real estate forms, purchase contracts and detailed home selling tips for selling by owner

Home selling tips...

Everything to sell your own house: fsbo selling tips, real estate forms & contracts, plus detailed instructions.
fsbo tips for selling your own home plus real estate purchase contracts and legal forms.    

July 30, 2008

Great pictures sell homes!  Eye catching pictures on flyers and the Internet bring buyers to see the house and that is the first step to selling a home.



June 18, 2008

Need to sell fast? Host a luncheon for real estate agents who work in your area,

...and pay only half the commissions required for a "full service" listing*

Most homes have only a few photogenic rooms so invest time in getting the best possible pictures of your most attractive rooms.

Don't waste time on photographs of small bedrooms unless they have something special to attract buyers. Two pictures that grab buyer attention are more effective than ten pictures that induce yawns.

Digital Cameras make it easy to take great home pictures; ...with a few simple rules:

A real estate luncheon is an Open House except that instead of inviting your neighbors, you invite real estate agents who work in your neighborhood. Visit every real estate office in your neighborhood and leave flyers that announces you will pay 3% of the sales price to any agent who brings a buyer who purchases your “for sale by owner” home,

…and invite them to a free lunch where they can see the house. This is important. Agents visit the homes with the best free lunch.


Interior Lighting: Flash attachments never light up the corners of an interior room, so before you snap your picture,  …turn on all the lights! If possible use an extension cord and set up one or more 100 watt bulb behind you to throw more  light into the room. If you can get floor lamps from other rooms, set them up behind you.

Perspective: To get the professional, "House & Garden" effect  consider taking room pictures while standing on a chair, table or ladder.

Exterior Pictures
Ordinary flash attachments can't provide enough light for the outside of a house. Wait for a sunny day and snap the picture with the sun behind you.

If in Alaska during the winter, or someplace else with long periods of dark days, invest in 3 or 4 100 watt bulbs and a 50-foot extension cord. Four 100 watt bulbs properly placed should provide enough light for a good picture.

Never use your camera's "high resolution" setting:
“High Resolution” sounds like a good thing but these settings are for printing on photographic paper over ten times the resolution available on “TV quality” Internet displays.

Use the “Email” setting if your camera has one, otherwise use the camera’s lowest resolution setting (the setting that allows the most number of pictures).

Pictures taken at high camera resolution are displayed at ordinary screen resolution and that makes them too big to fit on a normal Internet display screen.

Get help:
People who love cameras are flattered when asked for help so canvas your family, friends and co-workers for a camera-savy person. Ask them to help you get great pictures of your home.



In the Atlanta real estate community, Tuesday is “Caravan day”. Agents assemble in automobile caravans and spend the morning visiting homes newly listed by agents in their company. At about noon, caravans break apart as agents choose to visit homes that have offered a free lunch.

You don’t need to know your community’s equivalent of “Caravan day.” Simply hold your Luncheon on a weekday between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM and offer a great menu. A winning menu might be baked chicken with rice, a salad, rolls, sweet tea and thin slices of chocolate cake for dessert.

While you might invite 30 or more agents, you need provide a full menu for no more than ten. Your luncheon is a big success if you get ten agents to visit and inspect your home.

Check the calendar to make sure your Luncheon is not competing with Football Playoffs, the World Series, college basketball's Final Four, or major religious observances. Be sure to have:

  • A guest book: get the name and address of each agent who attends. Make notes, jot down positive impressions and comments that might improve the appearance of your home to buyers.

  • 8 1/2 x 11 inch Flyers: Fact-sheets describing your home, listing your price and how to reach you. Every agent should leave with an 8 1/2 x 11 inch real estate flyer.



*Although the standard real estate commission in most areas is 6% of the purchase price, agents are happy to accept 3% because in almost all cases that is what they earn for bringing the buyer. (The other 3% goes to the listing, or Seller’s agent, but in a "for sale by owner" situation there is no Seller’s agent).


May 23rd, 2008
reprinted from

... Realizing the importance of creating a lasting impression for buyers in a slow housing market, sellers upgrade their door knobs or cabinet hardware to give their homes a fresh and up to date look.

As the housing market continues to struggle in many regions of the country; Sellers have to be aggressive and sometimes creative in how they can set their home apart from the rest and get it sold quicker.

An easy and fairly inexpensive fix that can make a big difference is updating door or cabinet hardware. Especially at the front door (the first contact a buyer will have with the home) a good impression is crucial.

Direct Door Hardware, a Logan, Utah company has been helping home owners make a better impression and improve the perceived value of their homes for years. Their online hardware store offers a wide variety of door hardware brands and styles to give any home an improved look. On a tight budget, just upgrading the front door hardware can make a big difference.

Another area of the home that sellers can make a big impact is in the kitchen. Kitchens are one of the most important rooms in the house to a buyer. Adding some stylish cabinet knobs can give the kitchen a refreshing and up to date look and make some bland cabinets look finished and dignified. Good cabinet knobs can be purchased for just a few dollars per knob or less and are generally easy to install making this a simple upgrade for a seller to make.


April 26, 2008

Our wish for privacy often slows the sale of our homes.  Most “Home For Sale” signs neglect to include an asking price:  the most important information for the prospective buyer.


March 1, 2008

Lending institutions have tightened mortgage loan requirements, and that gives an advantage to sellers who work with local mortgage brokers, and a licensed real estate appraiser.

... Okay, maybe you don’t need to blast your asking price in large red letters; but at a minimum your big yard sign should be accompanied by a box of 8 ½ x 11 inch information flyers that feature your asking price along with pictures and other details about your home.

My daughter recently hosted a 20 year reunion dinner at my house for members of her High School graduating class.  I live on a street that ends in a cu-de-sac and Bob, one of the attendees asked me about a house with a “For Sale” sign on the other side of the street near the entrance to our cul-de-sar.


The most successful sellers are those who introduce themselves to a local mortgage broker as soon as they put up a “for sale” sign, if not before. Mortgage brokers are eager to meet and work with sellers because they make a living arranging mortgage loans whenever a home is sold.

The true value of a home is set by recent selling prices of similar homes in the neighborhood. Recent selling prices are available free of charge at the County Courthouse and on the internet but a $250 - $350 fee for a licensed appraiser might be a good investment, especially if the appraiser is one used by mortgage brokers in your neighborhood...


Bob wanted to buy in the neighborhood. He felt the location was perfect and wanted to know the asking price and the condition of the inside.  He had no idea that I was a retired realtor, but I was still embarrassed to say that I did not know the asking price, and had been in the house only once to attend a block association meeting over a year ago.

This Seller lost Bob as a potential buyer because she neglected to tell me and her other neighbors something as basic as her asking price.  Every neighbor has family and friends who buy homes.  Neighbors are the biggest promoters of the neighborhood because most want family and friends to live close.

HOST AN OPEN HOUSE!  …and invite every home owner for several blocks around.

The purpose of the OPEN HOUSE is not to find an immediate buyer. The purpose is to let neighbors see the current condition of your home and take away an advertising flyer with  your asking price and pictures of your best rooms.

Yes, you will have lost some financial privacy.  The whole neighborhood will know how much you want for your house,  …but maybe one of those neighbors will find you a buyer



Sellers who purchased their homes at low prices several years ago can still make a profit selling at $2,000 below the price their neighbor got a month ago. FSBO sellers who don't have to pay a 6% real estate commission have even more flexibility to lower their prices and sell quickly.

As a retired real estate broker I'm viscerally opposed to reducing asking price, but the overwhelming forecast is for a year or more of falling prices.

The choice might be between selling your $200,000 house today at $198,000, or holding out and selling it a year from now at $160,000. Audrie...

You might believe your home is worth $200,000, but together the appraiser and mortgage broker perform a powerful reality check. The appraiser may report that the current value of your home is $190,000.  Your mortgage broker may tell you that banks will not finance the purchase of homes over $195,000 in your neighborhood.

Equally important, the mortgage broker can tell you if Johnny Doe, your eager potential buyer, can get a large enough mortgage loan to buy your property. Never sign a sales contract with a buyer who has not been pre-qualified by your friendly, neighborhood mortgage broker.

Falling home prices have brought droves of bargain hunting home buyers into the market so don’t be surprised or offended by offers far below your asking price. If Tim Lowe makes a low-ball offer it means that Tim wants to own your home.

If your mortgage broker says Tim can qualify for a big enough mortgage loan to pay your price, invite Tim back for a second viewing.  Show him your appraisal and engage him in conversation. Ask him why he think the house should sell below the appraised value.




Copyright February 2008 by Corporation
Stone Mountain, Georgia
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