With regular agent commissions around 6 percent of the home sale price, and a market still not up to par, more and more homeowners are eschewing full-service agents and going the "For Sale by Owner" (or FSBO) route for their home sale.
In fact, a National Association of Realtors survey showed that, in 2008, FSBOs accounted for 13 percent of home sales. But though sellers may escape paying commission, a sale by owner isn't as easy as throwing up a "For Sale" sign and sitting back. So how do you do it? Here are five tips.
1. Know your options
2. Set a realistic price
Quick Tip: Only look at recent area home prices, don't go any further back than six months.
3. Have someone on your side
4. Be prepared to do the work
Lewis, who has a background in marketing, took matters into her own hands, hiring both a photographer and videographer to create a virtual tour of her home for MLS and creating flyers that she then placed underneath the sign in her front yard. She also handled all the showings herself. The benefit? "A lot of the buyers appreciated being able to talk to the owners directly," says Lewis, "about the neighborhood, the schools, the traffic...."
When it comes to writing actual advertising copy, stay concise and to-the-point, says forsalebyowner.com. Read through other ads in the paper or online and see what works, then highlight the features that set your home apart from the rest.
5. Sellers beware
"Always get a phone number before a showing and always find a reason to call the number and be sure it's real," she says. Another Realtor tip? Try to make sure buyers are pre-qualified, or have at least met with a mortgage broker prior to showing the home. "A lot of buyers don't even know what they can afford and may just be wasting your time," says Bronis.
So after all the marketing and showing and pricing that goes along with being an FSBO seller, is it really worth it to try the home sale yourself? Lewis says maybe. "Don't do it out of arrogance, " she says. "Educate yourself. Make sure you know what you're doing." Lewis herself ended up selling her last Dallas home in less than three months before making the move to Florida with her family.
As buyers in a new city and a new market, the search for a new home led the Lewises to an old path. They called an agent.
More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find homes for sale in your area.
Find foreclosures in your area.
Get property tax help from our experts.
Want to learn more about home buying and home finance? If so, you won't want to miss
our online discussion with industry experts,
"What Works Now: Smart Moves When Buying a Home,"
created by AOL Real Estate in participation with Bank of America Home Loans.
Watch it now on AOL Real Estate.