So, You’ve Chosen the “Sale by Owner” Option

The “Sale by Owner” is probably the most arduous, stressful choice out of the three selling options. If you had gone with a real estate agent, the real estate agent would have handled everything (with costs to you), and if you had gone with an investment company, the investment company would have paid you cash upfront (with no more costs to you). Instead, you have decided to go into the metaphorical woods alone, which means everything associated with selling your home is on you.

For example, advertising. Getting the word out that you’re selling your home is the first step in attracting a traditional buyer. You can use word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter, and even Craigslist in an effort to get some information into the larger sphere. Placing a sign in your yard is another option. However, when your friends don’t like, comment, and repost your house related social media content, or you live in an area where there aren’t a lot of people, you can hit a brick wall pretty quick. Or maybe the opposite happens. Maybe pictures you took of your home with your cellphone camera really take off, and you’re getting called about your house all hours of the day and night. This is fine, for a while. Eventually, the answering machine is completely overwhelmed and suddenly turning your cell to “Do Not Disturb” permanently is becoming very attractive. You’re looking back at your list of to-dos and realize that you’re going to have to host an open house once the phone stops ringing.

We are going to go ahead and say that you have already moved to your next property, that there is very little furniture in the house, and you’ve already cleaned every nook and cranny spotless. You’re even going to leave the fridge, stove, dishwasher, and washer/dryer for the next homeowner. You read a couple of real estate blogs, absolutely sure that the outdoor flowers look fresh, the “For Sale” sign is legible, and that the cookies in the oven smell amazing. Then, eagerly, you sit back and wait, unaware that statistically, less than half of the interested phone calls you received will show for the open house. Due to your work schedule and prior engagements, you weren’t able to offer an open house during usual hours, making it difficult for interested, traditional buyers to visit. During all of this, and against all odds, you get one couple who seem interested, then impressed, and then they fell in love.

The couple is so excited to have found a home in their price range, with all the features they want, in an area that they feel comfortable. This couple cannot wait to make your house their home. However, there are a couple of concerns. Perhaps the roof has seen some better days, or there is a leak in the foundation, or electrical rewiring needs to be done, or there are more than three sump pumps for the property. All of this will be on you to fix before closing. These expenses could cost anywhere from $5-30 thousand dollars, depending on the fix. So you steel yourself, aware that the closing date is 18 days away, and try to find contractors to fix the problem before closing.

You reach out to your friends, family, and neighbors in an effort to get recommendations for cost-effective contractors. You get a sizable list together, check out their reviews on Google, take a big breath and start calling around. Several contractors don’t answer the phone. Even more contractors say they are booked solid for the next few months. Finally, you get a couple of guys who agree to look at the house and give you an estimate. The first guy schedules with you and then he reschedules with you, and then texts you to say he’s coming late from another appointment, only to cancel with you entirely two hours later. The other guy is much more professional. He shows up with a coworker, pets your dog, and chats amicably about what needs to be done, how fast it should get done, and what type of service you’ll receive. It’s a fantastic experience until you realize that contractor number two is asking for twice the budgeted amount. You end up calling an old friend, just desperate for someone in your price range, and they do an okay job at an okay price, but hey. The problems are fixed, and you just made it to closing right on time.

This time, you are prepared. Having arrived at the closing location 30 minutes early, you skim the folder of practical information you put together for the new homeowners. You see pages for all the utility companies the couple will have to get in touch with, the HOA representative’s contact information, and what paint colors you used in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. You even remembered to bring a check-in case more unexpected expenses occur during closing. Everyone else arrives on time and goes through the Housing and Urban Development Settlement Plan or HUD. You realize as it goes, that you are making less and less on this house as each line gets ticked down. By the end of it, you just want to sign and move on with anything that is not this one building that you lived in, loved in, and struggled with to the bitter end. After smiling at the broker, handing the practical file to the couple, and signing what you hope is the last check, you go to your new home.

There a few things that could happen next. Next month you could get an auto-payment for the utilities used in your old house. You think it’s weird, but the couple probably had a lot to do, and whatever, they will get to it before next time. Then the same thing happens next month, and you call the utility companies to turn off the water, electric, gas and sewer that are still somehow in your name. Then you could have to spend the next few hours on hold for each company, making sure all utilities are officially out of your name. Or, you could receive a phone call from the couple about how one of the pipes burst under your old kitchen sink, and according to the seller’s agreement, you are financially responsible for hiring another contractor to fix it. Or things could be fine, you could move on with your life and the couple forwards old mail to you every couple of weeks until the post office figures out your new address.

There is one more option. You could just call us at 502-822-3633. After all, selling a house alone can be an arduous process. We can buy it quickly, as it is, for cash. So don’t hesitate to Contact Us here at LST Properties. It could save you six paragraphs of heartache.