(ARA) – No matter how bad the real estate market seems to be these days, home sales do happen because people will always need a place to live. In fact, more than four million homes were sold in 2008. But with home values falling, today’s sellers are finding out every dollar counts when it comes to keeping as much of their home’s sales price as possible.

Many are deciding to sell their home themselves instead of hiring a real estate agent. Recent studies from Northwestern and Stanford Universities have found that “by owner” sellers are as effective as agents in maximizing a home’s sales price. After commissions are factored, the studies reported, these sellers are able to retain more of their home’s equity than those who sold with an agent.

Furthermore, Consumer Reports magazine found that “for sale by owner” (FSBO) sellers are more likely to get their asking price while agents deliver, on average, a sales price that is $5,000 less than the original asking price.

“In a market where prices are falling, people should really consider selling their home themselves,” says Greg Healy of ForSaleByOwner.com — the nation’s leading for sale by owner Web site. “Selling a home through an agent means giving up 5 to 7 percent of the sales price in the form of real estate commission fees. Selling your home without an agent offers an immediate savings of at least that much.”

Since it is a buyer’s market where there are plenty of homes available, it’s important to be aggressive and make your home stand out. Healy offers some tips to help you sell your home “by owner.”

Price it Right
When you’re not paying a sales commission, you can afford to price your home more aggressively. In this market, buyers are looking for the best deal possible so the more competitive you can be at pricing your home, the quicker it will sell. Homes that go on the market priced above similar homes tend to take longer to sell. So make sure you price your home right to move it fast.

Remember, the market dictates the price of your home, not what you think it should be worth. Use the Internet to research the sales amount of similar homes recently sold in your neighborhood. Get an online appraisal to give you a solid idea of where your home should be priced.

Make a Great First Impression
Today’s buyers are attracted to open, clean, spacious and updated homes. Remove personalized items such as family photos and clear all clutter from countertops, closets, tables and floors. Simple improvements like fixing broken tiles, cleaning carpets and repainting walls in neutral colors can greatly enhance the appeal of your house. If you’re having an open house, remove all evidence of pets (dog kennels, cat boxes, hamster cages) and make sure the house smells great by baking a batch of cookies or lighting a scented candle. If ever there was a time for a thorough top to bottom cleaning, this is it!

Get Help and Market the Home
Using a service like ForSaleByOwner.com helps you avoid paying commission to an agent while still getting support every step of the way. The site is one of the largest and fastest growing real estate websites with thousands of buyers visiting it each day. Using ForSaleByOwner.com also allows you to advertise your property on Realtor.com, the country’s most popular real estate website with more than 5 million monthly visitor.

It is also wise to hire an experienced real estate attorney to help you evaluate complicated offers, act as an escrow agent, review contracts and handle your home’s closing process. Unless you’re significantly experienced in the home selling process, having a real estate lawyer on your side ensures that someone is looking out for your best interests. A lawyer will only cost a few hundred dollars and, as Healy advises, is money well spent.

Selling your home and searching for new house plans go hand in hand. Check out these great house plans at Family Home Plans.

For more tips on how to save money and sell your home on your own, visit http://www.ForSaleByOwner.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent