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Selling Privately: a How-To Guide

Posted January 19th, 2011 under pitfalls, smart selling, myths and truths.

So, you've decided to sell your home yourself? There are many reasons why people make this decision, such as a desire to save money or sell at a higher price, a desire to feel more in control of the selling process, or the thrill or feeling of accomplishment that comes with negotiating their own deal. Whatever your personal reasons might be, you'll need to take extra care when flying solo. This guide will give you a few starting tips to protect yourself.

STEP 1: Make a list of all the costs you'll need to pay and when you'll need to pay them (see following steps). Many expenses will need to be paid up front, before you receive the proceeds of the sale, so be sure a private sale makes financial sense for you.

STEP 2: Find a real estate lawyer to assist you with legal documents. Be sure to tell them up front that you are selling privately and will need them to check over any offers.

STEP 3: Set your asking price. You can do this two ways: either you have a specific price you absolutely must sell for, and are willing to wait as long as necessary to sell at that price, or you want to sell within a reasonable time, in which case you must price according to the market.

To price according to the market, you need to assess the value of your home, taking into account location, upgrades and upkeep, and market conditions. (For more details, read my series of articles on factors that affect your selling price.) If you want, you can pay an agent to perform an evaluation and market analysis for your property.

STEP 4: Once you've determined your asking price, you need to attract potential buyers. In the past, private sellers were limited to advertising methods such as local newspapers, “sell-it-yourself” websites, and the ubiquitous lawn sign.

However, you can now pay to have an agent post your home on the MLS system. Not only does this expose your home directly to thousands of agents searching on behalf of their clients, it also means your home will appear to the public on Realtor.ca, which is visited by 90% of all buyers.

Meanwhile, you can skip the costly local advertising, which gives a poor return on the price.

NEXT... If all goes well, your listing will attract interested buyers. You''ll need to show the home, negotiate a deal, and make sure it closes without a hitch.

I'll cover those steps in Part 2, which will appear here next month. If you have any questions in the meantime, don't hesitate to call me.

Want to know more about selling privately? Just ask me, I'll be happy to help.

--Peter

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