Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Real estate listings have migrated to the Internet, where interested buyers can find your house in a single click. Could selling it be more difficult than selling an antique through an online auction site? Is the money you’d save on paying a real estate commission worth the extra time and effort?
Just as the Internet has made it easier for buyers to find homes, it has also changed the game for sellers. Marketing a house online is dramatically different from the days of putting an ad in the local newspaper and a sign in the front yard.
The biggest hurdle “for sale by owner” (FSBO) properties face is some 90 percent of listings use a multiple listing service (MLS)—and only brokers who are members of the MLS have access. Only a few national sites, such as Zillow, take FSBOs. That’s one major reason only 9 percent of homes were sold by owners in 2014, down from 17 percent a decade ago.
However, a more important factor is the housing market. When it’s harder to sell their houses, more homeowners turn to professionals. In a buyers’ market, where there are many homes from which to choose and few buyers with which to compete, going FSBO is much more difficult than in a sellers’ market, where there are few homes for sale and many buyers competing for those homes. In a buyers’ market, it takes more work to price, sell, and market your home.
Because prices have been rising over the past two years, some sellers are again looking into FSBO. If you are thinking of selling your house on your own, consider the following:
1. Price your home to sell. The biggest mistake sellers make is mispricing their homes. Don’t rely solely on the home valuation calculators found on real estate sites. Instead, do your own legwork by finding three or more comparable homes—homes of the same size with similar amenities—that are close to you and that have sold recently.
2. Get on the MLS cheaply. Although FSBO listings are usually excluded from the MLS, a handful of real estate brokers are willing to list FSBOs for a flat fee that is much less than the commission you would pay a full-service brokerage. You can prepare your own photos and provide the content for the listing. Make sure you hire a Flat Fee MLS broker who is both licensed in your state and a member of the MLS where you want to be listed.
3. List on a FSBO site. Several companies, including websites that feature FSBO properties, provide marketing services to those wishing to sell their homes. These sites may not get the traffic that the big real estate sites enjoy, but they do attract buyers looking for bargains. FSBO marketing companies also are good sources of advice and information.
4. Use tried-and-true tactics. Put together marketing collateral to get the word out about your home. A brochure, a website, yard signs, flyers—if you use them in a coordinated campaign, they can all be very effective.
5. Get great photos. Good photos are the key to real estate marketing, whether online or in print. When it comes to selling your home, a professional photographer who can make your house look like a show place is more than worth his or her fee. Don’t skimp on the photography.
6. Take advantage of direct mail to get the word out. You can reach hundreds of potential buyers with a targeted direct mail campaign that includes flyers and postcards that you can bulk mail to specific zip codes. You can also target buyers with online or postal mailings using lists from direct mail vendors.
Selling your home on your own may not be easy, but it can be a great way to save a little money in the form of a real estate commission. Would you sell your home on your own, or would you hire an agent? Have you sold your own FSBO? Share your story in the comments.
Steve Cook is editor of Real Estate Economy Watch and covers real estate and mortgage finance for leading news sites. He is a member of the board of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Twice he was named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. Cook was vice president for public affairs for the National Association of Realtors.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.