Let me say first that I am not a realtor, but I have bought four home and have sold two, working to sell the last home (see the 1909 Home widget). Does this make me an expert, no, but I am guessing my experience can be useful though.
As we all know, our economy is in poor shape for the housing market. Homes are being foreclosed everyday! Since we have relocated, we have a home in our previous local that we HAVE to sell. For some time we had it with a realtor which I must admit was a nightmare. Now in all fairness, all was NOT bad, but on the whole, it was worrisome and irritating. Not realtor bashing, good realtor buddies, but the bad ones need to sit home! OK~rant over! LOL!
We decided to get creative and try to sell ourselves
1. to make price less an issue in that we were already listing at a 25K reduction and paying commission only reduced our ability to lower even further should we need to do so.
2. because there were marketing strategies our realtor refused to attempt or even discuss. I often emailed and even asked for things that were never delivered upon. Finally I began listing in free listings myself to augment the advertising she was doing which brought some interest, but in ratio no better than we have done on our own; actually in the short time we've been fsbo we have done better!
3. as we asked a trusted friend and nearby person to ck on the property which is crucial since we are absent owners. We are thankful for this help and support and could never do it without her!
4. since our goal is to Sell as quickly as possible! While the realtor was "ready" for a sale, we are OUR own best advocates!
In sharing a bit of this, if you consider any advertising dollars you might have to be upfront money, you can also rely upon free ads as well. Craig's list, Zillow, local free classifieds, internet social networking and even target marketing websites offer options that while are not usual in a sellers market, in this buyers market, when all costs count using any methods to network the home is useful. We began a blog about our home which provides a wealth of information on the home with pictures and additional content which is free except for my time. This blog is used to post information quickly and give resources to those looking for more insight before making a call. Also we used a target marketing website as our home is Victorian, and we felt that our buyer may be someone out of the area who appreciates this special type of home. Historichomes.com is who we've used and thus far have received many calls and emails. We also placed an Info Box with 1/2 sheet flyers which our realtor REFUSED to do for any community interest. She told me, "no one drives by looking here. . ." Ha! The box has been refilled several times in the short time it's been up! AND I have received more calls than I had showings with her! Maybe I NEED a licesnse! LOL! Well, I am hoping that sharing this with you, if you need to sell, that you can use these ideas to save yourself that commission and make an easier go of it.
Your flyer should state pertinent info but not be overly wordy. Nice layout is best with good clear info and contact information. If you are away like us, make a plan with your representative who will show the home for you in advance so you know how to proceed should someone want to see it.
Make it clear in your advertising and when a person requests a showing that they must be lender qualified. If they are looking for other means of purchase like land contract, lease-purchase or owner finance, and these are unacceptable to you, then let them know and have them move on without troubling your representative. Their time is valuable too and helping you shouldn't be for nothing if up front you KNOW you won't enter into those kinds of agreements.
Of course you would answer questions and disclose as honestly as possible. I do believe in honest and honorable dealings, so I have disclosed all I know. In fact, it's been fun discovering things about our home like it's apparent true age that I did not know. Notice the 1909 date on the blog? About 3 weeks ago a kind lady at the county clerk's office title searched for me, giving me all the owners of our home to either CONFIRM or DEBUNK the story I had been told about the home's original ownership. . .well, well, well! What a surprise to learn that the home was present when transferred in 1880 after the first owner had bought just the lots from the coal mining company as town lots! AND the cross street bears the sir name of that man, a local businessman! Well, I thought that house was older than 1909, but since I had been told it was build then for a doctor by the coal company, I thought the craftsmanship was due to that reason not the age and construction practices. It appears I was wrongly told as in 1873 the lots were purchased, then in 1880 a home and four lots was transferred. Now how do I surmise this is the home? Well, this house sits on the top of a hill in the lots. A home of that era would not have been built on the slopes of the 4 lots, but at the top as the home sits today. The architecture also speaks VERY old stately home! So if you know history whatever the era, share it on your blog and in your advertising. If it's NEW, say that. . .if it's 1950's say that too~is it special in some way? SHARE that information! AND share about the area, its features and even link to any amenities the area offers. Is there a state park or recreational area, lake, beach, university, schools, libraries, shopping, anything that makes the home a great place to be and live in?
Discuss the location to major cities and areas that could be of interest also. Give approx mileage or travel time for those who may consider this a plus. THINK UP all the ways your home is GREAT and share it with your readers in the ads and on the blog~update frequently with as much info and insights as you can. If possible, use tons of pictures. Pictures has been the number ONE request of the out of town calls on the home. Remember if you are advertising nationally or regionally then before folks travel to see your home, they will want to be reasonably sure it could be a good fit for them. Everyone will appreciate not having their time and hope wasted.
I hope this has been helpful and while I've not discussed sale offers and contracts, look for an additional post. Just remember that you can navigate these waters if you chose to, but do your homework too! Be sure that you are taking care of that big ole investment properly by selling in a prudent way. If you do use a realtor, they will need to secure your interest while they earn your commission money, and they can navigate for you. It will take some work, but it's possible to save that commission money if you've priced right and advertised to gain an offer. Remember price is important too! You must research sold homes of like style and features to gain a fair market analysis. To be sure, you can have an appraisal done and price accordingly or you can research it yourself, but be willing to begin dropping your price if you don't get a sale fairly quickly. Homes left sitting are not good and eventually get a reputation in the community!
Al l right, I will leave this for now, with you to consider your home situation. If you need to sell like we do or just want bigger and better, be sure to do your homework and take care of your money so it won't leave you!