Do You Have the Skills to Sell Your Own House?

Sell Your Own House

Retirement, relocation because of a job change, and health issues are just a few reasons people need to sell their home. If you want to sell your own house, you need to conduct an honest appraisal of your abilities. Selling your home is a lot tougher than just planting a “for-sale” sign in the front yard, and you have to have certain skills in order to achieve a successful sale. As Clint Eastwood’s character, Dirty Harry, said in the classic film, Magnum Force, “Man’s got to know his limitations.” To assist you in identifying your limitations, those skills identified as most critical are offered here for your review. Additionally, this article points out some pitfalls you should avoid and a few things you need to consider.

Two “Must-have” Skills for a Successful Sale


If you go to a garage sale and pay asking price for that secondhand loveseat you need for the recreation room, appointing yourself to sell your own house may be above your pay grade. Negotiating skills are necessary. If you have never paid less than the sticker price for your new car, its best your engage the services of a professional real estate agency.

Marketing and Sales

As was said earlier, you can’t just plop a for-sale sign in the front yard. You need multiple marketing strategies to capture the attention of the largest number of potential buyers possible. If you are going to sell your own house, you must be prepared to invest in advertising. That might take the form of print advertising, flyers, posters, and the Internet. This may be challenging for an individual with few marketing skills. Sales skills are equally important. Generating interest in your house is only half the battle. You must have sales skills to convert the interested buyer into an owner. Sales types call this the “close.”

Frankly, if you are not confident in your skills in these two critical areas, you should use the services of a professional. However, if you are comfortable with your abilities in these critical areas and decide you will sell your own home, here are some things you should guard against.

Emotional Involvement

Many people have an emotional attachment to their home. This is where they raised children, grew up, etc. This is something that can hold back the sale. You need to assume the persona of a businessperson. Emotions can only alter the perspective you have on the sale. Get a divorce … from those emotional attachments.

Sell Your Own House

Legal Worries

You might want to hire an attorney specializing in real estate transaction to guide you through some of the thornier legal aspects of the sale and escrow process.

Pricing Your Home for Sale

You need to get this right. Many potential buyers view underpriced homes with skepticism and overpriced homes don’t see much in the way of traffic. Remember, savvy buyers negotiate and you’ll have to consider offers lower than your asking price. Price your home at something over what you are willing to accept so that you can play the game without sacrificing your objective.

Spiff-Up the Property

Make your home as attractive as you can. Inside, get rid of clutter. Make certain everything is spotless. Remove family photos and similar items of a personal nature. Tidy up the outside. Mow the yard, trim the bushes, and get all the kid’s toys put away; you know the drill. Most of all, don’t try to hide imperfections or problems. The cautious buyer will find you out anyway and the deception could kill the sale. No one wants to buy from a cheat.


Be prepared to sacrifice your time and make yourself available to show the home to potential buyers when they want to see it. You need to accommodate their schedule, not yours. This relates to the business persona we talked about earlier. The customer is always right!

Qualifying Your Buyer

This is important. You don’t want to be wasting your time with a buyer who can’t qualify for a mortgage. It is accepted practice to ask your potential buyer for a pre-approval letter. This will assure you that financing is available. If the buyer says he is paying cash, ask for a letter from his bank indicating the funds are available. Another thing to avoid is the buyer who is willing to purchase your home contingent on the sale of his. This can delay your closing and that’s important if you have a specific date by which you need to sell your own house.

Have you been through a “for sale by owner” adventure? Tell us about it!