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The DIY Guide to Selling Your Home - 101 Tips You Need to Know

The DIY Guide To Selling Your Home

101 Tips You Need to Know

By Benjamin Eichholz – Rehelp.co

 

© 2015 Benjamin Eichholz

 

Shakespir Edition

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

 

Category 1: Knowledge is Power

 

Tip 1: Before anything else, grab a powerhouse of knowledge.

Tip 2: Be a listener, and be a GOOD one.

Tip 3: Don’t get locked out of the market by overpricing your house!

Tip 4: What are the ads saying?

Tip 5: Play detective.

Tip 6: Read and devour all that you can!

Tip 7: Set realistic goals.

Tip 8: Take real estate seriously.

Tip 9: Put all this information to good use!

 

Category 2: Get to Know your Community

 

Tip 10: Good schools? But of course!

Tip 11: It’s the fitness thing, you know.

Tip 12: What about concerts and entertainment?

Tip 13: Will I fit in here?

Tip 14: Is there a doctor in the house?

Tip 15: How is the transportation system?

Tip 16: No gossiping allowed!

Tip 17: Help, my car’s been snowed-in!

Tip 18: Cavities?

 

Category 3: Know your Abode

 

Tip 19: Getting to know your house…for the last time.

Tip 20: Did you say you have an in-ground pool?

Tip 21: Point out unique amenities.

Tip 22: This garage door is really simple to operate!

Tip 23: I never promised you a rose garden.

Tip 24: You’ll have a roof over your head for the next 25 years.

Tip 25: Wow, a home spa!

Tip 26: How much did you say utilities are?

Tip 27: What? No hot water again?

Tip 28: Let’s shed some light on the situation…

 

Category 4: Your Motives for Selling

 

Tip 29: Why am I selling?

Tip 30: Not the time to be fickle…

Tip 31: Nostalgia is a strong feeling.

Tip 32: I’m in a bind…

Tip 33: Your house isn’t a hotel!

Tip 34: Listen up, but stay with your convictions!

Tip 35: I’m selling, no matter what.

Tip 36: Even well-meaning friends can derail you!

 

Category 5: Getting Serious and Getting Ready

 

Tip 37: Time to go “pro.”

Tip 38: What’s radon?

Tip 39: This isn’t a multiple choice test.

Tip 40: The well’s run dry.

Tip 41: What’s that smell?

Tip 42: Actually, now that you ask…

Tip 43: Show that you mean business!

Tip 44: If I were buying this house…

Tip 45: What should you fix?

Tip 46: It’s the law, sir.

Tip 47: You and I are different.

Tip 48: Did you inherit these doorknobs from your great-grandmother?

Tip 49: That noise is driving me nuts!

Tip 50: Is this door going to fall on me?

Tip 51: Nice screens…

Tip 52: For you or the buyer?

Tip 53: Hold your horses!

Tip 54: I wish you hadn’t done that…

Tip 55: Bring in a contractor.

 

Category 6: Letting the Word Out: “I’m Selling my House!”

 

Tip 56: Am I missing something?

Tip 57: Have you been negligent?

Tip 58: How much do you want?

Tip 59: Will the buyer ask for flexibility?

Tip 60: Is this a good time to sell?

Tip 61: Get the word out!

Tip 62: Reach out far and wide!

Tip 63: Word of mouth is just as powerful as advertising.

Tip 64: Can the company help me?

Tip 65: Ah, the old reliable…the bulletin board!

Tip 66: The truth will come out…

Tip 67: Umm, how will I word this ad?

Tip 68: Can you just state the bottom line please?

Tip 69: Do your thinking before picking up that phone.

Tip 70: Wait and see.

Tip 71: Where should I publish?

Tip 72: One is enough.

Tip 73: Don’t you need an agent to list online?

Tip 74: Do you want to write a house story? Try the home section, not the classifieds.

Tip 75: What should you say?

Tip 76: This is EXACTLY how I want it.

Tip 77: Screen calls.

Tip 78: Add “Or best reasonable offer.”

Tip 79: Everyone loves the weekend!

Tip 80: Would you repeat that please?

Tip 81: How do you sound?

Tip 82: Take it down.

Tip 83: Are you a phone grouch?

Tip 84: Not all callers are buyers.

 

Category 7: Showing Your Home

 

Tip 85: It bothers me…

Tip 86: Dust collectors.

Tip 87: Something smells good…

Tip 88: I knew you’d ask that!

Tip 89: No pets allowed!

Tip 90: Who’s that standing by the door?

 

Category 8: Negotiations, Settlement, and Contract

 

Tip 91: Can we talk about your price?

Tip 92: Honesty is the best policy.

Tip 93: My home is your home now.

Tip 94: How quickly will they settle the matter?

Tip 95: This covers just about everything.

Tip 96: Can we change this a little bit?

Tip 97: About that money…

Tip 98: Crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s…

Tip 99: It’s not over till it’s over.

Tip 100: You’re willing to pay more for my house?

Tip 101: Weeding out the curious.

 

Conclusion

 

Connect

Introduction

 

So you would like to sell your house? Great! Everyone’s doing it. Are you nervous? Of course!

 

Someone once told me that you only get nervous about things you care about. And you should care about your house! You have put your life savings into your house. Now that equity you have slowly built over time will come back to you because you are bold enough to go and get it yourself.

Don’t worry! This episode in your life doesn’t need to be a drama of horrors. In this book, I’ve collected 101 important tips to help you navigate the treacherous waters ahead of you. And in the end, when that check finally lands in your hands and the last box has been shipped out of your house, it will be exhilarating – more exhilarating than you’ve ever imagined it to be.

Study this book. You may already know some of the things included here, but it will give you a good, well-rounded understanding of what is ahead when you sell your home. However, even with these 101 tips, you will still need professional advice – you may eliminate the need for a real estate agent, but you will still need a real estate attorney and professional house inspector.

 

The tips in this book will help you map out a selling strategy for your house, and when you turn the lock for the last time, you’ll come out of the experience wiser. And yes, wealthier, too. The confidence and experience you gain by getting your feet wet the first time could – who knows? – make you want to do it the second time, and then a third time…and more!

 

 

Category 1: Knowledge is Power

 

Tip 1: Before anything else, grab a powerhouse of knowledge.

 

If you have decided to dispense with a real estate agent to avoid paying those ridiculous commissions, then you have to start thinking like one.

 

How? Three to six months before your target sale, brush up on home selling strategies. If you have friends or colleagues who have worked in real estate, talk to them, but don’t tell them you are thinking of your selling your house. They may try to convince you to do otherwise.

 

Do you know anyone who has sold their house by owner? Ask them about mistakes they or their relatives and friends have made. Survey the entire landscape. Personal experiences are always an excellent source of knowledge and strategies.

 

Tip 2: Be a listener, and be a GOOD one.

 

Hold casual conversations with at least three real estate agents who work in the area where your house is located. Be attentive to what they say about your location. It’s helpful to know what the going rate is for houses in your area.

 

While location is important in real estate it may not always be the top priority of your potential buyers. While most people buy a house to live in it, there are those who purchase real estate as an investment. Sell your house with an open mind. Don’t let the factor of location discourage or encourage you too much.

 

Tip 3: Don’t get locked out of the market by overpricing your house!

 

Continue building up that knowledge base: read the real estate listings everyday. Know the average selling price of houses similar to yours.

 

If you have the luxury of time, you may even want to drive around, look at houses for sale, and judge their pricing for yourself. Is what they are asking for reasonable? Or is the price way out of proportion to the looks and location of the property?

 

Go to rehelp.co for more tips on pricing your home to sell.

 

Tip 4: What are the ads saying?

 

Get an idea of how real estate ads are worded.

*
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*
p<>{color:#000;}. What ads caught your attention?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Why?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Does the ad sound credible?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Does the ad provide adequate information to provoke interest, or does it leave you indifferent?

 

Use these ads (the good ones) as a model for your own. Here are a couple ads in my market you can also look at:

 

4 beds 2.5 baths 1,801 sqft – COMING SOON – $185,000

Expected on market November 11. Contact now for more info!

This home is an upcoming gem, soon to be on the market. Home will have new interior paint, carpet, refinished hardwood flooring. Enjoy an additional detached one car garage with huge workshop. This home features an oversized yard at .44 acres, which is almost impossible to find. Call for more details.

 

2 beds 1 bath 830 sqft – FOR SALE – $57,500

Charming main level unit is light and bright, with natural maple-look laminate flooring. Unique rough sawn cedar beamed ceiling in living room. Walkout to enclosed patio! White faux wood 2in. blinds. Updated bathroom. Kitchen includes refrigerator, dishwasher, gas range, and microwave! Well maintained and MOVE-IN READY! Great location in complex that is steps to pool, clubhouse, community laundry, hiking trails, & childcare center! Storage closet off patio. HOA fee includes your water, sewer, gas, & electricity making it easy on your budget. Nice central location but tucked away from the hustle and bustle with plenty of shops, restaurants, grocery, etc nearby. MAKE IT YOURS TODAY!

 

Tip 5: Play detective.

 

Do a bit of detective work. Try to keep track of real estate ads that last only a few days, as this typically means the home sold quickly. What photos and words were used in the listing? What did the lister do well? Adversely, find listings that are months old and determine what the lister did wrong.

 

Tip 6: Read and devour all that you can!

 

Expand your knowledge base by visiting your local library, and browsing through books and websites about real estate.

 

Be on alert for people who’ve written about their personal experiences in selling their homes. Knowledge is your most valuable tool when selling your home.

 

Tip 7: Set realistic goals.

 

If houses like yours in your area are taking an average of two months to sell, don’t think your house will sell in one week just because you have a four season porch and your neighbor doesn’t.

 

If you need to sell your house quickly, set a lower price! Make it a great bargain for your buyer. If your listing price is higher than everyone else’s, expect the time on the market to be longer as well.

 

Tip 8: Take real estate seriously.

 

Bear in mind that the “no risk, no gain” philosophy may not always work in real estate. Real estate is a smart, serious business. It’s better to have brains than guts! Feed your brain with information you will need when you sell your house. Real estate information is not a scarcity. There are thousands of websites dedicated to real estate. And the library holds a wealth of information on the subject.

 

Tip 9: Put all this information to good use!

 

Too much analysis leads to paralysis. Arm yourself with adequate knowledge and then get moving! Don’t let fear or over-confidence immobilize you. If you want to sell your house successfully, fear adds nothing, nor does arrogance.

 

Once you arm yourself with information, prepare to move on!

 

 

Category 2: Get to Know your Community

 

Tip 10: Good schools? But of course!

 

Think about what’s special about your community, then conjure up an ad that might attract say, a young couple with school-age children. Find out how many private and public schools there are, and how near they are to your house.

 

Many times, good schools are the deal clinchers. For young families, schools are a top priority. If the schools in your community have won awards, make a note and mention them to your prospective buyers.

 

Tip 11: It’s the fitness thing, you know.

 

Do an inventory of your community’s attractions. How many parks, tennis courts, and pools are there? Is there a YMCA or a gym? All these facilities play a major role in the decision to buy, especially if the prospective buyer is active.

 

Tip 12: What about concerts and entertainment?

 

Don’t overlook the entertainment factor: how many restaurants and movie theaters does your area have? What about concert halls and other cultural activities? Many individuals, especially those with no children, like to go out often.

 

They also want the assurance that if they don’t feel like entertaining friends for dinner at home, they can go for a concert or a show to spend a relaxing weekend. A cultural community filled with activities is a huge factor, not only for them, but also for their children.

 

Tip 13: Will I fit in here?

 

The ethnic factor: if your area has a strong multi-cultural presence, this could make some home buyers more interested than others. The feeling of wanting to feel “at home” is a strong motivator. You may think it a trivial matter, but buyers may ask if there’s a sushi restaurant in the area, or if there are any synagogues nearby. Are there meeting places where members of ethnic communities can share common views, cuisine, and experiences?

 

Tip 14: Is there a doctor in the house?

 

Does your area have adequate health care facilities? Families caring for elderly parents or disabled individuals will consider a nearby hospital or emergency care facility a major benefit.

 

Also, if your local area hospital is known for a particular specialty, make sure to let your buyers know.

 

Tip 15: How is the transportation system?

 

How far from your house are the major highways? Where is the next largest city? How developed is your area’s public transportation system? Proximity to a subway or bus station is typically seen by many as a benefit.

 

Tip 16: No gossiping allowed!

 

Are you on friendly terms with your neighbors? If you’re selling a condo or a duplex, the next owners are usually curious about what kind of neighbors live in the same area. Show your neighborliness, but don’t gossip about the next door neighbor. Chances are prospective buyers are only interested if the neighbors are quiet or rowdy. They’re not interested in your neighbor’s alcohol problem.

 

Tip 17: Help, my car’s been snowed-in!

 

How efficient are your city’s services? Does the area have enough firemen, snow removal trucks, and garbage collection systems? What about facilities for recycling waste material?

 

The more you know about your community’s services, the better you can capitalize on these selling points.

 

Tip 18: Cavities?

 

Is the city water treated with fluoride? You’ll be amazed at how some parents make a big deal of this. Studies have revealed that cities where the water has been fluoridated have a lower incidence of tooth decay among school-age children.

 

Perhaps this looks like a minor detail to you, but remember, the intelligent buyer is taking a thorough inventory of the community and its services.

 

 

Category 3: Know your Abode

 

Tip 19: Getting to know your house…for the last time.

 

Now you have a good understanding of real estate, you know your community, and now it’s time to know your house like the back of your hand. Every house has a hidden defects and visible faults. Take a pencil and some paper and do a tour, taking down all the weaknesses that can potentially be spotted by buyers when they visit. Go around your house several times to make sure you’ve covered everything.

 

You want to discover the defect before the buyer does. Spare yourself some embarrassment. Don’t underestimate the buyer’s ability to see through walls! Go to rehelp.co/resources to get a free printable home inspection checklist.

 

Tip 20: Did you say you have an in-ground pool?

 

If your house comes with a swimming pool, mention it! An in-ground swimming pool adds a lot of value to a house. Make sure the pool is clean when the buyers come knocking at your door.

 

A pool with no water can be quite disconcerting, so make sure it is full of clean water. And a pool isn’t fun without a heater. Let your buyer know that the pool’s heater is working.

 

Tip 21: Point out unique amenities.

 

If you live in an area with a colder climate – Minnesota for instance – a fireplace or hot tub makes a good sell, so don’t forget to mention it. This particular detail can go into the ad, or you can surprise your potential buyer when they come to visit. It’s all up to you.

 

In Florida for example, a fireplace is not something you’d think a house should have, but in upscale, gated communities, families do have nice fireplaces in the living room or basement. Ambiance, that’s why.

 

Tip 22: This garage door is really simple to operate!

 

Check your garage door mechanism and see if it’s working properly. You’ll want to demonstrate to potential buyers that your garage is in tip top shape.

 

You may also want to show them your maintenance records (garage doors usually need to be inspected and lubricated once every two years, depending on how worn your garage door and mechanism are).

 

Tip 23: I never promised you a rose garden.

 

Check your front and back yards. Are they well-kept or do they look like they’ve been neglected for the last six months? Is your grass healthy and green and well-manicured?

 

When buyers look for a house, they customarily concentrate on making adjustments inside the house; they understand that part of the house buying process is renovation. They’re prepared for this event, but when they see that the outside of the house also needs major attention, they could get discouraged – and even dismayed – to see an unkempt yard.

 

Tip 24: You’ll have a roof over your head for the next 25 years.

 

Make a list of major and minor renovations you’ve done in the last five years. Keep this list in your pocket so that when you give the house tour, you can mention these renovations.

 

Things like “my husband and I had a new roof installed one year ago. One thing you won’t have in this house is a leaking roof,” or, “These kitchen cabinets and drawers were given a facelift only three months ago.”

 

Tip 25: Wow, a home spa!

 

Pay attention to the bathrooms. Make sure they have good lighting, squeaky clean faucets and a shiny, sparkling bathtub. A stained bathtub is unsightly.

 

Put out some of your best linens for the visit. A bathroom that smells and looks clean is a big deal. A whirlpool or spa might just bring you closer to finalizing that deal. House hunters start with a budget in mind, but are easily swayed to stretch that budget a little more when they see amenities that they did not think about previously.

 

Tip 26: How much did you say utilities were?

 

Buyers are likely to ask you about insulation and energy efficiency systems in your house. If you don’t know or can’t remember, be honest and say so.

 

However, it is definitely to your advantage if you can speak knowledgeably about the “inner character” of your home. The installation materials of older houses were declared a health risk by the US and Canadian governments many years ago, and house builders have switched to safer insulation materials.

 

Tip 27: What? No hot water again?

 

Many people don’t, but if you are one of the few who have your water heater checked periodically, say so. Water heaters, in order for them to work efficiently, should be inspected regularly. Over time, water heaters get a build up of chemicals in the bottom. Even if a new roof costs a lot more than a new water heater, buyers will appreciate your thorough “sense of maintenance” by looking into details that homeowners usually overlook.

 

Tip 28: Let’s shed some light on the situation…

 

One real estate agent in Washington DC remarked that she was approached by a couple to sell one of the “cutest houses in the neighborhood.”

 

It had excellent potential – large backyard, nice French bay windows, a second floor landing area that was large enough to accommodate a family gathering, and solid wooden floors. The only thing wrong, according to the real estate agent, was the entire lighting system. The lamps and chandeliers looked like they were put there in the time of Adam and Eve.

 

She suggested to the present owners to replace all the lights and to invest in good quality lamps. The cutest house in the neighborhood eventually sold – just three weeks later – for $900,000! Make sure your lighting is up to date.

 

 

Category 4: Your Motives for Selling

 

Tip 29: Why am I selling?

 

You made the decision to sell the house. You went through the motions of going over your house and looking for things to repair. Before you get to the next step – putting your house on the market – spend some quiet time by yourself so you can gauge your true feelings about why you want to sell your house.

 

If you have compelling reasons or circumstances that force you to sell, this may affect your position as a seller. As the property owner, you should always be on the driver’s seat. Only you can dictate the terms of sale. If you’re emotionally or financially disadvantaged, you may want to put off selling your house until you’re 100% convinced that you’re ready – emotionally and financially.

 

Tip 30: Not the time to be fickle…

 

If your house holds much sentimental value and you feel that parting with it will affect you psychologically, assess how strong your emotional attachment to your house is. Once the house is sold, there is no turning back. Sale contracts are legally binding. You can’t show up at the doorway of the new owners and say, “Sorry, I’ve changed my mind. I want my house back!”

 

Tip 31: Nostalgia is a strong feeling.

 

You want to sell because you’re getting divorced from your spouse of 25 years? If you no longer love your spouse, but still love your house, think twice about selling. If the house means that much to you, then perhaps you may want to reconsider. A house is not only a physical structure. It is a refuge, a reservoir of memories of a family that built a life together.

 

Sell your house if you want, but if you’ll spend sleepless nights regretting the decision to sell, it isn’t worth risking your mental health.

 

Tip 32: I’m in a bind…

 

Financially strapped? Many people think of selling their house to acquire much-needed cash. Instead of selling, you may consider the option of using the equity you’ve built up in your home to apply for a loan. Don’t sell just because you need cash.

 

Tip 33: Your house isn’t a hotel!

 

If you hesitate about selling your house because you want your children to have a place to stay when they visit, remember that you raised them to be responsible, self-sufficient adults. If you really want to sell your house, this should be the least of your worries. Your grown children can perfectly manage on their own. Your house isn’t the Four Seasons!

 

Tip 34: Listen up, but stay with your convictions!

 

Remind yourself that it’s your house, so buyers should play by your rules. Don’t let some smooth-talking buyer convince you that your house isn’t worth that much. You did your homework, so you’re the only one who knows what you should be getting for your house. Remember it’s the buyer who needs a house, not you. If one buyer is starting to get on your nerves, there are other buyers.

 

Tip 35: I’m selling, no matter what.

 

Once you have made the decision to sell, banish your fears because fear only leads to inaction. Bolster your self-confidence by constantly saying to yourself, “I want to sell my house, I will sell my house, and I will make money from selling my house.” This mantra will guide you and make you stronger as you go through the motions of the eventual sale.

 

Tip 36: Even well-meaning friends can derail you!

 

Stay focused. Don’t surround yourself with friends who foretell gloom and doom. “You might regret it,” or “There’s just too much stress handling the sale yourself, let the experts do what they do best.”

 

These pieces of advice, no matter how well-intentioned, have no place in your plans. Don’t be easily swayed by what your friends or colleagues tell you. Take every piece of advice with a grain of salt.

 

 

Category 5: Getting Serious and Getting Ready

 

Tip 37: Time to go “pro.”

 

Earlier you got to know your house by going around your interior and exterior to see what needs to be improved.

 

Now it’s time to have your home closely inspected for hidden defects. It’s time for a professional inspector. Get him to examine those details that can make or break a deal. One such detail is the electrical wiring. A fire caused by faulty wiring is serious business. Instead of enjoying the cash from the sale of your house, your hard-earned equity is going towards paying damages and lawyers’ fees.

 

Tip 38: What’s radon?

 

Radon is a radioactive gas that is found in some homes. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer, everyone should have their home tested. If you run a radon test in your house, this is a huge plus in the eyes of buyers. You can even do a home test for under $20. High radon levels can be fixed. Always provide results of recent tests to your buyers.

 

You can check out this article for more information on what radon is and how and why to test for it: rehelp.co/three-things-you-need-to-know-about-radon

 

Tip 39: This isn’t a multiple choice test.

 

See to it that the professional inspector or home inspection company you hired provides you with a well-written report.

 

The fill-in-the-blank forms and checkboxes type of report may be accurate, but a written, detailed analysis looks better to buyers. It demonstrates that you’ve done everything you can to ensure a safe home for the buyer.

 

Tip 40: The well’s run dry.

 

Don’t overlook details that can jeopardize the sale or put you in an awkward position later. If you have a well (most homes out in the country still have wells!), have it inspected. If you have a written report, show this to the buyers.

 

Tip 41: What’s that smell?

 

If you have a septic system, have a percolation test performed. If repairs are necessary, you either repair them before you sell, or disclose them to the buyers. Don’t kill your chances of selling your house because of this detail.

 

Tip 42: Actually, now that you ask…

 

Show all repairs in a written report to all prospective buyers. This will eliminate unpleasant surprises later that might delay the sale. Disclosing all problems is a legal necessity and will help reduce the time leading to the final sale.

 

Non-disclosure can even cause a re-negotiation of the sale price if the buyers discover the defects themselves. Being forced to re-negotiate the price because of a problem you didn’t disclose is a headache you just don’t need!

 

Tip 43: Show that you mean business!

 

When the professionals have done their inspections and all reports are in your possession, make copies. You’ll want to have plenty of copies of each report readily available, so you’re not scampering around for them at the last minute.

 

Show buyers that you’re acting conscientiously and being considerate of their concerns. This will indicate that you’re a serious seller. Make sure the dates of the inspections are clearly visible on each and every report.

 

Tip 44: If I were buying this house…

 

After you’re satisfied that the professional inspectors did their job correctly, take one long last look. Put on your eagle eyes, and ask yourself: if I were buying this house, what would I want done or repaired?

 

Tip 45: What should I fix?

 

In terms of repairs and fixes, there are three categories of things you should fix:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Legally required repairs

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Little things that make a BIG difference

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Big things that make a HUGE difference

 

Tip 46: It’s the law, sir.

 

Fix house problems that the law requires you to. These are usually environmental in nature or hidden hazards that can cause health problems for the buyers and their children. Examples are lead paint, asbestos, and harmful insulation material.

 

Tip 47: You and I are different.

 

Little things that make a difference are those tasks or jobs that you’ve somehow delayed or never got around to doing.

 

Remember that what may be petty to you may not be petty to your prospective buyer. No two people think the same way. Selling and buying a house are two different perspectives, two different people, and two different mindsets.

 

Tip 48: Did you inherit these doorknobs from your great-grandmother?

 

Try not to overlook old doorknobs and plates on light switches. If they look lifeless and worn, replace them to liven up the living areas. Try to go for neutral designs. Make sure that whatever you put on, the buyers can take them off easily should they decide to do so.

 

Tip 49: That noise is driving me nuts!

 

Has that leaking faucet been bothering you lately? You can be sure that minor things such as leaking faucets can make buyers hesitate. Faucets that have been leaking for some time demonstrate a homeowner’s negligence regarding basic maintenance.

 

Tip 50: Is this door going to fall on me?

 

Does your house have doors that sag, don’t close properly, squeak or have a knob missing? There are beautiful ready-made and custom-made doors in your local home center, so why don’t you pay them a visit? Get an idea of what kind of doors would breathe life into your house.

 

Tip 51: Nice screens…

 

Do you have broken screens that have ugly-looking holes gaping at you and your visitors? A simple thing such as broken screens can be a huge turn off so show consideration for your buyers by taking care of these minor fix-its.

 

Tip 52: For you or the buyer?

 

When deciding what to repair, get into the buyer’s mindset. Little repairs that can potentially annoy your potential buyers must get fixed. Getting small, minor jobs done will help increase your chances of selling your house.

 

Remember, you are trying to sell your house sooner rather than later, small annoying problems can stack up and become overwhelming to a potential buyer. Don’t let that happen! Fix as many of the small things as you can.

 

Tip 53: Hold your horses!

 

If a big home repair is going to cost you an arm and a leg and substantially reduce the profit of your home, think twice before doing it. For example, if your house cost $200,000 when you purchased it, and you are thinking of selling it for $250,000, you will make a neat little profit of $50,000. But a large repair will cost you $30,000, which would reduce your profit to $20,000.

 

Is the major repair worth that measly profit? Crunch some figures before you undertake major renovations.

 

Tip 54: I wish you hadn’t done that…

 

Undertaking major renovations may come out of the goodness of your heart, but have you ever thought of looking at the other side of the coin? What if the potential buyers don’t like the renovations you’ve done, and would have preferred to renovate the house themselves?

 

When an individual goes out looking to buy a house, that individual is not just buying a physical piece of property but is also thinking of making their future house an extension of their personality and lifestyle. So if you’re thinking of renovating your house before selling to make it look more presentable, those good intentions may backfire. That’s why it’s always good to gauge a buyer’s plans about your house when they first make contact.

 

Tip 55: Bring in a contractor.

It’s a good idea to bring in a contractor (that you trust) to have a look at your home after the professional inspection.

 

Because they know their business inside out, (some contractors even specialize in preparing homes for sale) they can tell you what should be fixed and what should be left alone. They can help you save precious dollars. Show them all of the inspection reports. With the contractor’s opinion and the home inspection reports in your possession, you should be able to decide what to fix and what not to fix.

 

 

Category 6: Letting the Word Out: “I’m Selling my House!”

 

Tip 56: Am I missing something?

 

Okay, you’ve had your house inspected and you’ve done your own inspection. It’s time to let the word out. But before you even sit down to word that ad for the papers, think about the ingredients of the recipe for successfully selling your house.

 

Here are five ingredients that go into selling a home:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Location

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Condition

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Price

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Terms

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Market

 

Let’s take the first ingredient: Location. You can’t physically uproot your house to take it to a better location. Note that the price of your house must realistically reflect its location.

 

Tip 57: Have you been negligent?

 

Second ingredient for a successful sale: Condition. Remember that this is where a professional inspector and a thorough personal inspection can make a lot of sense. The upkeep of the property is a crucial factor in obtaining the highest possible price for a home. Price must reflect a house’s condition.

 

Tip 58: How much do you want?

 

Third ingredient: Price. This is the #1 deciding factor in the sale or no sale of a house. A house is really only worth what a buyer is willing to pay. Price must have a direct correlation to all the other ingredients for a successful sale. Never mind what the listings or other people say. If your house is overpriced, you will have few, if any, offers and a long wait from listing to sale.

 

Tip 59: Will the buyer ask for flexibility?

 

Fourth ingredient: Terms. The better terms you have on the property, the more potential purchasers you reach. If the only way to purchase the home is through a VA loan, you will have a harder time finding a buyer. Be flexible with how you sell your home. The price of your house must reflect the terms available to purchase it.

 

Tip 60: Is this a good time to sell?

 

Fifth ingredient: Market. Market conditions are influenced by key factors such as interest rates, supply and demand of houses in your area, competition and the general state of the economy.

 

Real estate is a cyclical phenomenon. The beginning of 2000 witnessed a surge in homebuilding. All of a sudden homes were being sold faster than contractors could build them. When there’s a real estate boom, this is an excellent opportunity to sell quickly for a good profit.

 

But then we all know what happened in 2007. The housing market crashed. If your area’s market is in the midst of a crash, it might be a good idea to wait it out if you can.

 

Tip 61: Get the word out!

 

It is finally time to put your home on the market! You can announce the sale of your house through word of mouth, putting an ad in your local newspaper, and online.

 

Do an experiment: tell your colleagues at work that you’re selling your house. Make a note of any questions they ask. Their questions can serve as an example of what prospective buyers are likely to ask.

 

Tip 62: Reach out far and wide!

 

Your listing can be published on local and national real estate websites and in local newspapers. The more people you reach, the more prospects you have. Use as many resources as you can. You have no idea how much more successful you will be in selling when there is a larger audience involved.

 

You may be slightly inconvenienced by the number of inquiries you’ll get, but if you want to sell that house in a hurry, it’s a numbers game. The more you spread the word, the more people you reach. Check out some great resources for listing online at rehelp.co/resources.

 

Tip 63: Word of mouth is just as powerful as advertising.

 

Ask your office colleagues to tell their families and friends about your house sale. They may know of people who are moving into the area and looking for homes.

 

The more colleagues you tell, the more you increase your chances of reaching people you don’t even know. After you’ve told them, follow up after a week and ask if they had a chance to tell anyone. Make it known to them that you’re serious about selling, that way they take you seriously and some of them will want to help you.

 

Tip 64: Can the company help me?

 

After you tell your colleagues, speak to the human resources manager of your organization and tell her that if there are executives relocating to your area, you have a house to sell. You never know what the human resources individual can come up with. Someone may actually be moving to the area to take up a position in your organization.

 

Tip 65: Ah, the old reliable…the bulletin board!

 

Go one step further: use the public bulletin board to post your house sale. Don’t forget to leave tabs with your telephone number that can be torn out of the main sheet so that people can call you or pass them on to their friends.

 

Post a clear picture in color with your ad on the bulletin board. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

 

Tip 66: The truth will come out…

 

Keep those five ingredients at the forefront in your mind at all times. Now you’re ready to create that ad.

 

Be honest. Don’t say you have a house in excellent condition when your inspection report has a long list of deficiencies and repairs your house will require. Don’t say you have three full bathrooms when you really have only two bathrooms and one powder room. A powder room does not qualify as a full bathroom.

 

Also, don’t say that you live in a quiet neighborhood when in fact your house is located near a university campus where you hear students partying all night. And if you say that your house has an alarm system, it better work.

 

Tip 67: Umm, how will I word this ad?

 

If you aren’t good with words, or it’s taking you painstakingly long to draft an ad, go with ads already published that you FEEL work for you.

 

This means putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes: read the ad, it makes you curious, and you take down the number. If an ad strikes you as effective and persuasive, apply the style and content of the ad to your situation.

 

Tip 68: Can you just state the bottom line please?

 

When you’re ready to write out an ad, clarity and brevity must be your parameters. If your price is reasonable and realistic and you put the ad in the right strategic places, you’ll get plenty of calls.

 

Tip 69: Do your thinking before picking up that phone.

 

Don’t do what many people do. They call the classified ads department of their local and regional papers and craft the ad with the person on the other line.

 

Don’t waste time by providing information only while you’re on the phone. Instead, figure everything out in advance.

 

And when we say everything, we mean that by the time you call the classified ads person or go online to publish your ad, you know ahead of time what your ad will look like, what it will say, where to put it, and whether or not it should have a border.

 

Tip 70: Wait and see.

 

Be careful about how long you let your ad run. An ad that’s been around too long will give readers the impression that your house is not selling because of major problems. It will also tell them that maybe buyers are coming to see the house only to walk away disappointed.

 

Depending on your market, a five-day ad should be sufficient. If you don’t get a decent number of serious callers, pull out the ad, wait a few weeks, and start all over again. Review the ad’s wording. Perhaps some changes can be made to increase buyer interest.

 

Tip 71: Where should I list my home?

 

Put it in two sure places where it will get read. Again, pretend you’re the buyer looking for a house. Where would you most likely look? That’s where you should place your ad.

 

Your local paper with a small circulation and online real estate websites should be your target destinations for your ad. Check out Rehelp.co/resources for some free places to list online.

 

Tip 72: One is enough.

 

Buyers often don’t really want to buy 4-5 newspapers to look for houses for sale. They’d much rather concentrate on one paper for ads that could lead to potential visits. The most popular paper with the most readers is what they will read and is where your ad must go.

 

Tip 73: Don’t you need an agent to list online?

 

It used to be that people would only look in the newspaper for real estate ads. Now it has totally flipped, most people look online first.

 

Listing real estate on the internet can be overwhelming if you have never done it before. I would recommend going to postlets.com. By listing on that one website for free, it will automatically send your listing to all the top real estate websites.

 

Tip 74: Do you want to write a house story? Try the home section, not the classifieds.

 

Think twice, even three times before you get that pencil or keyboard moving. Avoid flowery words. Avoid expressions like “it will capture your heart,” or “a house of your dreams,” or “here’s a house where you can make memories.”

 

People are not really looking for something to captivate their hearts or memories. They’re looking for a real house to live in, a roof over their heads. The dreams and memories can come later, but at this point, buyers are only interested in a physical structure.

 

Tip 75: What should you say?

 

In a newspaper ad, there won’t be room for all the details, so keep it brief by only including information that buyers need to know: location, that it is for sale by owner, brief description of house, and a reasonable starting price. Mention that you’ll take the best reasonable offer, and put your telephone number. These are the only points that buyers are initially interested in. Other details like amenities and extras and true value can be discussed face to face or during a follow-up telephone call.

 

Tip 76: This is EXACTLY how I want it.

 

Bill Effros (a famous real estate author) recommends that your ad should be positioned as follows: location, upper top left and “BY OWNER” right hand side top.

 

Type of house (condo, duplex, cottage, etc) on the next line.

 

Brief description of major feature on the following line.

 

Then your starting price, e.g. “$150,000 or best reasonable offer” on the next line, to be followed by inspection times (e.g. Sat-Sun 10-5).

 

Last line on low bottom left, the words: “HIGHEST BIDDER”, and your telephone number beside it.

 

Your newspaper ad is meant to give you as many callers as possible. Details about the property can be provided to them on the phone if they request them.

 

To play it safe, email the copy of the ad exactly as you want it to appear in the paper.

 

Tip 77: Screen calls.

 

If you’re a busy person with a full time job, you may want to filter your calls. Before you call the paper to have your ad put, make sure you set yourself up with an answering machine or an answering service.

 

A great resource is google voice, its free and you can get a unique number for your listing. Follow my step by step guide to setup google voice: [+ rehelp.co/how-to-harness-the-power-of-google-voice-to-sell-your-house/+]

 

You don’t want to be called in the middle of the night or at meal times to answer questions about your house and be forced to make a visit appointment. With an answering machine or Google Voice, you decide who you want to call back.

 

You will also be able to tell who the serious buyers are versus the frivolous ones. People who leave their names and numbers and are brief in their message make a good impression. You want to avoid receiving callers who talk incessantly or ask questions the answers of which are already in the ad.

 

Be wary of people who also try to negotiate the price down over the phone without even asking to see the property. This should raise your antennas to the fact that one, they probably can’t afford the price to begin with, or second, they can’t get their bank to finance that amount.

 

Tip 78: Add “Or best reasonable offer.”

 

It’s not so much the description of the property that will get you a sufficient number of callers; it is the stated price on your ad.

 

If it is within their price range, they might call. If not, they’ll go on to the next ad. So make sure you add, “or best reasonable offer.”

 

Tip 79: Everyone loves the weekend!

 

Only you will pick the days you want your ad to appear. The approach is to reach as many readers as possible. Bear in mind that unless people are really looking for something particular, they don’t look at ads during the week.

 

Most people are more relaxed during weekends and are likely to browse the real estate listings. For anxious buyers however, they deliberately read the listings every morning with the hope that they find the “house of their dreams.”

 

Tip 80: Would you repeat that please?

 

Once your ad is published, buy the paper or go to the website and read your ad a few times, ensuring that all details are correctly listed.

 

Look at your phone number and make sure it was listed correctly. Do not forget to list your area code. The same city may have two different area codes – one for the east end district and another for the west. You could lose hundreds of potential buyers with this omission.

 

Tip 81: How do you sound?

 

So the ad has been placed. Brace yourself for calls! They will increase in number as people read your ad and then pass it off to friends and family. Rehearse your lines. You’ll want to give the impression that you’re a serious seller, so you expect the same from them as buyers.

 

Don’t panic if you’re getting too many calls or none at all on the first day. Take a deep breath and get ready for the avalanche. While having an answering machine is a good idea for the sake of filtering serious callers from the frivolous, it’s perfectly alright for you to take the call yourself if you feel like it.

 

Tip 82: Take it down.

 

Have pen and paper ready. Take down each caller’s name and number. Jot down their questions. This will give you an idea of future questions, and you’ll know how to answer them properly the next time.

 

Tip 83: Are you a phone grouch?

 

When you answer calls, come across as friendly. The impression you DON’T want to give is that of a tired, harassed seller who’s sick and tired of answering questions on the phone (even if you are). Practice basic courtesy. Be a professional, and sound like one!

 

Tip 84: Not all callers are buyers.

 

Here’s an important tip: if you get 25 calls by the third day, your ad worked. Getting 25 calls means that 25 people read your ad and dialed your number. Don’t expect 25 buyers though. Not all callers become buyers.

 

 

Category 7: Showing Your Home

 

Tip 85: It bothers me…

 

When buyers come to visit, make sure there is nothing about your house that will distract them. If it’s winter time, make sure the snow has been cleared. If it’s autumn, rake the leaves.

 

Ensure that the entranceway is well lit and isn’t in disarray. Remove coats and other clothing from their field of vision, no shoes by the doorway, no toys or other objects that may obstruct the path or cause them to trip. Tripping in the entry is a terrible way to begin a tour.

 

Tip 86: Dust collectors.

 

Buyers should feel that you have taste and class. Make sure your home doesn’t feel cluttered and is free of dust. Double check those dust collectors! Trophies, frames, knick-knacks, souvenirs, and other small items love to attract dust.

 

Tip 87: Something smells good…

 

Freshly baked cookies are a real estate agents best friend and should be yours too. If you don’t have time to bake cookies, buy flowers or light a neutral-smelling candle.

 

Check out some house staging tips at rehelp.co/tag/staging.

 

Tip 88: I knew you’d ask that!

 

Putting up signs to answer frequent questions during an open house can save you time. It’s also an efficient way to let you give the tour without being interrupted too many times.

 

Signs can include things like: condo fees are $150 per month, appliances, fixtures and draperies are included with the sale, garage and garden equipment are included, china not included, there are 8 phone jacks on the first floor and 3 on the second floor, there is a wireless connection, shelves are included, etc.

 

Tip 89: No pets allowed!

 

Get your pets out of the way. You won’t know in advance who is allergic to dogs and cats. Plus the barking of dogs and the meowing of cats can be very distracting, and an annoyance for non-pet lovers.

 

Tip 90: Who’s that standing by the door?

 

Before buyers come to an open house, it’s good to have a closer. A closer can be a friend or family member who is helping you with the open house. They should be clearly visible to buyers, and should be near the door so they can keep track of buyers who arrive and leave the property.

 

The closer can separate the serious and unserious buyers. When the closer asks if they want to know how the bidding process works, those who are not interested will simply say no and leave.

 

 

Category 8: Negotiations, Settlement, and Contract

 

Tip 91: Can we talk about your price?

 

You can be 99% sure that buyers will negotiate to try to bring the price down. This is why houses are sold and bought as a result of negotiations, which can take days. Or longer, if you meet buyers who really want your house but don’t want to pay the price you’re asking for.

 

It’s curious what kind of arguments buyers will come up with to convince you to lower your price. “But your backyard needs a lot of tending.” “The kitchen tiles are not in good shape and we’d have to replace them ourselves;” or “But your house is near an airport.”

 

Don’t let buyers run you and your house down. If you want to unburden yourself quickly of your property because you have to relocate soon or you need to make a counteroffer on another property, then by all means lower your price. However, if you’re convinced that your property is worth more (based on the offers you’ve received so far), then be firm with your price.

 

Buyers will always take advantage of those situations where you show hesitation about the price. Tell them your price is final and that you’re not prepared to negotiate.

 

Tip 92: Honesty is the best policy.

 

When negotiations begin, remember that honesty is still the best policy. There is this great temptation to get greedy and bid against your buyers. Don’t. You may end up making the process more work than it’s worth to the buyer.

 

The most important consideration for you is not how much extra you can get above your original price, your biggest concern should be who will pay me what I asked for and take good care of my house the way I did?

 

Tip 93: My home is your home now.

 

Once you’ve found a buyer for your home and all the terms have been negotiated to both parties’ satisfaction, the next step is to transfer ownership of the house. Since you’re on your own, you’ll need to initiate the paperwork yourself.

 

This is where the government can help you. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a book entitled “Settlement Costs.” It is free and contains valuable guidelines on settlement matters.

 

From this publication, you’ll be able to decide who to consult with in terms of the different steps of the closing process. You will likely need a real estate attorney for legal assistance in the closing process. Closing procedures vary from state to state and from country to country.

 

Tip 94: How quickly will they settle the matter for me?

 

After you have chosen your real estate attorney, get the name of the real estate agent or attorney of your buyer and provide this to your own attorney.

 

The way it works is the two agents will then work together to contact the banks, arrange for title searches and title insurance, draw up the sale contract and calculate any other fees that have to be paid.

 

Tip 95: This covers just about everything.

 

When settlement details are finalized, a contract is drawn up. The contract must include the following details:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Amount

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Location of property

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Date of the sale

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Transfer of funds

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Items included in, and excluded from, the sale

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Conveyance of title

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Apportionment of fees to be paid

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Insurance matters

 

And other such things that are typically part of a sale contract for private property. If there are any clauses that you don’t understand, have your attorney explain them to you. Ask questions until you’re satisfied that everything is crystal clear.

 

Tip 96: Can we change this a little bit?

 

Be prepared for requests from the buyer to modify parts of the contract. Don’t verbally agree to anything until your attorney confirms that the requested changes are in order.

 

This part of the exercise may take longer than you expected. Attorneys are shrewd and will make every attempt to get the most for their clients. They’re only doing their job, and they’re doing what they’re best at – arguing and haggling.

 

It is up to your attorney to defend your interests so hopefully, the attorney you hired is as sharp and shrewd as your buyer’s attorney.

 

When contract discussions are going on, ask your attorney’s opinion as to the advantages and disadvantages of agreeing or disagreeing with a particular clause. Discuss potential consequences and how changing a clause could jeopardize your rights as a seller. And if you do agree to change a clause, ensure that all changes are put in writing either within the body of the contract or as an addendum.

 

Tip 97: About that money…

 

Ask your attorney about asking for a down payment from the buyer. Some contracts require it to protect the seller: This down payment will usually make the buyer live up to his commitment to buy the property within a reasonable amount of time.

 

This down payment is called “earnest money.” It obliges the buyer to finalize a mortgage with his bank, to have the property inspected within a reasonable period and to be prepared to settle by a certain date.

 

This down payment is not refunded back to the buyer should the sale not take place. Down payments may range from $1,000 to as much as 10% of the purchase price and is kept in escrow by your attorney.

 

Tip 98: Crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s…

 

As soon as all paperwork is final and parties are ready to sign the contract, the settlement, also called closing, happens. The settlement can take place in any of the following places: the settlement agent’s office, bank, insurance office, or anywhere where you and the buyer and your respective agents agree to meet and sign papers.

 

Closing day is the day you will probably get the biggest cash windfall in your life, and when someone else takes ownership of your house. You can start breathing normally again when that check lands on your hands, and you and your personal effects are physically out of your house!

 

Tip 99: It’s not over till it’s over.

 

Expect last minute surprises. A deal can be called off last minute for any of the following reasons:

 

The buyer could not get financing and has no money of his own

Something went wrong with the title search or an insurance detail was not dealt with

Someone suddenly is afraid and wants to back out

Some personal emergencies – like a sudden death in the family or terminal illness – are forcing the parties not to go through with the deal

 

Whatever happens, just make sure you’re not walking up the path towards financial ruin.

 

Tip 100: You’re willing to pay more for my house?

 

When you list an ad for your house, and the price looks reasonable to the pool of buyers that are out there, you’ll get end buyers (buyers who are looking to buy a house to live in).

 

You also may get professional buyers – they include real estate brokers looking for homes to buy, builders specializing in remodeling and reselling homes, and developers who want to buy the property because of the land.

 

Don’t be afraid of professional buyers, because they will push the bidding price higher because they know what they’re doing. If a professional buyer offers you a price for your house that will make you happy, then by all means, go with the professional buyer.

 

Tip 101: Weeding out the curious.

 

If, after you place your ad, you get 100 calls, don’t let that make you comfortable thinking that your house is going to be sold immediately.

 

The truth is, of those 100 calls, less than half are serious buyers. Or half of them want your home but don’t have the means to buy it. Of that bunch, there is likely only 1 truly qualified buyer, and that qualified buyer is the one who can deliver the cash when it’s time to deliver it. The others are just “probably” buyers.

 

 

Conclusion

 

These tips have served as your starter kit. You’ll now need to make a decision about whether you still want to go solo. Many who have done ‘for sale by owner’ have been successful and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

 

Don’t forget, knowledge is power. Soldiers don’t go to combat without weapons. As a first time seller, these 101 tips are your ammunition, your basic knowledge. And it’s up to you to use them to your advantage. You want this experience to be a win-win situation.

 

After all your property is a reflection of the long years of hard work and savings you’ve put into it.

 

If you’re about to sell your house and the market is still hot – like it has been in the last few years – you’ll have that cash windfall you’ve always dreamed of. I hope you’ve taken good care of your house. Because when you sign those settlement papers, it’s your house’s turn to take care of you.

 

Good luck!

 

 

Connect

Thanks for reading “The DIY Guide to Selling Your Home” I hope you now have a solid foundation of knowledge to sell your home. For more great tips and resources check out my website at www.rehelp.co. And follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/rehelpco.


The DIY Guide to Selling Your Home - 101 Tips You Need to Know

So you would like to sell your house? Great! Everyone’s doing it. Are you nervous? Of course! You have put your life savings into your house. Now that equity you have slowly built over time will come back to you because you are bold enough to go and get it yourself. Don’t worry! This episode in your life doesn’t need to be a drama of horrors. In this book, I've collected 101 important tips to help you navigate the treacherous waters ahead of you. And in the end, when that check finally lands in your hands and the last box has been shipped out of your house, it will be exhilarating – more exhilarating than you’ve ever imagined it to be. The tips in this book will help you map out a selling strategy for your house, and when you turn the lock for the last time, you’ll come out of the experience wiser. And yes, wealthier, too. The confidence and experience you gain by getting your feet wet the first time could – who knows? – make you want to do it the second time, and then a third time…and more!

  • Author: Benjamin Eichholz
  • Published: 2015-11-24 03:40:09
  • Words: 10128
The DIY Guide to Selling Your Home - 101 Tips You Need to Know The DIY Guide to Selling Your Home - 101 Tips You Need to Know