" Want to Sell My House....HELP"

Updated on July 13, 2009
H.O. asks from Cedar Park, TX
17 answers

We are going to sell our house. But, we don't want to pay a realtor a huge amount of our earnings. Has anyone ever sold their house on their own? Is it difficult? Please tell me how the process works. Any info. would be greatly appreciated. Also, any realtors out there...please tell me if going through the real estate program would be a worthwhile thing...I may like to go into real estate...
Thanks for any help...I am looking forward to hearing about the whole experience.

3 moms found this helpful

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S.W.

answers from Houston on

It is so easy to sell by owner. I have done this before and I used a standard form for the contract or you can just type up a semple contact. Once you have a buyer choose a title company to close at and they will help you through anything else is needed.

The realestate companys do not always pre approve buyers I know because when I was looking to buy a house not one of them did that. I also, found my own loan company, which most buyers should have already.

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B.W.

answers from San Antonio on

H O

I have been a Realtor for 36 years. It is not an easy career. You are on call 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is especially rewarding to help families become homeowners instead of renters. In this tough market, I don't recommend you getting into the business unless you have another source of income that will support your family.

As for selling your own home, you need to know that most For Sale By Owners don't actually sell their own home. Most end up listing. One reason is that you will be contacted by more Realtors than buyers. In this tough market, financing is much more difficult than it used to be. A Realtor earns the fee. Most Buyers who contact a FSBO are trying to save the 6% and many are sophisticated Buyers who want to take advantage of the uninformed seller. Most people don't know what a Realtor actually does and think that we are overpaid. So, I will explain the process. A good Realtor knows the market. We do a market analysis based on recent sales. The mortgage companies now want comparable sales less than 90 days old. So, just because a home sold 2 years ago for more, you can't use that sale. Now, many sales are lower prices than they were a year ago. That is the price they want to know about. We have seen the other homes that have sold and know how to compare yours with theirs. You can order an appraisal for about $450 - $600 depending on your area, but that doesn't guaranty a quick sale, either. One of the biggest reasons that you need a Realtor is that you will get calls from strangers who want to see your home and you have no way of knowing if these people are qualified buyers or theives casing your home. You need to be available to show your home when someone wants to see it. Most Buyers want to look at the home without the owner home so they are free to voice their concerns and objections. We know how to handle this and give ideas of how to deal with it. Also, we can show them other homes to compare to yours so they can appreciate yours. Also, there are many requirements by law that have to be taken care of. One important one is that a Seller Disclosure Statement filled out by you and given to the Buyer. If you don't do everything required, the Buyer can actually back out at the closing table and get their earnest money back. There are Buyers who take advantage of the Seller's lack of knowledge and tie up your property and drag out the sale until you the seller counts on getting your money and then backs out unless you do something, like throw in something of value or reduce the price, etc. We know how to negotiate and enforce the contract for you and keep you informed through out the transaction so you know what to expect. But, the main reason is that you limit who will even see your home if you don't have it listed. Most FSBO's I have seen end up selling their home for less and do all the work. I don't see the benefit. Infact, I would list my own property because I know that the possibility of me having the best buyer for my property isn't very likely. A good Realtor, markets your home to all the Realtors (Nationwide), gets all the important data and presents it in an easy to understand format, takes good photos, has a web site that people are used to using, suggests ideas that help you get your home ready for showing so it compares favorably to the competition, ideas to help improve curb appeal, completes a Seller's Estimated Net Sheet so you will know what to expect at closing depending on what type of financing your Buyer uses, pre-qualifies any Buyers who want to look at your home, meets them at their office (a safe place) where the Buyer leaves their car, brings qualified Buyers to hour home and shows them other properties so they can make a qualified decision, refers them to a competent lender, gives the lender the information about the property to make sure the property qualifies for the type of financing they Buyer wants, orders the inspection, meets with the Buyer at the inspection, goes over the inspection to explain any infractions or defects, help get required repairs completed by competent and reasonably-priced repairmen, order pest inspection (required by some lenders), make sure the Lender orders the appraisal, supply good comps to the Appraiser, check the Title Commitment for items that have to be cleared up by the Seller, follow-up with the Lender to be sure the Buyer has Loan Approval and arrange for closing. There are so many details that an owner isn't going to know that could cause the sale to fall thru that it is best to have it handled by professionals. One example is, for a VA sale where the couple isn't married, only the income for the veteran is counted. Crazy, isn't it. The VA can discriminate against Marital Status, but we can't. However, it is true.

You may not realize it, but you need representation to protect your family and your investment. We don't get rich from selling the real estate. The commission is usually split 4 times. The selling office gets half and the agent splits with her/his broker. The Listing Office gets half, split with his/her broker. Sometimes, it all goes to the Listing Office, but that is usually not the case. If your home sells for $100,000 and the commission is 6%, the listing agent may only get $1,500 for all that work. Most owners think we actually get the whole 6% but that isn't the case if we don't own the company and aren't the only agent involved. See my web site to see some examples: www.bonnielwaller.com I even draw the floorplan on my listings so they get better exposure on the internet. I have actually sold homes sight-unseen with floorplans, pictures, etc. My web site is very useful. My clients can actually search all of MLS and do their own searches for anywhere in the USA.

I hope this helps. Best wishes for a quick, trouble-free sale.

BonnieW

1 mom found this helpful
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D.C.

answers from College Station on

It has been seven years but I liked that we worked through a licsenced realtor. My husband and I had a house to sell and a house to buy. We did work out the realtor's commission on the house we bought where we paid half of it and the sellers paid the other half.

That you are doing your homework and asking questions speaks very highly for you.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.L.

answers from Austin on

It looks like you have gotten a lot of good advise on here. You most definately can sell your house on your own, however, if your home is in an area that doesn't have a high turnover, then going it alone will be difficult.

I am a licensed Realtor in the State of Texas.

If you sell alone, you will not be able to get your house on all of the internet sites that are out there. Did you know that 80% of home buyers search online before they ever start looking in person? Think about your negotiating skills, are you ready to go up against some one that is trained and experienced in this and does it for a living? Are you home enough that you will be available to open your home to a potential buyer at any given time or will you be comfortable putting a combonation lock on your home with a key on it and then give that combination out to anyone that wants to see your home and know that they will then know how to access your home at their own leassure? Yes you will be able to save at least 3% of your sales price if you sell alone, if a Realtor brings a buyer to you, you will be expected to pay them which will cost you at least 3% of the sales price.

Something further to think of - why would you consider becoming a licensed Realtor if you don't value their services enough to hire one to assist you in the sale of your home?

When I got my licensing I went through the Austin Institure of Real Estate. I did the entire program online - it was at my own pace and I was able to complete it pretty quickly. The course work will cost around $500. Once you have completeted the classes you will take the state and national test which cost another $75 or so. You will then have to find a company to hang your license with. You cannot be an independent agent without a broker and you have to have 3-5 years experience to get your brokers license. Once all of that is established you will need to join the MLS system which cost around $700 a year for the Austin area. You will also have to join a Board of Realtors, Austin Board runs about $600 a year, some of the smaller boards are a little cheaper. So now that you have gotten all of this under your belt, you have your monthly expences which will include marketing, and broker fees.

I absolutely love my job, but I also work very hard at it. Many clients want to meet on weekends and evenings which means I have to miss out on my family time. Think hard about it before you jump in. Think hard about trying to sell alone as well. Feel free to call me or e-mail me directly if you want to talk further about selling on your own or with a Realtor or if you want to know more about getting your license. ###-###-#### or [email protected]____.com

1 mom found this helpful
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K.C.

answers from Austin on

I have done it and it isn't hard, but I had been looking for a house in the area where I sold mine for 2 years so I knew the market inside and out. It is stressful but not rocket science. Don't know how old your kids are (mine were grown) but here are my suggestions.
First the house has to have curb appeal, go out front and look at it, take a photo. What can you do to make it more inviting? Planters? fix bald spots in grass? Paint? Be sure front door and hardware are gleaming.
Wash all windows.
Declutter every room so that no potential buyer will know who you are (craft stuff, kids' sports things, newspapers). If you aren't sure what I mean go to a Sunday open house which is professionally arranged. They look like magazine offerings. If necessary remove furniture to storage to make rooms look bigger.
What price range are you in? Starter houses in good school districts sell easily, especially now with the $8000 down payment help from the gov.
Have a daily routine for sprucing up the house, beds made, showers and sinks wiped out. Two sets of towels for each bath, one you use and hide, brand new ones which go up each time the house is shown.
When you are ready, do an open house. Bake cookies, have info on the house available: eg. any up grades you have done, utility bills' average, age of house, squarefootage and a xeroxed photo. Doesn't need to be color. Leave a box with this info in a box out front after the show.
Your biggest problem will be realtors who want to sell the house for you.
Prior to open house, rent a safe deposit box for jewelry and anything you would be heart broken to lose. Or if you have family see if they can store a box or two for you. Also, medications are often stolen. Box these up, tape box, label "photos" and put in closet or oven in kitchen during showings. Do not leave them available. One of our realtors warned me about that and my daughter saw a very nicely dressed young woman steal some meds during our tour of an open house.
Getting the license now isn't a good idea unless you like to work hard for very little. the market is down and not likely to bounce for awhile. You can download the documents you need for someone to buy your house from the Texas Realtor site. Insist buyer gets inspection. You have to disclose all flaws.
My biggest problem was that my husband just wanted to dump the house so we sold it 20K below market. You both have to be on the same page.
Good luck.
K.

1 mom found this helpful
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K.B.

answers from Houston on

We have both bought and sold a home for sale by owner. My husband handled a lot of it so if you have any specific questions I might have to talk to him and get back to you. To answer your basic questions it was really simple, however at the time we were in the suburbs of Chicago in a very hot real estate market. We received 3 offers on our home the first day we put a sign in the front yard. At the time there was little to no inventory of houses for prospective buyers to look at so they would pay asking price for just about anything just to get a house in the area. When we bought a for sale by owner, I believe the owner had just gone online and printed out a basic contract. We each then had our own lawyers review it. When we were the seller, I think our lawyer provided the contract and then again each lawyer went back and forth a little bit making the necessary adjustments.

I would suggest that even if you are not going to list with a realtor have a couple of them come out to give you comps and give you an idea of a proper asking price. Also, if you do for sale by owner, you can still offer a commission to the buyer's agent that way they may be more inclined to show your home to a potential buyer that they are working with especially if you have a popular neighborhood with few homes on the market.

Good luck,
K.

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L.G.

answers from Austin on

We have bought and sold many times as we have had to move a lot. Each market was different but because the moving process alone is stressful, we did not have the time to market our houses, deal with looky-loos and no-shows, rearrange our schedule to accommodate potential buyers, etc. With kids at home, it was hard enough to keep the house clean, pay attention to the kids' emotional state, keep up with the paperwork demanded by the loan companies, research all the new schools and utilities, etc., do all the address changes, get rid of stuff, pack, etc.. The list is endless.

In this market, I would think you would want all the traffic you could get. Each month you don't sell is another house payment and delay in getting a moving date.

A good realtor will show you how to stage your home to get top dollar. We did exactly what our realtors told us to do and we would usually get what we hoped and sometimes more.

Make sure, if you use a realtor, to get one with all the certifications (several) that follow their name. They will know the clever ways to advertise your home in this market, to take an offer and work with it, how to stage your home, etc. Get references that aren't someone's friend or family member but someone that can tell you if they work full-time in real estate and will put in the hours to answer all of your questions and explain who, what, where, when, and why and not feel like you are imposing.

Good luck!

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J.T.

answers from Austin on

We used www.assisttosell.com when we sold our house in Round Rock. We got it sold in just a few months. The assist-to-sell realtor only charged 2% instead of the average 6% that realtor makes the seller pay.
Hope this helps!
-Jen

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S.W.

answers from Houston on

Go do www.hgtv.com and www.diy.com for decluttering tips and staging tips. White or beige paint is cheap to clean up a room into neutral colors. Have dirty carpets cleaned. Have a garage sale to get rid of all the junk you may not want. Rooms with a lot of light and little furniture look very big. Fresh and clean works in the kitchen with nothing on the counters.

Go on the internet real estate sites (www.har.com) in your area/zip code to find out what comparable homes have sold for in your area. Divide the prices by sq foot and see what they have sold for lately. Multipy your sq footage by the average of local sales and this is what you could get for your home- in mint condition. If you have spent a ton of money upgrading, you may have overspent because your neighborhood/zip code really determines what your home is worth. Sometimes a backyard pool is the kiss of death and sometimes not. Ask your friends if they have used an agent (maybe they could recomment one) or maybe they have done the For Sale By Owner route. I have always used an agent. Good luck!

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D.C.

answers from Houston on

Hi! I am a licensed Realtor and have my staging designation also. I sometimes will list and sell homes at a discounted commission, it depends on several issues. If you would like to contact me to discuss it further, I will see what I can do to help you. you can reach me at ###-###-####. If I don't answer it means that either I am busy playing with my grandkids or out showing homes.... please just leave me a message and I will return your call.
Have a Blessed Day!

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E.S.

answers from Houston on

If you have access to a public library, you can find lots of resources to help you. There are many books with specific information about buying & selling. Good luck!

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K.D.

answers from Austin on

We worked with someone from 1% Realty to look at houses and were pleased. They refund back 1% of the price and work with either buyers or sellers. They were recommended by a friend who used them to both buy and sell. Not quite as low cost as selling on your own, but maybe a compromise.

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L.W.

answers from Austin on

We sold and bought our home "for sale by owner." I believe we used a standard contract provided by our title company...think we used Austin Title Company. Neither of us used realtors. The market was a little different than it is right now, but our location made a huge difference. We sold in a couple of weeks, and bought the day they put the sign out. Again, it was a very different market. You need to definitely need to price your house correctly for the neighborhood and so pay attention to what houses in your area are being appraised and sold for. We just put a sign out but you might find out about other ways to market. I know others might warn against it, but I say its worth a try! God bless!

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J.S.

answers from Austin on

I have heard of realtors that will list your house in the mls and provide some basic services for a flat, reasonable fee. I think selling the house yourself can be done, but you set yourself up for much longer time on market, etc. Plus, other realtors don't want to show your house to their clients, in effect black listing you. Having an MLS listing seems to be the key to an effective sale.

You might also check into that 1% realty.

R.W.

answers from San Antonio on

Getting a realtor is well worth it. It's VERY difficult to do it on your own, and is also very stressful.

We sold our home, and we are very pleased with our realtors. They are a husband and wife team and are AWESOME! They are getting only 6% of the sale of our home. This is a fair amount.

Their names are Doc and Ellen Stephens. They can be reached @: ###-###-####. Her e-mail is: [email protected]____.com

Good Luck.

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N.S.

answers from Houston on

A few things to keep in mind when selling your own house vs with the help of a realtor

- A realtor can pre-screen potential candidates so that time is not wasted on people not qualified for a purchase and / or to limit the possibility of someone "casing" your home if you are still living there with your belongings on display.

- A realtor's website will reach a greater market than you might be able to and can possibly list your house as a special listing that would encourage more viewings.

We are working on getting our house ready for selling and we've received some very helpful feedback from the realtor we've chosen that will help sell our house.

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C.H.

answers from Houston on

victria franco cell ###-###-#### or fax ###-###-#### tell her C. hunter sent you

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