As a home inspector, I get to see many mistakes by people selling their home without a real estate agent, commonly referred to as FSBO's or For Sale By Owner. If you do your homework and research and have some financial sense, you can probably sell your own home. However, I see many people who fail when going this route.
1. Pricing The Home To High: Seems everyone thinks they live in a goldmine. The common misconception is that they will price it high so they can come down a little bit during negotiations. This has several problems related to it.
Here's one. Many homebuyers are on a budget. Let's say I'm looking for a home like yours in your neighborhood and most of the homes there that are comparable are in the 135k to 145k ranges. However, you have tile floors and stainless steel sinks along with a few other cosmetic improvements. You think your home is worth at least 147k. Tack on a few thousand more "so you can come off of the price during negotiations" and you start your home at 152k.
Top Mistake FSBO Sellers Make
Let's say as a homebuyer, the most I can spend is 145k. Although your home is what I'm looking for, you're outside my price range so I won't even bother to look at your house.
That's just one example of how a too high price is going to hurt you. There are many, many more!
2. Letting Emotions Direct Your Actions: Many times this is the reason your home is priced too high. Remember, this is a business transaction. You have a product to sell, you need act accordingly.
3. Failing to Get Your Home Inspected Before Listing: I've seen FSBO's go to great trouble and expense to get their home ready to sell only to find out from the potential Buyers Inspector that there are major structural, plumbing, electrical or mechanical issues with the home.
Depending on the severity of the problems, this probably cost you a Buyer and it means your home will be sitting on the market for a few more weeks or months.
National survey's reveal that homes that have Seller's Inspections sell faster with less hassle at closing. FSBO's are no different.
4. Being a Jerk: I see this one more than you'd think. For some reason selling your home by yourself seems to give you a special excuse to be a jerk judging by the way some FSBO's act.
Being unreasonable in your actions will drive away Buyers. No one likes a jerk!
I've seen FSBO's make some of the most stupid request of Buyers like; one guy would only show his home on Sunday afternoons between 4 and 6 p.m. and you had to RSVP so he'd have you on his "list". He wondered why no one was showing up at this home. I saw another FSBO that would not allow his home to be inspected without him, his attorney and his inspector being present. He also required each item to be brought up to him and his group before telling the Buyer. Needless to say, we didn't inspect this home. Note: many state SOP's require that you do not divulge information to anyone other than the Client.
It's a fact of life, being a jerk cost you money. Not only in everyday life, but also when you go to sell your home!
5. Not Pre-qualifying Your Buyers. Letting any old Moe and Joe lock up your home while they try and get qualified can cost you Buyers if they fail to qualify for a loan. Require that all potential Buyers be pre-qualified!
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