Monday, August 5, 2013

Thoughts on Selling Our Home (Ourselves)

**Updated...thank you to everyone for your advice and what worked for you when selling...keep it coming, it helps us a lot!***
So we're one month into selling our home by owner.  There have been some things that went as planned...but a lot of the experience has been very different than what I thought it would be.
One month later, here's the "wisdom" I have about this experience...
1.  Keeping your house clean all the time, with a toddler, is TOUGH STUFF.

I think keeping your house show-ready all the time is already kind of difficult...but add in the fact that Emma Ramey can take it to tornado-status in about 10 minutes, and I'd call it next to impossible.  I tried for a week or two to keep it perfect all the time, and eventually gave up on that.  We've been lucky to structure our showing so far around naps, so I can clean like a crazy person for an hour or two before we actually have to show it.  My mother in law told me a few days ago that they sold their house by owner, without my father in law in town (he had already been relocated for work), with Noah and his two brothers living in the house.  I mean really, I don't know how she did it.
2.  Most people looking aren't looking seriously.

This is something I've just had to come to terms with.  We've had a lot of questions about it...for a week or two, we got really excited that they were potential buyers, but most of the time we never heard anything again.  We've had a lot of hits on the website we made for it, but once again...most people are just looking for fun.  Out of probably a couple hundred hits a day, we've shown the house twice.
And that leads me to my next point...most people that even come see it aren't super serious about buying it.  I never thought showing it the first time would lead to a sale, but out of our couple of showings, we haven't heard a thing after.  That's a little disappointing.  So is a no-show showing...we had our first one of those today.  People - cleaning your house for a showing is a lot of work - at least call and cancel if you're not going to show!
3.  Actually selling a house is hard.

If I had a nickel for every time I've been asked if we would rent/lease purchase/rent to own, we might not have to sell the house.  I kid, but might be a sign of the times, but I probably get that question once a day.  Most people just aren't looking for the obligation of owning a home right now, after all of the problems with mortgages and home prices lately.
4.  There's a lot that you just can't do if you're not a realtor.

Not only do you have all of the connections of a realtor if you hire one, but there's a lot in the home selling process that is just impossible if you sell by owner.  In our case, the big drawback of not having a realtor is MLS.  We tried hiring one of the websites that can just list to MLS for you, but we found out (the hard way) that our local MLS doesn't accept what is called a discount broker...meaning we would have to hire an actual realtor to list to this service.  Big problem, considering most people and realtors find homes through the MLS around here.

5.  Promoting your home when you're selling yourself can be a pretty big job.

I have been promoting this thing like nobody's business.  I put it on Craigslist every couple of days, post it to Facebook Garage sale pages at least once a day (which has been a HUGE source of traffic), and we just put it in the paper.  We have it on all of the free sites, and I'm pretty close to trying something like had any luck with it?

We're not quite ready to hire a realtor just yet, but we're close.  They are expensive, but I'm learning more and more that they earn what they're paid for!

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