Free up a lot of time

Although real estate agents can be a useful resource when homeowners are ready to sell, some people want to take on the challenge of listing their homes alone.

There are various reasons you could be among the many homeowners who decide to go the for-sale-by-owner route. You may not trust an agent to have your best interests in or mind or want to save money by not paying the commission on the sale. Whatever the case, you must understand the steps that can come with selling your own home:

Hit the books

Selling a home is like having a second job, which is why there are people who undertake this task as a career. You'll have to put in many hours each week to get your home off the market at a reasonable price.

The first commitment is keeping your house in order for potential buyers. Whether you're having an open house or taking private appointments, your property must be staged if you want to sell. This means regularly cleaning the space after an you initially declutter and tidy up. 

Once the property is prepared, you must be available to take interested parties on tours of the home. Consider your current working hours. If you're working full-time, you won't have many hours in the day when you can host tours. Additionally, any free time you do have could be devoted to selling your house if you work a typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift.

Learn to negotiate effectively

To ensure you're listing your home for the appropriate price, you must understand the selling prices of comparable properties in the area. Many online listing sites can give you this information, and you should use it so you don't overprice your house. Also, brush up on market trends to determine if sellers currently have leverage in the market.

You also need to learn what exactly goes into the process of a real estate transaction. There's a lot of paperwork and steps that are typically handled by a real estate agent. Without professional help, these are your responsibilities - some of which have legal implications - so don't skimp on this research.

Get legal help

When it comes to haggling with potential buyers, you need to have the right skills so you can get the price you want and don't drive away too many offers. Again, this is a key skill of agents, which means you'll have to do some homework so you're prepared.

Negotiating doesn't just mean playing hardball. It also includes understanding the market to set reasonable counteroffers, when to concede and when to walk away. This is where your current housing market research comes into play. If you understand the direction of home prices, inventory levels, the sale price of comparable homes and buyer demand, you can make more informed statements as you negotiate.

There are some aspects of the home sale process that should not be handled by a homeowner unless he or she has the appropriate expertise. One of these areas is the legal side of the transaction. Many documents must be signed before the sale can be completed, so you require a real estate attorney to help you gather this paperwork and ensure it is accurate before you bring the documents to the closing table. You don't want to be involved in litigation because of an errant form.

Also, professional help is required if you want to conduct a pre-listing home inspection.