If you’re looking to sell your home on your own in Louisiana, you’ve come to the right place. Selling your home by yourself can be a difficult task in any market. It’s not easy even when there are qualified buyers everywhere. There is always competition from other sellers in the market with similar homes. If you’re selling without a real estate agent or “For Sale by Owner,” you will need to do a great deal of research to make sure you don’t make one of the common blunders many people selling their own homes in Louisiana make.
If you’re in the market to sell your home, it’s usually advised to speak with a real estate agent in your area before putting the For Sale By Owner sign in your front yard. We’re not here to tell you that you should hire a real estate agent, but there are numerous benefits to having an experienced realtor on your side. If you’ve done your research and decided to forgo splitting a percentage of your home sale with a realtor, we will walk you through the process of selling your home by yourself.
Here’s a guide that will help you sell your home faster and for more money:
Make Your Home More Appealing from the Outside
Buyers are visual and respond better to clean homes. This is where you will put a good amount of upfront work to make your home look the best it possibly can. You will want to shape the hedges, keep the lawn manicured and remove any debris from your yard that may attract attention. If you have a garden, hire someone to spruce it up as this can increase the amount of hits you get on your listing. Paint old windows, doors and anything that is visible from the road. Many potential buyers will simply do a drive-by to gauge their interest. If something sticks out to them, they may not even call you for a price.
You’re not looking to break the bank here, but pick out a few things you can update to increase your home’s worth. Simple fixes like repainting the bathroom, fixing countertops and adding a fresh coat of paint to the living room can make a huge difference in an offer. You want buyers to feel comfortable when they walk in the home. It’s a good idea to remove clutter and store off property if possible. If you still live in the home, just tidy up a bit and make sure every counter is clear. Updating the bathrooms and kitchen areas give you the most bang for your buck when staging a home to sell. If your home is aged, you may want to hire a professional to update a few aspects to get a higher price on your home. Replacing old lights with new bright light bulbs can make a room really pop. Many people have invested a few thousand dollars in improvements and obtained offers of 20k or more than they would have without the improvements. Here’s a quick checklist of interior updates that can increase your home’s value:
- Update bathrooms
- Update kitchens
- Change light bulbs to bright white light
- Replace countertops if dated
- Buy new showerhead
- Remove clutter
- Replace flooring and remove carpet if old
Take Great Pictures
This can’t be stressed enough! Pictures of your home are of utmost importance when selling your home. This is where you may want to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your home to put on social media. You may spend a few hundred dollars, but it is worth it to get the best shots you possibly can. Don’t trust your cell phone camera to help you sell one of the largest investments a person can make. A professional photographer will know exactly what angles to use to make your house look the best it can.
Price Your Home to Sell
You may have to do some research to get the price of your home right. You can compare your home to others in your community that have sold in the past couple of years to get an idea of where to begin. If you start too high, you may turn away potential buyers. If you price too low, you could lose out on a great deal of money. While you can always update the price of your home after you’ve listed it for sale, it can look bad to potential buyers. A home that drops the price multiple times makes it look like there is something wrong with it and this could scare off many buyers. Get the price right the first time by researching past sales in your area.
Highlight Your Home’s Strengths
Is your home located in a nice neighborhood? Is there a great school nearby? Are you in a rural area that’s close to a bustling city? These are all things you can highlight in your listing to entice buyer’s to speak to you. Take a notepad and write down your home’s strengths and weaknesses. Find out how to improve the weaknesses and think of ways to utilize your strengths to bring in more potential buyers.
Hold an Open House
An open house is a great way to let the community know your home is on the market. It’s also a great way to get referrals from people you meet. Many homes have been sold by people coming to open houses and telling a friend about your home. That’s why it’s important to stage your home to make it look as appealing as possible. Clean your home spotless and rearrange the furniture to make a great experience for your open house. Here’s a quick checklist for holding open houses:
- Clean your home inside and out
- Remove clutter
- Arrange and remove furniture
- Organize every room and closet
- Promote your open house on social media
- Take professional photos before
- Tell everyone you know about the open house (Word of mouth travels fast)
- Bake cookies right before your guests arrive
- Sign-in sheet at the door for their name, phone number and email address (You can contact them later)
There are more things you can do to improve your chances at a successful open house, but this will help you get started.
List Your Home in Newspaper and Websites
There is a section in most newspapers that allow you to purchase an advertisement to list your home. These are actually quite effective as many people watch the classifieds for new homes on the market. Be sure to put your correct phone number and activate your answering machine so people can leave messages while you are at work. Real estate agents have a huge network to list your home on multiple websites, but you can still get great coverage by placing your home on the many For Sale by Owner websites.
Work with Pre-Approved Buyers
It’s up to you if you want to show your home to buyers who aren’t yet approved, but you may find yourself wasting a lot of time. An approved buyer is one that has the capabilities to actually buy your home. They’ve went to a bank and gotten a letter stating they are approved for a certain amount of funds. Real estate agents normally require a potential buyer to be pre-approved and you should as well. Many buyers are unable to get a loan and you don’t want to spend time allowing them to walk through your home and ask millions of questions if buying is not an option for them.
Real estate agents provide a buffer between you and time-wasters, but you will have to be smart with your time if you’re selling on your own. There’s nothing wrong with turning down an appointment to show your home if the potential buyer is not pre-approved. Your time is important and is better utilized on other aspects of selling your home.
Schedule Appointments to Show Your Home
You will likely get an influx of calls the moment you put the sign in your yard as many people are looking to buy a home in Louisiana. Organization is key and you may have to create a spreadsheet to keep up with your appointments. Microsoft Excel is a great tool that allows you to make a list that includes names, phone numbers, email address, appointment dates and offer amounts. You can make a handy list of people you’ve spoken to and consider various offers. Just because you turned down an offer early in the game doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate with them again.
Speak with an Attorney
A real estate attorney may be able to assist you with contracts and closing, especially if you are selling without a real estate agent. Your attorney can advise you on whether your property has a clear title or if more work is needed in order to sell.
Selling a home by yourself without the assistance of a real estate agent can be a tough job. Real estate agents can cost a pretty penny, but are usually worth it in the end.
Here’s an article that helps you choose the best real estate agents in Louisiana. However, if you decide to sell your home yourself, you will have to put in a fair amount of work to get the best deal possible. If you have any suggestions to add, feel free to add in the comments what you did to sell your home without a realtor.
Disclaimer: This blog post in no way intends to give legal advice. You will have to speak with an attorney to have legal questions answered.