For Sale by Owner Guidelines | Home Guides


Selling your house on your own eliminates the agent as middleman so you get to pocket more of your home’s equity on the sale. You’re going to need help from real estate specialists. You also need to know how to price your home, make it appealing to buyers and list it on the market.


Assemble your real estate team. The steps you took when buying your home still apply. A home inspector assesses your home’s structure and working condition, and lets you decide what, if anything, needs fixing. A real estate appraiser estimates your home’s value on the current market. An appraisal keeps you from over- or under-pricing your home. Inspectors and appraisers should be state-certified.

A real estate lawyer protects your interests throughout the sale. A title and escrow company looks into and records your home’s history to ensure that no one else has claim to, or a lien on, the property. Any funds exchanged during the sale are held in an escrow account until the closing. A home warranty company insures your home for plumbing, heating electricity and other mechanical systems to protect you from after-sale disputes.


Prepare your home for sale. Look at your inspector’s report and repair your roof, upgrade your electrical system or repave your driveway, if necessary.

Clean and declutter your home. Discard unwanted furniture, toys and collectibles. Move out-of-season clothing or machinery, such as lawn mowers or snow blowers, to an unseen area of your home. Consider renting space away from your property to store excess items.

Stage your home. Staging is similar to set design. You arrange rooms with decorative but minimal furnishings. The idea is to help buyers imagine their furnishings and accessories in a room rather than your possessions or style. Stage your home yourself or hire a professional stager.


Price your home appropriately. The appraiser suggests a selling price, but the decision ultimately is yours. Compare listing prices for homes in your neighborhood. Review each home’s amenities. Set a higher price if your home has more features and a lower price for fewer amenities. Your bank can provide a property report with this information for a fee. Real estate websites often offer free property reports. Keep track of price comparisons. Use this information to justify the sales price.


Write a listing. Describe your home’s basic features, such as the number of bedrooms and the property size. Include features, such as a fireplace, formal dining room, deck or patio. Add special features, such as a sauna, underground swimming pool or two-story garage.

Sell your home online, where most home buyers shop. Listings often are free. Take exterior and interior photos of your home to post online. Target your social media listings by offering extras that might appeal to certain groups, such as partial payment of the closing costs for first-time home buyers or a lease-to-buy option for young adults. Consider posting a video tour of your home.

Don’t overlook more traditional marketing tactics, such as putting up “for sale” signs on your lawn and holding open houses.


Selling your home on your own without a broker won’t connect you with as many potential buyers. Brokers use the Multiple Listing Service, which markets to communities and across regions. Also, buyers place a high value on brokers, who can show them other available homes in a neighborhood and help analyze their worth.

Selling on your own can be time-consuming. You’re doing the house preparation, pricing, marketing and negotiating on your own, perhaps while working a full-time job or looking for another home.

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