If you sell your own house yourself, you can save thousands of euros in real estate costs. In this article we explain step by step how to do it.
Step 1. Clean your house well
Once you decide to sell your home, it's a good idea to give it a thorough cleaning. Don't forget to also clean all those spots that you normally skip, such as blinds, the gutter and the window frames. If you don't have the time for that, hire a cleaning company to do it for you. A clean house will give the appraiser a better impression of the house and it will certainly attract more potential buyers.
Clean up all unnecessary clutter. Make your house look spacious and tidy by removing all unnecessary items. Your cabinets will look better, you will create space in the living room and you will have a sleek bathroom. Buyers want to feel like they are buying a home with enough space, if you clear out a lot of your personal messes you help them better imagine how they would live there. If you can't bring yourself to throw out your stuff, consider renting temporary storage space until you move
Step 2. Have your house appraised
Of course you want to sell your house for the highest possible amount, but you have to be realistic. Many houses that are for sale without the intervention of a real estate agent remain for sale for a long time because the asking price is much too high. For example, the seller thinks that his or her house is worth more than the current market price or the seller already has a certain amount in his or her head and refuses to part with it. An independent appraisal of the value of your house ensures that you have clarity about how much your house can yield. In addition, it gives you a stick to hit with if a potential buyer thinks the price is too high.
- With regard to the asking price, do not base yourself too much on the WOZ value. It is a good idea to know the WOZ value of your house, but this value is not always an accurate reflection of the market value.
- Hire an appraiser. A certified appraiser will visit you, measure the different living areas, take notes and photos, research possible leases and compile a list of comparable homes sold in your neighborhood in order to arrive at a realistic selling price. An appraiser is not cheap, but it always costs less than selling your house through a real estate agent, in addition, the value that the appraiser determines will be more accurate. Once you have received the valuation report, make a copy and keep it in a safe place. You can then submit the original in the case of a serious candidate.
- Be aware of the effects of your neighborhood on the market price. If you live in a neighborhood where the houses sell like hot cakes, this has a good influence on the price you can ask for your house. Conversely, it will have negative consequences if you live in a problem neighborhood where there is a lot of crime.
Step 3. Have your house inspected
Many real estate agents give buyers the option to inspect a home before purchasing, so be prepared to have the home inspected. During a building inspection, the foundation, roof, sewer, pipes and everything that a potential buyer cannot see with the naked eye is checked. A buyer may request certain repairs after inspection. Follow the recommendations and make the repairs.
Step 4. Know the strengths of the house
Before you put your house on the market, it is good to draw up a list of the strong points, the 'selling points' of the house. These are the points that you think will attract buyers. Think of schools and shops in the vicinity, public transport, parking, recent renovations, insulation or solar panels. Make sure you put these qualities to good use when selling your house, when you talk to people about your house and of course when you have a viewing. Memorize the list to make sure you don't forget anything.
Step 5. Put your house on the market
It starts, of course, with the 'For Sale' sign. But that's just the beginning.
- Advertise online. List your home on advertising sites. Let us know on Facebook that you are selling your house or post a message with a link to the online ad.
- Create flyers. If this is allowed in your municipality, you can stick flyers on lampposts and traffic lights in places where there is a lot of traffic.
- Look for potential buyers yourself. List your house to big companies that are looking for houses for their foreign employees, tell the other parents at school that you have a great house for sale. Do what you can to promote your home.
- Do not underestimate the effect of oral advertising. Tell all your friends, your family and your colleagues that you are selling your house. If you're in a rush, you can offer a reward to whoever brings you a serious buyer, such as an expensive bottle of wine or a dinner party.
Step 6. Be available for viewings
If potential buyers want to come and see the house, make sure you are available. Be flexible. If you have limited free time due to work or otherwise, ask a close friend to be available for viewings.
- Create an inviting, calm atmosphere. Take a quick look at the house before the viewing. Remove food, quickly put the dishes in the dishwasher and remove all the laundry. Make the house smell nice. Open some windows if the weather is good. If it's cold, make sure it's nice and warm when they come in or light the fireplace. Play some soft classical music. In this way the buyer gets a cosy, calm impression of the house.
- Be a good host or hostess. This may seem superfluous advice, but some people are so preoccupied with selling the house that they forget to be polite. When the potential buyer walks in, give them a firm handshake and look them in the eye. Introduce yourself and ask for his or her name. Once they are inside, ask if they would like something to drink, such as a cup of coffee. Ask about any children, pets or hobbies and try to connect that to the qualities of the house. Walk them quietly around your house. At the end, ask them if they want to know anything else, maybe they want to see a certain room again. Make sure you have your contact details ready on a card. If you come across as a polite and well-prepared person, they are more likely to enter into a transaction with you.
- Stay positive. Always be honest, but don't dwell too much on any downsides to the house. Don't excuse yourself for cluttered rooms. If you have to sell your house because of a death or divorce, don't bother the potential buyer. Make sure that the viewing as a whole is positive so that they leave with a positive feeling.
- Keep your valuables safe. Before you have a viewing, it's a good idea not to leave valuable or irreplaceable items out in the open. Don't let potential buyers wander around the house on their own.
Step 7. Learn about financing
For convenience, most sellers assume that buyers have gone through the process before and know exactly how it works with mortgages. But if the buyer does not have a broker to help with that, you can take advantage of it. Give some tips on how they could get the financing on your house. But don't be too forceful, it should of course come across as non-binding advice. For example, a good knowledge of financing can help you to sell your own house.
Step 8. Be prepared to negotiate
If a potential buyer says he or she is interested in your home but is still unsure, now is your chance! Did you see the way that man looked at your Weber barbecue? Provide it for free. Were they a little disappointed with the paint condition of the window frames? Say you're willing to drop $1,000 with your price so they can have the windows painted. Dropping your price or giving away a new washing machine can end up being cheaper than continuing to pay that double mortgage. Negotiation is very normal at this stage.
Step 9. Agree quickly
If you notice that the negotiation has started, try to come to an agreement right away. Make sure you have everything prepared to sell quickly and move quickly. If you don't agree with the price offered, never say "No". Always make a counter offer, but don't overthink it. There is a good chance that the buyer has several houses in the back of his or her mind. The speed of a counter offer can help win them over.
- If you are in a hurry to sell, you can look for investors who buy up many houses at once. You may get less for it, but you can sell it quickly.
- Always be honest about the downsides of your home. If you try to disguise the fact that the foundation needs to be replaced, you can still run into problems after the sale.
- Choose wisely when making home improvements. It is best to make improvements to the kitchen, bathroom and window frames. Don't spend too much time on the garden or other cosmetic improvements.