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What to consider when listing as for sale by owner

You have hit a lot of milestones in your life. You went to school and then started your career. You purchased your first home. You’re at a point in your life where you have a family to focus on. In order to do that comfortably, you are ready to sell your first beloved home and get into something more fitting for your growing family. After a lot of thought, you have decided that you don’t want to list your house with a realtor. Instead, you are going to go the ‘for sale by owner’ route.

While there are benefits to selling your home yourself, there can also be some disadvantages. You may not have the same connections that an agent has, and you don’t have the experience. With that being said, you are smart. You can take on the task. In order to do so, you must think like an agent.

You will want to make sure you consider and execute these items:

  • Make your home presentable. Think about the things that draw you to the homes you are shopping for. You will want the house to look spacious and clean to potential buyers. This includes both the interior and exterior of the house. Also, spruce up landscaping. Curb appeal is important—it’s the first thing potential homebuyers will see when they come to the house.
  • Do your research. You will want to look at comparable houses in your area when pricing your home. You don’t want to list your price for too much or too little. Familiarize yourself with the current market and list your home accordingly. You may want to have your home appraised by an expert to help with this decision. Research sites to list your home on. Know how they work and which sites will be most beneficial. Research home descriptions on professional websites and familiarize yourself with language that appeals to you as a buyer.
  • Market your home. Remember the importance of presentation from the first bullet point. Keep this in mind as you market your home. You will want to take pictures that are appealing. Make sure the space is clean and in focus. The lighting should be attractive as well. Buyers could be turned off by dark or unfocused pictures. List your home on websites—and in print publications if appropriate—that you’ve researched. You will want to place a professional and eye-catching sign in the yard just as an agent would. Edit and proofread the description you’ve written for your home. Make sure the description is accurate and appealing to buyers.
  • Enlist legal help. You are selling the house on your own, but you can benefit from hiring a real estate lawyer. The lawyer can help with the transaction portion of the process. When it comes to complex offers, mortgages, money exchanges and contracts, a professional oversight could make all the difference.
  • Anticipate a home inspection and disclosure. Even a ‘for sale by owner transaction’ should give a prospective buyer the right to inspect the property. You may be asked to make repairs or address concerns as a result of a home inspection. As a seller, you are required by Washington law to make a sellers disclosure statement.