For Sale By Owner Guide: How to Sell Your House By Yourself in Utah

It’s no surprise that you’re interested in selling your house by yourself. You start hearing all the advantages of selling by owner and savings on agent commissions, it’s no wonder you’re sold by the idea. (pun intended). But what exactly goes into selling your house by yourself in Utah? Surely it is not all that complicated, right? 

When it comes to selling such a big asset as your house it will be important to understand what you’re getting yourself into. This post will cover all you need to know about selling by yourself and what steps you should take to sell your house by owner. 

Tips On How to Sell Your House By Yourself in Utah

for sale by owner - sell your house yourself

Responsibilities of Selling a House By Yourself in Utah 

Before sticking that For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sign in your yard, you will need to know your responsibilities when it comes to selling your property. Unless you have a real estate background, there is a bit of a learning curve because it’s not every day you sell a Utah house

It would help if you start by looking into the state’s laws and regulations. Here is an overview of some of those requirements you will need to be aware of.

  • A real estate attorney is not required but would be advised to have one to avoid expensive mistakes. Hiring an attorney can cost between $500-$5,000.
  • The state of Utah requires you to fill out these disclosures when selling your home by yourself.
  • An FSBO yard sign is allowed as long as your home isn’t listed on the MLS.
  • You may be responsible for paying a buyer’s agent commission (2.6-3%)

Aside from the legal requirements, you will also have responsibilities as a FSBO seller, which would include:

  • Prepping the property by making necessary repairs, decluttering, cleaning, and staging your house.
  • Determining an accurate and competitive listing price for your home.
  • Coming up with a marketing plan and executing it. Your marketing plan will include writing an enticing listing description, hiring a photographer to take high-quality photos, posting your listing on different sites (free and/or paid), promoting your house on social media, in print ads, and by word of mouth, hosting open houses and answering any questions by interested buyers or their agents.
  • Vetting potential buyers to ensure they are qualified from a financial standpoint. Accepting an offer from an unqualified buyer could cause your sale to fall through, and in Utah, 9% of home loan applicants are rejected.
  • Negotiating the listing price, contingencies, repair concessions, and other aspects of the purchase agreement.
  • Adequately filling out all the necessary paperwork for a real estate transaction in Utah.

Now that you have a general idea of what you’re getting yourself into, the next step is to start preparing the property to sell.

Preparing The Property To Sell

This is probably the most expensive and time-consuming part of selling your house by yourself in Utah. 

Make Repairs 

To get started, you will need to figure out what repairs need to be done around the house. One way to figure that out is to hire a home inspector to come to inspect the property. 

Home inspectors have an eye for all things house related and can help point out issues with the place you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. Although hiring an inspector will cost a few hundred dollars, you will have a better idea of what needs to be done and what a buyer’s inspection may point out. Typically buyers request a home inspection to be completed before purchasing the home, so going ahead and being aware of the issues will give you a head start addressing them before a buyer does. 

After you get the home inspection report back, you will need to determine what repairs need to be made and if you can do them or if you will need to hire a handyman. A handyman can handle certain projects, but if renovations require electrical work or cost over a certain amount, you will need to hire a licensed electrician or contractor to do the job. 

Particular renovations can even require permits, so it will be essential to know your legal obligations and what guidelines you will need to follow; that way, you won’t have unpermitted work done to your home. 

Depending on what projects you have to work on around the house will dictate how long it will take until you can officially put your place on the market. Some repairs can take months to complete, which is important to remember if you need to sell your house quickly

Declutter 

Once you have completed all the repairs needed around the house, the next step is to declutter. It’s important to show buyers how much space is available and when a place is full of stuff, it only accentuates how small the home is. Make sure to clean out closets, the garage, basement, and attic. Depending on how much stuff you have, it may be a good idea to rent a storage unit to store some of these items. Also, you may need to consider storing pieces of furniture and any other oversized items to help create more space. 

Clean

After decluttering and organizing your house, you will need to deep clean. Make sure to dust, sweep, mop, vacuum, and clean the entire house. Don’t forget to clean the windows too. If you have kids and/or pets, it would be wise to get the carpets cleaned; that way, it gets out any stains or pet orders. 

Deep cleaning is particularly important due to Covid-19, so make sure you clean doorknobs, countertops, drawer pulls, and light switches before and after showings. 

Stage the House

Finally, to add a finishing touch to getting your house ready to sell by owner, you will want to do a bit of staging. Staging includes moving furniture around to emphasize space and flow, painting over any bright or unique colors in the house, making minor updates, putting away any personal items like family photos, and adding some curb appeal. Not only will staging your home be great for showings, but also make your listing photos look good too.

How to Price Your Utah Home

Figuring out a pricing strategy will be another challenge when it comes to selling your house by yourself. Listing your home too high will cause your property to sit for months, eventually lending you to drop the price and miss out on those first few weeks when new listings get more interest. 

Pricing your home too low can have a reserve effect and may turn buyers away because they believe something major like a foundation problem or termite damage could be wrong with the house for it to be priced so low. Again resulting in a lack of interest or even lower offers than your listing price.

To get a good idea of what your property is worth, take a look at the comparable properties listed in your area. 

For example, if the house you’re selling is in Salt Lake City, and you think your home is worth about $350,000, search listing sites for properties that are active and sold in your area. Once you find those listings, narrow down your search by finding houses similar to yours in square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and lot size. Make sure to account for improvements; say a neighbors listing has a renovated kitchen, and yours doesn’t have an updated kitchen, then your home will be less valuable than your neighbors. 

Once you compile the active listings and listings sold in your area, you will need to figure out the average price per square foot. You may notice that people list their houses in your area for, say, $167 more per square foot, but in actuality, their homes usually sell for around $157-$160 per square foot. To set a competitive price, you may need to be closer to that $160 mark because that’s your area’s going rate. Seeing what other houses are listed for in your area can be deceiving and make you think you can ask more for your home, but in reality, buyers are paying less, and those houses haven’t technically sold yet. 

Listing your house just right will lead to multiple showings and hopefully multiple offers. Once you get multiple offers, you may get higher offers or create a bidding war, which will increase what you sell the house for. 

So figuring out a competitive listing price is a significant step when it comes to selling your house by yourself.

If you aren’t overly confident, you can figure this out or have specific features to your home that you’re unsure of their value, hiring an appraiser would be a good idea. An appraiser will come out to your home and look over the property, consider all the features of your home, and then compare that information to other houses in your area. You will then get an unbiased opinion on your home’s true value, which can help with setting your listing price and be used to negotiate with buyers. 

How To List Your Utah House for Sale by Owner

After you get the house ready to sell and figure out a competitive price, the next step is to list your property and develop a listing description that will speak to buyers. You want to highlight your house’s features and be aware of what would attract buyers. Here are some details to make sure to mention in your listing.

  • Listing price- be forthcoming about your list price. 
  • Talk about the architectural style of the home. If your home has unique features, make sure to mention that. Don’t forget to note modern upgrades to an older home or original features to the house too.
  • Recent renovations- If any extensive updates have been made to the home within the last 5 years, make sure to add that in your description. Renovations would include getting a new roof, replacing the furnace, rewiring the house, waterproofing the basement. List out each renovation, when it was made, how much it cost, and what the current condition is today. This will give buyers comfort that they won’t have to worry about significant issues any time soon.

Once you’ve come up with a good description of your property, the next step is to advertise and post your listing on websites. Below is a list of options and costs:

  • For Sale By Owner yard sign: Most hardware stores carry yard signs, and you can also find them online for $20-$50. Make sure to pick one that allows you to add your phone number so prospective buyers can contact you for information and schedule showings.
  • Craigslist: Posting your house on Craigslist is a great free resource and is simple to do. Just go to the Utah page, find your city, and create a “real estate- by owner” listing. 
  • FSBO websites: There are quite a few FSBO listing websites that allow you to post your house for free or a few hundred dollars. But make sure to do your research; some limit you on how many images you can include, how long the listing is live, and changes you can make. 

The True Cost of Selling a House By Yourself in Utah

Surprisingly, selling a house by yourself in Utah isn’t cheap. You may have thought you would save a lot of money selling on your own and not hiring a realtor. But you will still need to cover the cost of repairs, decluttering, cleaning, staging, hiring professionals (home inspector, appraiser, photographer, handyman, contractor), and listing websites. There is something to be said for your time too. If this is the reason why you went with selling your house by owner, you may want to take a closer look at this selling strategy. 

Besides all those expenses mentioned above, paying a buyer’s agent will also need to be added to that. Traditionally, both buyers and seller’s agents are paid a commission by the homeowner. The total commission cost is between 5-6%, but that is divided between the two. Since you’re not listing with a realtor, that means you won’t be paying that commission, but the buyer’s agent will still get paid. That rate is usually 2.6% to 3% of the final sale price. By offering to pay a buyer’s commission, you incentivize them to show your house to their clients. Sadly, if you don’t offer a commission or one that is competitive with similar homes in your area, your property could be shown less. Realtors may prioritize taking buyers to houses with a commission which is a fact that an agent will not tell you

The best way to avoid owing any commission is to sell to an unrepresented buyer. However, keep in mind that nearly 87% of buyers work with a real estate agent. So if you choose not to offer a buyer’s agent commission, you may limit your pool of potential buyers.

Pros and Cons of Selling Your House By Yourself in Utah

Know that we’ve covered a lot of your obligations to selling FSBO; it will be up to you to decide if you’d like to sell by owner. You will want to weigh the pros and cons and make the right decision for your particular situation.

Pros

  • More Control: Since you’re in charge of selling the house, you decide the price, listing timeframe, marketing strategy, showing schedule, negotiating approach, and more.
  • No competition with other clients: Some realtors, especially top agents, take on more clients than they can handle, which could mean your listing doesn’t get the attention it needs to meet your home-selling goals.
  • Lower commission fees: When selling by owner, there is a chance you won’t pay any commissions or at least a reduced commission. So you could avoid paying 2.4% to 2.8% in seller fees. 

Cons

  • You’re in charge of everything, which can be a lot to handle, and if you need to sell your house quickly, the pressure is on!
  • You’ll still pay real estate commissions of 2.6% to 3%, although you’re doing a lot of the work to sell your house by yourself in Utah.
  • You still need to make repairs, declutter, clean, and stage the house, which can be expensive and time-consuming. 
  • More work and stress: Selling a house is a full-time job. Trying to fit all the steps and responsibilities into your schedule is a hassle that many FSBO sellers aren’t prepared for. 
  • Risk factors: not working with an agent or a real estate attorney can leave you at risk for costly mistakes or scams. 

FSBO Alternatives to Consider Instead 

If saving money and selling quickly are your main concerns, there are alternatives. 

One option you should consider is working with a local home buying company. Local homebuyers can buy your house fast. Homebuyers are great, they purchase houses in as-is condition, so you won’t have to worry about making repairs or floating the bill for expensive improvements. They also don’t charge realtor commissions or service fees and even pay closing costs, ultimately saving you thousands of dollars. 

The entire process is very straightforward; you would find a local home buyer in Utah like CashQuickBuyers and contact them with information about your home. CashQuickBuyers would then reach out to you to get a little bit more information and schedule a time to view your property or request photos of your home. After that, they send you a cash offer for your house within 24 hours. Once you accept the offer, they can close on your property within 7-14 days.

That’s basically it in a nutshell. No repairs, no cleaning, no staging, no listing, no figuring out a marketing plan, no commissions, no closing costs, and all the other stuff that comes with selling your house by yourself in Utah.

The only things you would need to worry about is picking a closing date, packing, and moving out. 

hand hammering for sale sign - sell your house by yourself

Conclusion: Is Selling Your House By Yourself in Utah Right for You?

Selling a home by owner isn’t a perfect fit for everyone. But now that you know what is ahead and if you feel confident about all the steps and possible challenges, you may be ready to sell without an agent. 

Remember to succeed at selling your house by yourself in Utah; you will need to:

  • Make a plan: From hiring a photographer to lining up the correct paperwork.
  • Get ready to hustle: To attract buyers will take effort. You’ll need an attractive listing description and a killer marketing plan to generate interest. 
  • Make smart investments on small upgrades and repairs.
  • Seek professional advice: Hire a real estate attorney, home inspector, and an appraiser to help you through the process. 

Hopefully, all this information will help you make selling your house by yourself a success! 

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