How to Sell Your Heights House by Owner-20 Tips

How to Sell Your Heights House by Owner-Tips

For Sale By Owner Sign

Get Their Attention

There are several reasons for selling your Heights or other inner loop house yourself. Some that make sense, some that don’t. I’ve even taken this route myself, with mixed results. I am a do-it-yourselfer, so I understand that too, maybe that’s a driving force for you. Well, let me give you a few tips.

Note: This is the third in a series on selling your own homes. There is an intro: House for Sale by Owner.

The second article dealt with the Hurdles of Selling Your Own House.  Be sure to read this for what to not-to-do in selling on your own.

This third article shows some things to-do; some tips to help you sell your house. You can’t do everything, pick a few places where you need improvement and do them:

  • Pricing. Don’t take your neighbors word on what things sold for. Don’t use other people’s asking price for setting your price. Find out solid info on recent sales. Roughly same SF, beds, baths, degree of updates, etc. Don’t fudge here. Today’s buyers know prices, you can’t overprice.
  • Decide whether you will work with Realtors. If your house does sell, there is 90 % chance it will be thru a local Realtor, so why ignore them.
  • Ask callers if they are pre-qualified or pre-approved for loan. Don’t waste your time on “lookers.”
  • Make a great flyer. Potential buyers may scribble down your number, but they won’t remember what it was for by the time they get home. If you work with realtors, say so on the flyer. (This typically means you will pay a reduced commission.)
  • Make it easy for buyers to reach you – phone and email.
  • Get the “house for sale” on the internet. There are FSBO sites, discount brokerages, etc. It MUST be on the net. Make a video ( Post it on YouTube, Craigslist, etc. These social network sites are the rage now. Google loves them and gives priority ranking to them. Being on is best, (You can do this with a discount broker) but then you must agree to work with realtors.
  • Newspaper ads? This is better for a Seller than a Realtor. You might run an ad in a major paper like the Houston Chronicle for $20. They charge me closer to $100. I have more effective ways to advertise. I must say though, I love their Photo Open House ads. They cost me ~$150, but people come to my open houses clutching that ad. If it works, I do it. The community papers like The Greensheet, The Leader, The Houston Press are all good for specific types and prices of homes. A West University Home For Sale, a Garden Oaks Home For Sale, a Spring Branch Home For Sale…these are all different markets. They need different marketing venues.
  • Answer your phone! Buyers WON’T call back. Make it easy for Houston home buyers to reach you, not difficult.
  • Make it available to see. “I can only show from 2-4 on Saturday” won’t work. Do you want to sell it or not?
  • Don’t be pissed off with no-shows. That is the nature of people; don’t try to change it. Concentrate on what you do have control over.
  • Don’t be vague and hesitant. Know what price you want and whether you will do owner finance. Know what closing costs are. Know lender requirements, interest rates, down payment required. If you are going to be a Realtor, be a knowledgeable one. Find a lender who will help you. Have contract forms available
  • Do capture phone numbers to follow up later .
  • Have Seller Disclosure & Lead Notice (Pre 1978) filled out.

    Don’t fib on those disclosure forms.

    There are some cases where these not necessary, but in general, you must provide disclosures. (Estate sales, foreclosures are 2 exceptions). In general, I believe Texas laws are written for the benefit of special interests. Texas real estate laws are the rare exception. These laws are tough and written to protect the unwitting buyer. Don’t bypass these forms. Ignorance is no defense.

  • Make that house sparkle! Turn off the TV when you show it. Get the family out. Buyers will feel like they are intruding if your family is there. See my post on prepping your house for sale.
  • Follow up with potential buyers. They say they will call you back…they won’t! You call them!
  • Decide on a time period. If you don’t sell in 30 or 60 days, is it time to bring in a professional?
  • If your house is vacant, try open houses. This is a low key way for people to see your house.
  • Do talk to realtors. This may seem self-serving (and it is, but it is helpful to you too). We show houses all the time; we know the market; we know the competition; we know if you have it priced too high or low. Talk to us. We don’t bite.
  • What about those ugly little home made signs? House for Sale Cheap; For Sale by Owner.
    For Sale by Owner

    These tacky home-made signs work (for certain homes) because people think they are dealing with an unsophisticated seller.

    You know; the blank little corrugated signs written on with Magic Marker? This is a great trick (Oops-marketing tactic) for getting potential buyers to think that the seller is clueless; that he doesn’t know how to market; and most importantly to think…maybe I can get a bargain. This would not be a good approach on a high-end house; but maybe a starter home. I know a lot of real estate investors who do this. It works.

Well, that’s my advice. I wrote it quickly and didn’t cover everything but hopefully it’s helpful. It’s not designed as a sales pitch, but obviously I would love to help you sell your house if you do get tired of marketing it yourself.. I will even offer free advice.

I used to work on my own car (I told you I was a confirmed do-it yourselfer). I had a friend who was a mechanic. He would offer free simple advice. He knew however, when I got frustrated or botched something up, I would bring the car to him. I make the same offer to “For Sale By Owners”. Straight-forward advice and opinions to help you along. If you manage to sell it I’ll be happy for you. If you don’t sell it, maybe you’ll consider using my services.

Selling Heights Land by Owner. Read this if you are contemplating selling your lot in the Heights, Oak Forest, or other nearby areas.

. Best wishes…Rich 713 868-9008