Four months ago, when we first decided to put our home on the market we settled on the most stress free way we could think to go about it. A decision based mostly on the good luck we had with our first home we sold at the peak of the market, quite easily. Mainly because by the time we were done restoring it it was unique enough to sell itself. The end result of good bones (a 1927 Spanish bungalow with all the great stuff) lots of love, and plenty of dedicated handiwork lent to hours upon hours of building the kind of backyard only Mike can see through. Magazine worthy at minimal cost. A beatufiul adobe fireplace / pizza oven, tropical gazebo and outdoor kitchen that would serve as the template for our next house (this house) in creating basically the same layout but borrowing more from Mediterranean landscape heavy with hand poured concrete caps and rock work.
The second reason we opted to sell on our own is that Mike doesn't believe in paying anyone to do anything he feels even remotely capable of, so if there's a will theres a way, and - he'll argue - the internet does much of the footwork for us these days anyway.
For sale by owner however isn't for anyone. I just want to put that out there because I don't want in anyway to undermine the steadfast work of real estate agents armed with the kind of slick skills it requires to move houses, promote and negotiate for a living. But for anyone in the same boat (or similar) to us, eliminating a listing agent means a lot more money in your pocket at the end of it all when you aren't forced to fork over 3 or 4 percent of your home's equity to the person selling your house. And no, this isn't a sponsored post. Just a helpful tip on the topic because I could have used it myself, when we were first considering a second go at selling on our own but not fully convinced it was a realistic scenario in today's fickle housing market.
Given our situation, we followed a few of the following
Selling With Loose Time Constraints
We listed our house just before Christmas - casually though on a couple big names sites with the ideal vision being: a home sold by Springtime, a minimal gap in between houses where we could stay with in laws until the boys finish school and we find another home. Then buy before the start of the next school year allowing for a few weeks of major renovation to get under way before moving in. So far, save for a couple bumps along the way, it's all worked out exactly as we hoped. Timing wise, anyway.
Relying on Unique Selling Aspects
Even though our house is a track home, in which countless others in the area boast the exact same layout, the landscape (and some other unique features we added throughout the years) we figured would already garner some decent traffic without relying on the promotional tactics commonly used by paid agents.
Seeking Alternative Options
The way the internet is evolving has really opened up the door for mass exposure in ways we really use to struggle. In the end, we really didn't want to hassle with all the legal aspects and consuming negations that come with selling a house on your own so we ultimately looked into some new up and coming companies that provide basic support in agent based areas for a much smaller percentage. Somewhere along the way Mike came across a family new company called Sold Bot who's main MO promises to:
- list your property for sale in MLS, Realtor.Com, and Zillow within 24 hours
- Complete all the purchase contract and paperwork
- Offer unlimited customer support
- And post up to 35 photos of your home, all for free.
The catch being, they do require you use their escrow company which is where their 2,000 dollar profit comes in. What it is then required on your end is hosting and promoting your own open houses (via a for sale sign in the front yard and flyers if you want (we didn't even do the latter) and only held two open houses before we had a buyer come in with full asking price) but ended up selling after another buyer's escrow fell through. All I all, it's been such a positive experience. Enough that I set out mid way through writing this post to help spread the word to anyone else maybe considering a for sale by owner but too afraid to go at it alone. For us it was more of a time issue. And not having enough of it to keep up on editing listings and answering inquiries.
Remaining Patient / Optimistic
One of the big issues for me was maintaining as easy a transition as possible, which meant approaching this sell without any hard lined expectations to plight what can be an already trying endeavor. In other words, yes we wanted a certain amount, but were in the fortunate circumstance of not "having" to be out, as well as knowing we could count on some "in between time" at our in laws while searching for the right home to come along. Certainly this is not the case with everyone, so we are very grateful for the option allowing us to find the "right" one, as opposed to jumping into something else due to being pressed for time and desperate.
Basically my advice here aimed at anyone not in a huge hurry to get out or in another place, to try first without an agent and see how it goes. Best case scenario being, you save a big chunk of your overall profit, like us, and get to then pour a little extra into the home you find and love, in dire need of some serious restorations.