Selling Your Home Without Using an Agent in Maryland

Many consumers sell their homes every month and most wonder if they could have sold the home themselves, did they get the best price and did they net the most money after paying for commissions, repairs and even upgrades. If you sell your home yourself you can save a great deal of money, but there is also a lot of work involved which may not be what many would like to take on. This post will walk consumers through what they need to consider and provide an alternative approach that involves selling to an investor or home buying company.

Advantages to Listing Your Home Without an Agent in Maryland

You don't need a real estate agent to sell your home in Maryland
You don’t need a real estate agent to sell your home in Maryland

The single largest advantage is eliminating the Maryland real estate commission which at 6% can be significant. There may also be out of pocket expenses that can be avoided.

You may have to spend some money even if you list it yourself. Minor repairs need to be completed to make your home look its best. Doing the work yourself can save money, however take the time to make it professional looking or hire someone to do the work for you.

If you do sign a listing agreement with an agent, remember that the agent still gets paid even if you sell the home yourself. Commissions, repairs and upgrade costs can quickly eat into any profit you thought you might make from selling your home. There are many good reasons to list with a real estate agent, but we’re going to cover how you can sell your home without one.

Where to Start

Setting a realistic price for your home is one of the most difficult and most important steps you must do. Always do your research and compare your home to others that may be listed in your neighborhood. Criteria such as location, lot size, home size, square footage, number of bedrooms, finished rooms, upgrades, age of appliances, roof etc. are all factors that must be considered. Comparing prices in various listing sites is one way to do it, however these are homes that have not yet sold and may skew the prices somewhat.

If you do set your price and you do not get much interest or you get comments that the price is too high, you can always lower it after a few weeks or months. Be careful to avoid distress sale prices and giving buyers the impression that you are in a must sell situation. This can attract low offers. We see this all the time in Baltimore City where there is a ton of distressed inventory and fewer buyers. Selling without an agent in Baltimore City shouldn’t result in giving away your home. There are many options out there and one that I was impressed by was Dependable Homebuyers. They’re a company that will buy your home and not leave you without a profit. I know the guys personally and can vouch for their honesty and integrity.

What About Advertising

Most people spend a lot of time online narrowing down their search before ever actually looking at a home. Your pictures are incredibly important in this online world. Get your home ready and declutter it before taking any photos. If you are not a good photographer, hire a professional to take the pictures and load the images onto a site that you use to list your home in Maryland.

Prepare well written narrative for each picture. Interested parties will first look at the pictures and then if interested will want to read the details. Well written material adds the detail these people will need to help them make a decision to visit your home.

Getting Your Home Ready

We already mentioned a number of items that home owners need to consider when they sell their home. These steps actually apply whether you sell using an agent or sell your home yourself.

l De-clutter

l Ensure curb appeal looks great

l Landscaping should always look its best

l Super clean everything

l Make all minor repairs

l Clean carpets

l Repaint tired looking walls

l Make a list of selling points e.g. new roof in last two years etc.

l Consider upgrades

l Prepare a brochure that lists all of these benefits

l Describe the area, include proximity to schools, shopping and transit

l Provide your contact info

Dealing with a Serious Offer

Don't forget a cash deposit when accepting a buyer's offer
Don’t forget a cash deposit when accepting a buyer’s offer

Find a contract that you can use and only accept written offers that include a deposit. Accept the offer only after consulting with a real estate attorney. With no agent to work with, you need to handle all financial and legal paperwork. Work with an attorney and a title company you know and can trust.

Too Much Effort, Other Alternatives

For many homeowners dealing with all of the activity outlined in this post, it may be just too much. Even if they use an agent the cost to complete repairs and upgrades to make their home competitive and attract higher offers may not be worth it. By the time you spend thousands of dollars on repairs and upgrades and deal with the delays involved, many consumers may feel that it is just not worth it.

Investors and home buying companies will purchase homes as they are in their present condition. They are interested in making a quick purchase for a home and then spending the time and money to upgrade them to modern décor and designs. They will either rent the home or resell it. Of course they are interested in making a profit and will make a low offer for your home. When compared to the money you may have spent doing your own repairs and upgrades and paying a real estate commission this solution may be the best approach.

Make an informed decision and take the best approach that fits your personal situation.

Small Flaws in Your Home that are Big Deals for Maryland Buyers

Maryland buyers are always looking for a home they can enjoy as well as afford. Many buyer’s today are looking for move in ready homes that require little work in terms of maintenance or repairs. Anything they see that might require some work involving a tradesman or handyman gets translated into money they will have to spend. They will look for a discount on the price they pay for the home to cover these items provided they just do not move on to look at another home that is more to their liking. They will use any excuse they can to lower the price if they do not walk away.

How to Attract a Buyer Quickly When Selling Your House in Maryland

Sellers can avoid these kinds of obstacles by making all of the repairs they can and possibly some upgrades as well to obtain a higher price. Have your agent do a thorough walk through the house to point out items they feel should be dealt with. Even a friend will see things that need work that you may have glossed over for years. Alternatively, you can sell your home to a Maryland investor as is for a quick sale.

Here are a few items that bother many prospective buyers. It is by no means a complete list, you may want to review your own home and add to this list.

Electrical Panel at Capacity

Many older homes have older electrical panels with limited capacity for new circuits. They may have been installed according to the electrical code at the time, but are sadly lacking compared to today’s electrical code. Bringing them up to standard may be needed, especially if more circuits need to be added to accommodate added rooms and wall plugs. This can be expensive.

Window and Door Screens that are Ripped

Screens that have holes in them or are ripped along the frame need to be replaced by someone. The material is actually quite inexpensive, however hiring someone to do the work can add up. It is a nuisance that many consumers just do not want to put up with. Aesthetically they also look bad and can cost you a lot when some buyers wonder what else is not looked after and well maintained.

Soiled Carpeting, Tired Paint

Dirty carpets turn off home buyers
Dirty carpets turn off home buyers

If your carpeting and flooring appears soiled and the walls need a fresh coat of paint many buyers will want to delay their move until this work can be completed. There is a cost for the delay as well as cleaning and painting. They may have to delay the sale of their own house or put items in storage while they get this work completed. All of these issues can cost money and the buyer will look for a discount to cover this extra cost. Again they might just walk out and not even make an offer because they really do not want to deal with this work.

Door Locks that Stick, Doors that Do Not Close Properly

Houses shift on their foundations, sometimes imperceptibly causing doors to stick and locks to be difficult to operate. Wooden doors can also expand with high humidity which can cause stickiness. Some times lock just need a little WD40 to make them work properly. If the buyer is not handy and cannot do some of these minor repairs themselves, it can become a significant issue for them.

Showers and Bathtubs

Moldy showers need to be cleaned before selling
Moldy showers need to be cleaned before selling

Leaks, mold, wild colors, soap scum and missing grout can all be a huge issue for many Maryland buyers. Have the leaks repaired, if there is mold, have it removed and the room repainted. A thorough cleaning of all of the soap buildup and re-grouting can make a world of difference. If you have a wild color such as a mauve toilet and matching tub you may want to consider removing them. Buyers often want both a tub for bathing the kids as well as showers for the adults.

Tiny Closets

Buyers just do not want to deal with a small closet. They often have more clothes than will fit and they may just walk. A small closet can be come a major sticking point that will need to be addressed for many buyers. Maryland homes are notorious for having small closets so if your home has a walk-in closet then your home is almost guaranteed to fly off the shelf.

Open Concept Kitchens and Homes

An open concept kitchen can go a long way in attracting a buyer
An open concept kitchen can go a long way in attracting a buyer

The trend to day is the open concept home, especially from the kitchen looking out onto the breakfast area and the dining area. If you home is a series of small rooms, that give a claustrophobic feeling, consideration may be needed to open up walls and make the home feel larger and more welcoming.

Buyers Are Picky in Maryland’s Real Estate Market

Anything can be done to remove any and all perceived repair or upgrade costs in your home can help sell your home more quickly and even a higher price. If you are not up for all of these repairs and upgrades you may be interested in selling the home as is to an investor who will offer a lower price for a quick sale allowing the seller to move onto their next home. I’ve been around real estate for a while and have seen buyers in Maryland becoming more and more picky. It is hard to over improve a property these days so when you’re on the fence go for the nicer upgrade. It’ll pay off in the long run.

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Consider this the beginning of our "Open House" where we show you all the great things we've learned about real estate over the years
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