3 Key Elements to Selling Your House

From time to time people decide to change the place they call their home. They decide to move. People fall into a couple of major categories- they may be in fairly temporary circumstances, renting a house or apartment or living with parents, etc or they live in a more permanent situation such as owning their own house. The first is fairly liquid, in that when the end of a term or period of time occurs, they simply walk away. The second is more challenging, in that the owners of their current house must find NEW owners for that house before they can move on.

If you are in that second group, and you must find new owners for your house, then you need to sell your place. People do that in either of two manners. Either they enter into an agreement with a real estate agent to market their house, and pay the agent a commission out of the proceeds of the sale, or they sell the house themselves, By-Owner and pocket the commission that would otherwise be subtracted from their profit. Regardless of the method of selling, there are three critical concepts that will serve you well if you internalize them early-on in the process.

Clean It Up

Look at your house objectively as much as possible.  I’m sorry if this sounds blunt, but cut that grass.  Trim those shrubs.  Fix that gutter where it’s hanging down a bit at the corner.  Move the kid’s toys and the grill out from in front of the house.  Ask a friend if your house looks like something someone would consider buying.

Inside the house, do much the same thing.  I’m not saying as some agents do, that you have to make it look as though you don’t live there.  What I am saying is that when people see you live there, they see you are tidy.

We all love our kids.  We all love to eat.  We all love to clean up and put on fresh clothes.  The trick is not to have the den full of the kid’s toys, the kitchen full of dirty pans and dishes where we prepared meals, and the bathrooms covered in dirty clothes.  Over the years I have not only seen houses left like that for prospective buyers to see, but I have also seen houses like that in the listing pictures!  It is called incrementalism .  Something starts out messy and over time, gets even messier gradually and without being noticed by the sellers.

Don’t Overprice

You know what your house is worth.  You can easily obtain lists of the houses that have sold in your neighborhood.  An agent would be happy to run you what is called a CMA, competitive market analysis, to demonstrate what your house will probably bring.  So don’t be confused.  I am a proponent of pricing your house boldly, but not ridiculously.   If you are selling your house For-Sale-By-Owner, remember you are already saving some of the commission that was probably paid in those comparable sales.  So don’t get crazy.

It is sad, from time to time, when one of my customers who is selling their house FSBO with me in the MLS say that they just didn’t have any luck selling their house that way, and then list with a full-service Realtor.  Because that full-service Realtor is going to put the house right back in the same MLS.  He or she will only make you price it lower AND pay commission.  So go ahead and price it lower BEFORE you pay commission as well.

Be Accessible

Yup.  You AND your house.  When somebody calls, answer the phone.  If you have to use an answering service, return the call.  ASAP.  People want what they want, and they want it right then!  It has be come an internet world in some of the public’s eyes and they have gotten used to Google waiting for them to search anytime night or day.  Of course you can’t compete with the ‘net, but you must not leave people waiting too long either.  Discipline yourself to check your voice-mail regularly and frequently.  Return the calls.  Attention and interest have short half-lives.  As time passes beyond their initial call, their interest diminishes exponentially.

Make you house easy to see.  I have worked with people who said to prospects that they only showed the house on Thursdays.  Try, within reason to let a prospect tour your house when they want or need to.  Close the bedroom door if the baby is napping.  Miss the bridge club this week.

Some buyers are emergency-room nurses and doctors.  Some buyers work third shift.  Some even work an odd number of days on and off.  You may well have to be inconvenienced on your way to the other side of this transaction.  Just keep your eye on the goal.  These three elements will put you a lot closer to scoring!


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profileBroker Don Martin, founder and CEO of Martin Properties, besides helping hundreds of FSBOs save thousands of dollars, also delivers seminars, keynotes and motivational messages to real estate and sales professionals. His 30+ years of experience in sales, marketing, real estate, promotion, management and technology has empowered thousands to expand their knowledge and achieve their goals. Connect with Martin Properties on Facebook, TheReasonableRealtor.com, MLS-TODAY.com or Amazon.com.