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Selling Your House Without a Real Estate Agent

Is it possible to sell a house without a real estate broker or agent?

Yes, this is called FSBO (For Sale By Owner). You must, however, be aware of the legal rules that govern real estate transfers in your state, such as who must sign the papers, who can conduct the actual transaction and what to do if and when "encumbrances" arise which slow down the transfer of ownership. You also need to be aware of any state-mandated disclosures as to the physical condition of your house. Check with your state department of real estate for advice on FSBOs, including the involvement of attorneys and other professionals in the house transaction.

If you want to go ahead and sell your house alone, be sure you have the time, energy and ability to handle all the details, from setting a realistic price to negotiating offers and closing the deal. Also, be aware that FSBOs are usually more feasible in hot or sellers' markets where there's more competition for homes, or when you're not in a hurry to sell.

If you're interested in listing your house online, check out sites such as http://www.owners.com

What are the best and worst times to sell a house??

Too many people sell their house at the wrong time or are in too much of a hurry. Basically, you want to sell when there's the largest potential pool of buyers, causing prices to go up, something that occurs in the following situations :

  • Your area is considered especially attractive -- because of the schools, low crime rate, weather, proximity to major city or other factor such as employment opportunities.
  • Mortgage interest rates are low.
  • The economic climate of your region is healthy and people feel confident about the future.
  • There's a jump in housebuying activity as often occurs in spring.

What's the best way to price a house for sale?

The key thing is determining how much your property is actually worth on the market, called "appraising" a house's value. The most important factors that determine a house's value are recent sales prices of similar properties in the neighborhood.

Real estate agents have access to sales data for the area and can give you a good estimate of what your house should sell for. Many real estate agents will offer this service free, in hopes that you will list your house with them. You can also hire a professional real estate appraiser to give you a documented opinion as to your house's value. Public record offices, such as county clerk or recorder's office, may also have information on recent house sales.

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