Selling Your Home Series – Part 2b – More FSBO Tips
This is the third part in our “Selling Your Home Series” and just to complicate things I’ve called in number 2b. It is a continuation of For Sale by Owner tips. In the previous article I covered getting ready to sell and advertising tips and in this edition we’ll tackle showing your home in a way that attracts buyers and piques their interest, and negotiating the purchase contact.
Showing your Home
Without a realtor, this part of the process is also up to you. For outgoing sellers, this is a chance to hobnob with potential buyers. Showcasing your home can be by appointment only or as an open house. In the beginning you might consider an open house. This works best when the interest is high.
One thing you want to be careful of is talking too much about your home. Buyers will think the home too good to be true if that’s all they hear about. As you show the home, answer questions about the features if asked but talk more about the amenities surrounding the neighborhood than the house specifically. Remember that location is a big selling point.
Put out the sign advertising the showing at least half an hour before the start. Advertise too early and you’ll get people knocking on your door before you are ready. They’ll say they were in the neighborhood so they just stopped by.
Post a sign-in sheet near the front door. As guests arrive, they sign their name and wait for the tour. A family member can man the table to be sure that each person complies. A downside to showing a home is that there will be people who show up just to see the house but aren’t serious about buying. They are like home show groupies.
Along with them are the suspicious characters that are looking to loot your home. They won’t do it then, but they will be casing the place to see what valuables you have. In preparation for a showing, remove all valuable items from plain sight and out of the rooms that you will allow visitors to see.
When the show is over and you catch your breath, take the sign-in sheet and follow up with the attendees. Tell them that it is a courtesy call to solicit feedback for the owners. To make it easier, have a list of questions typed out and fill in the answers on a separate sheet for each person.
Negotiating the Purchase Contract
As a For Sale by Owner property, the seller will negotiate the contract with the buyer. The deal is hashed out with an agent if the buyer has representation. Buyers will submit offers to you for your consideration. Check with a local realty company to see if there is a special form on which to submit offers.
- Expect that some buyers will try to lowball you. This is more likely in a buyer’s market. Don’t reject their offer outright even if it is ridiculous. You can always submit a counter offer to the buyer. He might just be testing the waters and counter again with a legitimate offer for the house.
Consider all offers for the home. This is the negotiation phase and it is where the rubber meets the road. For the offers that interest you, ask the buyer to submit an earnest money deposit to back up his interest.
Before negotiating with anyone hire an inspector to look over the house and land. You will want to know if there are any major problems with the structure before entering into negotiations. It is the law that disclosures about the structure are made to a buyer.
The buyer will also have an inspector do a check on the home. If there are discrepancies you can have your inspector talk to theirs. In some areas, a pest control report is required. You will want to have someone come out for that inspection as well.
All repairs that are needed do not have to be completed before the home can sell. Major damage should be attended to but small things can be disclosed and negotiated as a part of the purchase price.
Home warranty plans guarantee certain appliances and other structures in the home. Most often included are the range, dishwasher, ducts, electrical wiring, and heating and air conditioning. As the seller you can purchase a one-year plan that includes these items plus others for the buyer. Warranty plans cover the cost of repair and/or replacement of these items.
The important thing to remember is not to be intimidated by the buyer or their agent. Another option is to hire an agent that offers hourly rates for services for such as contact negotiation and closing. Since you have done all of the other work, this is a small price to pay for their expertise at such a crucial stage of the process.
Wrap up of FSBO, Now on To Using a Realtor
That’s it for our consideration of the pros and cons of selling your own home and some tips for making FSBO option work. In the next couple articles we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of using a realtor and provide a bunch of tips for making it work and keeping your costs down when using an agent to help sell your home.