Monday, March 12, 2018

Beginner's Guide To Selling Your Home in the Internet Era

It's becoming increasingly common for a homeowner ready to put his home on the market to say, "Why don't I sell it myself without a real estate broker?"

Is this you? Are you thinking of hammering a  For Sale By Owner sign on your front lawn? I've previously blogged about selling your home without a Realtor, and advised against it. But I wrote that post eight years ago. Some of my rationale is still solid, but some things have changed so it's time to re-evaluate the FSBO scene.


More people are plugged in

The number of devices that connect to the Internet is expected to rise from about 13 billion to 50 billion by 2020. It seems like we are all connected all the time! Why not? The web lets us learn about anything and reach goals easier than we could have scarcely imagined a generation ago.  

About 92% of people now use the Internet when looking for a new home.  If you'd prefer to sell your home on the web without a real estate agent, it 
might be something you'd have no regrets about. 

Questions to ask yourself

Eyes wide open is the way to tackle
any FSBO program. Educate yourself about
the advantages and disadvantages. 
Do you have time to gather the specs about your house and prepare the selling literature?

Are you up to the task of researching what a realistic selling price for your home is? 

Can you show your own property without tipping your hand about how anxious you are to sell, or having personal opinions about the prospective buyer influence the negotiations? 

Does your daily schedule allow you to show your home when a prospective buyer wants to see it? 

Are you skillful and comfortable about negotiating price and other considerations?  

Be aware that real estate agents are probably not going to bring you clients unless you subscribe to a FSBO program that hooks you into agents willing to work with you. Otherwise, you are going solo. 

If you decide you want to "be your own Realtor," here are just a few tips to help you get started with marketing and selling your home online


Don't Hesitate To Pay For Exposure

One of the best ways to sell your home online quickly is to make sure the listing reaches as many pairs of eyes as possible.

Since selling your home without a Realtor's guidance can save you thousands of dollars in commission costs, why not allocate some of those savings to exposure? Fortunately, there are quite a few FSBO websites to choose from. Research the features and costs of each program to determine what fits your finances and skillset.

The FSBO website you choose should have a high search engine rating, a simple user interface and navigational site map, and of course, quality listings with clear descriptive sections,  plus sufficient images.

Some FSBO sites will let you list with Multiple Listing Service, Realtor.com, Zillow, and Redfin. Most offer different packages at different prices. If you want to spend for it, you'll get advice, signage, forms, brochures, and other perks.

Advertise Best Qualities

Brag about your house. Be professional
instead of personal. Don't be like this guy.
When you create your home's listing, think about what a potential buyer would want to know. Reflect on what you enjoy about your home and locale.

Mention improvements and upgrades you've added, and indicate how these upgrades relate to the bigger picture of health, convenience, aesthetic appeal, and even social status or success.

For example, if your home is located in a picturesque location that's highly walkable and close to many businesses, it helps to emphasize it in the listing. Considering the fact that about 14% of Americans have even changed jobs to shorten the commute, a convenient location can be a major selling point.

When it comes to images, both quality and quantity are important.  Your lead-off profile shot needs to be stellar and show off your curb appeal!  

A good listing will have at least one clear photo of every room, in addition to several angles from the outside of the home. If you've recently remodeled, include pictures of the upgrade and specify brand names and other details.  Even small remodeling jobs can push home-hungry buyers to make a decision, or at least come to see the property.  

Any photo that makes your home look "new and improved" will help attract potential buyers. For example, a 2017 interior design trends survey showed that more than a third of respondents said they prefer a neutral color palette. 

If you want to have a measurable advantage over your competition, hire a professional photographer so your photos represent your home at its best.   


Take Advantage of Social Media

Finally, don't neglect the powers of social media when it comes to reaching buyers. Start by posting to your own friends. Then, post your listing in any neighborhood watch groups, HOAs, and listserves for local residents.

Use Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and/or Twitter. Tune your message to the medium -- frisky and tempting on Instagram, teasingly cryptic with a photo on Twitter, and detailed and inclusive on Google+. Make sure your social media posts contain a link to your home's FSBO listing so potential buyers can learn all about your home and take the next step if they're interested.

Even though a Realtor is a good investment, it's empowering to know that you do have the ability to sell your home with nothing more than a device with Internet access and your own intelligence and efforts.

Help is on the way

To guide you on your home staging journey, my popular book of tips. techniques and tutorials will prove indispensable. Download the  $4.99 eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar, and start your staging today.

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