Avoid These 3 "For Sale By Owner" Mistakes

Avoid these 3 For Sale By Owner mistakes

The decision has been made, and you've decided that a "For Sale by Owner" is the way to go.  All right then, read up, get prepared, and make MilitaryByOwner your one stop shop for all things FSBO, including how to avoid costly mistakes during the selling process. Bob from VA notes,
"We sold our home in 8 days in a depressed market for more than our asking price to an MBO buyer. We advertised on other FSBO sites and had zero hits from them. Conversely, we had 299 hits on MBO, several families in our home, several scheduled, and ultimately sold our home to a MBO buyer."
But what if you’re just beginning the process of putting up your home for sale? What can you do to prepare? Consider three major errors FSBO sellers make and avoid these when putting your house up for sale by owner: 
 1) Not Spending Money on Interior Projects and Curb Appeal

Your pictures are going to speak thousands of words to home buyers, so they better say "clean", "spacious," and "updated."  The market for a "fixer upper" is small, and that buyer is motivated by a good price. Avoid that scenario by compiling a list of items to tackle before investing in the photos
Enlist a friend to help decode the truths of the house. It might be embarrassing or hard to hear their suggestions, but the goal is to sell the home, not become an interior designer. Some typical projects for a home seller might include:
  • Neutral paint. It makes every room better.
  • Remove old and dirty carpeting, bearing in mind the majority of buyers want hardwood floors.
  • Natural light is crucial for a sale. Remove dark and heavy window treatments. Update interior light fixtures if needed. 
  • The yard is the house’s first "Hello!" Neat and tidy are what buyers want. Add a few bright potted plants and mulch in flower beds to draw shoppers inside.
Another angle for achieving top dollar quickly is to consider manageable, but buyer-desired improvements to the house. Updating the roof, kitchen appliances, and bathroom fixtures make everyone happy. Larger updates such as electrical, heating, and air also may be worth the upfront investment.
2) Bad Pictures and Zero Online Presence

Simply stated: no pictures, no sale. High quality and honest photographs open the possibility of a visit from home buyers. I dare say buyers are judging a house before they even read any type of description. If the photos are dark, non-descriptive, or deceiving, the potential buyer pool shrinks significantly. Photos are a powerful tool for translating anything from a desired location on a tree-lined street to a backyard worthy of an HGTV special.
Keep in mind buyers are searching for homes on the go. Home photos should be able to be viewed correctly on a mobile device. A joint study between The National Association of Realtors and Google determined 89% of people shopped on a mobile device while searching for a home. This is true for virtual tours as well. If the home isn’t visible online, it’s likely to sit on the market while you waste time and energy keeping the house clean for potential buyer visits.
3) Not Hiring Professionals

If you’ve decided to sell your home yourself, then this point may seem counterintuitive. Realize that you may need help for the details of this sales transaction. Professionals can help prevent potential lawsuits, costly paperwork errors, and even help to save money on the sale.
  • An appraiser: An accurate current market value of your home is a lynch pin for making a profitable sale. Do it yourself online appraisals only give a ballpark figure and are often misleading.
  • A real estate attorney will offer peace of mind during the process. Each state has their own set of real estate laws, so it’s crucial to use this type of service to prevent problems during the sale. More helpful guidance is available through closing agents who can begin the escrow process.
If you’re having trouble selling, or want to avoid delays before the process begins, a critical look at hiring professional photographers and home stagers is worth the research time.  In some markets, these services are considered non-negotiable.  
 MilitaryByOwner should be the first place to visit if you’re thinking of conducting a For Sale By Owner for your home. MBO has several resources to guide your way through the process, including a downloadable ebook with all the information you could need for success.