So we bought a house, rehabbed it and are finally ready to flip it to a buyer.
Time for that important question… Sell it ourselves or with a Realtor?
We’ve previously discussed why to use a Realtor and how to pick a good one.
Now let’s look at selling the house WITHOUT a realtor. If you are saving all that money on commissions, you better roll up your sleeves…. the real work is about to start. While you can hire contractors to rehab, you are going to sell the house all on your own if you don’t have a real estate agent on your team.
Let everybody know you have a house to flip
Tell everybody. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, people at church, folks you run into at the grocery store. Other investors. Realtors. The tellers at your bank. Tell everybody you have a great house at a great price.
You never know what connection might result in a sale. Use social media, email, phone calls. Tell everybody. When you are on your fifth house, you can slow down and quit bugging everyone. Until then…. tell everybody.
Make a great flyer
Paper and ink are cheap. Take the best photos you can, and design a full color single page flyer. Give a complete description of the features of the house… but also give the benefits of the house- the emotional description, not just the facts.
“Large back yard” is a feature, while “huge backyard perfect for entertaining” is a benefit. “New kitchen cabinets” is a feature….”brand new cook’s kitchen” is a benefit. People buy based on emotion, not facts. So appeal to your buyer with your wording.
Make sure your flyer uses words and phrases that sell. Then give it to everybody. Put a clear plastic box at the home. Mail them to friends and family. Give them to everybody.
Online ads and Classified ads
Buy a cheap ad on Craig’s list. See if your local paper offers online classifieds cheaper than the print version. Check out your local “thrifty nickel” convenience store give-aways. To really move a house, ask your local newspaper about a single color on neon paper flyer, stuck in the Sunday coupon section (sell the back side to a contractor).
Use words that sell
When talking about the house, creating the flyer, or drafting an ad, use the right words and phrases. Beautiful, over-sized, impeccable, immaculate, mint, gorgeous, “walk in and fall in love”, “new landscaping”, “turn-key”, “move in”… etc. These descriptions result in faster contracts at higher prices…. guaranteed.
What to avoid? “Must sell” or “Motivated seller” are kiss-of-death phrases- they will slow you down and result in low ball offers. Think about it… when you see these in an ad, don’t you expect a great deal?
Buy a big sign and/or banner
A standard yard sign is great, but why not spring for a 4’x4′ sign– it grabs a lot more attention, and you can put more information on the sign.
Also consider a 5’x3′ vinyl banner for a fence or the front of the house. Especially in election season, when people start to tune out yard signs.
Price your house right
If your price is just 5% too high, you will get half as many calls. Do your market research, and price the house right the first time. It is tempting for new investors to initially price high so they “don’t leave money on the table”.
But time is money. A fast nickel is better than a slow dime. Repricing your house means new ads, new flyers, and new signs. Get it right the first time.
Rehab your house right
If your house isn’t selling, and your price is right, then look at the quality of your rehab. What isn’t done right? What is scaring your potential buyers? Are they worried about the quality of that tile work… or do they think the house needs a new roof… or is the painting a little shoddy?
If your potential buyers aren’t offering, look to the quality of your work. Only perfect houses get top dollar.
Ask for Feedback
Your best source of feedback is the people who see your house and don’t make an offer. But you have to ask the right question. Ask “what scared you”. Then listen carefully.
They may hem and haw, but if you ask and then shut up, people will tell you exactly why they didn’t make an offer. And if all it takes to get a contract is a new air handler or dishwasher… but your buyer is afraid of incurring that additional expense… seal the deal by agreeing to make that part of the contract.
ONLY work with Qualified Buyers
The single biggest mistake most new investors make is wasting time showing the house to a bunch of people who have no possible way of buying the home.
A Qualified Buyer is someone who has already sat down with a lender, given all the necessary documents (tax returns, pay stubs, etc) and had a credit report pulled. If you are showing the home to someone who has not been through that process, you are simply wasting your time.
If you are showing the home yourself, you must screen buyers. Ask if they are paying cash. When they say no, ask which lender they are using. If they can’t tell you, have them meet with YOUR loan officer or mortgage broker to get qualified…. BEFORE you agree to even show them the house. Yes, you will piss people off. You will hear “well I’m not even sure I want your house”. You will have people tell you it’s none of your business. But you will avoid wasting countless hours showing the house to people who can’t buy it.
What other tips do YOU have for people selling their own Flips? Please leave a comment and share this post!