Wednesday, August 10, 2011

For Sale by Owner

When I started thinking about selling our house, I asked the neighbors for realtor recommendations. One of them said, "Why not just do it yourself?"

Then my mom asked the same thing. Apparently, she sold our last house on her own.

I kept the idea in the back of my mind and met with a realtor. I explained to the realtor that we would be on vacation the first two weeks of July and wouldn't be putting our house on the market until we returned. She said, "Why not just let us sell it while you're gone?"

That sounded amazing! We could clean our house once and then leave! We wouldn't have to put away our toothbrushes every day, get Henry and Hoss out of the house for viewings, and figure out all the nuances of contracts and stuff.

But I kept thinking about how much money we could save by selling it on our own (approximately $8,000), and I also thought about how empowering it would be to learn about the whole process from scratch and then make it happen (or at least attempt to make it happen).

So I read a book about it, and now we're in the process of getting our house ready to sell. We're getting landscaping done, making the front porch look nicer, redoing some paint, etc. It kind of sucks to put so much work into a house that you're leaving, but that's how it goes.

I ordered some signs from Build a Sign. I figured we should try to look as professional as possible. I modified their templates a little, and I'm very happy with how the signs turned out. We're in the process of making a website (which is listed on the signs). We're also going to have color flyers in a plastic tube. Finally, we plan to hold open houses every Sunday. We need to give ourselves a timeline. I'm thinking if we don't sell it ourselves in one month then we should turn it over to a realtor.

We'll see how it goes. I've heard that the realtors in my neighborhood refuse to show houses that are for sale by owners. Eep!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Feeding the Soil header re-design contest! We already have four lovely entries from Olivia.

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Anonymous said...

Everyone buys a house the same way you did. They go to MLS, HAR in Houston. If you aren't on MLS, you're already sunk.

I guess you could get lucky, but if you need to sell soon, I just don't get it. Wait. Do you even have anywhere to move?

Carissa said...

Your professional signs and flyers sound great. You are way ahead most other FSBO houses!

In response to the first comment above, you could get on the MLS and still do a for-sale-by-owner if you wanted. There are plenty of services that contract with a realtor for a flat fee (vs. paying the full commission of a realtor) and post your house to the MLS (the realtor then just doesn't do anything else).

Also, one other thought that I had heard is the reason that realtors don't like to sell FSBO houses is because the home owners don't think they need to pay a commission to the buyer's agent. So, if you advertise a buyer's commission then realtors may be more likely to bring their clients to the house. So, you wouldn't save the full 8K -- only half of that -- but if they brought in the right buyer....

Good luck. I hope all of your hard work pays off and you sell your home to a wonderful family quickly!

Roxanne said...

Good luck! I think with the neighborhood you are in, it should sell pretty fast!

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you. We used a realtor to sell our house last year - we needed to sell quickly to make a cross country move - and it sold in a week so it was totally worth the money to us. I think giving yourselves a month is wise - if it sells, that's great, if not, you haven't lost that much time.

andee said...

I agree it is a good idea for you to have a timeline. I think it is awesome you are trying to do it yourself! I'll be sending good vibes your way.

Anonymous said...

I've heard Realtors say they will show a for-sale by owner house to their clients, but only if the seller agrees for the buyer's agent to represent both sides.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thanks, All!

We're going to list our house on the MLS in the same way that John and Sherry did. It's only a couple hundred bucks. Totally worth it. Sorry I forgot to mention that in my post.

And, yes, we are going to pay the buyer's agent. It's definitely fair.

No, we don't have a place to live yet, but we don't want to sign a lease until we know our house is going to sell. We're not in any rush to get to Austin, so it would be silly to start paying rent on something that we don't need yet.

The timing is definitely going to be tricky, since we'll need to sign a lease about a month in advance. It's a little stressful, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

there are always places you can rent short notice and for a short time. Sell the house first.
Maybe chat with a realtor or a rental agent in Austin to see how that market is for a quick lease.

Beth Martin said...

I don't know if you have a realtor in mind but maybe you could talk to them before you FSBO to get some ideas with the caveat you will let them list if you fail to sell. I know Dennis Sigut, Keller Williams, sells a lot in your area. I don't know him but have met him at neighborhood meetings and he seems nice. Also, I like Yvonne Meyer of Martha Turner. She is very nice and has great ideas. She has helped me in the past with my properties (not listing but giving me ideas.) I really applaud you for doing it yourself. I think it is a great idea.

Jen said...

I have some ideas for the header, but haven't had a chance to work on them yet. Hope you keep the contest open for a few more days. I skimmed through the info on spec work... I'm not a graphic designer. I just enjoy being creative in as many ways as I can, so I love the contest, and I'm always honored just to have people like my ideas, let alone use them on their work! An ad would be awesome too :) Hope to get something to you soon!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Jen! I'll definitely wait for your entry. Thanks for the heads-up!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Jen! Are you still planning to enter? I need to get going on my blog redesign. Just let me know!

KRISTIN said...

I'm curious as to what book you read regarding the FSBO process. Mind sharing?

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Kristin!

It's called For Sale by Owner by Robert Irwin.

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