My Best Advice For Selling Your Home By Yourself

Posted by Ed Machart on Friday, March 19th, 2021 at 10:01am.

A buyer looks at your home, makes you an offer, you negotiate, a deal is made, and your home is sold! It's as simple as that, right? Well...not always. Could you have gotten more for your home? Did you eliminate a large portion of the buyer pool by not offering a buyer commission? No matter what led you to the decision to sell your home by yourself, here's some of the best professional real estate advice I can offer.

Compare Your Home to Others on the Market

Don't let your emotions or your need for a specific sale price impact your review of homes on the market now. Take into account that listing prices are not sale prices. Make fair compromises when it comes to determining your home’s value, and be sure that the price you come up with is based on attributes your home comparatively has or lacks. You will have to look at your home objectively, which can be hard to do. That is why having a real estate professional assess how much your home is worth can be a valuable asset.

Research Recent Sales

Use online tools to get as much information as possible about recently sold properties in your neighbourhood. Look at the photos of similar properties to see how the homes were staged and photographed to highlight the most eye-catching features. Remember that the online visuals you use for your listing are the first impression to many prospective buyers, so be mindful of how the good listings look.

It's important to note, though, that due to the rules and regulations of marketing sold properties to the public, obtaining information on recently sold properties can be hard to do without the help of a REALTOR®. This is another reason why seller's agency can come in handy!

Prepare Your Home For Sale

Don't invest in extensive renovations unless you know you will see a significant return on your investment. You won't typically see an increase in sale price for things buyers consider the "bones" of a home. Buyers expect updates to furnaces, water heaters, and shingles to be a given and usually won't pay more for them. They will, however, pay more for things like en-suite bathrooms, walk-in closets, and upgraded kitchens with new countertops and backsplashes. Just a fresh coat of paint and taking care of the minor maintenance items you've been procrastinating are all you need to do. 

Stage Your Home

Stage your home to look clean and spacious. This includes deep cleaning and removing a lot of your personal belongings. You want the buyer to be able to picture themselves and their belongings in your home, and an excess amount of "you" can instead leave them feeling like they are intruding.

When listing with a real estate agent, we will often give you our professional advice on specific areas to focus on when staging your home to sell. And if we feel your home may need some added help, we can even enlist the services of a professional home stager to make your listing look picture perfect!

Take Professional Listing Photos

Lighting and perspective are essential to great listing photos that make buyers want to view the home in person. Bad photos make a terrible first impression and could even turn buyers off from your home. While you could take these photos yourself, my best advice is to hire a professional real estate photographer to get the job done.

When listing your home yourself, the cost of hiring a real estate photographer will be entirely at your own expense. However, should you choose to list with a REALTOR®, the price will be included in the minimal commission fees you pay!

Talk to Real Estate Professionals

Even if you don't plan to use a professional real estate agent, you will still need to talk to a real estate lawyer about handling the closing. Confirm their pricing and tell them you are not using a REALTOR®. However, keep in mind that lawyers may charge more when working on a "For Sale By Owner" listing because they have more work to do compared to a seller who has an agent to look over the paperwork.

Prepare a Buyer's Agreement

If you are selling your home yourself, you should always prepare a Buyer's Agreement for those buyers who are working with a REALTOR®. By not making an allowance for the buyer's commission, you may end up eliminating a large portion of the buying pool. Make sure to include in your listing that you will work with homebuyers using a buyer's agent.

Market Your Home

Marketing your home isn't always easy, which is important to remember, especially if you watch your neighbor's home sell in a matter of days with professional help. Effective promotion enhances the visibility of a new listing, something a real estate agent knows to invest in to earn your commission.

Start by learning about your target homebuyers, and consider how you'll reach them best. Start with a professionally printed sign on the front lawn, and don't forget about online marketing. While a REALTOR® will be able to get your home listed on all the major real estate websites in a matter of minutes with the help of the MLS® system, this will become your responsibility when listing your home on your own.

Keep Your House Presentable

Consistent cleanliness and curb appeal keeps your house ready to show at a moment's notice. Keep planters and gardens full in spring and summer, leaves cleared in fall, and snow cleared in the winter. And keep your home's interior visitor-ready at all times.

Be Accountable & Professional

Be punctual for all appointments, and present your home in an organized way. Look presentable when showing, and just as you would if a real estate agent was touring potential buyers through the house, keep pets out of the way, and coordinate childcare for young kids. When entering a home listed as "For Sale By Owner," buyers aren't expecting you to be a REALTOR®, but they are going to want some confidence that you know what you're doing!

Check for Pre-Qualifications

When you list your home on your own, you might find that you get much interest from unqualified buyers. For the sake of your own time, be wary of every inquiry and the risks associated with providing truthful information about your identity and property. Tread carefully and use good judgment when showing your home to strangers.

Research Purchase Contracts

When you use a real estate agent, your job is simply accept or reject to a buyer's offer. When you're FSBO-ing, though, you're doing everything—handling the open houses, taking calls from buyers and brokers, and negotiating. Research what is necessary for a real estate contract to have everything in order when it comes time to send it to the lawyer.

Negotiate & Close the Deal

Here's where it's most important to let go of emotions associated with your property—you're selling a house, not your "home." If feel an offer is far too low, don't get frustrated. Take a deep breath, make a fair counteroffer, and see where it goes. Remember that you may be more likely to be working with buyers who do not have an agent representing their best interests with an FSBO sale. They may not have done their homework concerning house valuations, and their unpreparedness is likely to make it harder to close the deal than if you both had real estate representation.


If it seems like selling your home yourself is too complex at this point, consider leaning on a real estate agent for support. It is possible to buy and sell a property without agents involved, but it's also possible to "diagnose" yourself with an illness on the internet without a doctor. As the transaction becomes more complicated and stressful, having a professional in your corner can be a tremendous amount of help and relief!



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