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Selling by Owner Tips

Do strangers scare or intimidate you? If you're planning to try to sell your home yourself, you'll have to get used to it. You'll also be opening yourself up to potentially dangerous situations and legal liabilities. That's why even many experienced real estate agents will hire another agent to list their own home.

Even so, the lure of saving the usual six percent sales commission is hard to ignore, because it can add up to a significant portion of your equity. But if you're going to try to sell your home yourself, you'll need to become an expert in a number of areas. First, you must understand local and national real estate laws and become adept at sales techniques. Visiting open houses in your market area can help you to learn the methods used by successful real estate agents.

Once you feel comfortable with real estate law and the sales process, you can begin working toward earning the sales commission yourself. Don't think of it as saving money, because you'll soon discover that selling a home can be hard work, so you might as well pay yourself the commission.

Like any other job, selling a home requires knowledge and skills for success. Besides reading books, newspaper articles, and doing Internet research, you can seek help from escrow officers and mortgage lenders. You'll find them quite helpful, because they hope you'll use their professional services if you succeed in selling your home. Therefore, it pays to make friends with an escrow officer and a lender long, even before you've located an actual buyer.

Whether you use a real estate agent or not, a mortgage broker will be happy to provide free financial flyers to potential buyers. Offering zero or low-down financing, and being willing to help with closing costs could be just the incentive necessary to a entice a buyer into choosing your home.

Research your sales price carefully

- Check and your local MLS listings to price your competition

- Request a property profile of your home from your local title office

Experiment with your sales price by running a small ad. If you get a sizeable number of calls, you'll know you're in the right ball park. If no one calls, either your ad isn't effective or you've priced your home too high. On the other hand, if your phone never stops ringing, you've probably underpriced your home.

Pricing too high will cost you time, extra mortgage payments, advertising costs, and credibility. If your home's been on the market a long time, you'll hear comments like this from prospective buyers when you talk to them on the phone: "Oh, you mean it's that house that's been on the market forever? No, thanks, there must be something wrong with it."

Selling a home isn't easy, even for a real estate professional, but you can sell your home yourself, if you're willing do your homework and then earn your commission, through hard work and a great deal time.

(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Professor Jeanette Fisher, author of Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars, Joy to the Home, and other books teaches Real Estate Investing and Design Psychology. For more articles, tips, reports, newsletters, and sales flyer template, see

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