Real Estate Agent commissions can take up to six percent of a home’s selling price. By listing a property online, it’s possible to attract as many, if not more, buyers than with a traditional listing and save a lot of money.
Is a Real Estate Agent Necessary to Sell a House
Obviously, having someone do all the work makes any job easier, but listing a home with an agency isn’t set in stone nor is it a guarantee that a house will sell. Of course, agents have networks, which can make local interest move quicker on a property. But the internet is a powerful tool that has made selling a house without representation much more simple and profitable.
Five Steps to Selling a House Online
- Pricing: One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when putting their house on the market is setting unrealistic expectations and overpricing. Determining the potential sale value is foremost and can be done easily by visiting sites like HouseValues. A local licensed residential appraiser can also determine a solid price on a property, based on comparisons to recent home sales in the area. This can cost as much as $300, but could save much more in the long run.
- Marketing: Online sites like Owners.com and Virtual for Sale by Owner are plentiful. Listing is easy and can be done for free, although many sites sell premium services too. For more local exposure, put signs in your yard, ads in local publications and schedule frequent open houses. Word of mouth works well too, flyers in area establishments. Contact local companies, commercial and manufacturing, and speak with their human resources department. Opportunites exist within relocation offices to touch base with newly transferred employees.
- Strategy: If the market is stagnant, a good rule of thumb is to price a home 4% lower than competitors. In a positive selling market, it’s not necessary to price more than 2.5% below competitors.
- Don’t Be Frightened by Paperwork: The legalities and paperwork involved with selling a home can be intimidating. There are many online resources and information at local libraries to help understand regional real estate processing and procedures. Hiring a local real estate attorney for an hour or two of advice is a great investment; this step alone can save thousands and help prevent potential losses or unseen problems.
- Hire a Limited Service Broker: If the idea of selling a home alone is still overwhelming, there are brokers who help with marketing and contract negotiations. Fees are paid upfront, but the cost is still less than paying a bigger percentage of the total sale.
Selling a house independently is definitely more work and takes time, persistence and patience. The payoff is certainly worth the hassle. If all else fails, listing with an agent can still be an option, but one to keep as last when trying to make the most money from the sale.
How to Improve the Chances of Selling a House
Think about what potential buyers will see when they first enter the home. Tidy the garden up, making sure that there are no visible signs of neglect. Many people ignore the garden in favour of getting the house ship-shape, but this potentially gives a negative first impression. Pull up weeds, paint the front gate if necessary, and edge paths and lawns to make them look well cared-for.
First impressions count
When considering first impressions, it’s worth investing in a few tins of paint and making the house look as neutral as possible. When viewers look around the house, they are trying to consider the possibility of living there, and need to be able to imagine the property as their own home. Neutral colours make this easier for people to achieve, as it takes less imagination to work with a blank canvas.
It’s also important to reduce clutter. People are looking for as much floor space as possible. If this means popping some furniture into storage for a while until a sale has been secured, it’s worth doing. The bigger and more airy the rooms look, the more appealing they will be. A mantelpiece full of vases and ornaments, for example, will seem unappealing, whereas a long smooth straight expanse of ledge will assist an impression of space and light.
Developing a pleasant atmosphere
A further point is to consider the way the house smells to a new visitor! While this may seem a strange idea, it’s worth investing in some light air fresheners or room sprays to give everywhere a quick spritz before the potential buyers arrive. While the idea of baking bread just before a viewing is a sensible one, it’s also a little bit clichéd these days. Tailor the scent to your viewer if possible. Younger women may be drawn to vanilla scents, whereas the older generation may prefer rose. Room sprays are an economical way of boosting that positive first impression.
Cut down on residents
It’s much easier to show people around a house if it isn’t already full to the brim with family members. Try and schedule viewings for times of the day when the house is at its quietest. Too many residents will detract from an impression of space. If there are kids lurking in the bedrooms, potential buyers may feel uncomfortable about really looking over the room and imagining themselves living there.
Create an impression of light
Light is one of the most important aspects of creating a positive first impression. Even if the viewing takes place during the day, pop some lamps on to create more ambience and show the house off to best advantage. Open curtains and blinds as wide as possible to let natural light flood in.
People don’t just click with a house, they respond to the vendor, too. Be personable and charming, open to questions, and be sure to offer coffee and a chat after the viewing, if the visitors seem inclined to do so. Sitting in the living room getting a feel for the house may be just what is needed to secure a sale.