Selling Your Home For Sale By Owner? Be Prepared!

April 30, 2018

The real estate market in Richmond Virginia continues to be extremely tight!  Buyers are finding that homes coming on the market are going under contract in a matter of hours, not days, many times with multiple offers!  




Many sellers wonder why they should hire a Realtor to help them with their sale when all they have to do is to put the house on the market & buyers will get drawn to the house like a bee to honey!  The thought of saving on the commission is the #1 reason why most owners choose to go For Sale By Owner!  But if you do go this route - be prepared!


Be Prepared For The Various People You Will Have To Deal With!

There are lots of people you will have to deal with when you decide to sell your home yourself - the buyer who wants the best deal out there, the buyers agent who is representing the best interest of their buyer only, the buyers settlement attorney who is working for the buyers best interest only, the home inspectors who are working for the buyers best interest, the termite company you must deal with if there are issues, the buyers lender who want to make sure their investment in your house is worth it, the appraiser who wants to make sure that the home's value is worth it, the title company if there are any issues with your title, the county or city if there are permitting or tax issues that arise during your sale, and even the buyer's buyer if your buyer is also selling a house and there are challenges that come up with the house the buyer is selling!!!


Be Prepared For The Time You Will Have To Spend To Sell Your Home!

You will need to spend the time to get your home market ready (even checking out the competition), spend time having professional photos taken of your home, spend time writing up the description of your home so buyers know how great your home is, spend time making sure that your home's marketing avenues are reaching the buyers!  Then you will have to show the property to potential buyers - including may unqualified buyers!  And even spend time talking to agents who may or may not be serious about your home's value! 


Be Prepared For The Money You Will Have To Spend To Sell Your Home!

Yes, you are saving the commission!  But you will definitely have costs - the buyer may have a Buyer Agent you have to pay a buyer agent commission to for bringing you that buyer!  You may have to spend money for the stager, the professional photographer, the color flyers to give to the buyers, the signage to go into your yard, a combination lockbox to allow other Realtors to show your home,  an attorney to review paperwork on your behalf, possibly newspaper ads and other marketing tools!  And, as my father used to say, time is money!  Your time to do all these things is certainly worth something! 


Be Prepared For The Liability You May Have In Selling Your Home!

If you make a mistake, it can cost you greatly!  A Realtor makes a mistake, they have Errors & Omissions Insurance to cover them!  As an example - you advertise that you have hardwood floors - but you really have a wood veneer floor - this can cost you!  It can either cost you a buyer - or worse, you may have to replace your floors with wood!  Mistakes can be costly when you are a For Sale By Owner!


Be Prepared To Properly Price Your Home!

Pricing your home correctly is a must!  But how do you decide on a price?  Do you use Zillow, or any of the other automated valuation models out there?  Do you get an appraisal done?  What about the tax assessment?    Or do you just pull a number out of the air?  Realtors work the market day in and day out, and they know what is happening, they know what buyers are thinking, they know how a house compares to the others on the market!  They are objective about what in your home brings value to the buyers!  Pricing your home correctly takes time to really get to know the competition & the sales & what is going on in your area!


Be Prepared For Low Ball Offers For Your Home!
Being a For Sale By Owner can sometimes cause investors to come in and make low ball offers for your home, making the assumption that you are naive about the market!  And you may not feel comfortable negotiating with the savvy investors!  They don't see in your home the same things another buyer may see or what you love about the home!


Be Prepared For Scammers!

Welcome to 2018, where all kinds of scammers are out there looking to rip you off!  There are Craigs List scams for fake rentals of your home, wire fraud scams - to name a few!  There are fraudulent buyers, fraudulent appraisers, fraudulent lenders!  You may even get an offer that seems great - maybe even too good to be true and you take it without reading the fine print - and then you have problems!  


Be Prepared For The Paperwork!

Does an untrained seller know all the paperwork that is needed to get their home sold in 2018?  Maybe you can download the forms but do you know what they all mean?  After all, they are legally binding!  Our contract alone is 9 pages - and that doesn't include disclosures, addendums, etc.   And that paperwork can be very daunting!  


Be Prepared to Have No One To Call If There Is A Question or Problem!

Getting a house under contract is only the first step!  But no one gets their money until the house actually closes!  That means there can be as much as 30 or 60 days or even longer until it closes!  And during that time, lots of things can come up - bad appraisals, issues with the buyers financing, issues with inspections, repairs, etc!  If you run into a problem or even just have a question, who are you going to call?  If you call an attorney, this may be another cost to incur!


If you are thinking of selling your home in 2018 and the thought of saving all that commission makes you smile, remember that it is not always as easy as it sounds!  There are lots of things we as Realtors do behind the scenes that you will have to do as a For Sale By Owner to get your house not only under contract but closed!


Have a question about the market?  Thinking of selling your home?  Thinking of buying a home?  Feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help!













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Barbara A. Reagan


Long & Foster Realtors

2931 Polo Pkwy

Midlothian, VA  23113

Phone:  804-869-1191


Barbara A. Reagan - Long & Foster Realtors - 2931 Polo Pkwy - Midlothian, VA  23113