If you decide to sell your home yourself, instead of working with a real estate agency, then there are some very important things you should know before placing your first “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) advertisement. First, you would have to do your own marketing analysis and develop a reasonable asking price for your house. Then you will also have to work on the home’s interior and curb appeal and repair any minor problems.
Some states’ haves laws that require the seller to give the potential buyers at least one property disclosure when you sell the home. These disclosures basically pertain to the condition of the property or location. Some of these disclosures may be as simple as how old the house is and whether there are problems existing within the house that the potential buyer needs to be made aware of. But these disclosures can also extend to property disputes and whether the house is located in a flood zone, on an earthquake fault or near an airport. There may be other issues depending on your location.
Most houses built before 1978 may have lead-based paint. Federal law requires the sellers of FSBO houses to disclose this information and provide details to the potential owners about past lead tests or offer the opportunity for the buyers to do their own testing. Many buyers and sellers won’t perform the lead tests, but the seller should at least provide the buyers with a lead paint pamphlet, that is available for free of charge from the Environmental Protection Agency.
When selling your home, the property’s exterior, or ‘curb appeal’ can greatly affect the buyer’s decision on looking at the inside of your house. If buyers see a cluttered, unkept yard, they are most likely to assume that the inside of the house has nothing better to offer. Therefore, you will be losing a potential buyer. You want to get the best possible offer on your house, which may require you to take a look around and clean up your house’s general appearance.
Curb Appeal not only includes your front yard, but also applies to your back yard as well. Buyers will eventually want to view the back yard as they are shown the rest of your house. In order to have an attractive curb appeal, you can:
1. Mow the lawn and pull all the weeds by hand or by the use of a weed eater.
2. Rake leaves and dispose properly of the leaves, so there aren’t any unsightly leaf piles in the yard.
3. Pick up any debris and properly dispose of.
4. Trim bushes, shrubs or tree’s that are overgrown. Trees’ with branches extending toward your roof should be trimmed back to avoid damage to the house.
5. Store your lawn mower or other unnecessary lawn maintenance tools or garden implements out of sight to avoid a cluttered lawn.
6. Clean all windows, siding and decks with a pressure washer to brighten the appearance of the house.
7. Clean all gutters and make sure they are all attached and working properly.
8. Clean up any animal waste on a regular basis.
9. For those with children, keep the yard free of toy clutter and wash away any chalk marks or other art mad by children on the sidewalk or concrete.
Now that your home has curb appeal that is attractive enough to entice potential buyers, you must apply the same care and attention to the inside of your home to make it just as appealing. Making the inside of your home appealing to buyers can be done by simply maintaining a clean and clutter free appearance, killing any odors and possibly making a few minor repairs.
Now you are ready to open your home to all those frisky real estate agents and their potential buyers. Although showing your home isn’t very difficult, it can be very time consuming because as the seller, you will have to flexible. You will have to be prepared for same day requests to show your home and for those last minute requests, when the real estate agent or buyer is calling you from your front porch. Granting these requests can make a huge difference between the buying and selling of your home.
If you are showing the house yourself, be prepared to answer all questions as politely, truthfully and accurately as possible. What is most important, never get too personal or let your emotions take over when showing your house. The buyers are there to look at your house as a possible purchase and not to discuss your love of collecting clown figurines or how great your nifty little sports car runs.