Should You Sell Your Home Yourself?

If you live in a hot market, you may not have to pay an agent thousands of dollars to sell your house.

If you're selling in an area where buyers outnumber homes for sale, don't call an agent just yet.

When your house could sell in a couple of days -- or even a few weeks -- maybe you don't have to pay an agent thousands of dollars to market it. Conducting a sale by owner takes a knack for marketing, a well-organized approach and a lot of time.

Price It Right

Because people selling a house themselves usually don't have access to the multiple listing service, one of the toughest tasks is pricing the home. If you know of homes like yours that have sold recently, you can go to your community's recorder-of-deeds office and look it up. It's usually public information.

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You can also check prices of competing homes at, where you can also list your home.

Go to Setting the Right Price for more information.

Go to a local sign shop and buy the most attractive lawn sign you can afford. Include your telephone number for "by appointment" showings. (For safety's sake, schedule showings when more than one adult will be home.)

Run classified ads in your local newspaper and in any small community papers. Don't forget bulletin boards at the library or recreation center, or your homeowners association newsletter.

Include the asking price and number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but leave out the address. You're better off trying to screen prospects over the phone first.

Prepare a brochure with an attractive color photo of the home and all its vital statistics. Spell out the size of each room, the type of heating system, and whether there are any special amenities -- such as fireplaces or access to mass transit. Have summer and winter utility bills available for buyers to review.

Be ready with a contract. Make it easier for buyers by having a blank sales contract on hand. A real estate lawyer can prepare documents -- and offer advice -- for well under $500. You can use the same lawyer for closing.

Don't Ignore Agents

There's nothing that says you cannot cooperate with agents. Offer a 3% commission if they bring in a buyer. You might end up conceding that much anyway if the buyer has signed on with a buyer's broker.