By Robert Irwin
In order to sell your home "by owner", you're going to need to promote it with words. Whether it be through advertising in a newspaper, on a flyer to be handed out, or for an online listing, you need to come up with words that hook buyers and make them want to learn more. (It's a mistake to think that you can "close" a deal with advertising - its purpose is to bring a buyer in so that you can close the deal through conversation and negotiation.)
All of this means that you're going to have to write some good copy. (You can ask a friend, relative, teacher or other person to help you out with this, but ultimately as a "by owner" seller, it's your responsibility.)
Some "by owner" websites offer writing aids. This is helpful, but the burden of actually creating the ad still comes down to what you are going to say.
The language you use should try to entice the buyer, to make him or her want to contact you to see the house in person. My suggestion is that you call out the most important feature that your home has. For example, perhaps your home's best single feature is the fact that it has an oversize patio with gas grill in the back. Your ad might begin,
"Bar-be-Cuer's Delight!" Then, go on to describe that feature and other features of the home.
Or perhaps you've got a back yard filled with fruit trees. You might begin, "Pick Fruit From Your Own Trees!" Then go on to describe the rest.
Perhaps the best feature isn't in the home itself, but rather that it's in an outstanding school district. You might begin, "Education Counts!" And then describe its special location, as well as the additional features of your home.
You get the idea. When describing your home's features, you should not be dull or bland. Use this opportunity to hook your buyer, to grab them by appealing to what may tickle their fancy, what at a very important level, they want most from your home.
The bad news is that newspaper ads can be very costly. The good news is that you don't need a big ad because you have two magical words to use, "By Owner." You can be sure that virtually every buyer scans the classified ads under "homes for sale" looking for those FSBO ads. The reason is that these homes are special because they aren't listed with agents. And, many buyers hope, they offer bargains.
For you, this means only 3 or 4 lines are needed. Lead off with your home's best feature, as noted above. Then list the basics such as number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, and price. Don't forget your phone number as well as your web address. (The web address is most important since buyers can then go to your FSBO listing site, see images of it, and get a more detailed write up about it.)
You do, of course, have a website for your home, right? On it be sure to put images, all the basics, as well as a more detailed description of its best features. The website offers you the opportunity to say much more than in a newspaper ad, and to do a more complete job of "selling" your property.
Robert Irwin is the most prolific real estate writer in America having produced over 100 published books in the field. His TIPS & TRAPS McGraw-Hill series has sold well over a million copies and his FOR SALE BY OWNER KIT and FIND IT, BUY IT, FIX IT and other books have been strong sellers for Dearborn.
In addition Irwin writes a regular real estate column for The Wall Street Journal online and is introducing a new weekly column for Owners.com.
Irwin has sold his own property "by owner" and during over 30 years in the business has been a broker and consultant to lenders, agents, buyers and sellers.
He can be reached through his website RobertIrwin.com.