Thousands of homeowners ponder the question of whether or not to sell privately. This is a question that gets a lot of attention on the internet, and also spawns an enormous amount of erroneous information. Many people want to sell their own properties, but are afraid of “hidden” problems that may rise up to cost them money, or cause them grief. Fear is the number one reason that people are willing to pay a Realtor to sell their home. Unfortunately, this fear is often unfounded, and all too often promoted by someone with a vested interest in taking your money to sell your property.
For some time now, I have searched the internet and have found many articles that pretend to promote selling privately, while in actual fact, they are designed to discourage you from taking on this task. Obviously, such articles do not come right out and say “Hey don’t do it!”, but instead they tell you all of the seemingly bad stuff that “could” happen if you dare try it. They paint such a grim picture of selling privately while “encouraging” the reader, that nobody would try it if they chose to follow the advice of such articles. This kind of fake help makes me mad, and I enjoy the process of “busting” the myths that are being promoted as truth. This article will cover, albeit briefly, the reasons that many people should, or should not sell on their own. I will try to dispel the immense amount of misinformation on the subject of selling privately, and in the end, hopefully, you’ll be in a better position to choose for yourself whether or not to sell privately.
First things first. Who am I and what do I know about Real Estate? Well I am an experienced (20 years) real estate salesperson, now retired. In my years I have sold millions of dollars in residential and commercial real estate for all kinds of people including new homes for homebuilders, plazas and office buildings for corporations, and resale homes for people like yourselves. I have developed land, and have even been part of the country’s largest home builders setting up sales sites and selling homes. I’ve seen good times, and bad, good things, and bad. I guess it’s fair to say that I understand real estate, the process of selling, negotiation, and all that good stuff that allows one to succeed in one of the most competitive industries to date.
In my humble opinion, selling privately is not for everyone, but I honestly believe that most people can do it easily enough, and succeed. Hopefully, by end of this article you’ll be convinced of this, so without further delay let’s get started.
First some basics. You’ve probably heard the term FSBO (pronounced Fizz-Boh). This is an acronym to describe the term For Sale By Owner. Today both of these terms are used synonymously to refer to a Private Seller. Let’s move on.
For this next section, I will answer a few simple questions that are common on this subject to expose the truth on some misinformation that some would have you believe.
First question. Do you need a license to sell privately? To the best of my knowledge, no license is required in any American state or Canadian province in order to sell property privately. In fact, your right to sell privately is protected by law. Throughout this article I will suggest that you check my information with your lawyer. I do this for two reasons. First, I am not a lawyer and therefore cannot give you legal advice. Second, once you check with your lawyer, you will find that I am giving you the straight goods everything and that’ll make you (and me) feel better. So check with your lawyer before you do anything. Enough said, moving on.
How much time will it take to sell my property? First, let’s make sure you know what question I am actually answering here. I am NOT going to try and tell you how long it will take for you to find a buyer who will transact a sale. I will talk about the time it takes to market a property on your own in order to give you a sense of what sort of time commitment you’ll need to make to do it correctly. The answer, surprisingly, is very little time, about an hour or two a day at most. In fact, once you’ve taken the time to set up your sale, which is something I will talk about in another article, it will take little or no time at all, unless you’re showing your property to a prospective buyer.
What is the general process of selling a property privately? In many ways it’s exactly the same as selling with a real estate agent. Here is the process of selling a property, privately or not. First, the property is advertised to let the public know that it’s available for sale. Prospective buyers inquire about the property, ask questions, and arrange a viewing appointment. The prospective buyers come and see the property, sometimes more than once. If they like the property, they make an offer in writing on a legal form. You (or your agent) and they (or their agent) negotiate the terms of the offer, the price, and closing date. Then once everyone has agreed, and all parties have signed the offer, everything goes to the lawyers so they can do their stuff to effectively convey title, and exchange monies etc..
It seems pretty straight forward, and usually it is. Here is the stuff you’ll have to on your own when selling privately. Before I get into this stuff, it’s worthy to mention that I will cover every one of these tasks in future articles, so don’t worry if you’re not sure about any one of them. Here we go. First you’ll have to market the property, show it to prospective buyers, and negotiate the terms of the sales agreement. Once the agreement has been signed by both the Seller and the Buyer, then your lawyer will do the rest for you. Also, don’t forget to get contact information for the Buyer’s lawyer. Your lawyer may need this information to begin the process with the other attorney.
I am going to close off this article right here for now, but I have written a number of articles that describe the process of selling privately in great detail, and I want to direct you to a great resource at ByOwnerInsight.com where you can read all about how to prepare a property for sale, market it effectively, and negotiate the offer to purchase. This entire web site is dedicated to the single goal of teaching everyday people how to successfully sell their own property and save thousands of dollars in commission, but best of all – it’s all completely FREE for you to use! I’ve pulled out all the stops, while giving you all of the trade secrets on selling your property privately! All I ask is that you share the above web site address with others so they can benefit too.