Sell My House For Sale By Owner Houston
Sell a Home Without a Realtor in Houston, Texas - Sell House For Sale By Owner [FSBO]
Are you wondering "how to sell my house 'For Sale By Owner' in Houston?"
With your house being most likely your largest asset, deciding if you want to sell a home without a Realtor in Houston, Texas is a big choice.
Most people think that the first step in selling a home is to hire a real estate agent, as this is considered the standard procedure.
However, you might have considered how to sell a home in Houston FSBO (For Sale By Owner).
Pros & Cons of Selling 'For Sale By Owner' Without A Realtor
What does this involve?
What are some benefits of both?
Let's go over a few of what the pros and cons would be when you're thinking of 'how to sell my Houston house without a Realtor.'
Cons of Selling Your House Without a REALTOR®
• No Realtor = No professional help.
When you think, 'I want to sell my Houston home without a Realtor, this is the most important downside because it can cause you to take tremendous, unnecessary risks.
While not every Realtor is created equal, your Real Estate Agent is a professional. Their job naturally includes knowing the best ways to:
- market your property,
- show your property to buyers,
- negotiate prices,
- help you find good selling points,
- comply with local real estate regulations,
- handle closings, deeds, and titles,
- and much more.
These people are professionals at buying and selling homes -- they do this for a living.
There is a reason the vast majority of people use a realtor, they make the process so much easier.
Real estate agents take so much off of your plate as a seller.
The question is:
Are you really willing to pay the huge cost of working with a Real Estate Agent (6%+ of your home's sale price) to receive their professional advisory?
• No Realtor = You do all the work.
While a Real Estate Agent's specialized education & regulatory oversight are the biggest values they provide (saving you from potentially ruinous unnecessary risks), the other main factor you'll surely miss selling your home without a REALTOR®:
Now you have to do all the work!
From handling photography, to writing up your listing, to getting it posted around the web, to putting signs up, to handling calls from prospective buyers, to scheduling showing & hosting open houses...
Everything your Real Estate Agent would have done is now on your plate.
Between these concerns, and the professional advisory the Agent can provide, it's easy to see why they are paid 6%.
However, you can save yourself that 6% and skip all the marketing & showings by simply selling your Houston house fast, as-is, to a local investor like us.
Pros of Selling Your House Without a REALTOR®
• No Realtor = You're saving big money (6%+)!
As mentioned above, when you sell with a realtor you are to pay them 6% of the sale price in commission.
This can get expensive.
You have to ask yourself:
- If I sell my Houston home without a Realtor, is it going to be worth it?
- Could I sell my Houston home without a Realtor for a good price?
- Could I sell my Houston home without a Realtor fast?
- Could I sell my Houston home without a Realtor and save myself from paying that commission?
- If I sell my Houston home without a Realtor, do I have an extra 20+ hours a week to act as my own realtor?
This is --- by far --- the biggest benefit of deciding to list your Houston house For Sale By Owner [FSBO] without a Realtor.
If you do decide "I'm going to sell my Houston House without a Realtor."
We have put together a 13-point 'For Sale By Owner' Checklist later on in this article.
• No Realtor = You can still work with Buyers' Agents (and Pay Only 3%).
Many people use a Buyer's Agent when shopping for homes.
Well, just because you're listing your house For Sale By Owner doesn't mean that you can't still sell to those individuals!
A very good strategy for a For Sale By Owner listing is to offer to pay a 3% Buyer's Agent commission.
This way, you'll still get Buyer's Agents looking at and showing your property for you, bringing their prospective buyers to your property.
While you might not end up selling to a Buyer who is working with an Agent, this is a good strategy to still save you 50% off the Agent's commission, with the benefit of added exposure & Agents who will deal with showing your house.
13 Point 'For Sale By Owner' Checklist
#1. Research comparable nearby For Sale & Recently Sold properties.
Before you even list your property as "For Sale," you're going to need to know at what prices other similar properties in the area are being sold.
These are called "Comparables" or "Comps" and researching them will be your first step in the FSBO process. Knowing your Comps is the only way to know where to set your Listing Price.
#2. Use your research to pick a competitive, but reasonable listing price.
Once you have a good understanding of the nearby Comps, you need to set your Listing Price.
Set it too high, and you won't generate much interest. A lot of a property's best potential buyers find the property right when it's just been listed...
After that initial flurry things tend to slow down. So, a price that is initially too high --- even if you reduce it later --- might scare away many potential buyers before you even get started.
On the other hand, set your price too low, and while the property will likely sell faster, you're obviously going to be missing out on potentially thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars!
#3. Put out a professional looking 'For Sale' sign & sign riders.
Now that you have a Listing Price set, thanks to your research & awareness of comparable nearby properties...
It's time to actually let people know your house is for sale!
The first & most obvious way to do so is to put out a For Sale sign, as well as print out & put some sign riders.
The key thing to remember when putting out your sign is that it is:
- Prominently placed,
- Easy to read, and with a
- Clear Call To Action (CTA).
Most of those are pretty obvious, but the last one is often neglected.
A clear Call To Action means a specific actionable command or invitation, that tells the prospective buyer what to do next. This could be something like:
"Call for Pricing"
"Text 123-555-1111 to schedule a Showing"
Once your sign is posted, hopefully you'll start receiving interested queries, but you can't depend on it.
There is more you need to do to properly market your For Sale property.
#4. Stage your home for the best showings.
Before anyone comes to look at your home, and before you take professional photographs for your online listings, it's critical your home is staged well to put its best foot forward.
This means everything in its place, clean & tidy, and well organized.
In our 140+ page Home Seller's Guide, we actually review '16 Affordable Improvements to Help Your Home Sell Faster' that will all help turn you into the low-budget master of home staging.
#5. Take professional photographs of your property.
Whatever you do:
Don't skimp on your For Sale By Owner real estate photography!
The photos of your house are the first thing most prospective buyers will see.
Even people who drive by & see your For Sale sign will probably check online to see if they can find pictures (before actually showing up for a showing).
This means taking high quality, professional photographs to showcase your property's strongest features is one of the single most important steps in your FSBO selling process!
Check comparables (or even slightly nicer properties) to see who has the best photography, then copy their style.
Or, simply Google "real estate photographers" and hire the one with the best portfolio & track record for your type of listing.
#6. Advertise your property (ideally on the MLS as well, see below).
When it comes to marketing your "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO) property, there are quite a few options ... without paying a Real Estate Agent.
The most important place to post your FSBO is Zillow's For Sale By Owner page.
Then, you'll be getting in front of the largest online pool of real estate buyers & shoppers... 100% free (including videos & unlimited photos)!
The next best free place to post your FSBO online is Craigslist. However, they are declining in quality over the years for FSBO listings, and have only a fraction of the traffic of Zillow's home shoppers.
Another trick you might consider will be the paid options on a site like ForSaleByOwner.com ... because these can actually get your property listed on the MLS and Realtor.com!
For their $499 package, your For Sale By Owner home can get exposure on the MLS (meaning, all Realtors will see it), plus its own listing on Realtor.com... both of which are typically not possible without actually working with a Real Estate Agent.
#7. Handle all calls from prospective buyers.
Now that your listing is posted online at multiple locations, plus you have a highly visible, easy-to-read sign posted at the property...
People will (hopefully) start calling in to ask questions & scheduling showings of the house.
You need to make sure to have a professional sounding voicemail at whatever number they're calling.
It's also important to answer - live, in the moment - as many calls as you possibly can. If you miss someone's first call, it might take up to 7 attempts to finally get them back on the line!
Instead, focus on being available to strange numbers as much as possible during the home selling process, and you'll catch more prospective buyers on their first attempt.
#8. Follow up with hot leads via email & phone calls.
While answering the first call & helping out prospective buyers is important, it's not the end of the game.
In fact, it takes buyers quite a long time to finally pull the trigger & purchase a new property:
The typical real estate sales cycle is 6 - 12+ months, and sometimes takes as long as 24 months from when a buyer first starts shopping, to when they finally close on a new home.
That means you need to be systematic, and consistent, about following up with prospective buyers for months after you first talk to them. You might even consider using a CRM to help managed the contacts, or hiring a Real Estate Virtual Assistant to help out with the follow up.
#9. Continue to market your listing until it sells (could be 9+ months).
In addition to ongoing follow up with top prospective buyers, you're going to need to keep marketing the property until it is sold.
The key here is to refresh your listing at reasonable intervals, via:
- Reductions in price (if you're not getting many leads),
- Separately promoting Open Houses via balloons in the yard & postcards mailed to neighbors, and
- Other in-person promotional opportunities like Real Estate Investor Associations.
The key is to look at this process as a numbers game, and to stay consistent & persistent until your house is sold.
#10. Coordinate all Open Houses & private appointments.
Obviously you're not going to sell your house without people coming by to actually look at it in-person.
This means, throughout the FSBO process, you'll need to keep the house in showing-ready condition, and coordinate scheduled appointments for prospective buyers to view the property.
You might also consider throwing a few Open Houses when you first list the property, to help attract multiple prospective buyers to view it in-person, all at the same time. The hardest part about an Open House is getting enough people to show up to actually make it worth it for you to sit there the whole time!
#11. Handle all price & contract negotiations.
Once enough people have had a chance to look at your property in-person, at least some of them are going to make you an offer to buy.
It is at this point you're going to need to be ready to negotiate.
Keep in mind:
Practically everything in a real estate transaction is negotiable, from price, to closing date, to what's included with the sale (and more).
Once you & the prospective buyer have reached a meeting of the minds, you'll both need to sign a legally binding Contract of Sale.
At this stage, unless you are a very experienced real estate investor or real estate professional, it's highly advisable to work with a specialist real estate attorney.
There are many regulations & potential areas of liability you can be exposed to when selling your property, and it's best to protect yourself by consulting with a qualified attorney who specializes in real estate matters.
Usually your Title or Escrow company will have someone on-staff who can help.
#12. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork & documentation.
This is another area where it's important to have an attorney, or your Title Company advising you.
In real estate, you use a Deed to transfer what's called Title to the property... which is a theoretical concept. The Deed transfers Title, but unlike your car or boat, the "Title" to real estate is not a physical document.
However, in addition to a property Deed (of which there are many types, such was General Warranty Deeds, Quitclaim Deeds, and more), you'll also need to have certain disclosures signed & documented for your Closing.
This is why it's important to consult a professional at this stage of the FSBO process, to be sure you have everything in order.
#13. Perform the Closing with a qualified local Title and/or Escrow Company.
Finally, once you have all your necessary documentation, including the Contract of Sale between you & the buyer, it's time to go to the Closing & Settlement.
Frequently this will be handled at the actually Title Company's offices.
When selecting the right Title Company or Escrow Company to handle your closings, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- Read their reviews! It's worth signing up for Angieslist just to pick the best Title Company for your Closing.
- Interview different options. Don't just automatically go with your first choice. Contact at least 3 Title and/or Escrow Companies, and ask a few questions to see how they respond.
- Make sure they understand your situation & goals. Even the free advice you might get while interviewing Title Companies can be invaluable. Explain your situation, goals, and plan, and they might clear up some issues you didn't even know you had!
Once you sit down at the Closing table for the Settlement, this is it:
Your property is Sold!
You will be receiving your payment at this point, and the Deed will be transferring Title to the property to the Buyer (its new owner). Congratulations on your home sale!
Is it worth 6% of your sale price to handle all of the above yourself?
If so, then when you think 'I want to sell my Houston House' going the For Sale By Owner route could be right for you.
Resources for Selling Your Houston House For Sale By Owner [FSBO]
Better yet, we've compiled a short list of resources that can help you if you want to sell your Houston house without a Realtor!
This company provides all the tools you need to sell your house without a Realtor, in an all-in-one package.
Get your property listed on the MLS ... even without a Realtor!
Don't expect the warmest reception by other Realtors though.
Similar to ForSaleByOwner.com...
Skipping the FSBO: Sell Your House Fast for Cash to Local Investors
As you can see, selling your Houston house for sale by owner is not an easy task by any means.
In order to do this, you should have a general idea of how the residential real estate market works.
You then should be so confident in that knowledge, that you are able to handle the transaction of your largest asset without professional help.
But, there is a much easier way to sell your Houston house without a Realtor:
Sell your house as-is, for cash, to a local real estate investor!
We buy houses Houston, and can make you a no-obligation cash offer to buy your property ... No Realtor Required!