How many times have you pinned images of homes and fun do-it-yourself projects to your Pinterest boards or tuned into HGTV?
Every time you paint a room or refinish cabinets by yourself, you’re saving money.
Whether it’s re-tiling bathrooms or tackling a living room design makeover, people are rolling up their sleeves and tackling jobs formerly reserved for the pros.
Many homeowners take on these tasks themselves to affordably upgrade their homes in advance of putting their home on the market.
American’s love to embrace projects on their own homes, which is clear when you consider the popularity of HGTV programming, home and garden related publications, and home advice blogs and Websites proliferating the Web.
Many Americans are taking the “I can do it” approach one step further and when it comes time to actually sell their homes.
Selling Your Own Home
There is no mystery or magic behind selling a house. If you can book your own vacation or file your own taxes online, you can sell your own home.
Last year, business to consumer ecommerce sales exceeded $300 billion for the first time while nearly a third of homeowners sold their house either entirely on their own or with limited support from real estate pros.
The main reason? Consumers have become empowered via technology and as a result, are realizing huge savings.
Consider this: in today’s connected world, 90% of consumers start their real estate research online.
In fact, 45% of consumers actually found their own home before engaging an agent.
When you step away and consider how much you’ve already done on your own before contacting an agent, the self-directed model starts to make a lot of sense.
Saving on Selling Commissions
When you work with a traditional, full service broker, you also pay a full-service commission. But when you take the self-directed route, you can choose the services you want while saving a significant chunk of that commission – you’re essentially paying yourself back on work that you did anyway.
And, your savings can be substantial.
The average savings on selling commissions for a $300,000 home for customers using the self-directed real estate site Owners.com is more than $8,000, for example.
When buying a home through a hybrid brokerage, for instance Owners.com, in eligible states you may qualify to receive a 50% buyer rebate, or half the commission we realize as your buyer agent. On a $300,000 home, that’s $4,500 you can use at closing to net against your closing costs.
What can you do to save on your home today, tomorrow, and when you’re ready to sell?
Follow the tips outlined below:
Replace or update, don’t renovate
Evaluate the costs associated with remodeling relative to overall home value before taking on a large, expensive project. Typically, major renovations cost more than you’ll get back.
Simple swaps you can do on your own like installing a new front door, painting dated kitchen cabinets, or updated lighting fixtures can make a major difference in increasing your home’s visual appeal without breaking the bank.
Make your first impression count
Prospective buyers must be able to envision themselves creating a home in your space.
Purchasing a home is a very personal experience, so staging a neutral and spacious setting leaves room for prospective buyers to see themselves living there.
Give walls a fresh coat of neutral, flattering paint, de-clutter surfaces and remove personal items like photos and knick-knacks.
Buyers won’t hesitate to open cabinets and closets, so be sure to store excess personal items in a way that doesn’t undercut the storage space your home has to offer. In fact, removing seasonal and other unused items from the home entirely during the sales period is an easy way to open up storage spaces.
Set the right listing price
This part can sound intimidating, but it’s actually easy for you to access the same information traditional real estate agents use to figure out what your home is worth and to set the right price to attract qualified buyers.
Many online listing sites offer comparable active listing prices of homes that have sold in your area, allowing you to see how your house stacks up against the current market.
Contrary to popular belief, avoid intentionally entering the market at a higher price thinking you can lower it later. Research shows dropping the price several times while a home is on the market can ultimately cause it to sell for less than the appropriate initial listing price.
While the rate at which homes sell has to do with a number of factors like price and location, last year homes typically sold for 97 percent of their asking price within five weeks, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Create a pro listing
It was only a matter of time before online shopping expanded to the real estate industry.
An online listing makes it easy for today’s savvy buyers to find your home. Over 90 percent of buyers search online in some capacity during their home buying process and, according to Google, real estate-related searches have grown more than 250 percent over the past four years.
The way you position your home online will impact whether it grabs the attention of potential homebuyers.
Write a listing that tells people why your home is the home of their dreams.
Remember: you are the one who has made memories in your home, so who could be better qualified to best represent what your home has to offer?
The more pictures you include, the better (be sure to take them once you’ve staged your home). Don’t forget to include images of your pretty yard or bustling neighborhood. Detail any updates or improvements you’ve made.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 83 percent of buyers who searched for a home online said photos are among the most useful features of real estate websites, ranking higher than any other feature.
Also, think location, location, location (online).
Maximizing your exposure to home buyers is critical, so list where you’re going to attract as many people as possible. This means going beyond Craigslist.
The most universal real estate tool is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and savvy homeowners can find home selling websites like Owners.com that make it easy to inexpensively add a listing to the MLS which then will be automatically syndicated across other sites like Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow.
Get your ducks in a row for closing
You can manage the entire home-selling process yourself, right down to sealing the deal.
Valid contracts and paperwork for your state are available at U.S. Legal Forms.
Alternatively, there are services online where you can invest a nominal fee to have a licensed real estate professional guide you through the closing process – a far cry from paying tens of thousands of dollars in fixed commission with a traditional real estate agent.
You’re likely excited about the idea of doing some of the tasks above yourself, and less enthusiastic about taking on others, with reasons ranging from cost, available time, individual skill levels and simply interest in taking on what may be a particularly daunting element of selling your home.
For a long time you would have been left choosing a full service agent – and paying for all of their services whether or not you used them – or going all in on your own by embracing the traditional for-sale-by-owner route.
Fortunately, new models in real estate are emerging that are creating a middle ground between these two choices, effectively compensating sellers for the work they choose to do on their own, and offering support where they want it.
Eric Eckardt is the vice president of Owners.com, the leading online real estate marketplace making it more affordable for self-directed consumers to use and pay for only the services they need.
At Owners.com, we’re excited to be able to offer all of the services home sellers and buyers need on an a la carte basis. Have you done all of the above steps yourself, and just need a great place to list your home that reaches the MLS? We’ve got you covered. Need help with pricing or document work? Visit Owners.com or speak with one of our real estate experts. Interested in pursuing a traditional real estate broker led sale? We can help you with that too.
The real estate industry is hitting an inflection point in how services are delivered making it a great time to be a seller that takes initiative and enjoys handling some of the work while having access to a licensed real estate advisor or all of the work involved, and equally as important, getting paid for it!