For Sale by Owner Guide to Selling

4 Essential Steps to Selling Your Home Like a Pro, from Staging to Closing the Deal

About 15% of all home sales are private transactions or For Sale by Owner listings. Selling your own home requires know-how and commitment.  With a For Sale by Owner, you will have to actively promote your listing and convince potential buyers that your house is more desirable than the competition. This guide reveals the 4 essential steps to selling like a pro, from staging to closing the deal.

Step 1: Staging--Give your home the WOW factor

Your home has to impress a potential buyer.  A first impression starts when a potential buyer pulls up in front of your house.  Boost your curb appeal by trimming the trees and bushes around the house.  Weed the front walk and mulch the garden beds, even add a few potted plants.  Make sure the grass is mowed, and clean up after your pets!  Power wash the exterior to brighten brick and siding if needed.

Invest time to clean and de-clutter inside.  Make sure your home is free of dust, pet hair and odors.  Clean off kitchen counters and stow away any papers and small appliances. Tidy up clutter on the mantle, book cases and end tables by limiting yourself to 3 objects per surface.  Wood floors sell! Remove area rugs and give floors a good cleaning!   Staging your home for sale will take time, but will pay dividends in more WOW factor.

A few interior decorating tricks can go a long way to impress a potential buyer.  Remove excess furniture from each room, sticking to the essential pieces. Rearrange remaining furniture so that all four corners are empty.  If rooms appear dark or dated, give them a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color, nothing too bright or overpowering.  Update cabinet and drawer pulls throughout kitchen and bathrooms, and replace dated light fixtures. Be creative in identifying inexpensive updates that can make your home more appealing.

Follow your checklist when showing your house to a potential buyer.  The house should be spotless.  Family members should plan to leave the house 10 minutes prior to the showing, taking any pets with you. Open all the blinds and curtains, as natural light will make the house appear bigger and more inviting. Turn on all the lights, and use the brightest bulbs permitted by each fixture.  Have scented candles and air fresheners placed strategically throughout the house.  For an extra touch, leave visitors a flyer, thanking them for their interest, and telling them something special about your home or neighborhood.

Step 2: Marketing--Establish your price

Setting a realistic asking price is the single most important marketing decision in this whole process; some homeowners are not objective when determining the true market value of their house. Do your homework by going online to research comparable homes that have sold in your area within the last 6 months.

Consider the condition and location of your house, and make sure you are comparing apples to apples in your immediate area. Comparison should be based on square footage, number of bedrooms/bathroom, presence of finished basement, deck, and other unique features. This is how a real estate agent and appraisers determine the value of a potential house for sale. Consider hiring a licensed appraiser to appraise the property. Providing potential buyers with a property appraisal upfront could help to close your sale.

Step 3: Advertising—Catch the interest of potential buyers

More than 85% of homebuyers start their search on the internet, so get your home listed on the web.   Advertising is key to finding a buyer …the more exposure the better. List your home on various “For Sale by Owner” sites and on Craig’s List. Don’t underestimate the power networking, especially within social media groups like Facebook.  You can also set up your own website very inexpensively, where you can showcase your home with pictures and video.  You can tell all your friends and acquaintances about your listing, even place an ad in the local paper, and direct people to your website for more information. Even your For Sale Signs will serve as advertising.  Strategically place signs so they are visible on your property, on your street and on the main road leading to your neighborhood.  Your sign should let perspective homebuyer’s know where to find your house on the web.

Step 4: Closing the deal—and avoiding problems at settlement!

You have a buyer, so what’s next?  First you’ll need to prepare an Agreement of Sale. Then, you will need a title company to perform the real estate closing. Associates Land Transfer Company, LLC has participated in over 18,000 real estate transactions throughout Pennsylvania.

A home inspection and any necessary repairs go without saying. And if your municipality requires an on-site inspection to issue a Use and Occupancy Certificate upon the sale of your house, you’ll want to know the procedure for scheduling that as well. Identify any potential issues early so you don't lose an impatient buyer later. If you have on site water and sewer, check with your municipality to see if they require an on site inspection.

For your convenience, we offer a For Sale by Owner service:

1.  Our in-house attorney, with more than 30 years experience in real estate and banking, will assist you in drafting an agreement of sale.

2.  We explain the entire settlement process to you, help you fulfill the requirements for your closing, and help you meet all the deadlines.

3.  We hold the buyer’s good faith deposit in escrow until final closing, and can assist with the title insurance required by their lender.

4.  We make sure the buyer’s lender provides you with a mortgage loan commitment in a timely manner.

5.  We assist you in ordering all mortgage payoffs, the use and occupancy certificate (if required) and any other municipal certifications necessary to convey free and clear title to the new owners.

For assistance with your For Sale by Owner Plans, please call our office.

(215) 699-1200

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