Billings By Owner

Seller’s Guide

Things to consider before listing your home on Billings by Owner.

What are the biggest reason homes/properties fail to sell? Mistakenly setting a price far above what similar homes/properties are selling for in the same area.

Some sellers want to price their homes/properties significantly higher than market value. The logic, the higher the price, the more cushion they have for buyer negotiations. The true consequence of overpricing is the elimination of potential buyers. Advertising the “correct price” for your property is one of the most important steps you will make toward a successful real estate transaction.

A seller can usually get a higher price for a home/property if they are willing to wait 90 to 120 days to sell that home/property. If your goal is to sell your home/property quickly, and save on real estate commissions, then know your market and compare your home/property with similar homes/properties for sale in your area.

If you are still unsure on how to price your home/property, contact a local real estate appraiser or ask a real estate agent to provide a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA.

Tip: If you request a CMA from a real estate agent, expect that agent to “sell you” on listing with them as your seller’s agent. Most agents will provide this service for free if you agree to list with them because you were unable to sell your own home/property.

List the improvements you think you need to make and then determine which are necessary to sell the home/property. Nothing creates a better return on your investment then remodeling kitchens and bathrooms. If the house needs a new roof to keep the rain out, then, that is an improvement that needs to take place prior to selling your home/property. However, adding a deck to the house may not return all your investment in the sale of the property.

Tip: Consider doing the work yourself, but keep in mind that shoddy work can reduce the value of your home/property rather than add to its value.

Estimate how much cash you will get from the sale of your home/property after the mortgage(s), lien(s) and other bills are paid. Do not start with the amount of cash you need and work backwards to a price.

Curb Appeal
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so don’t ignore curb appeal. Most buyers can’t visualize changes, and often won’t take a second look at a house/property if the first impression isn’t appealing. Those who can visualize changes, and are prepared to make them, expect YOU to reduce the price of the house to compensate them for the work.

Consider the following:

  • Stow un-necessary garden implements, tools and toys
  • Pressure wash dirty siding and dingy decks
  • Repaint and repair minor defects in exterior structure
  • Clean the windows and gutters and keep sidewalks and driveways clear
  • Repaint or replace your mailbox
  • Replace missing house numbers; make sure the proper number is visible from the street
  • Put out a nice welcome mat and a potted plant
  • Edge sidewalks and remove vegetation growing between concrete sections and bricks
  • Mow the lawn regularly, get rid of weeds, rake and dispose of leaves
  • Trim tree limbs that are near or touching the roof
  • Pets should be removed from the premises or locked up

Tip: If possible, pets should be out of the house and off the property during showings, especially large dogs, since many people fear large animals. Seeing or hearing a large dog in a house may cause some buyers to turn and walk away, or at minimum focus more on your animal than on your house. If you think you may have pet orders, kill the offensive odors. They’re the first thing buyers notice, and often a permanent turnoff. Sellers don’t want buyers to describe your house as, “that house that smells.”

A clean home is a SOLD home.
Everything from floors to windows should be spotless. Clean light fixtures and skylights. Don’t forget to clean appliances such as the oven, refrigerators, microwaves, etc…Make your bathrooms shine. Some home buyers usually think dirty house are in need of repair.

Organize and clear out the clutter.
If you do have a lot of clutter in your home, it is a good idea to pack your moving boxes early to make space. Clutter and dark colors turn off most buyers.

Let the light shine and the wind blow.
When showing your home, turn on all the lights, even if it is the middle of the day. Buyers like homes that are light and airy, so having lots of lights on helps. Open all curtains and window shades. Make sure, if weather permits, to open windows so fresh air can enter the home.

Advertise on a Website!
You are probably saying to yourself, of course is going to suggest you advertise on a website, but it is true! Internet advertising is becoming a must when selling your own home/property. Recent studies show, over 90% of home buyers searched for their home on the internet before buying. What better way to get the seller to meet the buyer then through the Internet. Most potential customers will bookmark under their favorites and check it often for new listings or changes to listings.

Create a Real Estate Fact Sheet. offers the ability to print attractive fliers directly from your web listing. This allows buyers to take information home regarding your property. The brochure will include our web address and your Personal Web ID number for easy and direct access for the buyer.

Install High Quality Signage.
Signage is one of the most important parts of selling your home/property. A good sized, professional Yard Sign, Directional and Open House Sign are a must for detouring buyers to view your property. provides high quality Signage as part of your web listing.

Plan an Open House.
Kick off your first open house with an invite to all the neighbors. Show them your homes best points and tell them your asking price. Why? Neighbors are the best promoters of the neighborhood, and they have friends, family and co-works that may be potential buyers. Take advantage of the free advertising on’s “Open House” section to advertise as many open houses as you like.

Real Estate Forms, Contracts and Helpful Paperwork:

  • Offer to Purchase
  • Real Estate Sales Contract
  • Property Seller Disclosure Form
  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form
  • Open House Sign-up Sheet
  • Telephone and Visitor Screening Sheet


You can purchase Real Estate Forms on-line at the following links:

You can also purchase Real Estate Forms from your local office supply or book store.

Tip: strongly suggest that you hire a Real Estate Attorney. The attorney will make sure you have covered all your bases and provide you with the necessary paperwork to sell your home/property.

It is important to have your own financial information in order. Most home sellers are also home buyers and need to prepare accordingly. It is vitally important that you know you credit score and history. All lending institutions use information from your credit report(s) to help determine your best interest rate, loan amount and terms. Recently, congress passed a law requiring all three Credit Bureaus (Equifax, Trans Union and Experian) to provide a free copy of your credit report. It is a good idea to check all three reports since the accuracy and timeliness of the information can vary greatly.

You can obtain these free reports and your credit score (Credit scores are available from the three bureaus for a small fee) at:

Check all three reports for mistakes and compare each report against the other. If you find mistakes, GET THEM FIXED (The three Credit Bureaus provide multiple ways to contest information on your report – mail, internet or telephone).

Mistakes on your report can cost you thousands in higher interest rates or in a lower loan approval amount.

Tip: By getting pre-approved for a loan, with a letter stating your approval amount, you are better prepared to sell and quickly act on a particular home/property.

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