Jovani Frank

Lions Gate Realty
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How To Sell My House By Owner

June 29th, 2019

Want to sell your home but don't think you need / want to use a Realtor? Well you might be right let's look at what it will take for you to get this done solo! Are you up for it or nah?

Research shows that people often buy based on an emotional response to a home, and they often make that decision within seconds of opening the door. From the curb to the edge of the backyard, here is a checklist of things you can do to ensure prospective buyers have the best experience viewing your home.

Outside: Remove clutter from lawn, Trim bushes and shrubs, Wash windows, Clean siding, Pull weeds, Mow and water lawn, Re-paint doors, Replace old bulbs, Add vibrant landscaping, Replace welcome mat, Clean out gutters, Clean outside grill equipment, Power wash the driveway, Clean patio furniture, Replace old patio cushions, Remedy patchy lawn     *Pro Tip* Home staging increases sales prices up to 11%  

Inside: Declutter, Remove personal items, Scrub bathroom fixtures, Clean flooring throughout, Repaint walls neutral colors, Clean and organize cabinets, Clean and polish appliances, Remove excess furniture to open living space, Dust and remove cobwebs, Clean carpet if necessary, Remove pet odors, Maintain minimal artwork, Clean or replace blinds / drapes, Update handles, faucets, and fixtures 

Suggested Repairs: Hire contractor for large jobs (Reach out for recommendation) Repair peeling paint, Replace carpet if needed, Fix bad or missing caulking, Correct water damage, Fix or replace leaky faucets, Repair switches and lights that don’t work, Fix driveway and porch cracks, Refinish floors and / or decks

PRICING: Pricing is the most important factor when it comes to selling a home. Pricing a home correctly from the beginning gives you the BEST chance of selling for top dollar because your home has the most interest right when it hits the market.

Accurate Pricing Best Practices §  Would You Like a Free Market Analysis?

*Real estate professionals have the efficacy and tools necessary to prepare a market analysis to help you determine a reasonable asking price. Call or text me if you would like me to provide one for you!
1.  Base your asking price on properties that have already sold, not homes that are currently listed
2.  Look for properties currently for sale in your neighborhood or subdivision to see what your competition is, and look for ways to gain a competitive edge
3.  Consider your home value as a tentative number, as the market will ultimately dictate what your house is worth
4.  If you are looking at comparables on your own as opposed to relying on an agent, be sure to try and find the most recent sales available
5.  Be careful not to compare two-story and ranch style homes. Ranch homes take up a larger footprint and cost more to build, so be sure to account for this

How to Find the Most Accurate Comparables: Comparable Qualities What to Look For  Square Footage:
Properties within 10% of the square footage of your home are always best. Do this based on above grade square footage. Finished basements don’t add as much value

Beds & Baths: Find homes with similar bed and bath counts

Condition: Find homes in similar visual condition. Moderately updated homes should be compared with one other, just as fully updated should, dilapidated, etc.

Neighborhood: Try to look for homes in close proximity to yours. The closer they are, the more comparable they are, especially to appraisers

School District: Schools are always a huge factor for families, so compare your home to others in the same district

Marketing is an integral part of creating interest in your home. Since you don’t have an agent doing it for you, it’s important to have a robust marketing plan, combining traditional advertising with digital and social media marketing

Marketing Action Plan

1. For Sale Sign Make sure your contact information is on your sign so any passerby can easily contact you

2. Online Advertising  Research shows that well over half of all people who buy homes turn to the internet as their first step, so this is crucial
Always list your home on Zillow (which automatically gets listed on its sister site Trulia as well)
Be sure to write a concise and captivating description of your home for potential buyers to read as they navigate your listing
Craigslist is another great source to list your home on, as they have a database of over 60 million users

Facebook Marketplace 
More than 800 million people use Facebook Marketplace every single month, so listing your house there is essential  Share your listing on local buy / sell groups for more targeted, local exposure

Good photos entice people to see your house in the first place, so make this a high priority Most good agents have professional photos taken for all their listings since most buyers find homes on the internet. You’ll want to take high quality photographs, both inside and outside the home

If you are offering a buyer’s agent commission, clearly notate that in your Zillow listing to encourage agents to show the home Consider offering home warranty with the sale as a buyer incentive

The easiest way to have an open house is to have me do it for you! It doesn’t cost you anything, and you don’t have to put forth energy into preparation, marketing, or hosting. Regardless of whether you seek my help or do it yourself, these tips will help you put on a stellar open house!

What I do to Prepare for an Open House
1. Cold call or door knock entire neighborhood with flyers, inviting them to come by the open house, usually done the day before
2. Add the open house date and time to the listing on Zillow to notify online shoppers
3. Put out several open house signs on prominent street corners the week of the open house

How I Host the Open House
Provide snacks and/or refreshments to create a welcoming atmosphere during the open house
2. Print out the listing ad so buyers can see pertinent information about the home as they tour
3. Put sign in sheet in the kitchen so I can follow up with prospects
4. Attach seller’s disclosure to listing ad so potential buyers can see important information about mechanical items of the home
5. Always ask for feedback before people leave the home. This allows the seller to take that feedback and make adjustments if necessary
6. Offer business card or exchange contact info so they can reach out with further questions or offers

Why Have Me Host for You?
I do not charge for hosting an open house
2. The marketing, signs, and hosting are entirely taken care of
3. Snacks and refreshments are provided and paid for
4. Guests often feel more comfortable with an agent hosting an open house because they can discuss the amenities more freely and provide honest feedback without risking offending the seller
5. I have ample experience hosting open houses and providing a very satisfactory guest experience

Reach out anytime to schedule an open house with me! I’m here to help! UNDERSTANDING OFFER TERMS:
So, you’ve got an offer on the table that interests you, now what? There are several considerations to be made before accepting. Follow these guidelines when reviewing an offer.

What to Consider Before Accepting an Offer:
1. Price – Is the offer price reasonable? Consider the type of market you are in (buyer vs. seller), how long your home has been on the market, if the comparable sales justify the offer, and if you are comfortable with the rough net profit you will receive
2. Financing – Note if the sale is contingent on obtaining a mortgage. If so, it is always in your best interest to ask for a copy of the pre-approval letter from the buyer before accepting to mitigate the risk of the formal loan application being denied
3. Home Inspection – Most contracts have a specified window that the buyer is entitled to for conducting home inspections. Be aware of this and know the buyer is usually entitled to back out if there are unacceptable conditions
4. Appraisal – Appraisal is almost always required if a mortgage is involved as lenders want to protect their investment. If an appraisal comes in low, either the sales price will have to be negotiated down, or the buyer will have to pay more out of pocket to keep the deal together. It is a good idea to have a real estate professional to prepare a market analysis for you, so you have a rough idea of where the appraisal may come in at
5. Contingent on Sale Clause – If the purchase is contingent on the buyer selling their home, be mindful of the stipulation that puts on the sale. If not specified, it’s best to find out if they already have an accepted offer on their home
6. Settlement Date – Review the closing widow, especially if you need the proceeds to bring to the closing table on a new home. If financing is involved, expect a 30-45 day closing window as it takes time to get to clear-to-close
7. Earnest Money – A serious buyer will almost always pay forward an earnest money deposit to be held in escrow upon offer acceptance. This shows good faith that they will purchase the home. It gives you, the seller, security knowing that you are entitled to the deposit if the buyer backs out in violation of the contract. Note that the average earnest deposit is 1-2% of the sales price
8. Closing Costs: A buyer with a mortgage usually will have closing costs between 2-5% of the purchase price and may ask for some or all of these costs covered, depending on the type of loan. This would detract from your net proceeds

CLOSING THE DEAL: Once you and a buyer have come to an agreement and have a purchase agreement signed, it’s important to prepare yourself for what you are responsible for and what further negotiations may take place.
Further Negotiations
1. Most contracts have an inspection window in which the buyer is also able to request repairs or a reduction in sales price if there are any unsatisfactory items. Note the time frame available for these negotiations in the contract
2. As mentioned earlier, if an appraisal comes in low, there will have to be negotiations to keep the financing in place, or the deal will fall through
Working with a Title Company
1. In Texas, closings are customarily conducted through a title company. They work to convey title correctly, as well as issue a title insurance policy
2. Contact a title company once you have an accepted offer and they will start the process of getting you and your buyer to the closing table

Seller Closing Costs:
It’s important to know what your estimated closing costs are before accepting an offer to give you a general idea of your net profits and avoid surprises at closing. Note that the buyer may ask for some of their costs to be covered in the purchase agreement. However, the costs below are those that are automatically assumed by the seller, unless otherwise agreed upon.
1. Title Insurance Policy Covers buyer in the event that someone lays claim on the property after purchase $1,000, though largely dependent on sales price
2. Transfer Tax Tax based on sales price levied by the city and county $8.60 per $1,000 of sales price
3. Document Prep Fee Often charged by title company to cover preparation and handling of documents $50-$100
4. Pre-Payment Penalty Lenders may charge a penalty for paying off your loan early Varying; Often charged as a percentage of loan balance

At this point, you have already chosen to sell on your own, but you’ve probably wondered if hiring a real estate professional is worth considering at some point. Perhaps you are just interested to know what the major upsides and downsides are to selling by owner. Either way, I put together this comprehensive list of pros & cons to answer all of those questions.

Agent Pros 
1. Agent-listed homes sell for more money on average
2. Invaluable experience selling homes
3. They manage showings and filter through unqualified buyers
4. Functional understanding of pricing and market conditions
5. Nuanced negotiation skills and understanding of paperwork
6. Marketing proficiency and increased buyer pool

Agent Cons  
1. Pay full commission
2. Working around their timeline
3. You aren’t their only client
4. Introducing a “middle man”        

FSBO Pros  
1. Don’t pay out listing commission
2. Control over the sale
3. You know every attractive detail about your home
4. No risk of untrustworthy agent
5. You bring a homeowner’s perspective
6. Save on full commission if buyer without agent is found  

FSBO Cons  
1. Buyer’s agents will still want commission
2. Significantly smaller buyer pool
3. Lots of looky-loos and bargain shoppers
4. Requires lots of knowledge on contract requirements
5. Higher risk of deals falling apart
6. Higher risk of improper contract execution

If you have any questions feel free to reach out i'm here to help!

Jovani The Realtor 
Phone (call/text): 281.515.6828


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Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Houston Association of REALTORS®

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Lions Gate Realty
720 Rusk St. Ste. 120, Houston, TX 77002   Get Directions
Phone: (713) 389-8322
Fax: (281) 528-8954
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