Real Estate Information

Selling Your Own Home: 10 More Tips

Selling your own home can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. Sometimes, though, in the right market, it makes sense to save thousands of dollars in commission and do it yourself. If you've decided to give it a try, use the tips here to do it right, and to avoid common FSBO (for sale by owner) mistakes.

1. Understand value. It isn't what you think your house is worth, and it doesn't even matter how much you put into it. It is only what it's worth to potential buyers. Find out what they have paid for other similar homes before you decide on a price.

2. Be objective. This is a difficult one. You may want to get your most honest and outspoken friend to walk through the house with you. He'll see problems you didn't know were problems.

3. Have a plan. What will the kids or wife say to those who call? Where will you be closing? Will you have documents prepared by an attorney? A plan will help it all go smoother.

4. Make a list. What needs to be fixed, cleaned, changed, or removed? Do the most obvious things first.

5. Be a prepared salesman. List every question a buyer might have, and be ready with an answer. Have comparison sheets showing other home sales, so buyers can see the value. Have a map showing where nearby stores and libraries, etc. are.

6. Sell benefits. Don't say "near stores." Say "You can walk to the store in five minutes." Don't say "garage." Say "No chipping ice off the windshield in the morning."

7. Have all important information in ads. Square feet, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, address, telephone number, and price. Leaving out the price means some buyers just won't call, and you'll waste time with others who shouldn't be calling.

8. Listen to buyers. The biggest mistake sellers make talking to buyers is to get defensive about their home. Listen to criticisms, and resolve them or ask how important the issue is to the buyer. In other words, learn a little about selling.

9. Be careful with the sales agreement. Be sure that it is understood by both sides. What happens, and when? What if the buyer doesn't get their financing? What's included in the sale? When will the buyer take possesion? Who pays the closing fee?

10. Make closing easy. Have the documents all ready to sign. Be prepared with answers to likely questions. This is likely the largest financial transaction in your buyer's life. Make him comfortable.

There is a lot more to selling your own home than can be covered in ten tips, of course. Use these however, and you'll be doing better than the average FSBO seller.

Steve Gillman has invested real estate for years. To learn more, and to see a photo of a beautiful house he and his wife bought for $17,500, visit

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