Secrets to Selling a House Privately
Sometimes, the option of selling a house privately is more attractive than putting a home on the open market with a real estate agent.
If you’ve been struggling with money and have fallen behind on your mortgage, you may not want it publicized that, without selling, you’d face foreclosure.
If you need to sell a house after the death of a parent who is a hoarder, making their struggles public may just seem disrespectful. It could also simply be that you’ve been burned by agents in the past and don’t trust that you won’t have the same experience again.
Whatever your unique situation may be, selling a house to a buyer directly can be ideal because it may also save you money. Without a real estate agent listing your house, you won’t have to pay their commission when you sell your property.
That it’s potentially cheaper doesn’t mean selling your home privately is easier than putting it on the market with an agent, however. In fact, it could be harder. So, here are our tips to help the transaction go smoother.
How to Make Selling a House Privately Easier
Prepare your home.
Prepping your home for the sale is one of the best ways to ensure you get enough people interested to get a good price—whether you’re selling your house privately or with the help of a real estate agent. The reason is simple. Potential buyers need to see the possibility that your house could become their home.
So, at a minimum, clean and declutter. It’s helpful to remove all personal items like family photos, vacation souvenirs, and children’s toys, too.
In addition to sprucing the house up, you may want to consider performing minor repairs as well as major ones (if you can). Adding a fresh coat of neutral paint to the bedrooms, for example, will go a long way toward creating a blank slate for buyers to build their decorating ideas on.
Repairing old and leaking roofs and replacing outdated plumbing are big wins, too. Of course, these tasks take both time and money, whether you do them yourself or hire professionals. But, the result could be that you receive several decent offers without ever putting your house on the market.
Correctly price the property.
Without a real estate agent to help correctly—and competitively—price your property, it might seem tricky to figure out a good price on your own. The trick is to look up comparable homes that have recently sold in your area and use those prices to help determine yours.
Just be careful when comparing the condition of your home with others that have sold. A recently rehabbed, move-in ready house won’t be worth the same amount as a fixer with mold. It’ll be worth more. And, if you think selling a house with mold could be tough, try selling it at the same price as the newly renovated, pristine property down the street.
Market your house online and off.
As privately as you’d like to keep the sale of your house, you’ll still have to do some marketing to attract buyers.
To start, take photos of your home inside and out; then, write a description that both shows your property in its best light and discloses any major issues you weren’t able to fix.
Your marketing efforts should include:
- Signs on the lawn
- Ads in the local newspaper and online
- A listing with your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
- Placement on one or more ‘For Sale By Owner’ websites
- Open houses
- Marketplace ads on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Most of these options will cost you some cash and, when combined, you’ll probably have to dig deep into your pockets. They won’t exactly keep the sale of your property private, either. Still, people shopping for homes need to know where to find you. So, you need to advertise or your house will likely sit on the market.
Offer commission to selling agents.
Selling your house privately allows you to save on paying commissions to a real estate agent for representing you. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t be expected to compensate the buyer’s agent with a percentage of your home’s selling price.
In traditional real estate transactions, your listing agent splits their commission—usually 6% of the sale price—with the selling agent who brings the buyer. So, typical compensation for a selling agent amounts to about 3%.
Since no one likes to work for free, and since you’ll still need a buyer to purchase your house, the responsibility of offering commission will fall to you.
Hire professionals to handle the paperwork.
Filling out and filing the right documentation for the transaction takes time. It also requires some legal savvy.
So, if you’ve never handled the sale of your home on your own before, it’s not a bad idea to hire a pro to help.
It can be too easy to miscommunicate your intentions when verbally negotiating price and terms. Once it all goes down on paper, however, correcting any mistakes just gets that much harder.
Forget to check even one box—or miss one that’s been checked by the buyer—and you could find yourself agreeing to terms that reduce your profit and add to your frustration.
To avoid committing any snafus that you can’t back away from, consider hiring a brokerage firm or a real estate attorney to go through your documents with a fine-tooth comb. Their service will come at a cost, of course. But, it’s a cost that may actually save you a lot of grief and even money in the end.
Expediting the Sale
Taken together, the above steps can make selling your house privately to a buyer easier. The problem, however, is that the process can still be frustrating if, by not hiring a real estate agent to handle some or all of these tasks, it takes a long time for your house to sell.
You may not need the sale of your house to go through quickly, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got all the time in the world to wait. Plus, the longer the property sits unsold, the more your holding costs—like homeowners insurance and utilities—add up.
In the end, the amount of time and money it can take to sell a home on your own is exactly why most sellers eventually hire a real estate agent to help. The number of homeowners who attempt to try has dropped, according to the National Association of Realtors, bringing successfully executed private sales down to a mere 7% of all homes sold.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up on the idea, though.
Buyers who will simply purchase your home as-is without the use of their own real estate agent do exist.
Some even pay all cash, handle the paperwork, and close quickly, since they want the transaction to be easy for everyone involved. The trick, of course, is knowing how to find such an ideal buyer, without having to advertise.
An Ideal Buyer Keeps Selling Simple
Family-owned and operated Sell Your House Direct will make a cash offer on your house at a fair price and with a fast close. We’ll strive to make the process as simple as possible, too, by taking the home as-is. It doesn’t matter if there is deferred maintenance on the property or if it’s packed floor to ceiling with stuff.
As local home buying specialists, we’ve seen it all, and we can handle it all—without passing judgment—because we’ve learned that the secret to success is to treat everyone with respect.
Whatever your reason for selling your house privately, we can buy it. We’ll charge zero commissions and zero fees and don’t need you to make repairs, either. In our book, home buying made simpler is just better.