Tips to Sell a Home Without a Real Estate Agent
Moving can be a costly endeavour – but you can offset some of those costs by going the DIY route.
You may have already decided to do the heavy lifting on moving day yourself. You may have also already opted to throw your own elbow grease into slicking the walls with a fresh coat of paint.
And then there are those looking to add an extra layer of cushioning to their bank account through the frightful moving process (one that will keep up to 6 percent of their house’s sale price in their pockets). Yes, we’re talking about those who take on selling their home, too. While we believe that real estate agents play a pivotal role, there are definitely some who navigate the DIY home-selling route with finesse. Here’s how they do it…
How to sell your home without a real estate agent
Real estate agents provide four major services to their clients: identifying and enhancing value, finding prospective buyers, negotiating price, and closing the deal.
1. Identifying and enhancing value
Real estate agents identify value using a number of factors, including (but not limited to): location, condition, and future potential resale value. Hire an appraiser to determine your home’s market value. Consider your home’s neighbourhood and the direction in which it’s headed. More developments could justify a higher sale price while more foreclosures (i.e. of businesses or homes nearby) might justify a shorter bargaining stick. In any case, you can enhance your home’s value with useful renovations (an in-ground pool does not fall into this category) and tasteful home staging (minimalism works well here). Have your home professionally inspected and make repairs/improvements as necessary. Finally, organize a list of your home’s best-selling features. The kitchen has a bay window that overlooks a pristine lake and there’s a children’s playground just steps from the back door? Perfect. (Did you know that John Mayer wrote the lyrics to Your Body is a Wonderland while sipping hot cocoa in front of the living room fireplace one winter evening? Unusual, but fantastic.) Cater to how people will use the space – and showcase the main attractions.
2. Finding prospective buyers
Advertising that your home is on the market is essential to finding prospective buyers (how else are they supposed to know about your hidden little gem?). You can advertise in newspapers, through online classifieds, and even through social media. That’s right – it turns out you can do a lot more with Instagram and Facebook than gloat about what you had for breakfast this morning. You’ve likely also heard of ComFree before – a commission-free service for DIY home buyers and sellers. Their packages run up to $999.95 (plus tax) and include your home listing, signage, photography services, and even real estate advice to help you along the way.
3. Negotiating price
According to the 2005 book Freakonomics, real estate agents who sell their own homes keep their homes on the market for up to 10 days longer than they do other homes, yielding an average higher sale price of up to 3 percent. Take note of tricks of the trade when looking for a higher sale price – and use them to your advantage when negotiating a price. For instance, it’s advantageous to list your home in the spring or summer, when it’s a seller’s market. However, it’s disadvantageous to be uncooperative and unaccommodating with prospective buyers. You might think your home is perfect the way it is – and that people should be flocking for a glimpse of your castle. Still, it will be to your favour if you can tune into what prospects are thinking and feeling (perhaps they’d like to see different cabinets installed) – and consider if there’s any way you can accommodate their desires. If you don’t like an offer, make a counter-offer (but for goodness sake, don’t let greed take over).
4. Closing the deal
Close the deal as quickly as you can. Remember – if they walk away, they’re not coming back. Have all documents professionally evaluated by a lawyer before going forward with the deal. Finally, set a possession date and get out of there leaving a clean and inviting space. And finally…
Selling anything can be a trying task. It requires confidence, control, and commitment (which is why most people, very rightfully, hire an agent to keep things on track). But if you find your motivation slowly deflating, consider this:
The average selling price of a house in Canada rose 8.5 percent to $391,820 in October, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Based on a 6 percent commission rate, that equals out to average savings of $23,509 for DIY-ers.
However, a report by Fitch Ratings found Canadian homes have been overvalued by 26 percent, with prices expected to drop by as much as 10 percent over the next five years as a result. That’s even more reason to keep as much of your home’s sale price in your pocket as you can.