If your looking for the “Do’s and Don’ts” of selling your home without a realtor, you’ve found the right place!
We’re going to cover the different ways to sell a property without ever using an agent.
Moreover, well cover the risks to watch out for with that method, and in the end which choice is best suited for you!
If this thought has ever crossed your mind, you owe it to yourself to keep reading.
Is it possible to sell your home without a real-estate-agent?
You might have already known this, but it is very possible to sell a property without a broker or an agent.
This method of selling is called FSBO (pronounced fizbo), or For Sale By Owner.
You have probably seen little red signs placed in front yards of people’s homes. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), roughly 11% of home sellers are utilizing this method.
Those numbers are likely to trend upward when entering more rural areas.
How do you sell your home by yourself?
If you’re going to sell your home FSBO, for sale by owner, you have a couple options.
You can sell it either “online” or “offline”.
Offline Method would mean you go to Home Depot, Lowes, or many other hardware store locations and purchase 1 or 2 red FSBO signs. You will make sure to put your price, phone number, and bedroom/bathroom count on the sign in bold font. Make sure you purchase a sign large enough that your information is easily legible from inside a vehicle driving down the street at slow speeds. To attract the highest offers from retail buyers, make sure the house looks great from the road, and the yard is well maintained.
If you are a little more savvy and want to give the online method a go, then you can expect a higher number of interested buyers. Don’t discount the sign method though. Do that as well. Then you can list your home on Zillow.com (free of charge). Posting here will instantly list your home on Trulia as well. Your key here is to get great photos of the house.
Parker’s Pro Tip: Film a video of your property. This will give you a more personal interaction with your buyers as well.
As buyers begin to call and set appointments, keep your house clean and show it to everyone.
Selling your house for sale by owner (FSBO): “the hard way”
One of the hardest parts of selling a property FSBO is trying to price it correctly. Especially if it has a number of repairs that might need completed. It’s like having to be a realtor and a contractor at the same time!
My best advice is to look on Zillow at all of the sold properties that are similar to yours, in your area.
Try not to get too far from your neighborhood or street. Most should have pictures, and you can compare the condition to yours. (if you do not plan on updating your property) You should determine a rough price for repairs on your property and discount your listing price accordingly. You can use Google for roughly estimating repair costs in the Atlanta area for things like a roof, HVAC system, hot water heater, flooring, etc.
Next you would use the (online/offline) methods above to list your property. Put out signs, and list online via the various syndication sites. As stated above, good pictures are key. Videos help show transparency as well. Once the listing is up, take that link and post it all around social media to let you friends and family share it with their friends and family. This creates a “buzz” around your listing.
Parker’s Pro Tip: Keep balloons “flying” from your front porch throughout the entire listing to attract more attention to your home.
When selling a house FSBO, know that you will be asked to pay 3% of the sales price to a buyers agent if that agent presents you with a ready and able buyer.
Once you have gathered a good enough response from your listing, you can hold an open house. This is basically a way to get more people into your property in less time. However, the idea is to hit two birds with one stone, as it also creates what’s called a “sense of urgency” among your buyers. This is similar to the effect you get at an auction. What usually happens is the tire kicking buyers back off and you don’t hear from them again, and the more serious buyers up the ante. Keep in mind, this is all subject to the condition of your home, and how well it is priced.
In order to make sure your property’s “good side” doesn’t go unnoticed, make sure to position your listing to highlight its strengths. Buyers really like factors like big backyards, or open floor plans. So be sure those stand out in your pictures and verbal description. Other positives are spacious kitchens for cooking with guests, full finished basements, new major system(s) (roof, hvac), etc.
If you house is vacant, you might way to consider staging the house. This is a service offered by many, that will bring certain pieces of furniture and accents into each room to make it feel more like a “home” instead of a vacant piece of property. It usually ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the size of the home, and how detailed you decide to go with the staging. This brings out the emotional side of your buyers, and that’s the only side you want to be dealing with when selling your home.
By this point, you should have some offers floating your way. If you see something you like, accept it. That is the easiest way out. If not, the next step would be to begin negotiating. There are many books on this topic if you want to brush up on your skills. I would recommend “Never Split The Difference” by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz. Know that when selling your house FSBO, you are not held to the same standards as when selling with an agent. So you can negotiate more freely, without all the guidelines. Just make sure your complying with all local Atlanta real estate laws and regulations.
Will I regret selling without a real estate agent?
The risks of not selling with a real estate agent are numerous, but do not always arise. There is a chance you could sell for less money, even after commissions. Agents do charge a fee, but sometimes due to the high buyer exposure, the sales price ends up being higher than you could have gotten on your own. Even after paying their fee. Another fear many have, is that during the negotiation phase, they will get taken advantage of. Sellers who are not comfortable negotiating, and they want someone in their corner who (hopefully) knows what they are doing. If you do not sell with an agent, you will need to have a contract prepared to use with the required language to keep you safe. Also you will need to choose a respected Atlanta Real Estate Attorney to close on the transaction as Georgia is considered an “attorney state”. Some states require real estate transactions to be closed with an attorney, and some do not (those are called title states).
Paperwork for selling a house without a realtor in Atlanta
This is an important factor in the selling process, which can keep you from being taken advantage of by your buyer.
Parker’s Pro Tip: Request that your buyer present their offer on a Board of Realtors Contract that all agents use in the Atlanta area. It will be fairly equally weighted for buyer and seller.
5 Things to Address in Your Sales Agreement
Due Diligence: This is a period where the buyer will have a chance to inspect the property. They can back out during this period without any penalty. Make sure this time period is less than a week or two max. That’s plenty of time to inspect and make a decision to move forward or not. Anymore time than that just keeps you tied up from entering a contract with another buyer.
Earnest Money: You will want some protection via Earnest Money. These are “good faith funds” from the buyer to show they are serious. A normal amount in the Atlanta area is 1% of the purchase price (typically $1,500-3,000 depending on the area of Atlanta), to be delivered within 2 or 3 days of a binding contract.
Closing Date & Attorney Selection: Keep an eye on the date of closing and who gets to pick the attorney.
Other Addendums: Buyers can add in other agreements that you will be held to, so make sure you review those and agree to them or negotiate before signing. Each page should be initialed by you and the seller.
You now have the information to make a decision on whether or not selling with an agent is for you! We have covered the risks, benefits, & common fears associated with both scenarios. If you want to sell, the main factor is: take action! Whether that is calling some agents to interview, or driving down to the the local hardware store to pick up some FSBO signs. Just make it happen!
P.S. My name is Parker Stiles, and I am professional homebuyer (yep, “We Buy Houses” throughout Atlanta). If you want help and/or advice on any of the topics covered in this article, feel free to call me @ 678-909-1561 OR shoot me an email.
P.P.S. If you read this entire article, you’re likely considering a very important financial decision. Atlanta homeowners call me everyday to ask for advice. Don’t be shy. Speak Soon!