You’re ready to put your home or land (house, townhouse, condo, apartment, farm, ranch, finished lot, raw land, etc.) on the market as a FSBO (for sale by owner). You’ve priced your property appropriately and gotten it ready to show. How are you going to market it so that it gets exposure to enough potential buyers to actually sell?
In some parts of the county, the real estate market is so hot that you need do little more than buy a “for sale by owner” sign at the nearest hardware store. Simply put it in a prominent position on the front of your house and stand back.
In other areas, a great deal more marketing is needed, but a “for sale by owner” sign is a good place to start. Directional signs (“home for sale” with an arrow) at intersections leading the way to your property are useful, too, if your location lends itself to that.
A classified ad in your local newspaper is a good idea and is generally not expensive. A short ad repeated a number of times is apt to be more effective than a long ad run once, or only a few, times.
Are there bulletin boards where you work? In neighborhood shops and restaurants? At your church? Any place you, or members of your family, frequent that has something like a bulletin board is a good place to post notices of your property’s availability. If you have the use of a digital camera and a computer, you might want to do a one-page poster with several photos of your house, a description and contact information. Consider having tear-off strips at the bottom with your phone number repeated on each strip.
Magazines & Community Publications
You may want to check the cost of putting an ad in “For Sale By Owner” type magazines. Most communities have such magazines and you don’t have to be a realtor to buy an ad.
Brochures or one-page flyers can also be a useful method for marketing your home. You can use the same one you made for bulletin boards or you can expand on it a bit. Use more photos, have captions under them identifying the rooms, garden areas, tennis court, community club, pool and other benefits to buying your home.
There are several things you can do to get your brochures in front of the public. You can buy a brochure holder (typically, a plastic box with a hinged lid on a stick which gets “planted” in the ground near the curb in front of your home) from the hardware store. Plant it in a prominent place in front of your home and keep it stocked with brochures.
Don’t get annoyed when “noisy neighbors” pick up your brochures. Your neighbors can afford homes priced similarly to yours. They probably have family and friends whom they’d enjoy as neighbors who can afford this price range, too. Smile when you see a neighbor picking up a brochure; another marketing ambassador is on its way.
Also keep a supply of brochures in your home to give to prospective buyers who come to look at it. People looking for a new home usually look at a more than one property, and can get overwhelmed with too many properties. “Is this the one with the built-in book cases or was it the one across town?” The house whose best features go with them via a brochure with color photos and salient information is memorable. Buyers tend to write contract offers on properties they remember and can visualize.
Consider taking your brochures to your peers at work. After all, you find it convenient to live in your home and work there; might your associates know someone who’d find it a similarly pleasant arrangement? Ask them.
There are several Internet sites on which FSBOs may list their properties for sale. Some of these permit sellers to include photos, information about “Open Houses” they’re holding, etc. Prices for this service varies. Try fsboamerica.org or go to your favorite search engine and check out a few.
That brings up the notion of “Open Houses.” In many areas, sales frequently take place because of an Open House attended by potential buyers. If you are in a location with good traffic, an open house can be an excellent tool. You can promote your Open House in any, or all, of the venues we’ve discussed above. It’s also often effective to install an Open House sign with helium balloons tied on with bright ribbons on the day of the Open House.