For Sale By Owner FAQ

FAQs on Selling Your Own Home

    • How long will it take to sell my home?

This will depend upon how accurately you price your home in relation to the current real estate market conditions and how effectively you market your home. Period.

For comparison purposes, the average time it takes for most real estate agents to get a listed home under contract is approximately 85 days. Once under contract, it usually takes 43 days to get from contract to closing. Thus, the average time from listing to closing for a professional agent is 128 days.

Realize that real estate agents have a larger pool of qualified buyers than you will be able to reach. They have their own advertising, prospect databases, technology tools, networking with other agents and the multiple listing services. It will usually take an owner substantially longer to reach the same number of qualified buyers, which will extend the time required to close a sale on your own home.

Jeff ‘s Note: Don’t get discouraged. You can do this, it will probably just will take a little longer.

    • Must we sell before buying?

Check with a lender first to learn if this is an option for you. Ask yourself if you are willing and able to carry two mortgages and deal with the stress that comes from physically and financially maintaining two homes while selling one of them yourself. Make this decision carefully.

    • How do I accurately determine the asking price on my home?

You can hire a professional home appraiser. The cost for this in the Alpharetta area is $300-350. You may also contact a local real estate agent and ask for assistance in determining the value of your home. Some agents may be willing to do this even if you aren’t listing your home with them. You may also want consider one of the online resources to purchase a report for a general idea of your homes’ value.

    • What’s the real estate market like now?

Real estate sales fluctuate constantly. For up-to-date information on your community, get in touch with us.

    • How can I market my own home?

You can advertise in the local paper, hold an open house, tell the people in your personal network (family, friends and peers), have a sign made for your front yard and/or directional signs, you may post the information on community bulletin boards (with permission), and you may utilize listings on the Internet. Although there are several Internet “for sale by owners sites” on the web, few of them are as well-marketed as a professional agent’s site.

The “trick” to selling your home, is to reach the greatest number of people who will buy a home in your area in the next three months. Among that group of buyers is THE ONE willing to pay the most for your home. To increase your chances of securing that ONE, you must access the greatest number of these qualified buyers. To do that you must price your home properly and market it effectively.

    • Should I “advertise” my home to area real estate agents?

Perhaps. Agents who have listings in your area may show a potential buyer your home if they can’t find what the buyer wants in their own inventory or in the multiple listing services. If you send letters or flyers to agent offices, you will be bombarded with real estate agents contacting you to list your home with them as a result. If you don’t want this type of type of attention from agents, you should avoid this technique.

    • If an agent shows my home, do I have to pay a commission?

No. If an agent shows your home, they do so to provide service to their buyer. However, you should know that if a buyer using an agent purchases your home, you may be expected to pay a commission to that agent.

    • How to I determine if a prospect is qualified?

You should put them into contact with your own preferred lender, or you should get a letter of qualification from the potential buyer to determine their financial viability. If you want to determine if they are serious about buying a home now, you may want to use the Pre-qualifying Your Buyer Prospects checklist.

    • How do I handle earnest money?

This can be one of the more challenging aspects of selling a house yourself. If the buyer is willing to give you a check to deposit in your account there is no problem. But many potential buyers are not comfortable with this option. You may ask your attorney if he or she is willing to hold funds in their own escrow account (if one is available) or you can talk with a lending institution about the financial feasibility of setting up a temporary escrow account for this purpose.

    • Should I consider using a real estate attorney?

Yes. You will already be juggling many things when you sell your own home (you are probably working full time, preparing your home for sale with cosmetic and repair projects, marketing your home, showing it to potential buyers, looking for another place to live, making arrangements to move, packing and trying to live your life and enjoy your family). You can’t afford to miss any legal details.

Although most transactions go smoothly, there is a substantial financial risk if there is a problem. Having an attorney on retainer also provides you a legally educated objective opinion on issues you will encounter during the home selling process. has compiled a list of local real estate attorneys for your review. An attorney will help protect your interests – even when you are extremely busy.

    • Where do I find the forms I need to sell my own home? has compiled a library of checklists to make things easier for you (and your buyer). These Alpharetta specific home selling and homebuying tools can be found in our Checklists Library.

    • How do I help my prospective buyers get financial information?

You should send the buyer to our Financing a Home section, which includes information about pre-qualifying for a loan, pre-approval for a mortgage, obtaining final approval, and even a list of local Alpharetta area loan officers.

    • Can you give me a few tips on how to sell my home?

You should use the resources on How to Prepare to Your Home for Sale. You can also visit the Legal & Contractual Considerations page as soon as you make the decision to sell. Although I can’t cover all aspects of what you should and shouldn’t do in this FAQ, I can offer you a few Dos and Don’ts When Showing Your Own Home and even a few Safety Tips for that process.