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How To Sell A House By Owner In Detroit

If you are interested in selling your house but are not interested in paying realtor commissions, you are not alone. FSBOs (For Sale By Owners) accounted for 11% of all home sales in 2018. This is because selling on your own seems to be a great choice due to the cash you would save on not hiring a real estate agent. But what all goes into selling a house by owner in Detroit? Before you decide to put that FSBO sign in the yard, there are a couple of things to consider before selling by owner. To learn more about how to sell a house by owner in Detroit, continue reading this helpful guide. 

a house in Detroit for sale by owner

Selling A House By Owner

Decide If Selling A House By Owner Is Right For You

The first thing you should ask yourself is if you are up for the challenge of selling your home by owner? Unless you have experience in real estate, selling a home may prove to be more complicated than you think. Besides the usual preparations that go into getting a house ready to sell, there are other aspects to selling a home by owner that you will be responsible for. You will need to market your property, host open houses, negotiate with the buyer, and hire a real estate attorney or title company to handle legal documents. 

Once you decide to sell your house by owner, it is wise to have a plan. To get you started with the process, here are some steps you should take to sell your house by owner.

Step 1:  Figure Out A Good Listing Price

When it comes to selling a house by owner, the owner’s most important task is setting the right asking price. If you were to list your house too low for the area, prospective buyers might think something is wrong with it, resulting in little interest. If priced too high, you may be sitting months on the market, resulting in you dropping the price and missing out on the peak interest properties get when first listed. 

Usually, a real estate agent would provide an analysis to market your home that tends to be priced on the higher side. Still, since you are selling by owner, it will be your responsibility to determine the sale price. 

One way that you may be tempted to determine your listing price is by online estimators. Just remember to use it with caution. These estimates usually are off by thousands of dollars because they do not take into account the condition of your home or any renovations you have done to your property. 

The best way to get an accurate estimate for your home is by hiring a real estate appraiser. An appraiser can give you an accurate valuation of your property’s worth. Also, you can use that information to negotiate with potential buyers. 

Something to keep in mind, though, when hiring an appraiser is the cost. In Detroit, the typical cost of a home appraisal is between $250-$400. Also, another downside: the assessment can only be used for your personal use. Because you initiated the estimate, the report will not be accepted as an appraisal for the buyer’s mortgage application. 

Step 2: Get Your House Ready To Sell 

Getting your house ready to sell can be the most time consuming and expensive step in selling your home by owner. Regardless if you were to hire an agent or sell by owner, it would be advised to address any repairs that the property needs. Some repairs you may be aware of some you may not. Hiring a home inspector will help you to determine what needs to be done to your home. You may find out there are several projects that need to be done around the house; ideally, try to take care of the most important ones. If you discover there is a lot more work involved than you thought or the repairs will be costly, selling your home as-is, is always another option. 

After taking care of the necessary repairs around the house, next, you will want to do minor improvements and preparations around your home. Which would include:

  • Touching up tired paint around the house. Tip: pick neutral colors. 
  • Decluttering the whole house. Clean out closets, the attic, basement, and garage. Also, try to store any big pieces of furniture and put up any personal items. 
  • Clean the entire house. Sweep, mop, vacuum, clean the windows, and make sure your home smells clean and fresh. A clean house shows buyers that the house is being well maintained.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with all the work that your home requires, you can always look into hiring professionals to help. Of course, that comes with a price, so if the goal was to save money by selling your house on your own, you would, unfortunately, be the one doing all the work. 

Step 3: Market, Market, Market 

Once you get to step 3, it’s time to get serious about your listing. Marketing your home is the key to selling your property, and the best way to do that is by 

  • Investing in a good yard sign
  • Hire a real estate photographer
  • Advertising online
  • Make flyers or brochures
  • Scheduling an open house

Yard sign

A good yard sign can go a long way in advertising the sale of your home. To find a good ‘For Sale’ sign, visit your local hardware store or office supply. And spending a few extra dollars on a better yard sign wouldn’t hurt. 

Hire a real estate photographer

The best way to market your home is with great photos of your property. And the best way to get great photos is by hiring a real estate photographer. However, tempting as it may be to take your own pictures with a camera phone, the quality may not be the best. A professional photographer has a good eye and knows how to work with lighting to capture great images of your home, to help emphasize it’s characteristics. To hire a professional photographer in Detroit starts at $150. Though another expense to consider; good photos would be smart to have; you will be able to use them in your online advertising and flyers. They don’t say a picture is worth a thousand words for nothing. 

Advertise online

The best way for a lot of people to see your listing would be to advertise online. There are a few websites you can list your property, for example, or Zillow. Some may charge a fee to promote your listing. Also, you will want to have a lot of images ready to add with your listing. And this is when those professional photos of your home will come in handy. 

Interesting Fact: 52% of buyers found the home they purchased on the Internet.

Make flyers 

You will want to have a ready supply of brochures available to hand out to anyone that shows interest in your home. You can easily make these using a Word document. Just make sure to include details of the house, the address, the price, square footage, and a good phone number to reach you. Also, it would help to add some images of the outside and inside of your home. Another reason why getting professional photos taken would be a good idea.

Schedule an open house

An open house is where you open your home for people to walk through and look at your property. Open houses are usually scheduled on Saturday or Sunday, mid-afternoon, and typically get more visitors when the weather is nice. Be prepared to have the house clean and tidy and make sure the rest of the family and pets have a place to go for a couple of hours. 

Step 5: Negotiate The Sale Of Your Home

Since you are handling the sale of your home, you will also be in charge of negotiating with a prospective buyer. Usually done verbally, offers tend to come in lower than your asking price, especially if your home needs some work. At this point, you will need to decide how low you would be willing to go. Typically there is a bit of back and forth between buyer and seller that leads to a final agreement on price. Once the verbal amount is decided, it is time to put the offer in writing with an official contract. During this part of the process, it would be helpful to look into hiring a real estate attorney. An attorney will look over the offer and make sure everything is legal in the state of Michigan. Though an additional cost, when it comes to selling an expensive asset like a house, getting legal advice is worth it. 

a date with the word closing circled in a calendar

Step 6: The Closing

Since purchasing a home is a legal matter, the closing usually takes place with a real estate attorney or a title company.  Both you and the buyer will have to agree on when and where that will take place. And since you are selling your house by owner, you will need to have the necessary documents ready for closing. Another thing you should do is to maintain communication with the buyer throughout the closing process. Usually, the main hold up with closings is waiting on loan approval from the buyer’s mortgage company. Unfortunately, if not approved, you will be back to square one, looking for another buyer. 


When it comes to selling a house by owner, there is no easy way to do it. Besides being the person to handle marketing, taking calls, hosting open houses, and negotiating, you will also need to keep the house ready for any showings and complete any repairs the house needs. Though you are saving money on agent fees, you still will be paying for repairs, a real estate appraisal, a home inspection, photographer, and closing costs. And yet may have other hidden expenses that could come up when selling a house by owner.

Instead of investing your hard-earned money and time in a house that you are about to sell, a great option would be to sell your home to a real estate investor. 

A real estate investor is a home buyer that purchases properties in as-is condition. So when you sell to a home buyer, all you would need to do is move out. No repairs or updates are necessary, and cleaning is not required. Also, since homebuyers pay in cash, they can close on your house in as little as 7 days because they aren’t waiting on bank financing, which would eliminate wondering when your house is going to sell. Furthermore, since you aren’t using a realtor, there are no commissions to pay, and they can even pay your closing costs. 

If you’re considering selling your house by owner in Detroit, give Tower Home Buyers a call. They will save you the trouble of selling your house on your own. No matter the condition or circumstance, they can give you a cash offer for your property. They can save you the trouble and expense that goes into selling a house on your own, getting you a step closer to your next home. For more information or to learn more about how it works, visit their website, or give them a call at (810) 893-5077.

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