How to Sell Your Home Online

How to list your home online and dealing with realtors, creating virtual tours, and resources for contracts and agreements.

Since it seems that the Internet is here for good, why not leverage its power to communicate to help sell your home. The Multiple Listing Service has been online since the late 1990’s, and numerous other listing sites have sprung up over the World Wide Web. Some of these are Zillow.com, Realtor.com, Move.com, and homelistings-usa.com to name a few.

If you are preparing to sell your home without the services of a realtor, commonly referred to as For Sale By Owner (FSBO), then these sites are an invaluable resource to you. It no longer a question of whether you will use websites to help sell your home, but how.

Listing a Home

So of the most used do-it-yourself real estate listing sites include fsbosearch.com, 4-salebyowner.com and zerobrokerfees.com, but there are many more and many regional sites. Listing fees will vary between sites and there are packages available from around $150 to around $1,000. In the higher range the site will also list your home on the MLS databases and on Realtor.com. Some sites may also provide weather-proof brochure displays and selling techniques and information.

Some sites can help you draw up a real estate sale contract valid in your state, disclosure forms for any repairs or hazardous materials, and take steps to legally close the deal without an agent. Or if you want legal advice about real estate deals, check out real-estate-law.freeadvice.com, which covers common issues sellers might face. You may also want to hire a real estate attorney for a few hundred dollars to review the contracts and agreements.

Contracting with an Agent

If you are not familiar with pricing or listing your home, you may want to use an agent to price and get advice with forms and regulations that are required. In a traditional listing agreement the listing agent will advertise your home, negotiate with buyers and handle the assorted contracts and paperwork will usually cost you a commission of around six percent of the selling price under a traditional realty listing contract. If you do a FSBO, you can still have realtors show your home to prospective buyers and pay them their half of the commission, which would be three percent. On a $200,000 home sale you would save $6,000 and net $194,000 instead of $188,000.

You can find realtors on websites such as zipreality.com to connect with a local agent who will help you set the price of your home and choose a selling plan. The agent then markets your home online and offline and you can negotiate the commission you'll offer the buyer's agent.

There are a few websites that can assist you with valuing your property, housevalues.com or zillow.com, acquiring the necessary real estate contracts www.uslegalforms.com/realestate. You should use caution with the values cited since they are based on averages and may be off target. You may also need to verify that the contracts you use are complete and up-to-date, and without the assistance of a realtor you're on your own in dealing with buyers and complicated contract issues and unethical negotiation practices. Some buyers may try to take advantage of you when you don’t work with a realtor so be aware of any unusual questions and behavior.

Virtual Tours

It is essential that you take digital photos of your home’s interior rooms and also the exterior. The days of leafing through a black-and-white phonebook-size MLS are over, people don’t want to take the time to schedule an appointment, drive to your home, or wait for an open house on a Sunday afternoon when they can see every room of your home online.

The first step in photographing your home is in the staging. There are many Factoidz dealing with this so I won’t go into it here. You should focus on reducing clutter while making the home look and feel comfortable. Good lighting is important in order to effectively showcase your home's interior. Most for-sale-by-owner sites allow you to post several photos. Both realtor sites and, to a lesser degree, for-sale-by-owner sites, offer to create virtual tours. These are panoramic views of various rooms that you can sometimes manipulate to see into every corner.

Realty firms are more likely to have access to expensive cameras and software to create very effective virtual tours. There are also online companies and consultants, such as sfhometours.com and realtourvision.com that will allow you to build your own virtual tour for as little as $39.95 for online software and web hosting. For a few hundred dollars you can have a company create a virtual tour for you.

Selling your home is all about packaging and with the competitive economic climate and high-paced lifestyles we lead, potential homebuyers want to see everything online and now.

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Katrina
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