Rule #1: Marketing Costs Money.
You get out what you put in. There are an infinite amount of ways to advertise your property. Many are open to private sellers, such as packages from a “For Sale By Owner” franchise. But don't expect sticking a sign in the ground to sell your property. You may only need 1 one buyer, but you'll get more money if you have 10. So think about newspaper advertising, feature sheets, signs, fees for your lawyer, stagers, documents from the city, a website to advertise your property and even MLS "mere postings".
Rule #2: Buyers Are Informed
Buyers know you’re saving the commission. Why else would you be selling your home privately. Buyers who shop private sellers expect a deal. Put yourself in the buyers position - how have they found your property? How do most people shop for their next home?
Rule #3: Price It Right.
Most buyers do not like presenting "low ball" offers and most sellers don't like them. So if you price yourself out of the market, they won't even bother. It is better to hold firm on a price than it is to wish for the sky. Adversely, don't price it too low. Bank appraisals and tax property assessments are poor indicators of market value.
Rule #4: Give Yourself Time.
It will always take longer than you think. One of the reason that many agents can sell homes quicker is because of not only their database of buyers, but also the database of every other agent working on the MLS. With thousands of homes on the market, those buyers are very unlikely to find you as quickly as those searching the MLS. Most buyers these days are "doing it themselves" these days, using either Realtor.ca/MLS.ca or individual agent sites. Most people aren't driving around anymore looking for random homes.
Rule #6: Get Use to Distrust.
Most buyers will not trust a private owner. Unless they are a very savvy investor/buyer, many may be concerned that you don't know what you're doing and may be concerned about your disclosures. While Realtors are not legal experts, their liability insurance protects their clients from most contractual errors. While there are many ways to protect yourself, many buyers just are not educated enough to make the plunge into a private sale.
Rule #7: Don't Get Emotional.
In my experience, even some agents have a tough time with this one. Emotional sellers/buyers/agents are more likely to wreck a deal than solve problems. Keep in mind that this is no longer "your house". The buyers aren't purchasing your memories in the home. They just want the building and land. They also want a deal. They will tell you about everything that is wrong with your house to justify their price. So respond to "low-ball" offers professionally and maybe you can make lemonaid from lemons. Getting angry or frustrated will not help keep a deal together.
Rule #8: Expect Liars.
Agents see it all the time. People say they are putting in an offer or are highly interested and then they disappear. They might say they are financially qualified, but then they back out because they can't get a mortgage. Be prepared to be disappointed. Potential buyers might say they’ll be making an offer tomorrow and then they never call again. Be ready for a low-ball and insulting offers and be prepared to hear about everything that’s wrong with your house as potential buyers try to justify their offer price.
Rule #9: Know Your Product & Inventory
Your property is more than just the building. Get your title search and site survey ready. Have documents relating to your septic tank or strata. Understand your zoning. Get all the facts prepared about past renovations and updates. Not only this, but you are competing with every home for sale. Get to know how your property stacks up..
Rule #10: "Sell" Your Home.
Present your homes value as aggressively as you can. If you want top dollar, remember that buyers buy with emotion. Cater to their dreams. Also, see Rule #9.
Rule #11: Be the Industry.
You won't only be replacing the place of an agent, but also photographers, stagers, and marketing agencies. You will need to know how to be a professional marketer to compete. Don't be afraid to hire a professional photographer and/or webdesigner. Also keep in mind that you need to be a salesperson & receptionist. Have scripts ready for when potential buyers call. Every call could be a potential buyer - you can't afford to lose one. Think about what it is like to be a buyer: they want a call back immediately or they move on to the next house. Buyers will also want to view the property on THEIR schedule, so be prepared to have someone at home.
Rule #12: Get Legally Protected.
Avoid lawsuits by having a good real estate lawyer on your side. Don't trust Google.
Rule #13: Consider Your Security
Maybe this should be Rule #1. This is your home, your family. You are letting strangers in. Whether you are female or male, make sure that when you are showing the property to a stranger that you are always alert. You don't need to be paranoid, but you need to know that there are people that will take advantage of any situation. Never turn your back to people. Hide valuable possessions. Take a common sense approach. People know your home is "For Sale" and it is unlikely that you as an individual have the same systems in place as agents do for protection.
Rule #14: Be Wary of “For Sale By Owner” Franchise Promises.
These comparnies are not licensed to trade in real estate, have no training or certifiation and do not have legal responsibilities. Read the fine print. Always (do the same if you hire an agent though!).
Rule #15: Show Like a Pro.
Don't hover over potential buyers. They want to see themselves in their new home. For feedback, try to ask questions on their way out or at least get their name and number to follow up with later.
Rule #16: Consider a "Mere Posting"
For a nominal fee, some companies will post your property to the MLS. Expect to pay a buyer's Realtor commission to fully utilize the system.
Rule #17: Get a Pre-Sale Inspection
While buyers should always get their own inspection, getting an inspection done will prepare you for potential pitfalls.
Rule #18: Think about hiring a Realtor.
Invest a nickel, get a dime. Don't compare yourself to the unprofessional agents that do nothing. Yes, they are out there - but they also don't make money. Professional agents will use their buyer's databases, the MLS system, a full marketing package that they pay for whether they sell your home or not. If you do consider an agent, talk to at least 3. Don't be pressured into listing with any. Chose the one that provides the most trust and competency.
The rules above are paraphrased from "365 Rules About Real Estate" by Keith Marshall.