I get it. You want to save money on real estate commissions.  You had a HORRIBLE experience with your last agent (with over 8,000 agents in Central Ohio, this happens a lot). You are considering using an agent but want to see what the market is like before that point. One of those three situations encompasses many of the folks I speak with who are selling their home without a listing agent. 

If you think you'l save on real estate commissions, have extra time to complete the many tasks associated with selling your home, know your neighborhood's real estate market, are a savvy real estate negotiator, and are willing to put forth the effort for as long as it takes, you may have success selling your home on your own.

As a licensed real estate salesperson in the State of Ohio, my #1 duty is to protect the public. My #2 duty, and my business motto is: I save people from making bad real estate decisions

So, that's why I wrote this post. To help you.

Follow these 8 Tips and you'll be on the right path for selling your home without a listing agent.

How to Attract Qualified Buyers

Invest in professional photography (because it creates most web traffic, and the web is where your buyer is likely to see your listing first). Homes sold with professional photos fetch an average of $15,000 more than those without.

Be thorough and honest in describing your listing. This helps build trust between the parties early on.

Be cooperative with buyer agents and be willing to pay their commissions (most brokerages have non-negotiable policies on this) (87% of homebuyers use a Buyer's Agent).

ProTip: For buyers searching online, great photos (89%) and detailed property information (84%) were seen as most useful


Open House Tips

Keep your home clutter-free and ensure all lights and lightbulbs work. Then, boil cinnamon sticks prior to your visitors arriving This will ensure it shows well and smells great!

ProTip: Download this free app for your Ipad for registering and following up with your guests.

Showing Tips

  1. Be ready for same-day and last-minute showing request;
  2. Open all drapes and shades. Ensure all lights work and are on;
  3. Skip the Kenny G background music - it may come across as being desperate;
  4. Take your pet(s) with you during showings. You may love them, but others likely won't; and
  5. Don't try to mask or hide any known issues. If you can fix them, do it. If you cannot, consider getting quotes from qualified professionals for prospective buyers and/or their agents to see. Transparency will build trust.

Safety Tips

  • Never allow people to be alone, unless they are with their agent/broker. If they are alone, accompany them to every room;
  • Protect your valuables;
  • Be certain you know the location of all keys and garage door openers at all times. If they come up missing, change locks immediately; 
  • Refrain from taking extending trips while home is on market. If gone, ensure home is well lit and ask trusted friend/neighbor to check up on home daily;
  • Never leave a minor alone in the home;
  • Don't wear jewelry or clothing that would attract attention of thief or criminal.
  • Never indicate you will be alone in the home at night;
  • Ensure any weapons or dangerous items are safely secured;
  • If you get an uneasy feeling about a prospective showing or visitor, cancel or stop immediately; and
  • Fix or clearly note any safety concerns such a tripping hazards or sharp edges.

Pricing

  • If your home is priced well and shows well it should sell in this market! It's as simple as that!
  • Find at least three comparable sales for similar homes (similar size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, in similar condition, and and within a reasonable distance).
  • Review similar homes for sale, and consider how your asking price compares.
  • Listing homes below their perceived market value creates a buzz. Listing homes above their perceived value only creates concern and wonder for prospective buyers before they even see your home
  • Consider any special contingencies an offer must meet to be looked upon as favorable by you. These often included, purchasing another home, needing to sell in a particular timeframe, or needed improvements.
  • Know what your bottom line must be, and work with a title company early in the process to help create a "net to seller" calculation based on all taxes and fees will need to be included in any sale.

Legal Documents

The legal documents required in most home sales in central Ohio will be an important component in closing on the sale of your home. They include (but are not limited to) the following:
1) Residential Property Disclosure;
2) Consumer Guide to Agency Relationships (if involving a licensed salesperson/broker);
3) Agency Disclosure Statement;
4) Real Estate Purchase Contract;
5) Title Policy; and
6) Land Surveys.

Pro Tip: Consult with a licensed Ohio real estate attorney for further guidance.

Negotiations

Once you're at this point in the process, the hard work REALLY begins!

There are many schools of thought, but when presenting offers for my buyer clients, I encourage them to put their best foot forward with their first offer to build trust and good will with the seller. Just like a seller should not request an unreasonable price for their home, a buyer shouldn't "lowball" an offer. This strategy usually starts the process on the wrong foot and rarely results in a deal.

Protip: Good negotiations usually boil down to honest, effective and timely communications.

Contract to Closing

Congratulations! Now, seeing this goes to the closing table is your mission. These are some of the next items on your to-do list:

1) Ensure all contract paperwork is signed and dated by all parties;
2) Send of all contract paperwork to the title company or attorney handling closing;
3) Coordinate and prepare for any inspections and/or tests;
4) Stay in close contact with the buyer to keep things going smoothly (weekly check-ins should be minimum expectation); and
6) Repair or remedy all agreed-upon inspection items.

Feel overwhelmed?

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