This is part one in a six-part series, Real Estate 101:FSBOs, by Jasmina Nikolov, a Real Estate Coach, Broker, Blogger, and Brooklyn Mom. The series will be permanently archived on the Park Slope Parents website for your convenience.
Selling your home on your own requires hard work, tenacity, tact, luck, and a little bit of know-how. This series, Real Estate 101: FSBOs, aims to introduce proactive homeowners to the process and pitfalls of selling your home on your own. Keep in finding a viable buyer is just the beginning. In addition to managing the closing, you will need to find another place to live, pack up your life, and prepare your kids for the transition. If you start to feel overwhelmed by the added stress of preparing your home for market, the expense of a broker may be worth it. Or you can try to save money by outsourcing some of the tasks involved in selling your home. For those of you not dissuaded, here is how to get started:
Prepare Your Space
Make your home inviting. Consider working with a personal organizer or someone else who can provide a fresh perspective on your space. Sell items on Park Slope Parents Classifieds or put them in storage. Make room for buyers to envision their life and belongings within the space. Get rid of 25-50% of everything in your home unless you live like a monk.
Repair all of the little things you've been meaning to fix. Squeaky doors, windows that don’t stay up, windows that won’t open, loose cabinet hardware – these things distract buyers and sow seeds of doubt. Buyers may conclude that the important and expensive stuff inside of your walls – plumbing and electrical - is poorly maintained. Consider refurbishing floors and adding a fresh coat of paint. Houses may require more renovation than apartments.
Browse magazines or websites for staging ideas. Think of your audience as you redesign your space. For example, you should deemphasize how difficult it is to fit your baby, home office, and life into your two bedroom apartment. Highlight the multi-functionality of a room. Find ways to make the space look bigger. This could mean trading out your grandma’s eight-seat dining room table for something more demure. Try to make the entrance especially inviting.
Hire someone to deep clean. Then do your best to keep your home in showroom condition. If you live in a building, be sure to clean common areas and hallways before each showing.
Other Things To Do Before You Sell
Hire a lawyer before you start showing the space. Tell the lawyer that you are selling the space by yourself.
Get your property documents in order. Apartment owners can call the management company to get paperwork. Ask the management company what the board’s requirements are and what the application process is like once you find a buyer. You should be able to request an application packet that details the necessary financial documentation and references. Ask your lawyer what she needs to complete the transaction.
Determine any fees that will impact a buyer. Does the building have a flip tax? Find out whether the buyer or seller pays for it. Is there a refundable move-in deposit?
Take an inventory of your skills. Know your strengths and know when to reach out for help. If you ever find yourself overwhelmed or in need of some cheerleading, please reach out to a professional.
Stay tuned for the next segment of Real Estate 101: FSBOs. Next up: The Art of Pricing, followed by advice on marketing & advertising, selling, negotiation, and closing.