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You’ve outgrown your house, you’re being transferred, or you just want to move into a different school district. Whatever the reason, consider the option of selling your house by owner.

Though using a realtor does provide wide exposure, remember that the benefit of selling by owner—saving high commission dollars—can be quite substantial. Typically, a Realtor earns 5 to 6 percent of the selling price of the house. On a $100,000 house, that’s $5000 to $6000, a sum of money that could be applied to the price of your future home. Selling by owner incurs minimal costs, and is at least worth a try before handing your home over to a realtor. This is especially true in a strong seller’s market.

Where to begin? First, be sure to enlist the services of a real estate attorney, who you will turn to once you receive an offer. This is especially important when not using a realtor, who often conducts offer negotiations.

Next, market and advertise your house. A strong marketing tool is a flyer that describes your home’s attributes. A good headline is “ The Top Ten Reasons We Hate to Leave Our Home”, followed by appropriate support. Include a snapshot or two at the top of the page, as well as the address and telephone number. Keep a stack of these flyers in your home, and post them in public places wherever allowed. An especially effective place to post a flyer is at a health club. There is a lot of traffic in and out of there, as well as a variety of age groups.

Place an ad in your local newspaper and hold an Open House or two. These usually take place on Sundays, and can draw a lot of people. Unfortunately, some are just “lookers” who are not serious about buying, and watch out for nosy neighbors who just want to know the asking price. It’s fairly easy to identify serious buyers, and it’s important to follow up with them via telephone a few days after the Open House. You can then schedule a private appointment for a second showing.

Finally, word of mouth can be your best avenue. In many cases, just mentioning to a friend that you’re thinking of selling your house may bring a buyer. It’s important to spread the word, as you never know what could develop.

Remember some very basic rules about showing your home. Be sure that it’s clean and orderly. Put away the children’s toys, and don’t leave out any dirty laundry. Keep the house well lit, and open the blinds to let in the sunlight. A dab of vanilla on light bulbs adds a soothing scent, and soft classical music adds ambiance. And, though children can truly be a delight, in this case they may be an unwelcome distraction. In addition, they may have trouble adjusting to the idea of moving, and make a fuss when someone comes to see the house. Let them visit Grandma or a friend whenever you schedule a showing.

Selling your house by owner only requires time, a little effort and some ingenuity, and it can save you a lot of money.