So this 4 part post you can apply to your personal residence if you want to sell it without a real estate agent and save yourself thousands in real estate commission or it can apply to your investment properties that you want to wholesale or retail.
Ok folks, here it is, the down and dirty on how to sell your house yourself quickly and keep thousands in your pocket (by not paying real estate commissions!)
I’m going to give you an outline to follow and if you follow it to the T, you should be alright!
Do Your Research About Your Homes Value
You need to find out what your house is worth so you can put a price tag on it. How can you find this out?
- Interview a handful of real estate agents (at least 3) and get Comps (Comparables of houses that have sold like yours) from them. Do not tell them what YOU think your house is worth, just let them do their thing and present you with their evidence of what they feel your house is worth.
Now as JP from REI Tips pointed out below in his comments it’s a very good idea to keep your eye on DOM or Days on Market when checking out the comps. This is how many days the house was on the market until it went under agreement. How do you use this type of data? Well for instance let’s just say you have a few different sold comps and 1 had a DOM of 9 and one had a DOM of 83 and one had a DOM of 197. Ok? Obviously, if you want to sell your home in the same time frame as one of those 3 comps, you’ll want to price your house accordingly to those comps. Does that make sense?
- Check public records if you have online access or if you know how to do this at the courthouse yourself (or if you have a real estate agent friend that will allow you to look over their shoulder as they access their public records on the MLS.)
- Drive around your neighborhood and call on all of the for sale signs that you see. If they are having open houses too then GO TO THEM.
- Research your local papers classified section for houses for sale in your area. Call the numbers and get the facts on the house (remember, you’re comparing all of these houses to yours.)
- Hop on Craigslist and reseach the real estate for sale ads there that are in your area. Alot of times folks will have pictures and even videos in here, so you can actually see the houses. If there isn’t much info then email or call the person who is selling their house.
- Go to Realtor.com and research houses that are for sale in your area. Again, if there isn’t much info, then call the agent up and ask for some info about the house.
- Check out zillow and cyberhomes and see what they come up with as values for your house. Also, the comps that they list, drive past the houses to compare at least the outside of your house and the sold house. (I wouldn’t put as much weight on these 2 sites, but there is definitely more information here for you.)
Now, you should have a good idea of what you could sell your house for. By the way, when looking at public records, comps from agents and places like zillow and cyberhomes you only really want to look at sold houses within the past 6 months. Some folks will tell you to go back a year, but I think that’s even too far. Honestly, in this market, I’d say look at them in the past 3 months!
Ok so you have a value in mind. Well I need you to be honest with yourself about the value and how you came up with it, ok? Does the value indicate a house that is in pristine condition and your house isn’t that pristine? Does the value indicate a fixer-upper price and your house doesn’t need any work? Those are the things you have to think about when getting the comps from all of your resources above.
Make note of the condition and location of all of the comps that you get from your resources above then you have to HONESTLY compare it to your house. Honestly being the keyword here. If your house smells like dog, well admit that to yourself and know that it’s going to lower the price of your house. If your house is right next to an active railroad track, well don’t ignore the obvious and know that it will lower the price of your house as well. If your house is totally trashed and needs a lot of work, please, please, please don’t think that you are going to get maybe a couple thousand less than what a pristine house sold for. That is UNREALISTIC!
And always keep in mind the type of real estate market we are in. Right now at the writing of this blog posting, here in Pennsylvania we are in a BUYERS MARKET. Please recognize that and adjust your game plan (and more importantly) your thinking accordingly.
If you don’t adjust your game plan and thinking accordingly, believe me your house will sit there and it will NOT sell (until you come to your senses.
Check out the 2nd part of this 4 part article and learn how to market your house for a quick sale.