How to Sell a Home Without a Realtor in California

How to sell a home without a Realtor in California

How to Sell a Home Without a Realtor in California

For sale by owner. What you needed to know, the overwhelm, can I sell a home without a Realtor? How difficult can it really be? Many sellers feel this way. However, potential buyers may not. Your first thought is you can save money on commission, but do you really? According to sellers using the for sale by owner option sold their homes for less than the median selling price of other homes in the area.

I’m Shemeika Fox. Your Santa Cruz Real Estate Expert. I have been selling homes in Santa Cruz County and the surrounding areas for over 17 years. I know there is so much to consider when selling your home, especially on your own, and it can be overwhelming to say the least. But have you taken into consideration all that selling your home without a Realtor entails?

First things first. Start with de-cluttering, a deep cleaning, and then the staging of your home. Make it a model home ready. Then you will want to prepare your marketing, digital marketing, signs, videos, flyers, just-listed cards, and properly posting, and exposing your home to the masses on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and more can be overwhelming, and take an enormous amount of time to learn how to do and how to do correctly.

Did you get professional photography or just use your phone? Most Santa Cruz buyers are looking online first. Then they will schedule to see your Santa Cruz home if they like what they see online. The photos online are their first impression of your Santa Cruz home, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Remember, buying your home could be the buyer’s largest investment.

Next, you are going to start receiving phone calls. Do you have a system in place for follow-up, and a schedule set for showings? If a buyer’s agent calls, are you willing to pay them a commission? After all of the showings, follow up and run around, you finally get an offer or maybe you get 10. That would be lucky.

Now what? Does the loan type make a difference in the sale? Is the highest offer the best offer? How do you determine if buyers are qualified? You have accepted an offer, what comes next? Do you have the proper connections with the title and escrow company? Do you know what to provide them? Do you have a complete purchase contract, escrows open? Do you have all the disclosures that are required for a successful close of escrow? Do you know how long you have to provide the disclosures to the buyers?

Are you overwhelmed yet? No? Okay. Let me keep going. Just wait. There’s so much more.

You need to coordinate with lenders for the appraisal with the title company for signing documents all while being available for inspections, and showing the home to the buyers parents, and the cousins and the grandparents for the third, fourth and fifth time. Do you know how long buyers have to perform inspections? What are you obligated to do regarding repairs? What if the appraisal comes in low?

Whew. Are you exhausted yet? We’re almost done. Just kidding. There’s so much more to consider when selling a home without a Realtor in California.

All the while, you are supposed to be packing, coordinating your move to your new home. Isn’t that stressful enough? I think I have made it abundantly clear why you should hire a local Santa Cruz Real Estate Expert. We handle all of this for you, and then some. We are by your side every step of the way, making sure this is a smooth, and seamless transaction.

I’m going to share with you the benefits of both selling your home on your own, and also with a professional realtor. Most people who choose for sale by owner, make the decision to do it themselves because they want to save money on paying a Realtor’s commission. But what they may not realize is that it could actually end up costing them more money in the long run.

Here are some benefits of selling your home without a Realtor {FSBO} versus selling with a real estate professional.

  1. You’re in total control. You get to decide the price. You get to decide what gets repaired in the home, who comes to view your home, and who buys it. Not to mention, you get to do all the paperwork, all the contracts, all the disclosures. You need to make sure you fill out the disclosures properly because you do not want to get sued. You get to hire title companies, inspectors, and the list goes on, all the while you’re answering a constantly ringing phone to schedule appointments.
  2. You get the opportunity to use your skills. Maybe you’re a seasoned marketer, negotiator, sales person, or have a keen eye with contracts. This is your chance to use your skills and shine.
  3. You get to sell on your own time. Selling a home takes time and has a long, long list of responsibilities. Maybe you have the time and the patience to do what it takes to sell your home, and maybe not.

Now, let me list a few pros of hiring a professional real estate agent to help facilitate the sale of your Santa Cruz home.

  1. Realtors help you price your home to sell quickly. Realtors know the current marketplace. They do their research and price accordingly. They take into consideration things like the absorption rate, and market climate, and a lot of other variables that are important in pricing.
  2. Real Estate Agents use their commission to market your home appropriately. They take professional photos, and advertise both digitally, and print media. Digital marketing is essential because you’ll maximize your exposure while inevitably will help you get the best price and terms for your home.
  3. Professional Real Estate Agents are experts in their field. Realtors handle the calls from potential buyers, are able to qualify the buyers, answer questions from both buyers and their real estate agents. They negotiate terms and price, handle all the paperwork, contracts, disclosures, and secure the safety of your home by only allowing qualified buyers to view your home. They also split their commission with the agent who brings in that qualified buyer. These are just some of the pros of selling on your own versus selling with a professional real estate agent.

Now let’s look at mistakes that can be made when you sell a home without a Realtor, that can be devastating, and how to avoid them. If you decide to do a for sale by owner, I want you to be sufficiently prepared.

  1. Mistake One is incorrect pricing. Almost any Realtor you call will come out to your home for free without any obligation to list with them, and bring you data to help you decide on the right price. This would be the best way to price your home. Another route you could take would be to look up your value on a third-party site like Zillow or Redfin in order to give you a starting point, but be careful because both Zillow and Redfin, and sites alike do not take into consideration your home’s upgrades, or anything that could add value or detract value. Their algorithm uses size, and location primarily to determine your home’s price. Once you have determined pricing, make a client avatar or a description of who is most likely to buy your home, and where they will come from, like what websites will they go on to find your home or neighborhood? Go onto those sites or some other property search sites and put on your buyer’s hat. Look for homes in your area that your potential buyer would be looking at as well. The homes that you find online that are similar to your home will be your competition. Now you want to price your home aggressively compared to your competition so that your home comes across as a great value, and buyers wanna come and see it. Remember, buyers are filtering online, which homes they will go see long before they ever get in their car to go see your Santa Cruz house. Your job is simple. Get them there. Pricing your home aggressively does not mean you will be stuck with a low sales price, and just because someone offers you the list price does not mean you are obligated to accept it. When you do this right, your final price should be higher than your listed price.
  2. The second mistake is a poorly written property description. Instead of just throwing a random description together, take your time in listing your home’s best qualities by making a list of home improvements that you have made, and make a list of reasons why you purchased the home, and why you love living there. Why do you love your home? Look at similar homes in your area that have sold or are currently for sale to get some ideas for phrases that you can add to your homes description. Be sure to have someone review the description for spelling and grammatical errors before publishing to keep the listing looking professional. If you can close your eyes, and listen to your home’s description, and somewhat make up what the property looks like, you have done something right.
  3. The third mistake is leaving money on the table. Why just sell your home when you can get top dollar? The National Association of Realtors conducts research, and puts out market reports every year. And according to the National Association of Realtors, only 8% of homes are sold for sale by owner, and of that 8% a third of those homes were sold to people that for sale by owner owners already knew. The data also showed that for sale by owners sold for significantly less than homes listed by realtors. The difference can be anywhere from 15 to 30%. Now, I don’t know about you, but I would gladly trade paying commission fee in order to receive 15 or 30 back in my pocket all day long. However, if you are set on doing all of the work to sell it yourself, I’m assuming that you wanna get the most money you can from the sale of your home. I have just shared with you three common mistakes to avoid so that you can put more money in your pocket.

Now, full transparency here. There is much, much, much more that I do as a Realtor to get top dollar for a home, which I list. And that is why you should always consider selling with a real estate professional. So meet with one obligation free, just to get a full understanding of what your options are. Here’s a few more things to consider when selling a home without a Realtor in California.

As a for sale by owner, do you know your contractual rights, and obligations during the home selling process? Make sure you are aware of what contractual rights you and your buyers have during the home buying process. We want pass on some useful information to Santa Cruz homeowners like you to help you avoid the common pitfalls associated with selling your Santa Cruz property on your own. There are a lot of moving parts to make your home sale a successful one from start to finish. So our hope is we can contribute to your success, and make your for sale by owner experience a great one.

A contingency is a contractual right allowing a party to cancel a contract without penalty either before or after a specified timeframe. But remember, these timeframes are not set in stone, and can be negotiated prior to going into contract. However, standard buyer contingencies that you will most likely have to navigate are, inspection, appraisal and loan approval. One, standard inspection contingencies are 17 days during which the buyer has to complete any and all investigations, and inspections like a home inspection, reviewing the title report, et cetera. Only the buyer can cancel if the buyer is not fully satisfied with the result of the buyer’s inspections, and investigations. However, remember that the timeframes can be negotiated and that is determined by the market conditions.

Standard appraisal contingency is 17 days for the buyer’s lender to complete an appraisal. Only the buyer can cancel if the appraisal amount is lower than the purchase price, unless you’ve previously negotiated something different, for example, a no appraisal contingency or possibly gotten the buyer to agree to pay a specified amount over the appraised value, not to exceed the purchase price. Again, there is a lot more involved with this, so be sure to protect yourself.

The standard loan approval contingency is 21 days for the buyer’s lender to approve the loan. Only the buyer can cancel if the lender does not approve the loan. IE, the lender does not provide a loan commitment letter or other confirmation of final loan approval.

Also be aware of these less common contingencies that may be part of a purchase agreement. One, the sale of the buyer’s current home. This contingency is usually processed with the car form contingency for sale of buyer’s property, which offers several timing options. Sometimes the seller only has 17 days to find a new home or cancel, but sometimes the seller checks the box that the contingency continues until seller actually closes escrow on the replacement property. Number two, seller finds a replacement home. This contingency is usually processed with the California Association of Realtors’ form seller’s purchase of replacement property, which offers several timing options as well. Sometimes the seller only has 17 days to find a new home or cancel, but sometimes the seller checks the box that the contingency continues until the seller actually closes escrow on the replacement home.

This article only scratches the surface of how to sell a home without a Realtor. If you would like more information or to schedule a complimentary confidential consultation, please reach out. I’m Shemeika Fox. Your Santa Cruz Real Estate Expert. And as always, I’m here to help.

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