For Sale By Owner Rocks! So Does the Savings ;.) - Part 1
No, selling your home by owner does not work for everyone. There are many times when it’s easier to have a professional by your side assisting with every step of the process. BUT if you have time, enjoy the research, and work then you have the possibility of saving thousands of dollars. Selling your home is not easy, it is emotional and at times so frustrating that you might wonder why you did it. So before I continue I feel it is appropriate to have this disclaimer: I’m not even close to being a real estate professional in any way!
I did however sell my home by owner and saved thousands. Our family lived in our old house for fifteen years and we have wonderful memories and were lucky enough to build up home equity. No disrespect to Realtors but my goal was to save as much of that hard earned equity and apply it to buying our new home. We had time to make mistakes, managing the process was an adventure, and we had a good lawyer. So if you have time, like research, understand you are going to have to manage most of the work and have a good lawyer then you could be successful too.
Decluttering the home: responsibility of the home owner
There might be a few really awesome Realtors that will pitch in and help box stuff but for the most part it’s the home owner’s responsibility. This takes work and can involve tough choices / questions:
- “Honey, we don’t need that, right?” question gets really old fast
- “I found the remote to the old TV!” that you don’t have any more
- “That’s where I put it ________” it’s amazing what you find
- “Didn’t know I had so many ______” why do I keep buying that!
Stock up on boxes, packing paper and tape. You also have some partners in the process like Goodwill and Savers. For example, I just dropped off a few car loads of packing boxes at Goodwill that I hope will help someone else. Most of the stuff in the “we don’t need” pile went to Goodwill or Savers. Both places give you a receipt for your donation but Savers also gave a discount on purchasing too. We found buying boxes at storage facilities the best value but it depends upon where you live and who you know. Friends are awesome and we were lucky enough to get a lot of boxes from people who recently moved.
We didn’t have much luck with professionals assisting with decluttering the house. I’m sure there are great packing professionals but after a few failed attempts we just did it ourselves. It was amazing how the house looked after we decluttered. The house felt spacious. the flow was improved and it made all the work worth it.
Painting: responsibility of the home owner
There were some rooms that we felt comfortable painting ourselves and others that needed a professional. We choose light colors and eggshell paint because the rooms appeared larger and minor imperfections were not as noticeable. Painting the ceilings made a big difference too. We used a combination of Angies List and recommendations from friends to find painters. We were very lucky as the two painters we used were very good and the rooms looked great after they were done. One lesson we learned is that painters are very busy at popular times of the year like spring when everyone who is considering selling their home needs their help. Schedule painters in advance to make sure you have the help.