How to Sell a Home by Owner in Washington State

How to Sell a Home by Owner in Washington State
You can sell your house in Washington state on your own.

Preparing the House

Step 1

Make necessary repairs. Dripping faucets, chipped bathroom fixtures, leaking roofs and the like scare buyers away. Legally, you will have to tell prospective buyers about broken mechanical systems and other damaged or broken features of the house that are not readily visible, so it's better to fix everything you can. You can't pretend not to know.

Step 2

Clean and declutter. Throw away anything you're going to throw away when you move, and pack up and store anything that you will be taking with you, except for the bare necessities, including a minimum of furniture and decorator items. The house will show better.

Step 3

Paint the main living area, kitchen, halls and master bedroom to make the house sparkle. You can use fashionable colors, as long as you coordinate them from room to room.

Step 4

Spiff up the yard and front entrance. Mow, edge and plant a few shrubs if you don't already have some. Buyers will feel welcomed by a pot of flowers near the door.

Step 5

Get the house appraised by a professional licensed appraiser or ask a real estate agent for a market analysis. Agents will do this for a small fee or for free.

Step 6

Set the price based upon the selling prices of nearby houses of the same approximate size, age and condition. Do not use asking prices or hearsay. Overpricing the house is one of the most serious errors a seller can make. Allow a little wiggle room for negotiation.

Prepare for Your Legal Obligations

Step 1

Familiarize yourself with the Fair Housing Act to avoid inadvertent housing discrimination, as the FSBO Home Marketplace recommends. The Fair Housing Act is a federal law and as such will apply in Washington state. It prohibits discrimination based upon race, religion, color, sex, familial status, handicap or national origin.

Step 2

Get a Washington-state approved property disclosure statement, fill it out and make copies. You must give a copy to anyone who contractually agrees to buy your house, according to the Washington State Legislature. To avoid misunderstandings, consider giving it to any serious prospects before they sign a purchase contract.

Step 3

Get a Washington-state approved purchase contract for real estate. You will need it when someone wants to make an offer. You can download one from a website that sells legal real estate documents or buy one at on office supply store that carries state legal forms.

Market the House

Step 1

Put a "For Sale" sign in front of the house. Include your phone number. The lawn sign will be one of your most important marketing tools.

Step 2

Advertise the house on local For-Sale-by-Owner (FSBO) websites and, if possible, link to a photo-gallery webpage that you can put up to sell your house.

Step 3

Advertise in print media such as local FSBO publications and the newspaper.