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Part 12 Selling Your Home

Part 12

Selling Your Home

To get the most exposure for your Internet home listing, you still need to use a real-estate broker. That's because the sites that are most popular with homebuyers generally don't deal with individual homeowners. Instead, they have agreements to reproduce listings that are furnished to them by various real-estate agencies and multiple listing services (MLS), which are databases created by broker groups.

Of course, hiring a broker generally means paying a 6% commission. So if you go that route, make sure you get your money's worth. Check out the agency's Web site. Will your house be highlighted on the home page or featured in a virtual tour? Will it be listed on other sites like Realtor.com, which was visited by a whopping 4.5 million people in July 2002, according to Media Metrix. Make sure you'll get listings and pictures, too.

However, if you decide to go it alone, that can be done! Once you become your own agent, you'll be arranging advertising, fielding phone calls, providing tours and vetting the bidders. All this extra work should save you at least some of the 6% fee that brokers usually charge to sell a home. According to a 2002 NAR study, about 13% of all homes are sold each year without a realtor. These bold buyers and sellers save an average of $9,000 per transaction in commission costs. With knowledge, common sense and patience, you can sell your own home.

If you want to give it a go, the Web can obviously be an invaluable tool. Of those that focus on for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) market, Owners.com has the most extensive listings of properties. The site offers three different listing packages. There's no charge for one-month listing of your property with one photo, although your property will have the lowest priority in the search results. For that reason, you'll probably want to pay $289 for the three-month snazzier Premier package, which lets you write your own marketing slogan and usually includes a virtual tour of four panoramic shots. You'll also get some traditional marketing materials, like a yard sign. Even if you don't list with the site, Owners.com has a lot of educational resources and tips for effective marketing. So don't miss it.

Other sites for do-it-yourselfers include 4salebyowner.com and By Owner Sales. Many FSBO sites are noticeably less slick than their counterparts that have realtor dollars behind them, but you never know. You may just get lucky


For Sale by Owner
Company Cost What You Get Duration of Listing
Owners.com free trial 1 Listing 1 month
$99 5 photos, yard sign 3 months
$289 virtual tour, yard sign, open-house kit 3 months
4salebyowner.com $19.95 dedicated page,1 photo 1 year
Buy It Yourself, Sell It Yourself $59 dedicated page, 5 photos 1 year
By Owner Sales $29.95 3,000 word description, 6 photos 1 month
$69.95 3,000 word description, 6 photos 1 year


Regardless of whether or not you hire an agent, you should still use the Internet for help setting your sale price. Start at HomeGain.com, a site dedicated to home sellers that offers a handy home valuation tool. After you type in your address, it provides an instant valuation based on county tax information and assessor data. Most real estate sites, like Yahoo! Real Estate also offer a search tool for identifying recent sales in your area.

Of course, these tools can only help you approximate the perfect price. If you want a more thorough appraisal from a pro, go to the Web site of the Appraisal Institute. There you can look up the names of appraisers in your area. Once you've hired one, expect to pay about $250 to $500 for the job.

Investing in Online Real Estate Firms

Doing preliminary real-estate research is much easier and more efficient on the Internet than it used to be. The companies that provide these services online have added a great deal of value for Internet users, and they are now starting to provide positive value for their shareholders. This value proposition for investors should only accelerate over time. Homestore.com is just one of the companies that is thriving even in today's depressed economic environment.

How to Introduce an Online Auction Service in Real Estate

When introducing a new service in your market, such as an Online Real Estate Auction, it is an opportunity for your company and its agents to get attention from the press. Any Company that offers an innovative Internet service will find the local press interested. Press releases are the most effective and least expensive form of advertising and is one way to alert the media. It is well worth the cost of a professional to write success stories about your auctions.

You can also provide an Auction Workshops for Sellers. Explain how the auction works to sell their property faster, gets the true market value for their property and gives them more control over the selling time. Provide Workshops for buyers on Bidding Strategies, or "How to buy your a home on YOUR COMPANY NAME Online Auction."

Listings entered into the MLS and placed in Realtor.com should note that the "Property is Auctioned on www.yourcompanynamehomeauctions.com . If your MLS does not have a form for auctions, let them know the need for it. Many MLS companies are aware of the need to provide for the auctioned listings.

An auction sign placed on the property with your company sign is one of the most effective ways of generating interest in you auction. The auction sign is an important source for buyers and sellers. It will bring inquiries from curious neighbors who are potential sellers, and their friends that are potential buyers.

The saying that "a picture speaks louder than words" is especially true in an online auction. All the surveys show that buyers surfing the Internet for property think the picture is the most important part of a listing. The listing information should provide a brief description of the property, and up to five photographs. You may consider using a tour service, like IPIX at www.ipix.com for 360-degree pictures. Photographs that display your property at its best are crucial for attracting buyers to inspect the property. A rendering of the house or, a picture of a similar home is better than no picture.

An interesting phenomenon is that auctions attract buyers who would not ordinarily show any interest in the property with a for sale sign. It is sometimes curiosity and the lure of a bargain that attracts many of these buyers. In a slow market, the auction makes a market because it can attract buyers.

Email a copy of your auction listing to the members of your Association of Realtors. Invite them to a special open house where you will have information on registering their buyer and getting them approved to bid.

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