Do You Know How to Sell Your Own House?

If you're looking to sell your home any time soon, consider doing it yourself instead of reaching out to a real estate agent. After all, commissions can be costly! In fact, MarketWatch reports that the average commission rate is 6% of the property's sale price, meaning that if you sell your home for $500,000, you'd have to pay your agent $30,000. There are also other fees to think about, like closing costs, which can be anywhere between 2% and 4% of the sale price.

It can be a challenge, but it's possible to sell your house with the right skills. Here's what you'll need:

Exterior and interior design tweaks

Real estate agents may ask you to modify your home features when you first employ their help to sell it. This is because you have to make the home look appealing to a wide array of potential buyers. Even though you love the way it looks, not everyone may feel the way you do.

In our post on 'Simple Ways to Improve Your Home's Curb Appeal,' we listed several cheap upgrades that will improve its exterior. Landscaping is a huge part of this, as first impressions are always the most important. Cut yellow grass, cover dead patches, and plant lush plants around the perimeter. Typically, you want a yard that not only looks nice but easy to maintain as well.

Since you won't know the design preferences of your potential buyer, interior design is much trickier. However, an easy way to go about this is to de-personalize your rooms. Buyers will want to imagine themselves living there, which may be hard to do if it looks like it's made for someone else. Choose light, neutral paint colors and remove excess furniture and decor. For some inspiration, check out our Pinterest boards.

Home repairs and improvements

Broken fixtures, defective lighting, leaks, or any damages to your property are a huge turn-off for potential buyers. So, aside from making your house look pretty, you'll also need to make sure that everything is in working order. Make a list of things that need changing (like the few we've mentioned above) and fix them. You can even hire a home inspector if you want to be more thorough in your search for things that need repairing.

It's also worth looking into improving your home's insulation. If you have an older home, chances are the insulation isn't as good as it comes these days, and the amount of insulation may be less than new homes are required to use. Updating certain areas of insulation can be affordable and can raise your homes' value considerably. This is because many home buyers are looking for energy-efficient properties to save on bills in the future. Good places to start are your attic, walls, and windows, but HomeServe's guide to draft-proofing highlights the importance of insulating water tanks and pipes as well. This helps them stay in good working order and keeps your heating system from working too hard. Other energy-related improvements that will make your home stand out can be found here.

Getting the word out

Once you have your home renovated, it's time to sell it. Instead of putting pictures of your property on individual brokerage websites, a smart home seller will get access to Multiple Listing Services or the "MLS." The MLS is what real estate agents use to sell or buy homes for their clients, so you'll never be scammed. What agents don't tell you, however, is that you can list your property without employing them to sell your home. You only need to purchase a Flat Fee MLS Listing through a reputable real estate brokerage. 

Each real estate brokerage will offer different plans and packages around your Flat Fee MLS Listing. Aside from the one-time, flat fee, some brokers charge other fees like a listing agent fee and a closing fee. To save yourself some money, ask about and avoid these kinds of services. Overall, choose the brokerage listing service that best suits your needs.

What do I need help with?

Though it's possible to avoid using a real estate agent, selling a home involves a number of processes that may require a professional's help. If this is the case, don't be afraid to ask for help! You don't want to do things inaccurately and suffer the consequences later on.

For example, there's a lot of accounting involved in real estate. According to an article on Small Business Brief, agents themselves hire certified accountants to take on specialized functions for them, like handling 1031 exchanges, cost segregations, tax deferrals, and more. You can always do the numbers yourself, of course, but hiring a freelance accountant will help you do it more accurately for a reasonable price.

If it's legal documents you need assistance with, you can also contact a local real estate lawyer. The legal end of a home sale can be as involved as the accounting.

If you're not comfortable taking on the home repair projects you encounter during the home prep phase, call an expert. You'll want to be sure that things like wiring, plumbing, and structural problems, to name a few, are handled correctly. Shop around for the best rates on contracted services.

Selling your home involves a lot of steps, so it's essential to plan ahead, way ahead. Taking on your home sale will let you keep a larger chunk of the sale price.