owner showing a young couple a houseGetting ready to move is hard. It can be even harder if you’re trying to sell your current house at the same time.

That said, there’s one huge advantage to selling your house on your own. You don’t have to pay a commission to a real estate agent, allowing you to keep more of your money from the sale.

Pros and Cons of Selling Your Own Home

Obviously selling your home on your own (also known as for sale by owner, or FSBO) keeps more of your money in your pocket. The real estate agent doesn’t take a cut.

The con here is that you have to do everything on your own, and that’s not for everyone. If you want guidance and help with the sale, a real estate agent is an excellent option. If the prospect of extra work doesn’t scare you off, read on to find out how to leave the best impression on potential home buyers.

Pricing Your Home

Your home may be the site of plenty of priceless memories, but at the end of the day you have to decide at what price you’re willing to let it go. How do you make a decision like that?

Your emotional side may make it hard to put a price on your house, but there’s actually a tested and true way to figure this out for yourself. Borrow a strategy from appraisers and look at homes comparable to yours to find out their asking prices. If you start on the high side of pricing, it leaves room for negotiation.

Listing Strategy

You want to make sure that people can find your house’s listing. This means getting it listed on the major real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia. People can’t buy what they can’t find!

You’re also going to want to make sure you’re showing it in the best possible light with really good listing photos.

Upload large images and take the photos as if you’re doing a virtual tour. Start in the front yard and go through the house room by room all the way to the backyard.

On Display

Now that you’ve got your home listed, it’s time to prepare for the open house. It’s in this area that John Wake, Geek-in-Chief over at RealEstateDecoded.com, said most homeowners could benefit from professional help.

“It helps to have a fresh set of eyes from someone [who] sees tons of houses,” he said.

For around $50-$100, you can hire a professional stager to come in and have a consultation with you. Wake said about 50% of the meeting will be looking at what to get rid of. The reason for this is simple: People want to imagine their stuff in the space, not yours.

Since you’re going to be moving anyway, just think of this as getting a head start on the packing. You want to make the best possible use of your space, and taking some of your stuff out will make the room seem bigger.

Go to other open houses and see how other people are presenting their properties if you need some inspiration.

Before You Buy

Before you start looking at your next house, make sure you have your old one squared away. While some people can carry two mortgage payments for a while, it’s not realistic in every situation.

Because you may need the money from your sale in order to buy a new house, you might want to wait to start looking until after your home is under contract. Wake said that once home sales get past a certain hurdle, you’re probably pretty good to go.

“If the buyer is going to cancel the offer, it’ll most likely happen during the inspection process,” he said.

Assuming the inspection goes off without a hitch, the sale isn’t likely to fall through.

If you do want to shop, make sure you get preapproved for your new mortgage. This gives you a fair idea of how much you can afford to spend. You can also make any offer on a new house contingent on the sale of your current home.

Have you sold your home without the help of an agent before? Share your experience and tips with other readers in the comments.

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