Despite many moving out of California, property prices in the state continue to climb, with property pundits forecasting that in coming years, this figure will only increase. A property market like this means sellers in the state never have a shortage of buyers, and it’s also why more sellers are searching how to sell a house in California by owner. If you are one of these sellers, this is everything you need to know about selling a home in California without a real estate agent.
Step 1: Prepare Your Home and Documents
Being ill-prepared to sell your California home means you run the risk of selling below the asking price. Buyers are going to be turned away by aesthetic renovations and repairs that would be an otherwise easy fix.
So, before you list your property, consider:
- Regrouting tiles (especially in the bathroom)
- Deep cleaning carpets
- Fixing aesthetic damage
- Repairing leaks
- Landscaping your garden and yard
You don’t need to revamp your home before listing, as buyers will often have their own vision for the property, which may include redoing renovations you’ve completed.
If you had plans to renovate, pursue those, but if you did not, forgo renovations.
Next, you should focus on preparing documentation. Not only are your documents essential during the closing, but most reputable flat fee MLS California sellers have access to require you to provide documentation upfront.
Step 2: Choose a Comps-Based Price
Pricing is the foundation of a successful sale. Irrespective of whether you sell with a real estate agent or through FSBO, if you don’t price your property correctly, it could take ages to sell. That’s why it’s critical that you prepare comps — also known as comparables — before you select a price.
You want to focus on homes — with features similar to yours — that have sold in the last month. Only focus on selling prices and not on listing prices, as the latter can often be over-inflated and give you a false depiction of the market. You can then average this figure and deduct if your home needs TLC to determine a realistic sales price.
Step 3: Select a Flat Fee Listing Service
When you want to know how to sell a house in California by owner, you need to use a flat fee MLS listing service. The listing service is a link between you and buyer agents. While buyers search sites like Zillow for homes, if they find one they like, they’ll pass on the details to their real estate agent, who’ll search for the property on the MLS and make arrangements to view it. If your home is not on the MLS, most buyer agents will dissuade their clients from pursuing an interest in your home.
But, the flat fee MLS California sellers use provides far more benefits than simply being the link to buyer agents.
A flat fee MLS, like Houzeo for example, also helps you negotiate online, schedule showings, and customize your buyer agent commission, which is critical.
When the agent is searching on the MLS, they’ll also pay close attention to how much commission they’ll receive from the sale of that home.
If you want your home to sell quickly, you should always select an industry-standard commission of between 2.5 to 3 percent for the buyer agent. This is still a saving of 50 percent from the 6 percent commission you would spend if you use a listing agent.
Step 4: Schedule Your Open Homes
Showings are where you’ll turn interested browsers into bona fide buyers, willing to bid top-dollar. While many sellers choose to only host open homes on weekends in California, you may need to experiment with some weekday showings. Weekday showings can help you attract interested buyers who may find themselves unavailable to view if it is limited to weekends.
Instead, choose one or two weekdays and later in the evening when your home will be open for viewing.
Scheduling your open homes also has another benefit: you can prepare alternative accommodation, so you don’t have to rush potential buyers out of the property because you need to sleep.
Step 5: Negotiate To Reach the Best Price
Negotiating to get the “best” price doesn’t always mean selecting the highest price. Rather, it’s about choosing the offer that will likely be seamless and meets your objectives: whether that’s a quick sale, selling to a family, or selling above asking.
But negotiations can be the most challenging aspect of the “how to sell a house in California by owner” process. There are very few definitive guides detailing how to approach this aspect of selling a home. Nevertheless, a good rule is to assess the offers you receive based on their merit:
How close to the asking price is the offer?
If you’ve selected a price for your home based on the comps you’ve acquired, it shouldn’t be challenging to get an offer close to, at, or above your asking price.
Is the buyer paying cash, or is this a mortgaged deal?
If your buyer is paying cash, you don’t have to endure the back-and-forth of the bank that could cause the deal to disintegrate, especially if the bank fails to approve the mortgage for your buyer.
Therefore if the offer is cash and close to or above asking, seriously consider it.
How long has the home been on the market?
If your home has only been on the market for less than a week and you’re already getting offers, that’s a sign that your home is in-demand. Give yourself a deadline — a week should do — to either accept one of the first offers. If you don’t get any better offers in that time, consider taking the deal.
Using Houzeo, a Flat Fee MLS California sellers are having great success with, means you can navigate the negotiation process digitally. Allowing you to counteroffer with ease and request the final and best offer to get buyers to take action.
Houzeo digitizing the process also means you’re less likely to become emotional about the negotiation process.
Selling your home without a real estate agent in California has never been easier, thanks to many of the digital advances made by flat fee MLS. However, there is a caveat: overcoming your human biases to ensure you meet your objective: achieving a lucrative sale.
Also read: All About Flat Fee MLS Listing in Maine