How to Sell Your House Part 1

Friday, April 8, 2011

Instead of my usual FREE Friday Deals I am going to post a 3 part series on how to sell your own home without listing with a realtor. Buying our new house and selling our old one took up the first 3 months of my life this year and I learned a lot that I feel could benefit someone out there.

When we first thought about buying a new house last year we went to our loan guy to see what we could qualify for. If you are buying a house it is VERY important that you have a great lender. You can find one by asking realtors who they like. We qualified for a nice house, but on the condition of our old house selling first. My tween son was not handling the idea of moving well at all and I knew that selling our family home of 10 years and moving into a little apartment was not an option for us. I would hate living in a little apartment and probably buy the first house I could just to get out of the apartment. Moving twice would be too traumatic on my kids and I wanted to take my time looking and find my dream home. It would also be expensive and time consuming moving everything twice. Most realtors will tell you it is easier to sell your house first, but for us that was not an option. Maybe if we didn't have kids and a lot of stuff it would be easier.

We decided to refinance our current house and get the payment down as low as we could. We did a no-cost refinance witch gave us a slightly higher interest rate, but was no cost to us. We got our payment down low enough to qualify for a good sized loan on a new house without the condition of selling our old house first. The same month we refinanced, we found our dream home. We didn't think it was going to happen so quick! We made our offer in September but the offer was not accepted until the end of January since it was a short sale. We were able to get a loan for the new house and close without selling our old house!

So now I had to sell the old house. There is no way I wanted to pay 2 mortgages and take care of 2 yards!
Here are my steps to selling your own home:

1. De-clutter and Clean!
Since we now owned 2 houses I was able to pack up all of the clutter from the old house and take it over to the new house. I spent about a week de-cluttering and cleaning the house spotless.

2. Take lots of great pictures.
Back when we made our offer on the short sale I took outside pictures of my current home. I wanted to have some shots with a green lawn and leaves on the trees just in case we needed to sell our house in the winter. After cleaning and de-cluttering I took lots of pictures of every room. I just used a cheap point and shoot camera, nothing special. I used iPhoto to do a quick enhance of all the photos to make them look vibrant and beautiful.

3. Create a Blog
I spent an entire day creating a blog and posting all of the information I could think of on it. You can view my blog here:
I spent 10 years decorating and fixing up this house, so it looked pretty good all cleaned up.

4. Comparative Market Analysis 
Invite at least 3 realtors over to give you a free Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Let them know that you do not intend to list with them right away. We told the realtors who did ours that we wanted to try selling on our own first and if that didn't work out, we would give them a call. Some realtors can be really pushy so don't let any of them bully you into signing with them on the spot. You can also get CMAs online without a realtor having to come to your house. When you get your CMAs back you will have a good idea of what to list your house. We threw out the really low one and the really high one and set our price right in the middle.

Part 2 Next Friday!


  1. Such a great idea for a post and it's filled with wonderful tips! We just sold our home of 10 years in February and purchased a short sale that we made an offer on in July, but bought in December (yep, the week before Christmas...crazy!). We owned two homes for about a month, but when we listed our "old" home it sold on the first day, to the first people in the door, over asking price! We were quite thankful! I think having a good Realtor helps in the process.


  2. Yuck those trilevel and bilevel houses are the worst ever! We live in a trilevel for 16 years
    Awful We hated it.

    Finally we got our all on 1 floor with a finished basement. Best layout is all on 1 floor!!!!!


  3. I take offense to the "Realtors can be really pushy" comment. ANYONE can be pushy. I understand the whole "do it yourself" idea, but I don't like how so many people see real estate agents as BAD people. I find my hairdresser more 'pushy' than any Realtor I have ever met: she is always encouraging me to buy salon products, get highlights etc with her and frankly the percentage mark-up on a salon dye job ($160 vs $12 at the drug store) is A LOT MORE than a Realtor makes on the sale of a house! I think there are lots of places to skimp and save, but a Realtor is not one of these places - you get what you pay for, and I'd rather hand over a bit of money to one who is going to get me more money from the sale of my house!

  4. I have to agree with Tara. I find some moral problems with having three agents come tell you what your house is worth when you knowingly knew you were not going to hire any of them. All three probably spent several hours preparing their CMA's. How would you feel if you or your husband where asked to go work several hours for free all the time. Realtors do those free CMA because they eventually get the listing or at least referals in the future. Your an advicate for DIY, but you need to truly do it yourself and not mislead people into free services, for a field that high deserve to earn a paycheck.

  5. I agree that not all realtors are pushy, but many that I dealt with were. All 3 realtors who came to my house knew in advance that I did not want to list with a realtor. I was going to post about it a little more in part 2 and 3, but I feel the need to say now that I did work with a realtor later on. The buyers had a realtor and we paid his commission. I just don't see the need to pay a commission to 2 realtors. I met many great realtors, but the ones who did the CMAs were very pushy, probably because they knew I didn't want to list with them.

  6. Great job, your house looks so pretty! And, that's such a great idea, creating a blog about it, explaining it more.

  7. Thanks, I'm looking forward to reading the other parts.

  8. Can't wait for the next part, Thanks for sharing! great post!