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Hey, you're in the real estate zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Selling Your House Category

Real Estate :

Selling your house on your own (i.e., sale by owner), some things to consider.


When you are wanting to sell your first or next house on your own, without the services of a real estate agent, be prepared to put in a lot of work and effort to make sure your house is sold in a reasonable time period.  Having said this, some of the aspects of selling a house on your own that you should keep in mind are the following:

  • Selling in a seller's market, not a buyer's market.  The type of market in which you are seeking to sell your house can make a world of a difference in the asking price


    you'll be able to ask potential house buyers to pay for the purchase of your house.  There are basically two types of markets: 1) a buyer's market, and 2) a seller's market, as indicated above.  A buyer's market is a time in which the housing market becomes so "overloaded" with houses--inventory--that there are far too many houses on the market than usual compared to the noticeably fewer amount of potential buyers seeking to buy houses.  So, with this high supply (i.e., a robust amount of houses) and low demand (i.e., a relatively small amount of buyers) ratio, you, as a seller, will be more inclined to make your house more sellable than others by offering more enticements, such as significantly lowering your asking purchase price and otherwise being more willing to negotiate purchase terms than during a seller's market.

    So, as a seller, it would be more favorable not to sell your house in a buyer's market, but instead in a seller's market, a time in which the opposite occurs of a buyer's market:  The housing market is experiencing a significant reduction in the amount of houses available on the market--inventory--at a time when the pool of buyers seeking to buy has become a bit overcrowded.  In such a seller's market, with many more buyers and, thus, many more purchase offers a seller can choose from for every house on the market, you, as a seller, can usually afford to hold off on sealing a deal until your selling term demands, including price, are met.

  • Retaining a real estate agent for just the preparation of a comparative market analysis.  While you won't necessarily retain an agent to help sell your house, you should consider hiring one for the one-time service of preparing a written comparative market analysis of your house in relation to other houses on the market in the area.  As part of this analysis, you should expect to see at least three comparable houses and their respective asking or even actual sales closing prices so that you may make an informative decision on what should be the asking sales price of your house.

  • Knowing key terms.  You should become familiar with basic real estate language that will be brought to your attention in the process of marketing and selling your house, and some of the major terms are found in the aspects and people you encounter in a house sales transaction section.

  • Scouting out the competition.  Drive around a few blocks in your area to see other houses on sale in an effort to determine what such property owners are doing to attract potential house buyers, and perhaps even attend any scheduled open houses for a really close look at your competition.  Based upon what you have observed, as may be applicable, incorporate their tactics as part of your house-selling strategy.

  • Preparing your house to go on the market; see the section on preparing your house.

  • Advertising.  A major part of trying to sell your house will be marketing it for sale.  You've got to get as many potential house buyers as possible aware that your house is on the market for sale.  To do so, you need to advertise wisely.  The following are relevant statistics based upon the research of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that provides invaluable insight as to what advertising methods were the most effective in 2006, which you should, in turn, correspondingly devote your advertising funds towards in an effort to invest in advertising that has proven to be the top means of reaching potential house buyers:

Top Five Sources for House Buyers

1) Internet:     85%

2) Real estate agent:     85%

3) Yard sign:     63%

4) Newspaper:     55%

5) Open houses:     47%

Consider advertising through the five sources.

  • Creating a property handout ("property feature sheet").  This 1-page handout should provide a potential house buyer a concise summary of what your house offers in which you should make an effort to highlight positive attributes of the house and its surroundings.  It should encompass, at the very least, the basics, including the following:

  • House address;

  • Picture insert of the house exterior;

  • Eye-catching descriptive phrase/headline (e.g., "Beautiful, spacious townhouse found alongside a secluded lake");

  • Listing house sale price;

  • Number and types of rooms (e.g., Kitchen, 5 bedrooms, 3

                                                     bathrooms, etc);

  • Type of heating and cooling;

  • Whether a fireplace is included;

  • Whether a basement is included;

  • Whether a garage is included, and how many cars can fit in it;

  • Year house was built;

  • Latest tax assessment amount;

  • County;

  • School information (e.g., name of area pre-school, elementary school, high school, school school name);

  • Brief paragraph description of property; and

  • Your contact information

Run about 20 copies or more of this handout and have it available to be given to each potential house buyer who arrives to see your house.

  • Scheduling open houses.  You should schedule open houses to help provide the maximum exposure of your house to potential house buyers.  In scheduling an open house event of your house, consider taking the following steps:

  • For safety measures, have a friend or two join you at each open house;

  • Make sure you do not plan your open houses on days that are holidays are on which major events are occurring (such as major concerts, the day of the Super Bowl, etc.), as people are less likely to see your house on such dates;

  • Make sure you advertise in your advertisements that you will have an open house on certain days (for at least 2 hours during each of such days);

  • Place an "Open House" sign out in the front of your house (and if permitted by local laws, another "Open House" sign out at the beginning of your street with an arrow pointing in your house's direction);

  • Make sure to have enough property handouts (i.e., property feature sheets) on hand to give out to those who come to your open houses;

  • Have every person who visits your house during an open house sign in on a guest sign-in sheet that should be located near the entrance of your house;

  • Make the house as inviting and opened as possible by opening up blinds, curtains, drapes, etc., for your open house only; and

  • During the open houses, be friendly and not pushy, and definitely do not make it a high-pressure environment.

While, according to the NAR, having open houses places fifth in what best drives potential house buyers to houses on the market, relatively speaking, it still is a great means of showcasing your house that is a lot less expensive than, say, showcasing your house in a 30-second television ad.

The above are just some of the major aspects of selling a house on your own that you should keep in mind and consider incorporating them as part of your selling strategy.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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