For Sale By Owner: How to Deal with Potential Buyers
If you’ve opted for the For Sale By Owner or FSBO approach for selling your home, getting a call from an interested buyer can be quite an exhilarating experience. For first time FSBO home owners, the first inquiry is a promising step toward validating the process.
But once the excitement has gone down, it’s time to get to work! You have to prepare yourself and the house for your first- ever FSBO home visit.
Things to Do Before the Buyer Visits Your Home
1. Come Up With Your Asking Price
Whether the potential buyer is sincerely interested with your home or not, the matter of pricing will almost always certainly be brought up.
Buyers will approach pricing negotiations differently. Some may appear nonchalant about it while others may give you a ridiculously low amount. At any rate, do not take pricing personally.
The best approach is to be prepared. Arm yourself with the latest information on average property prices in your area and of homes similar to yours. Have data to support your position and be familiar with factors that are adverse and in favor of your pricing.
2. Prepare for Negotiations
Preliminary visits by potential buyers could be purely exploratory or with serious intent. Once you confirm a home visit you should do the following:
- Research on information about the potential buyer.
- Draw up a list of possible questions on your home.
- Identify possible vulnerable areas that the potential buyer may point out to his or her advantage.
Negotiations may not be a pleasant experience. A seasoned buyer may bring your attention to matters that are not flattering. Again, do not take things personally. Remember just like you, the buyer wants the best value for his or her hard-earned money.
3. Get the Contract and its Attachments Together
If a potential buyer signifies his or her interest, this is a good opening to bring the intent closer to becoming a sale.
One of the first things a buyer would ask is a copy of the sales contract. Make sure you have a copy ready with the attachments. Go over the contract with your lawyer and to be sure it conforms to the requirements of the city state.
4. Get the House Ready
Assuming you have done general cleaning procedures and enacted minor repairs and improvements, you should spend one day sprucing it up for the home visit:
- Do dusting, sweeping and vacuuming in key areas of the house.
- Clean and shine fixtures particularly the door knobs, faucets and handles.
- Make sure there are no cobwebs in the window areas and corners of the house.
- Air out the house in case there are unpleasant odors.
- Remove all trash that may have accumulated.
- Clean and shine appliances, tables and chairs.
5. Moderate Your Expectations
Getting the first inquiry is always an exciting time. But do not expect the house to be sold right away. And if it’s not, do not feel dejected. The important thing is that your home has generated interest.
As a matter of fact, unless the offer from the buyer is good, it is better to have more than one interested buyer. Demand will help you in the negotiation process as buyers will be aware of competition.
The Day of the Home Visit
The day has finally arrived! If you are not living in the home you are selling, make sure you are there at least 1 hour before the buyer arrives. Prepare freshly brewed coffee, bake fresh bread and play soft music. These activities are proven to create an environment conducive for selling.
If the buyer is late, do not panic. Give the buyer a call then respectfully advise that you are at the property. Inquire on the estimated time of arrival.
If the buyer says he or she will not be able to make it, do not despair and find out if a rescheduling is in order.
Generally, a buyer who does not call beforehand regarding his or her ability to make it to the visit is a red flag. It shows lack of professionalism. But keep your mind open and hope for the best.
Here is a step- by- step scenario of a typical home visit:
Step 1 – When a buyer arrives, meet him outside, give a sincere smile and a firm handshake. Introduce yourself and thank him for taking time to see your home.
Step 2 – As you enter the home, offer the buyer coffee or other types of drinks you might have. Inform the buyer, you have freshly baked bread at the dining area.
Step 3 – Give the buyer the grand tour of your home. Start with the ground floor area. Make all rooms accessible. Allow the buyer to make his way around the house. Let him open the door and inspect the areas as much as he wants. Be ready to take questions.
Step 4 – Bring the buyer outside your home. If you have a great view, that would be a potential deal maker.
Step 5 – If you have a second floor, take your buyer upstairs to inspect all the rooms.
Most likely a potential buyer would bring along an architect, engineer or an interior designer together with a real estate agent. After the tour, the buyer may ask if it’s possible to take a second look around your home with just his team. This is perfectly fine and should be viewed as a genuine sign of interest.
However, be prepared they could be strategizing their approach for negotiation. There are some buyers who will tender an offer that is non- negotiable. You should consider the offer but do not make any formal decision until:
- You receive the offer in writing
- You review other offers
It is possible that the offer may set the baseline price for your property. Real estate agents know other real estate agents. Word may spread of what the standing offer is for your property.
This is why it is very important to be well- informed of the fundamental and economic factors that affect pricing in your area. It will help you maintain position in the negotiation process.
Keep in mind that the window to accept an offer is never kept open for a long time. Usually buyers would only give 3 to 5 days for a response. An important thing to keep in mind is to be patient. This is just the first of many more inquiries. If the home visit does not result in a sale, there will be other opportunities.