What is the best way to sell a house by owner???
Ask a real estate agent and they will tell you there is NO best way to sell a a house by owner. They will tell you that your house won’t sell quickly or it won’t get top price unless you use them.They will likely quote you statistics like “80% – 90% of homes sales used a real estate agent” or that the OWNER of a website dedicated to helping people sell their house “for sale by owner”….used a real estate agent to sell his OWN house. These are the same people that also collect a huge check when your house sells….
We can tell you that selling your house without an agent might not be the easiest route but it is 100% possible. Before we give you the top-secret, best-of-the-best tips on how to sell a house by owner in Oklahoma………we want to make sure YOU understand the pros and cons of NOT using a real estate agent.
Pros of not using an agent:
- Save 3-6% on commission costs – Normally a real estate agent charges you 6% to sell your house. Half of that goes to the agent that brings the buyer, half to the agent that is selling your house. If you don’t hire an agent to sell your house you could end up saving all 6% or at least 3%. Either way, that is thousands of dollars saved.
- You work directly with potential buyers – When using a real estate agent, they do all the communicating with the buyer or buyer’s agent. It can result in a lot of miscommunications and frustrations. If you like to haggle, negotiate, and are ok working with people, this is a pro.
Cons of not using an agent:
- You are liable to follow all state and contract laws – When you enter into a contract to sell a house, you have to strictly abide by the terms in that agreement. If you don’t, you open yourself up to being sued. Likewise, there are rules on how you market your house for sale under the Fair Housing Act.
- It’s up to you to market your house and figure out the process – There is no one to guide on how to fill out a purchase contract or even tell you where to get one. It’s up to you to market your house and get it in front of the right buyers. It’s up to you to handle buyer showings.
SO, now that you know the pros and cons of selling a house without an agent, here are a few quick tips on the best way to sell a house by owner….
Tip #1 – Know the marketing basics
Selling a house is mostly about good marketing. If you market well, you get your house in front of the right buyers AND get enough of their attention to buy it or come see it. Better marketing = more offers, more showings, a quicker sale, and a higher sales price. So what is good marketing? What are the marketing basics? Here are some marketing tips when selling a home by owner:
- Take LOTS of GOOD pictures – pictures sell houses. Plain and simple. You need at LEAST 20 pictures. Don’t use fish-eye lens, don’t use filters, just take good pictures that are in focus in decent lighting. When buyers see a house for sale with only a few pictures they wonder what is wrong with it, what are you hiding, and they don’t want to go see it. Take these yourself from a good camera or phone. Alternatively, you can hire a real estate photographer for $100-$500. It’s worth it if you’ve seen the work of a pro.
- Use the internet – most houses are sold on the internet now. Fewer and fewer people pick up a magazine or newspaper to find homes. Less and less people drive around looking for houses for sale or open houses. Websites like Zillow and Trulia make it VERY easy to put your home up for sale. Even better, most buyers use these websites to find homes they want to buy. Even better STILL….these sites are FREEEEEE to put your home on. Craigslist is another way to reach buyers for free.
- Take away the negatives – Anytime you are trying to sell something, the buyer will be looking for the negatives. Make sure your house smells great. Clean it from top to bottom. Repair anything broken. Update anything that is outdated. Be nice to buyers! Seriously, if you are playing the part of a tough, no negotiation, a-hole…buyers aren’t going to want to work with you and won’t want to buy your house to avoid dealing with you.
- Write a good description of your home – when you put your home up for sale, you only have so many words to describe your home to potential buyers. If you write too much you turn buyers off, write too little and they are skeptical and uninterested. Some examples of things to include are recent updates (new roof, updated plumbing, new carpet, etc.), cool outdoor spaces and how they are used (patio for entertaining), and cost of utilities.
Tip #2 – Know your numbers
What’s a better offer…$100,000 from a buyer with an FHA loan or $90,000 from a buyer with a conventional loan. If you don’t know your numbers or the lingo, how do you know what offer is better? While you might be saving thousands by not using a real estate agent, what errors could you make without the guidance of one? It isn’t hard to learn these numbers but you should spend some time planning ahead so you aren’t surprised. Just because the sales price of a home is $100,000 doesn’t mean you will walk away with $100,000. There are costs involved to sell a house. Here are some numbers to prepare for:
- Closing costs – when you sell a house you will have to pay some closing costs, usually 1-3% of the sales price. These are fees charged by the title company to perform title work, prepare and file all the documents to properly sell your home, host the closing, etc. There are closing costs typically paid by the sellers and more paid by the buyers. In Oklahoma, we often see buyers asking a seller to pay up to $7,000 or $8,000 of closing costs normally paid by the buyers. Why is this the case? Often times buyers don’t have enough money to pay for a down payment AND their own closing costs. So, they ask the seller to cover some of their closing costs.
- Home warranties – Is your buyer asking for one? What does it cost? Will you pay for one to attract more buyers? A home warranty usually costs around $450.
- Compensation to buyer’s agent – what if a real estate agent brought you the PERFECT buyer at the PERFECT price….how much would that be worth to you? 3% of the sales price? $500? $2,500? Most real estate agents working with qualified buyers won’t show houses that are for sale by owner to their buyers when the seller won’t pay them. Why would they? It is typical practice to offer a real estate agent representing a buyer around 3% of the sales price as commission for bringing you a buyer that purchases your home.
- Repairs – Sometimes you don’t even realize things are wrong with your house until a buyer brings his/her inspector over and finds a list of 10 things that aren’t up to code or are broken. If you accept an offer from a buyer getting an FHA loan, the buyer’s lender might require that certain repairs be made to the home before the buyer can purchase it. These are non-negotiable repairs that you must make or find a new buyer.
Tip #3 – Use state contracts and follow state laws
Selling or buying a house is a huge transaction. Lots of money is on the line. Make sure that you are following state laws when selling your house and using the proper contracts. If you don’t, you can be subject to legal trouble if things go wrong. In Oklahoma, you can find all our state contracts at the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission website. Use these and you should be safe. Read the forms before you sign them or use them so you know what you and the buyer(s) are entering into.
You should also understand the obligations and time frames of both parties before you enter into contract. For example, how long does a buyer have to get an inspection on your home after signing a contract? How long do you both have to negotiate repairs? What items (appliances, curtains, curtain rods, etc.) stay with the house and what items can a seller keep? When can a buyer get their earnest money back and when does the seller get to keep it?
Tip #4 – Consider paying an agent for consulting or MLS entry only
Sometimes the best way to sell a house by owner is to pay an agent. You read that right! Real estate agents understand all the contracts, laws, and processes for selling a house. If you don’t need their help marketing your house for sale, then don’t pay them 6% to do that. Pay them $500 – $2500 to consult you through the process AND enter your home in the MLS (multiple listing service). You still save thousands of dollars but also get the help of a professional if you need it. Most agents will be perfectly fine with this as they don’t have to do any hard work or spend money marketing your house, they just have to answer your questions.
Tip #5 – BEST TIP – Call us to get a fair, as-is offer today!
The absolute best way to sell a house by owner might be to sell to a home buying company like ours. At W Properties we buy houses all across Oklahoma every week. We buy houses in any condition for any reason. Here are a few benefits to selling your home to us as opposed to your normal owner-occupied buyer:
- We pay ALL closing costs – you won’t lose any more to closing costs. We cover it all!
- You don’t have to make any repairs – don’t worry about pesky inspections finding 100 things wrong with your house and costing thousands of dollars to fix. When we buy a house it is 100% as-is.
- Close on date of your choice – we have financing ready and cash available to buy. You get to decide when you want to close and get paid. That could be 3 weeks or 3 months from now.
- Stress free sale – we have a 1-page, attorney reviewed purchase agreement to sign and we hire a local, reputable title company to prepare the closing documents, handle the money exchange, and guarantee clear title. All you do is agree to a price and show up to closing to pick up a check.
So there you have some tips on the best way to sell a house by owner. Hopefully these have helped you. We love talking about real estate so if you have any questions, just call/text us at 405-673-4901. Questions/answers are always free.
If you’d like us to come see your house and make you an offer to buy it as-is….call/text us at 405-673-4901 or fill out the form below and someone from our company will contact you within 24 hours.