One of the problems you may encounter when selling your home without an agent is not being able to find a buyer. This can cause all sorts of problems, like having to make house payments… which is even worse if the house is unoccupied. Another problem if the house doesn’t sell is that you may not be able to move into the house you wanted until the current one is sold.

Of all the reasons a house might not sell if you sell it yourself, there are 2 that make up the majority of problems that will keep you from finding a buyer.

1. The price

If your home price is too high relative to market ranges, you will find yourself with a limited supply of buyers who will pay above market price. This is even more important in a fair to slow market. Sometimes during really hot bubble markets it’s possible to get a higher price from “frenzy buying,” but usually those periods are few and far between. Most of the time you will be in a normal to slow market where you will need to be competitive to attract buyers in that economy.

Now, if you don’t know how to price your property to sell quickly, here’s an easy way to find out. Go to online real estate sites like or and find 3-5 houses in your neighborhood that have sold in the last 6 months. For each sale, take the selling price (not the list price) and divide it by the square foot to get the price per square foot. Take the 3 to 5 price per square foot number and add them up, then divide by the number of properties you used to get the average price per square foot. Then take this average number and multiply it to your square footage and you get a round price. Take this price and multiply it by 0.98 and this should give you a pretty accurate price on the sale price of your house. Now, if you have some major upgrades or additions, or if your house is not similar to those in your neighborhood, you will have to adjust to this. Otherwise, this simple formula will get you closer to the price you need for a quick sale.

2. Marketing

The second most important aspect of an owner selling your home is aggressive marketing. Now if you signed up with an agent and were on top of your game, you wouldn’t have to worry about that. However, if you’re handling the sale yourself, then you’ll need to disclose your property information…and convincingly. That is, you need to focus on the benefits of why buyers would be better off buying your home instead of all the other properties on the market. Most people just post an ad in their local paper’s classifieds (which don’t get nearly as much attention as they used to) or just post a few photos and a description on Craigslist and hope their phone rings non-stop. The reality, however, is much more different.

Of all the ways you can market your home, including listing online on different housing sites, nothing beats signs. Pound for pound, signs will give you the most exposure from qualified buyers. The key is to do them right. This means ugly hand-drawn signs are posted at busy intersections with the right words that make shoppers pick up the phone and call you. Also, having a handwritten sign, preferably in bright colors, in your front yard will generate a good volume of interest from eager shoppers.

There is another factor, albeit not well known, that can cause your house to sell quickly for full market price…even higher sometimes. And that’s selling with a lease option (also known as rent-to-own). This is simply giving a qualified renter/buyer 12-24 months to qualify for a mortgage. As you know, mortgage standards have become extremely strict these days. And a lot of good people, who have the income and are qualified, just got approved yet. It simply provides them with a lease term to get their financing so they can pay it off in cash when their loan is processed. Selling rent to own this way is also good as you get the full net market price as you don’t pay any commission or fees when they collect it.

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