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How to Sell Your House Without a Realtor (12 Steps)

by Lily Morgen
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Sell Your House Without a Realtor

You may want to sell your house by yourself simply don’t want to pay a commission to a real estate agent- typically 4-6% of the sale price.

Or, you may want more control over the sale process. You can show the house when it’s convenient for you and potential buyers, rather than having to work around a realtor’s schedule. Or you want to speed up the sales as a real estate agent may have many houses to sell, and pay little attention to your house.

Whatever your reasons for going it alone, do your research and understand the process before you get started selling your house without a realtor.

1. Learn Disadvantages You Need to Overcome If Selling Your House Without a Realtor

Of course, there are also some disadvantages to selling your house without the help of a professional. The most obvious is that you’ll have to do all the work yourself – from marketing the house and showing it to potential buyers, to negotiating the final sale price.

You’ll also be responsible for making sure all the paperwork is in order and complying with your state’s real estate laws.

If you’re not familiar with the selling process, this can be daunting – and even a little bit risky.

Another disadvantage is that you may have a harder time getting top dollar for your house. While realtors are not miracle workers, they do usually have more experience pricing houses and negotiating with buyers.

If you’re not sure what your house is worth, or how to negotiate with buyers, you may end up selling for less than you could have with the help of a realtor.

2. Know Your House’s Value

The most important factor in successfully selling your home is pricing it correctly from the start.

Many sellers overprice their homes initially, thinking they’ll come down later if they don’t get any bites. But this backfires more often than not. Buyers are savvy these days and will quickly move on to other homes in their price range that are priced closer to market value.

It’s better to start slightly below market value. This will generate more interest in your home, and often lead to multiple offers, which can increase the deal chance and drive up the final selling price.

To find out what your home is worth, look up recent sales of similar homes in your neighborhood (called comps) and price your home accordingly.

You’ll spend more time focusing on the transaction data every week and every month in your area. You will also need to understand what comparable properties have sold for in your neighborhood and price your home accordingly. 

This will require some effort to research recent sales of similar homes in your neighborhood. Doing this pricing homework ahead of time will pay off when it’s time to negotiate with buyers who are interested in your home.

3. Prepare Your House For Sale

Once you’ve priced your home correctly, it’s time to get it ready for showings.

Start by decluttering every room and getting rid of anything you don’t need. This will make each space appear larger and more inviting. You should also consider hiring a professional cleaning service to give your home a deep clean. This is especially important if you have pets, as buyers will be turned off by any pet odor.

In addition, make any necessary repairs, such as fixing a leaky faucet or replacing burned-out lightbulbs.

It’s also a good idea to stage your home by furnishing it with modern, stylish furniture and decor. This will help potential buyers envision themselves living in the space. If you don’t have the budget to stage your entire home, just focus on key areas like the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom.

4. Take Quality Photos

It’s worth taking the time to make sure you’re doing it right. After all, good photos are one of the key ways to make your listing stand out online and attract buyers.

Here are a few tips to get the best photos of your house:

  • Start with the exterior. Make sure the front of your house is clean and well-lit. If you have a nice view, be sure to include a photo of that as well.
  • Move inside and take pictures of each room, starting with the living room or family room. Again, make sure the rooms are well-lit and that any clutter is out of the way.
  • Don’t forget to take pictures of the kitchen and bathrooms. These are two of the most important rooms in a house, so make sure they look their best.
  • If you have any special features in your house, like a fireplace or built-in bookshelves, be sure to include photos of those as well.

You should also take photos during different times of the day so potential buyers can get a sense of the lighting in each room.

4. Create an Online Listing

It’s time to create an online listing after you prepared your photos. Start by creating a profile on a popular real estate website, such as Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com.

Then, write a detailed description of your home, highlighting all its best features. Be sure to include information about the neighborhood, schools, and any recent updates or renovations. Then add all your quality photos to the listing.

5. Market Your Home

You can start marketing your home after your online listing is live.

One of the best ways to do this is by hosting an open house. This will give interested buyers a chance to see your home in person and get a feel for the layout and flow of each room. Be sure to advertise your open house in advance, both online and offline. You can also reach out to your personal network and let them know you’re selling your home.

Another great way to market your home is by using social media. Create a Facebook or Instagram page devoted to your home sale, and post regular updates and photos. Meanwhile, don’t forget to put up a “For Sale” sign in your front yard. This may seem old-fashioned, but it can actually be quite effective, especially if you live in a high-traffic area.

6. Screen Potential Buyers

You’ll get inquiries from potential buyers, but you need to screen them carefully.

Start by asking each buyer for their financial information, including their credit score and proof of income. This will help you weed out any buyers who can’t afford your home.

You should also ask each buyer to provide a pre-approval letter from a lender. This is essentially a commitment from the lender to provide financing for the buyer, and it shows that they’re serious about purchasing your home.

7. Schedule Tours and Showings

Most sellers prefer to conduct open houses on weekends, when more people are available to attend. But you can also schedule private showings during the week if that’s more convenient for you.

When showing your home, be sure to point out all its best features. You may also want to leave the house while buyers are touring it, to give them a chance to talk candidly with their real estate agent.

8. Negotiate With Buyers

If you receive multiple offers, be sure to compare each one carefully. In addition to the purchase price, also pay attention to the buyer’s down payment, closing costs, and any other special conditions.

Once you’ve selected the best offer, it’s time to start negotiating. If you’re working with a buyer’s agent, they will handle the negotiation process on your behalf.

You may want to consider hiring a lawyer or real estate agent to help with the negotiation process. Once you’ve reached an agreement with the buyer, it’s time to move on to the next step in the home-selling process.

9. Ask for an Earnest Money Deposit

It’s recommended to ask for an earnest money deposit after you’ve negotiated the terms of the sale with the buyer. This is a deposit that shows the buyer is serious about purchasing your home. It’s typically 1-2% of the purchase price, and it will be applied towards the down payment or closing costs. 

The earnest money deposit is typically held in escrow by a third party or lawyer. Once the sale is finalized, the deposit will be applied to the purchase price of the home. If the sale falls through for any reason, the earnest money deposit will be returned to the buyer.

10. Sign the Necessary Documents

It’s time to sign the necessary documents with the buyer after you receive the earnest money deposit.

There are a number of documents that you will need to sign with the buyer before you can receive their down payment during the sale of your home. 

The most important document is the sales contract, which outlines the terms of the sale and includes information such as the purchase price, closing date, and any contingencies that must be met.  You will also need to sign a deed, which transfers ownership of the property to the buyer, and a mortgage, which gives the buyer a loan that is secured by the property. 

At the same time, you will need to sign a disclosure statement, which discloses any material defects in the property that could affect its value.

11. You’ll Receive a Down Payment

The process of a down payment may be complicated as the buyer need to be approved for a mortgage loan. The lender will order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth the agreed-upon purchase price. 

Once the appraisal is complete, the buyer will need to submit their loan application and supporting documentation to the lender. The lender will then review the application and decide whether to approve the loan. 

If they do, they will provide the buyer with a loan commitment letter. The down payment is typically due at closing, which is the final step in the home-selling process. The down payment is paid to the seller, and it’s usually 3-25% of the purchase price.

12. Closing on the Home Sale

Closing is the final step in the home-selling process. Closing typically takes place 30-60 days after the offer is accepted, but it can take longer if there are any delays with the loan or appraisal process. 

At closing, the buyer will pay the remaining balance of the purchase price, as well as any other fees and costs associated with the sale. This includes things like lender’s fees, transfer taxes, and title insurance. Once all the paperwork is signed and the funds have been transferred, you’ll officially be done with the home-selling process.

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