Promote, promote, promote your house. Then promote some more.

  • Word of mouth

  • On-line listing

  • Social media

  • Flyers and brochures

  • Yard sign

  • Open house

8. Screen for qualified buyers.

Real estate brokers will not show homes that their buyers won't be approved for because it's a waste of time and energy for everyone involved. Save yourself time and energy by asking prospects what amount they are pre-qualified for before you start selling your home to them. Also ask what their timeframe is to buy a house.


Do not ask anything that would discriminate a buyer from protected classes. This is illegal under Equal Housing Opportunity laws.


9. Schedule and handle showings.

Once you know that the buyers can afford to buy your home, set a date and time to show your home. Send them a reminder and confirm the appointment with them. Once they arrive, get everyone out of the house (pets included) so the buyers can tour your home without pressure. Make copies of your Seller's Disclosure Form available and leave any marketing materials out for the buyer to take.


10. Follow up.

Ask the buyer for feedback on what they liked about the house and what they didn't like. Explain the steps for them to submit an offer if they're interested and have purchase agreement contracts available if they're ready.


11. Get the offer.

Alas! All of your hard work thus far has led to this moment of joy. Make sure that a tailored pre-approval letter (this is not the same as pre-qualification letter) and signed Seller's Disclosure Form is attached with the purchase agreement so you can have all the documentation for your records.


Well congratulations on the offer! Now you're ready to take the next steps: Getting To The Closing Table.