As a career salesman and sales trainer, a few maxims always hold. 80% of the sales are made by 20% of the people, and the rest will always churn. Sales are not an easy business, and are not for everyone – anyone that says that sales are easy has likely never really sold anything. The source of my concern with much of the For Sale by Owner (FSBO) press is that it seems to define that as long as your house is posted somewhere online, and you have a lawn sign, it will just sell somehow on its own. If you are serious about selling your house yourself, you need to understand that selling you home will require active selling and needs to be looked at as a job – a job that many people fail at. This is not to say that a real estate agent is the only way to sell many real estate agents fail as salespeople, it is just to help you to understand that if you are looking to sell your house yourself, you will need to put in the work that goes with the territory. Remember, not only are you competing with other resale homes, you are competing with new homes, cottages, and any other item that may pull a buyer from the purchase of your home, as presented by real estate agents that are doing their selling full time. Looking for top-dollar? This article is designed to give some no-holds-barred tips on how you can sell your house.
1) Start early. Chart prices of houses for sale in your local area before you are looking to sell. Where possible, try to assess how long they were posted on the market. Try to talk to the owners, and ask for any advice that they can give through the sales process.
2) Online listings – when it comes to marketing your home, you need to reach the largest possible pool of potential buyers. Online listings are a must – you need to put your home for sale where people are shopping for them. There are a number of free and paid home listing sites that offer extensive listings that can help to market your property. Keep full, colour printed copies of the website and any other materials available to help to reinforce your property in the buyer’s mind. Marketing is definitely important, however that is only the means to get potential buyers attention to reach the goal of an executed sale.
3) Network – selling what is likely your largest asset is not the time to be shy. Tell everyone that you know that you have a house for sale. Tell everyone that you don’t know, but will listen that you have a house for sale. Offer referral fee to anyone that brings someone by that buys your house.
4) eMail – spam your friends and associates. Ok, spamming is illegal, however mailing everyone that you know, or even sort-of-know a nicely put together .pdf of the property and directions to the listing will make it easier for them to send the mail along to anyone that they know that may be interested. Remember 6-degrees of separation? Again, a handsome referral fee to someone that finds a willing buyer will help to ensure that people give your listing a quick though with respect to whom they may know that may be interested.
5) Schedule and confirm showings. There is nothing more frustrating that a no-show appointment. People will have any number of reasons to be late, or not arrive. Always reconfirm appointments for showing the day before, ensure that you have each other’s current telephone contact information. Try to set the time on a precise schedule (e.g. 5:10 pm). Setting a meeting at a specific time helps to frame how busy you are with showings, and will help to avoid wasted time waiting for late arrivals.
6) Have a trusted and educated friend show your house. Your house will always have emotional attachment, and it is extremely difficult to detach your emotion when people with differing tastes may be taking a critical look. Having a friend show your house for you will remove you from the equation, and much of the stress from the situation. To do this, you will want to educate your friend in advance of the showing, along with providing him or her floor plans to help with the showing. Info cards placed at points of interest in the rooms and throughout the property will help with an informational tour. Specifically ask the person showing the property for pointed info requests, and provide feedback documentation for the start of the tour. Prospective buyers will be more likely to open up if there is minimized risk of upset. You want to uncover the prospective buyers’ objections to buying the property, as these objections can quickly become the basis of an offer to buy.
7) Price your home to negotiate – remember, the price that is listed will always be seen as an Asking price, a frame of reference that no one really is expected to pay. Market conditions will dictate much of your negotiating strength, however if a buyer buys your house at full list, you are either extremely lucky, or you priced it too low.
8) Be ready to negotiate – whether it is fees to buying agents, or numbers from offers, you need to negotiate. There is an entire science around negotiating, including libraries of information and training materials. Many people define that they hate the back-forth of a negotiation, however this extremely stressful process is a part of the sales process if you want to maximize the value from selling your home. Be ready to entertain offers, and try to find creative ways to meet any negative responses.
9) Sell the lifestyle. Prospective buyers are looking for a place to live – and the lifestyle that will accompany. It is important to remember that this is THEIR lifestyle, and you will want to make sure that you can highlight elements of your property, or community that will help to support this. Use maps to define driving and walking distances to popular attractions, shopping, pubs, day care, public transportation, etc. to illustrate what the local area can provide. Offer directions to your house that highlight some of the neighborhood’s attractions on their way in, and offer a suggested driving route in the area to help the buyers to appreciate what is available. Additionally, you may want to define seasonal attractions that may exist (such as local festivals) as long as you feel that they may not deter the prospect from the fear of disturbance and the like.
10) Get out your financial calculator. Houses tend to be negotiated on a final selling price, however very few people actually pay cash for a home. When looked at from a mortgage payment perspective, the impact of the amount that tends to be minimized when looked at from a mortgage payment perspective. For example, a massive $25000 discount from $250,000 to $225,000 over a 25 year mortgage is less that $70 per bi-weekly payment. Make sure that whenever possible you detail any offers or counter offers, you include an estimated mortgage payment. If the reality of the purchase impact is minimized it will definitively increases your chances of a completed sale.
Selling your house is entirely possible, however there is much more to any sale than just putting up an ad. The tips above should be the starting point, the minimum that you should be doing if you want to sell your most valuable asset. If you are truly uncomfortable with this, you may consider the help of a professional, however never forget to negotiate!