High Flyer

Now that we’ve sold our house, we’re ready to share our FSBO tips and experiences.  Let’s start with marketing a home.  When you hire a listing agent, you have an advantage.  Your agent handles marketing for you.  In the interest of saving ourselves several thousand dollars, we decided to try our hand at selling our house ourselves.  Really, who is better suited to sell our house than us?  We’ve been working and lived in the house for the past 8 years and know every last detail.

That’s great, but if we don’t get people in the door, who are we going to share this information with?  So, I researched MLS listings and found a few flat fee service providers, MLS My Home and FSBO.com.  These sites are legit and do get your home on the MLS and Realtor.com.

We used MLS My Home because their rates were cheaper.  To save a little more money, we opted for the 2 month listing for $99.  Then we realized our listing included only four photos.  Sure we could upgrade our service, but why not start at rock bottom and adjust as we figure out what works?  And we couldn’t rely on the internet alone to sell our house.  The internet is simply a tool to get buyer to walk through the door.  A few teaser photos were enough to whet their appetite.

We included this exterior summer shot:

Because this current shot didn’t show the house to its full potential:

Then we chose a few interior shots.  To maximize your photos, take vertically oriented shots and put similar spaces side by side, like these:

You instantly got 7 photos for the price of four.  Take photos in the middle of the day, open all curtains, and adjust camera settings to make photos are bright as possible.  Only vampires like a dark, dreary houses.

Don’t skimp on pictures on your fliers, either.  That is my biggest pet peeve when I see house fliers.  Here’s a modified version of our design:

As you can see, I changed the address, price, and contact number, but the pictures and layout are the same.  I planned to have fliers printed at FedEx Office (to save my time and ink).  At 59 cents each side, I decided to fill the front with pictures and save the easy to print at home text for the back:

I printed 100 fliers, which was about 50 too many.  I’d suggest starting small because you can always print more.

Now you need a place to put these fliers.  Home Depot (and I’m sure other home improvement stores) sell ‘For Sale’ signs and flyer holders.

The MLS and Realtor.com will help dramatically, but you have a few more free or cheap advertising options available.  Craigslist (which we used but got little interest from), newspapers (we didn’t take that step), and open houses can all drive traffic to your home.  We planned to host an open house.  The first weekend on the market, we finished up a few small projects.  If we hadn’t received and accepted an offer, we would have held an open house this past Sunday.  I’d say we lucked out.

Here’s our marketing breakdown:

MLS/Realtor.com listing:  $99.00

100 Color fliers:  $59.00

Yard sign and flier holder:  $24.00

Craigslist ad:  Free

Total advertising cost:  $182.00

Compare that price to a 3% agent commission and we just saved ourselves thousands of dollars.

Any marketing tools or sites I left out?  I’ve got a few more home selling posts, including a selling schedule, general tips, and profit, so this is just the beginning.

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14 thoughts on “High Flyer

  1. Congrats on selling your home! That didn’t take long at all but I didn’t think it would. You have improved your home so much that’s it’s a totally different. Well done!

    Do you know if you have to pay a realtor’s commission if the realtor ultimately provided the client who purchases your house?

    1. Hey Monique! Thanks so much for your kind words. I didn’t want to get too excited or unrealistic, so I expected our house to sell in a month or two. Luckily, the stars aligned and the perfect buyer saw our house.

      As for the agent’s commission, we planned to pay the standard 3% to a buyer’s agent. It’s best to plan for the maximum payout. Our buyer has an agent, so we’ll happily pay the 3%.

      Thanks!
      Amanda

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. My question is – how did you handle showings? I may be completely paranoid, but with FSBO I would be worried about some random weirdo saying that they were a realtor and scheduling a showing, and then doing something bad while in the house alone. (Theoretically, when you hire a realtor, they check the other agent’s credentials before a showing, right?) Is there a way that you could check to make sure the realtor doing the showing was legitimate? And what did you do for a lockbox for the key? Or did you meet the people at the showing and then leave?

    1. Hi Felicia, Very good question! I’ve got more info in a post to come, so I’ll give a brief answer. Because Ben’s work schedule is flexible and he works so close to home, he met everyone at the house while I took the boys out. No lock box for us. In my post I am going to address lock boxes and ways to help prevent any funny business. 🙂

      Thanks!
      Amanda

  3. We are thinking of FSBO thanks to you, younghouselove, and feeding the soil I am inspired! Will the 3% buyer agent commission handle the contract, or did you still hire a lawyer?

    1. Hi Rachel, You’ve got nothing to lose with FSBO, so it’s worth a shot. And if it doesn’t work, you can always hire an agent. Hiring an agent doesn’t guarantee a sale, it’s mostly in the marketing. If you’re willing to do the work, it’s definitely worth it. 🙂 As for the contract, we asked the buyer’s agent if he would be willing to handle the paper work for us and he said yes. Just ask and you might be surprised. 🙂

      Thanks!
      Amanda

    1. Hey Julia! I’m glad you have been inspired! I think FSBO works if you approach the situation ready to put in a little more work and time. It’s not the easiest way to go, but it can save so much money that it was well worth it for us. 🙂

      Thanks!
      Amanda

  4. Hey, Amanda, congrats! I am so looking forward to the blog posts about the new house. We are doing a lot of redecorating here and I always find your blog and ideas very inspirational. Having done some FSBO deals myself, I am curious as to why you are paying the buyer’s agent. I hope that question is not too intrusive, and if it is, my apologies; just curious as I have never seen a buyer’s agent paid in a FSBO deal. Thanks!! I am really that excited this worked out so well for you, I know the anxiety of having one house under contract and wanting the current one sold.
    🙂
    Annie

    1. Hi Annie! Thanks!! We are so excited to show you all the new house! Just have to close. 🙂 We decided to pay the buyer’s agent a 3% commission for a few reasons. 1. We realized so many home buyers have agents. And, if the agent sees the house on the MLS, we didn’t want to discourage seeing the house because they wouldn’t get paid. 2. We wanted to keep things as simple and normal as possible. No one lies change. 😉 3. We are asking the buyer’s agent to help with the paper work, so his work benefits us, too. Mostly though, we didn’t want agents to skip our house because we weren’t offering a commission.

      Hope that explains it a little better. We’re just happy for a quick sale and very close to our asking price. 🙂

      Thanks!
      Amanda

  5. Thanks for explaining, Amanda. 🙂 I have never done a FSBO using the MLS, but if one did, I would see why one would pay the buyer’s agent, especially in a slow market (to get as many potential buyers in as possible) and if the agent is doing paperwork. I was upfront in my ads that I would not be paying a buyer’s agent’s commission and I was able to complete the process myself because I work in the legal field, and real estate is part of what I do……but that didn’t stop the agents from trying, LOL.

    1. Hi Annie! No problem! You had a good question. 🙂 You’re lucky to deal with real estate and all the paperwork, because it definitely saved you money!

      Thanks!
      Amanda

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