Moving Advice

For Sale By Owner: Do You Really Need a Realtor?

For Sale

“I can do this myself!” you say proudly as you drive the sale sign into your front lawn with all your might. Well, although you very well may be more than capable of handling the process yourself, do not assume it is going to be a piece of cake. Sure, you will likely save yourself some money, but selling a house is stressful and time-consuming, and there are a lot of legalities involved. If you are set on doing this on your own, you should first make sure you understand what you will be facing.

Real Estate Regulations

Do you know that real estate regulations typically change every year and vary from one state to the next? So, do not assume that regulations are the same as when you purchased your home years ago. Realtors are required to stay current in updates in contracts, laws, practices, and regulations.

Agents Act as Buffers

You may be excited when you have an overflow of emails and voicemails from people interested in your home. However, about the 10th time you go out-of-the-way to show the house, or receive spam email back from your response, you may find yourself wishing you had an agent to filter out the garbage.

Networking Capabilities

Realtors network with other realtors. In fact, many are friends. So, they know if there is a buyer looking for something specific in a home. Many homes are sold simply because they were shown to an individual based on what the realtor knew they were looking for.


You can guess at what your home is worth. You might even create your asking price based on similar homes in your neighborhood. However, that does not mean the houses are actually selling for that amount. Maybe large or more extravagant homes are selling for less a few miles away because sellers are more eager to sell over there. A realtor will help determine the best asking price.


Just because you bantered with a car salesperson for three hours and ultimately ended up paying invoice does not mean you will excel at negotiating a house price. Little do you know the car manufacturer had a hefty cash back incentive for dealers, so they really did not even mind reducing your vehicle price. Hey, it was a snowy Tuesday afternoon, and there was nothing else going on at the dealership any way. Negotiating a house price is very different. Not only are you talking about a large scale purchase, a realtor will bring an objective opinion to the table. You might allow your feelings to dictate your actions because you are emotionally attached to the house.


– Do you remember how many times you signed your name when you purchased your home? Contracts can be dozens of pages long, and this does not even include addendums and riders. Selling a house requires a significant amount of paperwork and since every page is full of legalities, there is no margin for error. This reason alone may be worth the fee they charge from a sale.

Staging a home for sale

If a potential buyer is about to put down their life’s savings for a new house, they are going to take a slow and detailed look around. After all, you probably did the same when you moved into your current house. As such, there are a few effective ways to stage a home for sale without breaking the budget or hiring a professional staging company.

Whether you’re selling by yourself or using a realtor, here’s how to stage a home sale:

Declutter & Depersonalize

  1. Declutter & Depersonalize
    There are certain spaces throughout the home made for storage such as the attic, basement, closets and so forth. Over the years, you have more than likely accumulated more clothes, toys and “junk” then you care to admit but were not ready to get rid of them just yet. Either way, it’s time to organize and move it out.

    Make sure your closets are as organized as can be. Better yet, if they are big, remove some clothes to show off its space. Everyone loves a big closet. Also, make sure all items in your attic and basement are either attractive or taken to an off-site storage unit. They are not as expensive as you might think.

    Then, try to remove some personal items related to your family or religious beliefs. The purpose of seeing a house is to imagine yourself living there. It’s going to be tough with all your family pictures all over. As such, before you move or stage your house, it’s best to pack away all pictures, religious items, and sports paraphernalia.

Make Easy Updates & Clean

  1. Make Easy Updates & Clean
    There are big updates like adding a swimming pool or fixing a shaky foundation, but there are others that any homeowner can do. Fortunately, there are a few easy updates that can make or break your home sale.

    Painting is, of course, the first. Make sure you cover up that bold green you added to the bathroom years ago. Your family may love it, but more often than not, potential buyers will not share the same taste. As such, it’s a good idea to cover any bold-colored walls with a neutral color. If you need some help, see what it costs to hire professional painters near you.

    After you’re done painting, it’s time to really get your hands dirty. Before you stage your home, you must clean everything (and I mean everything). That includes:

    • All bathrooms
    • Grout between your tile and backsplash
    • Backyard
    • Behind large pieces of furniture
    • Back of the cabinets
    • Hallways
    • Basements and attics

All in all, clean everything!

  1. Improve Curb Appeal
    Even with a pristine house, potential buyers will not step inside if the outside of your home looks like it has been neglected for years. As much care as you put inside the house needs to be shown to both the front and backyards as well.

    Mowing the lawn and clearing it of any debris or toys are no-brainers. Other, more imperative tasks you should complete before listing your home are:

    • Add inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers
    • Pressure-clean the exterior of the house, driveway, and sidewalk
    • Paint the front door

In fact, some argue that you should replace your front door. It has proven time and time again to garner one of the highest home remodeling return on investments.

Tip: If you really want to keep things simple, add a bench and a vase of flowers on your front porch.

Conceal Pets

  1. Conceal Pets
    As much as I love dogs and a few other pets, they can sadly prevent a strong candidate from buying your home. Some potential buyers do no want to live in a house that has been occupied by a cat, dog or various other animals. Given the mess or smell some animals accumulate, it’s understandable.

Therefore, remove your pet from your home and hide all food bowls, chew toys, and kitty litter boxes. Make sure you thoroughly vacuum your carpets and upholstery to remove all traces of pet hair.

For more tips on moving or preparing your home for sale, please check out the Unpakt blog.