It’s important to understand that when you sell your home by yourself, it will take a lot of effort whether you simply list it for sale with a real estate agent or if you decide to take another route. But, if you’re willing to put in the extra time and energy, you can save money and avoid unnecessary fees. This was never more apparent than when Grandpa informed us that it was time for him to move to assisted living. In short order he had an appointment with the community he had selected, he signed a lease, and in about a week he was settling in his new apartment nicely.
He knew we would pick up the pieces and sell his house for him as we are in the business of selling houses. Others may not be so lucky, they often call us for a quick sale and to skip all the hard parts.
Here’s how to sell your house by yourself.
There are several steps involved when you decide to sell your house “by myself” on your terms, especially if you are selling a home you have lived in for over 20 years and you are not taking all your possessions with you.
First, you’ll need to prepare your home for sale. For us, this included going through every closet, cabinet and drawer to sort through everything and hold a sale.
Next, it was time to get the home prepared to be sold. Fixing things that were broken, aged, and dated so the potential home buyers would like the home.
After getting the home ready, it’s time to select a listing price and market the home to buyers> You might do this by listing it with a real estate agent, possibly selling to a family friend as we did, or putting a sign in the yard and marketing it for sale.
Last, you need to negotiate the sale price with the buyers and babysit the transaction through the title company to closing.
Word of warning, we also learned through this process with Grandpa’s house that there are scammers out there calling and trying to steal his house before we can get the transaction completed, more on this in a minute.
Do an Inspection
No matter what your plan is for selling your house yourself, you should start with a good inspection of the home to point out what needs to be fixed and what needs to be updated. For us this was a fairly straightforward process to convince Grandpa on items that really did need to be fixed: The hot water tank was 20 years old and the plumbing lines were corroded, he agreed that did need to be fixed. A three-way switch didn’t work, he agreed. But when it came to the fact that all the walls were pink, all the trim was pink, and that he had used the walls as a pin cushion, sinking 100’s of screws and nails into the drywall, everywhere, it took a ton of convincing on the fact that the house needed to be painted.
And if there are major issues that need repair, remember they must be disclosed to all potential buyers.
Cleaning Out the House
Our next step was going through the house to collect the items he would need for his new apartment and then going through everything to get it sold. Having bought and cleaned out hundreds of houses, we knew there just was not a whole heck of a lot of stuff that would make it worth an estate sale company’s time. The furnishings were all antique, from the 1950s mostly, and not really worth a whole heck of a lot. So the family who had the time, spend a long hard week going through things, gathering tables and setting it all out for sale: ton’s of ancient Tupperware from the 1950s, 1950s, and 1970s, all the weird little tools that a 95 year old man has collected across his life, and woodworking tools, plus the 100’s of pieces of framed art that adorned every inch of wall space. This was a week and 1/2 process to get it all laid out, get it all priced to sell, and then selling the stuff.
We realize that this is the stopping point for the majority of homeowners we work with. They want to downsize to a smaller house, upsize to a bigger house, move into an RV (we’ve had several families going on the road), they are moving to assisted living, like our Grandpa, or perhaps the owner has passed and the kids are working to sell the home.
Cleaning out the house is the biggest hurdle that most face when selling a home. Sometimes it is such a big task that it does not get done, the home sits full of stuff and vacant for months, even years, waiting for the cleaning out process to be done. Other times, it is too an emotional task that no one wants to tackle. As buyers of homes, we here at kcmoHomeBuyer, have taken the house along with all the stuff. We do the clean-out, so the owner and or their families don’t have to.
Preparing the Home for Sale
This is where we are at with Grandpa. We are getting the home ready to be sold. The sale is over, taking 7 people working in their spare time (most who are retired and have a lot of spare time), about 2 weeks. Now it’s time for the contractors. The painter to repair all those nail and screw holes and turn the pink walls and trim into a more acceptable color. The plumber to replace the hot water heater, and repair the corroded water lines, and all the faucets. The electrician to replace dated light fixtures and repair the non-functioning switches. The termite company to treat the infestation. And the flooring company to replace all the worn and dated carpet.
Grandpa is lucky, his house is in great shape and does not need much. Others we have worked with have had a lot more costly issues that they could not afford to address: The entire house needing repairs and updates in every room, failing foundations, leaking roofs, worn out furnace and air. All of these repairs can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes, can hold up a sale. While all of these issues can scare off a potential buyer, there are people like us who buy houses to fix up. So if getting the home ready to be sold is not for you, give us a call, we buy homes “as-is” allowing you to skip another step in the process of selling your home yourself.
Choose a Real Estate Agent.
The next step is to figure out how you are going to sell your home. Are you going to market it yourself, hire a real estate agent, or skip straight to getting it sold by working with a professional home buyer like us, the Tuckers at kcmoHomeBuyer.
When you hire a real estate agent, they typically want the house cleaned out or staged, all the broken items fixed, and the home picture perfect. This allows them to list the home for a premium price, and market it to the widest range of buyers, to net the highest sale price. If you have the time and money to devote to getting your house ready to sell, this is by far the best way for you to sell a home. When you list your home with a Real Estate agent, it will typically sell for more, offsetting the cost of their real estate commissions and fees. But the trade-off is all the time and money spent on getting it ready.
You could also choose to list the home for sale and market it to sell yourself. Holding your own open houses, walking potential buyers through the home, and negotiating the sale yourself. This is actually what we did with Grandpa’s house as we had a close family member looking for a home in the area. Many families might take this route to sell a home when a family member might like to buy it. While listing it might generate a higher sale, it also might not. This saved us a ton of time because the sale process is taking place at the exact same time as the getting-it-ready part. This saves a ton in holding costs and allows us to skip costly vacant insurance.
You might also decide to skip everything and go straight to the sale part. When you are selling your home yourself and call a professional home buyer, you can skip straight to the negotiate the price part and be at the closing table in a week to 10 days.
Negotiating with Buyers
No matter how you sell your home, at some point, you do need to decide on a price that works for you. As we are Realtors we always take a look at other sales in the area. We like to see what homes that are all fixed up are selling for, what average homes in the area are selling for, and what homes that are in need of repair are selling for. We then compare the house we are selling to these homes to find the ones most like our house in size, shape, age, and condition to come up with our value. If you are not a Realtor there are online sites that can help, and you can always consult with a Realtor to help you find these numbers.
Then when you have your optimum price, hire your Realtor, stick the sign in the yard or give us a call here at kcmoHomeBuyer. Whatever way you choose to find your buyer, then negotiate with them to an agreed-upon price. The fewer repairs needed and the more updated your home, the higher your price might be. Whereas if your home needs a lot in repairs, is still full of stuff and all you are going to do is hand over the keys, the lower your price would be.
Write a Contract and Go to Closing
Once you find your buyer and agree upon a price, you write up the contract, send it to a title company to work out the paperwork and money, and then you go to closing.
If you are unsure of your options and need a bit of guidance, the team here at kcmoHomeBuyer is ready to help. As we are Realtors we can help you with what homes in the area look like and sell for, we can even list your home with our sister company Realty Resource, providing you with an estimate of how long it would take to sell and the work you would need to do to get it sold. As buyers of homes, we can also give you a cash offer that requires no work on your part and closing in a few days or on the day of your choice. Just give us a call a (816) 408-3600
Watch out for Scams When Selling Yourself
We have heard of scams to steal deeds ourselves, but we had not really seen firsthand how they work. It seems in the area where Grandpa lived that there was a scammer calling him and several of the neighbors asking a lot of questions. We are not 100% sure of what they were trying to do, but it seems they were trying to gain the confidence of the people in the area to get them to sign paperwork that would deed the home to the scammers, and then the scammers would own the home.
So if you own your own home or you have a family member with a home, before signing papers with anyone, talk to a trusted advisor, ask them to read them, and explain to them before you sign anything. And put it on your calendar to check up on the deed of your home on a regular basis to make sure it does not change hands without your knowledge.
Request a FREE, No-Obligation ConsultationYou can trust our firm offer will not change before closing, and you won’t be hit by any of those surprise fees. We’ll be there to walk you through each step of the sale.
NOT PENALIZED FOR NOT GETTING EVERYTHING CLEANED OUT OF THE HOUSE
I liked the fact that I wasn’t penalized or felt pressure for not getting everything cleaned out of the house. There was over 40 years and three families’ worth of treasure stored in the house, making me feel that the challenge of cleaning it was going to be impossible. I did what I could and you never hesitated in telling me that it’s ok to leave the rest behind.