FAQS about Home Selling by Owner
Get your home selling questions answered about being a for sale by owner and selling your own home in Connecticut.
Preparing to be a For Sale by Owner
- How hard is selling your own home?
- What paperwork does a for sale by owner need?
- Do you need an attorney when selling your own home?
- How much does a real estate attorney cost?
- What are buyers looking for?
- What should I do to get ready?
- Should I do a home inspection before putting the property on the market?
- What is a typical home selling timeframe?
- Can you sell your own home when you live out of town?
Pricing Your Home
- What is my house worth?
- What is a CMA?
- What’s the difference between appraised value and assessment value?
- Can I use an appraisal from a refinance to price my home?
- How much room should I leave for negotiation?
Marketing a House for Sale
- What marketing should a for sale by owner do?
- How do I get listed on realtor.com and other real estate websites?
- Where can I get a for sale by owner flyer?
- Should I hire a photographer to take property photos?
- Will agents boycott my house if I sell for sale by owner?
- Should I stay or go during an agent showing?
- Should I put up a for sale sign?
- Do I need to tell the buyer if someone died in the house?
Home Selling Costs
More Home Selling Resources
How hard is selling your own home?
When you decide to give selling your own home a shot, you are trading your time for money. The good news is, if you have the time, you ABSOLUTELY can sell your own house. With the right tools and “know-how” you can save thousands of dollars by selling your own home. You can still expect to spend some money on marketing, flyers, photography and perhaps an MLS listing (highly recommended), but the time and small amount money spent make it well worth the effort.
What paperwork does a for sale by owner need?
There is required paperwork for home selling whether your selling a home without an agent or not. Here’s a list of some of the home selling paperwork you’ll need to sell your property in Connecticut:
- Property Condition Disclosure
- Title X Lead Disclosure (if your home we built before 1978)
- Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector Affidavit
Not Required, but Customary
- Mold Disclosure
- Inclusion/Exclusion Addendum
Consult with your attorney to get the most updated disclosure forms.
Do you need an attorney when selling your own home?
Absolutely. You will need a real estate attorney. During the home selling process, you will rely heavily on your attorney. Even if you work with a real estate broker, you’re broker will often defer legal questions to your attorney. Here’s a list of what you can expect your attorney to handle. Of course, your attorney’s exact responsibilities will be determined between you and your attorney.
How much does a real estate attorney cost?
The amount is determined between you and your attorney and can vary depending on what you have hired your attorney to do. However, you can expect to pay $750 – $1,500 for a typical transaction.
What are buyers looking for?
The typical home buyer is looking for a home in their price range that doesn’t need much work so they can move right in. They are looking to get the most square footage and updates, and the best neighborhood they can get for their budget. Buyers will first head to the internet to view homes online that are in their price range. They are attracted to online listings with photos showing a home that has been well-kept, visually appealing, and has been kept up-to-date.
What should I do to get ready?
As with most ventures in life, nothing takes the place of being well prepared. Here’s a list of some of the things you should do to prepare yourself for the home selling process:
- Gather needed documents – disclosure forms, previous building permits, repair receipts, etc.
- Hire a real estate attorney
- Clean and de-clutter your house
- Make needed repairs
- Research your competition (similar house that are for sale)
- Hire an appraiser or do your own thorough pricing analysis
Should I do a home inspection before putting the property on the market?
If you don’t want to be blindsided by the results of your buyer’s inspection, you should probably do your own before putting your home on the market. Almost all buyers will conduct a home inspection as part of the home selling process. The home inspection may reveal defaults in a property that were not seen during the buyer’s initial visit to the property. Many times, these defaults will cause a buyer to back out of the deal. By doing a pre-sale home inspection, you can uncover these potential deal killers and make the needed repairs before putting the home on the market. Keep in mind that major defaults with the property will have to be disclosed to your buyer.
Ask friends and family for home inspector referrals. You can also find a home inspector at the CT Association of Home Inspectors.
What is a typical home selling timeframe?
Here’s what you can expect during a typical home sale:
Day 1 – You accept an offer and the buyer makes a deposit.
Day 2 – 7 – Attorney reviews your agreement with the buyer and the buyer conducts a home inspection.
Day 8 – 10 – You attorney drafts the final sales contract (if needed) and buyer makes an additional deposit.
Day 10 – 45 – The buyer works toward obtaining a mortgage commitment if needed. You may be busy completing any agreed upon repairs after the home inspection.
Day 45 – 60 – Your home selling efforts have paid off and closing takes place.
Can you sell your own home when you live out of town?
Yes you can, but there are home selling challenges and you will need some help. Here’s an article about selling your home when you live out of town.
Answers about Pricing Your Home
What is my house worth?
It isn’t quite correct to say that the home owner or the realtor prices your property when home selling. The market does the pricing. What you need is to “discover” what price the market will determine for your house.
Setting the asking price for your property is one of the most important steps in the home selling process. Of course you want to get as much as you can from the sale but the price must be competitive in the current market. Home much your home is worth will depend on condition, age, neighborhood, market conditions, schools, amenities and location.
What is a CMA?
CMA is an acronym for Comparative Market Analysis. It is used by real estate agents as a tool for finding a list price for a property. A real estate agent will evaluate similar homes (called comparables) that have recently sold, are for sale, are pending or have expired (didn’t sell). This evaluation will establish the current market value of a home and help determine an appropriate list price for the market conditions. A comparative market analysis is not the same as an appraisal, which is performed only by a licensed appraiser. If you’d like to get an appraisal, you can find a licensed appraiser at the Appraisal Institute.
What’s the difference between appraised value and assessment value?
Appraised value is determined by a licensed appraiser through an appraisal.The appraiser gives their opinion of value at a given point in time – the date of the appraisal. It is a snapshot at a given moment. Usually the appraiser will use the sales comparison method and will look at other properties in your neighborhood and what they are selling for and then figure how they compare to your home.
Appraisals do not take into account the seller’s home selling time frame. Appraisals and are done for different reasons such as a new home loan, refinance or insurance purposes. An appraisal done for a new home loan may yield a different value than that done for a refinance. Home prices can shift quickly and appraised values will shift with those market changes. Your home may be appraised at $350,000 today, but in two months when you refinance or list it for sale, the appraised value may have changed.
Assessment value is the value placed on a property appearing in your towns Grand List of properties. It is the basis upon which the property tax levy is distributed among property owners. In order to determine the tax liability of a particular property, the property assessment less any exemptions is multiplied by the mill rate.
In Connecticut, an assessment is equal to 70% of a property’s estimated fair market value as established by the Tax Assessor using an appraisal in a revaluation year. Real estate revaluations are performed on a periodic schedule, established by State Law.
Learn more about appraised vs market value.
Can I use an appraisal from a refinance to price my home?
Maybe. It depends largely when the appraisal when does. An appraisal provides an opinion of value at a given point in time – the date of the appraisal. If you already have an appraisal you’ll want to make sure that the comparable properties used are still the best ones available. The market value of your home will change as homes are sold and new ones come on the market. Home selling will require you to keep on top of what is going on in the market.
How much room should I leave for negotiation?
As we’ve already established, pricing your house correctly is one of the most important steps in the home selling process. If you have correctly priced your home, you will not need much room for negotiation. Knowing your home’s true market puts you in a position of strength during negotiations. It is easier to hold your position than it is to play pricing ping pong with a buyer.
To determine an optimal list price based on market value, you should first determine the list to sale ratio of similar properties in your area. You’ll do this by subtracting the sales price from the list price. You’ll then divide the answer by the list price. Turn this resulting decimal number into a percentage. Do this for all of your comparable properties and then get the average list to sale ratio. That percentage will determine how much room you should leave for negotiations. In most markets it will be between 2 – 5%.
Here’s an example of determining list to sale ratio for a single property:
List price = $350,000
Sales price = $342,000
$350,000 – $342,000 = $8,000
$8,000/ $350,000 = .022
.02 = 2.2%
The list to sale ratio is 2% which means the sold price was within 2.2% of the asking (list) price. A large part of your home selling success depends on how you price your property in relation to it’s true market value. Use the list to sale ratio of sold properties to get this home selling step right.
What marketing should a for sale by owner do?
The home selling strategy for a for sale by owner seller should look similar to the home selling strategy of a real estate agent. It should include online and offline tools.
Here are examples of online marketing tools:
- Online listing on popular real estate websites
- Online classified ads like Craigslist and Backpage
- MLS listing
- Facebook Ads
- Property Website
Here are examples of offline marketing tools:
- Flyers (Learn the elements of a successful for sale by owner flyer)
- For sale sign
- Open houses
How do I get listed on realtor.com and other real estate websites?
As a for sale by owner seller you can post a listing on several real estate websites on your own. These sites include Zillow and forsalebyowner.com. Here’s a link to a few for sale by owner sites. If you’d like to have a listing on realtor.com, you will have to work with a real estate listing broker to get on that site.
Where can I get a for sale by owner flyer?
When you’re home selling, you’ll where many hats. But it doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. You can create your own for sale by owner flyer by using a template. Read this article on creating a for sale by owner flyer. There’s even a free template for you to download. If you need additional help with writing your property description, read this article. It will take you step by step on writing the perfect property description and ads.
Should I hire a photographer to take property photos?
Unless you are skilled in photography, the answer is a resounding “YES”. The vast majority of your home selling marketing will be done online. Your online photos are the new curb appeal. Potential buyers will use your photos to form an opinion about your property. You, of course, want them to form a favorable opinion and having great photos will do just that. However, if you opt to take your own photos you should avoid these listing photo bloopers and blunders when home selling.
Will agents boycott my house if I sell as a traditional for sale by owner?
Boycott is such a strong word, but agents may avoid showing your for sale by owner property without a guarantee of a commission. If you don’t pay the agent’s commission, the agent will have to charge their buyer client. And let’s face it, buyer’s are not used to paying their own agent. That would tack on an additional 2.5% to the cost of the home purchase (equating to thousands…even 10’s of thousands). Do the math. Would you buy your home if it where to cost you an extra 2.5% X (selling price of your home) to pay your buyer’s agent? Probably not. You’d have your agent show you something else.
With most serious buyers already working with a real estate agent, you are virtually eliminating most ready-to-buy home buyers. A solution would be to offer an agent commission by listing on the MLS.
Should I stay or go during an agent showing?
If you decide during the home selling process to allow real estate agents to show your property to prospective buyers, you will inevitably have to decide whether or not you will stay or leave during the agent showing. In most cases, it is better if you leave during the initial showing. Here’s why. Buyers and their agents will feel more comfortable speaking freely to each other when they are not in your presence. The buyer is the most important person during a property showing and you want the potential buyer to be feel at ease. You may consider staying nearby (right outside) so that if any questions arise, you are on hand to answer them. You should, however, allow the agent and buyer to explore your property together and without you.
Should I put up a for sale sign?
A for sale sign is one of your offline marketing tools that you should use in your home selling efforts. Remember, you want as many people as possible to know your home is for sale. According to the National Association of Realtors, 48% of buyers indicated they used yard signs as a source of information during their home search. In addition, 9% of buyers found the home they ultimately purchased through a yard sign. This ranked #3 out of all the ways buyers found the property they ultimately purchased. 43% used the internet and 33% found the home through their buyer’s agent. A for sale sign should be a part of a well-rounded home selling campaign.
Do I need to tell the buyer if someone died in the house?
This is one of those home selling questions that most sellers hope they don’t get, especially if they have knowledge that someone died in the house. In Connecticut, the death of a person in property is considered a non-material fact. If knowledge of that information is important to your potential, the buyer should make their request for information in writing. You may respond with a written reply or you may refuse to reply. You are not obligated to answer the question.
How much does it cost to sell a house?
There’s no doubt that when selling your own home, you will save a ton of money. However, there are some costs that are unavoidable. It is difficult to give an exact number for home selling costs but review the list below. It will give you an idea of what to expect.
Here’s a list of costs associated with selling a property:
- Attorney – is a must have
- Real Estate Broker – if you need help with all or part of your sale
- Home Inspector – You may decide to have your home inspected prior to putting it on the market
- Repairs – Taking care of needed repairs is a good idea
- Conveyance Tax – City/Town and State taxes are paid when you sell a property. There is a whole section on conveyance taxes.
- Marketing – Be prepared to lay out money for brochures, an MLS listing, photography, etc.
- Prepping the Property – You may want to freshen your property with new bedding, towels, paint, etc.
What are real estate conveyance taxes?
A conveyance tax is imposed by the city/town and state when real estate property is sold. property is located in both a municipality and the state, there are two conveyance taxes – a municipal conveyance tax and a state conveyance tax; each tax, however, is computed using different rates. The municipal conveyance taxes become a part of the municipality’s general revenue and the state conveyance taxes are deposited into the State of Connecticut’s General Fund. Conveyance taxes are an unavoidable home selling cost.
Read this article to calculate your Connecticut Conveyance Tax.