The thought of selling a house yourself might seem intimidating for many people but it shouldn’t be. Just like doing anything else for the first time it’s always best to do some research and gather some basic information before starting the process. In this post we’ve put together a simple quick-start guide to selling a house yourself in Detroit MI. We’ll discuss some helpful resources and some steps you can take to handle the sale yourself, without hiring a real estate agent. We’re also going to go over a few things that are unique to the Detroit area housing market.
Do Some Basic Market Research
First make a list of the basic information about your property. You should be able to locate most of the basics by searching your property address on sites like Zillow or Redfin. You can start by determining the style of the home for example, a bungalow, colonial, Tudor, ranch or duplex. Next make a list of the following:
- Brick or frame exterior.
- Number of bedrooms. (A true bedroom must include a window and a closet).
- Number of bathrooms. (You must specify full-bathroom from half-bath).
- Square footage.
- Year built. Basement (finished or non-finished).
- Type of parking. (1 or 2 car garage, no garage or street-parking only).
Look At Recent Comparable Sales
The objective is to locate 3 or more properties similar to yours, within a 3 block radius of your house that has sold within the last 6 months. Keep in mind that typically the ones which sold at higher price-points may have had recent updates and were in excellent condition. If your house needs repairs or has an outdated kitchen or bathroom, you must keep that in consideration. Also make sure not to focus too much on the active houses that are for sale. What matters are the ones that have already sold! After finding your sold comps you’ll be able to come up with a fair market value price-point for your home. It’s also very helpful if you drive past the comps just to make sure that you are accurate with your assessment. In other words you are verifying the comps.
Clean And Stage
When selling a house yourself it’s extremely crucial to make the appearance of your property look great. Haul-away any junk or trash and make the lawn look inviting. The same goes for the interior of the home as well. Clean it thoroughly and get it ready for photos and video! Staging is an option depending on the house. For example, if you have a big historic and updated home in a prestigious neighborhood like the Boston-Edison or University District then you may want to spend a few bucks to hire a staging company. It’s totally optional but it can make a difference in the end.
Take Great Pictures
You must take great photos and video if you want to sell a house yourself successfully. Don’t just take a dozen or so pictures either! Take at least 50 to 100 photos and a video walk-through of the property as well which you can post online. Just make sure there’s great lighting throughout while capturing your picture and video footage.
Market And Advertise
The most simple way to market your house for sale on your own is to list it on Zillow as a FSBO. It’s free and quite easy! It also won’t hurt to put a “For Sale” sign in the yard as well. You can buy a sign at Home Depot or almost any local hardware store. Just make sure you are diligent about handing inquiries when people contact you about your property for sale. When selling a house yourself you’ll be responsible for setting appointments, viewing instructions, negotiating and paperwork such as a purchase agreement. We advise you to contact a Michigan real estate attorney to get a good-quality contract. Downloading a random contract from the internet is not a good idea!
Use A Local Title Insurance Agency
This is very important when selling a house yourself in Detroit. You should always hire a title insurance company or real estate lawyer to conduct the closing transaction to make sure everything is done legally and above board. After you have accepted an offer from a buyer and signed an agreement for purchase then you will take the agreement and any deposit money to the title company or real estate lawyer’s office. Communicate with all parties involved all throughout the process until the deal is closed. The title company or lawyer will handle all the closing documents and lien searches involved before closing.
Keep Your Property Secure
Keeping your property secure until closing is highly important. In the Detroit market it’s not uncommon for vacant houses to be broken-into and fixtures to be stolen. If the house is vacant, keep it boarded up and check on it everyday if possible! If you have insurance on the property be sure to keep the policy active until the house is sold. If you’re unable to visit the property daily, it might be worth paying someone to keep an eye on it.