Avoid Common For Sale by Owner Pitfalls

Ever wonder what the most successful agents do to sell more homes?  Here’s the list to help you avoid common for sale by owner pitfalls. When it comes to selling your house, there are several choices.  The choices range from doing it yourself with no help – all the way to hiring a team of professionals to manage the entire process for you.  The choice could be as simple as black and white.  Or if you have the resources, it may just come down to how you view life and the experience you want to have.


This is Part 1 of a 3 part series where we will tackle three of the most common paths to selling your house. 

For Sale by Owner

Some people relish the thought of selling their own house.  Sometimes it stems from a previous negative experience with a Realtor.  Sometimes home owners are hoping to save part of the real estate commission.  If you are considering this option, it probably sounds like fun to you.  As you prepare, here are ways to avoid some common pitfalls:

  1. Make sure your marketing materials are professional in appearance so your showing experience is not cheapened from the start.
  2. Take COMPELLING photos of the house and property that evoke emotion or tell a “lifestyle” story.
  3. Consider using a professional Stager to transform the house from “it’s mine” to “it can be yours”.
  4. Familiarize yourself with Georgia specific court-tested real estate contract forms.
  5. Set aside time to prospect for buyers every day.
  6. Objectively compare the buyer’s other choices and market to expose their weaknesses.
  7. Preview all the competition.  Buyer prospects know the inventory extremely well – They stay up late doing research because buying a home is a big decision. They cruise the streets and go to open houses relentlessly.
  8. Create a unique “wow” impression so you don’t get beat out by sellers with competing houses who were willing to work harder to wow the same buyer prospects.
  9. Do not miss the mark on pricing.  Statistics show that playing catch-up expends both money and time attracting buyers who may have moved on.
  10. Focus your time and resources on the marketing venues that statistics show really reach the most buyers.
  11. Prepare for and properly manage the home inspection process.  You could end up giving away the money you were hoping to save just to hold the deal together.
  12. Do not talk too much when showing the house – it will seem desperate and turn off the buyers (overselling).  Buyers will wonder why the house’s value cannot stand on its own and has to be “justified”.
  13. Be careful not to force showings into your schedule when you could accommodate the buyer’s and build good will.  On the other hand, don’t be so accommodating that you seem pressured to sell.  It is a delicate balance.
  14. Go to the effort of verifying the buyer’s financial capability and follow up all the way up to closing.  If a lender is involved, you need to check that lender’s track record for being able to actually close the sale on time.
  15. Be ready for the conversations you will have. Understand that people have various levels of language or negotiating experience.  Words matter. Body language matters.  There are reasons why some people are more effective at negotiating and selling than others.  Someone is always selling someone.
  16. Be careful not to lose sight of your overall reason for moving because emotions almost always flare up at some point.
  17. Be clear and forthright on property condition disclosures. Buyers are inherently suspicious.  If they find something during the inspection that should have been disclosed up front, your buyer want to hear you “forgot” it – they will assume you hid it.  Many times the contract ends up falling apart after an issue like this due to categorical mistrust.  “If they did not disclose _____, what else did they not disclose?!?!
  18. Lastly, be prepared to field the steady stream of emails going back and forth between the parties leading up to the closing.  Ironing out all of the details before the actual closing documents are signed can be overwhelming to many in today’s market.

In part 2 of this series, we will cover a hybrid scenario with real estate brokers who offer a menu of a la carte services.  Stay tuned!

Michael Bunch is a Real Estate consultant, Life Coach, Strategist, Leadership Junkie and Writer. His real estate sales team works out of Atlanta, GA but through his connections, Michael can help you make great real estate decisions all over the world! His focus is long-term, clients first and legacy minded.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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