For Sale by Owners

Useful Tips & Information

Dream Home Finder

Tips on Pricing Your Home

When determining the list price of your home, you should:

Consider comparable properties.

What have other homes in your neighborhood sold for recently? How do they compare to yours in terms of size, condition and amenities?

This is one of the most important attributes of selling your home.

  • If your home is overpriced – it won’t sell
  • If your home is overpriced – it will sit on the market for a long time
  • If your home is showing signs of deferred maintenance – you won’t get the price you’re asking
  • If your home is not in the best condition – you won’t get the best price
  • If the location of your home is less than ideal – you won’t get the price you want or need. (You can’t do anything about the location – it is what it is. In such cases, the great equalizer in real estate is price.)

Additionally, in most of the above cases, you will lose more money once you do have a buyer. Why would that be?

Well, the buyer is trying to minimize his costs in purchasing a home. And you are trying to maximize the price of the home.

Consider the competition. How many other houses are for sale in your area? Are you competing against new homes? How does your home compare to these other homes?

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Consider your contingencies. Do you have special concerns that would affect the price you’ll receive? For example, do you want to be able to move in four months? Or, do you need to move because of a job relocation?

Get an appraisal. For a few hundred dollars, a qualified appraiser can give you an estimate of your home’s value. Be sure to ask for a market-value appraisal. To locate appraisers in your area, contact The Appraisal Institute ( or ask a REALTOR® for some recommendations.

An appraisal will ensure that your home is priced according to the market. Most people believe that their home is worth much more than it really is. Don’t fall for this – get it appraised and then price it accordingly. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress by pricing your home to the market.

Get a home inspection. Getting a home inspection completed prior to any sale will help you protect the market value price of your home. The inspector will determine any health and safety issues with your home, plus cosmetic issues. All of these will affect the final price you receive for your home.

After the inspection, have any necessary repairs made, and keep the receipts showing that the work was completed.
You’ll be in a better position when a buyer attempts to get a price reduction. You can show them the inspection report and that the work was completed.

Talk to a lender. Since most buyers will need a mortgage, it’s important that a home’s sale price be in line with a lender’s estimate of its value.

Be accurate. Studies show that homes priced higher than 3 percent over the correct price take longer to sell.

Know what you’ll accept. It’s critical to know what price you’ll accept before beginning a negotiation with a buyer.

Excerpted from a reprint from REALTOR® Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.


Is Your Buyer Qualified?

Unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. If possible, try to determine a buyer’s financial status before signing the contract. Ask the following:

  • Has the buyer been pre qualified or pre approved (even better) for a mortgage? Such buyers will be in a much better position to obtain a mortgage promptly.
  • Does the buyer have enough money to make a down payment and cover closing costs? A buyer should have at least 3 to 3½ percent of the home’s price as a down payment and between 2 and 7 percent of the price to cover closing costs.
  • Is the buyer’s income sufficient to afford your home? Ideally, buyers should spend no more than 28 percent of total income to cover PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance).
  • Does your buyer have good credit? Ask if he or she has reviewed and corrected a credit report.
  • Does the buyer have too much debt? If a buyer owes a great deal on car payments, credit cards, etc., he or she may not qualify for a mortgage.

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine ( with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.


Photo Tips for FSBO Sellers

As you probably know by now, marketing a home for sale can feel like a full-time job. I thought I might pass along some information re: photo tips which may help you sell your home faster and for a higher price.

More than 87% of buyers search for homes on the internet, and recent studies have shown that the quality and quantity of photos you provide online can have a dramatic impact on the number of days on market as well as percentage of list price. In some instances, more than 20 photos per listing dropped days on market 50%.

Here’s a seven-point checklist you can use before you snap a home photo:

  • Is there anything in the frame that distracts from the focus on the property? Look out for stray hoses, vehicles, recycling bins, etc.
  • Am I close enough to the property? Better to fill the shot than crop later.
  • Is this room interesting enough to photograph in detail?
  • Have I removed unnecessary items from the interior shots? Check for garbage cans, magazines on tables, excess furniture, etc.
  • Is the lighting suitable for this shot? Check to make sure you’re not shooting into really bright lights, sliding glass doors, fluorescent lights.
  • Does this shot require a tripod to avoid distortion? Hand-held shots can reveal distortion, especially when you’re shooting horizontal or vertical shots. One alternative is shooting from a favorable angle.
  • Did I get all of the one-of-a-kind details? Look for exceptional architecture, gardens, privacy features, transitional spaces.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any other home marketing questions.

Seller Assist