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How to sell your home without an agent, For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

  1. How to sell your home without an agent, For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
    1. How to sell your home without an agent FSBO
    2. This is a step-by-step guide on how to MAXIMIZE YOUR PROFITS SELLING YOUR PROPERTY with or without an agent.
      1. Have a property you need to sell?
      2. Why trust this article?
      3. What you can expect from reading this:
      4. First of all, what is your home worth?
      1. How to sell your home on your own:
      2. Assessing an agent’s true strength in advance:
      3. Why trust this resource?
    4. contact us The James Ruff Group
    7. INTRODUCTION: How to sell your home without an agent (FSBO)
  2. How to net more money when you sell your home by James Ruff
    1. What are net proceeds?
    2. THE INSIDER SCOOP: Home Sales
  3. Table of contents
    1. The Seven Essential Questions to ask yourself before listing your home without an agent
    2. The Three Essential Elements of a Real Estate Sale
    3. PROS AND CONS of selling your home on your own – Perception vs. Reality
      1. Key Point Logo 2
  4. House on a platter
  5. Prospective Buyers: Should you engage with Represented or Unrepresented shoppers?
    1. Key Point:
    2. The Cons of selling your home on your own (FSBO)
      5. STATISTICS: Homes sold without an agent
    3. How to price your home correctly for the market
      1. Price your real estate correctly BEFORE listing.
    4. How to increase your home’s appeal:
      1. Key Point: Initial Offering Price
    5. How to Market Your Property Like a Professional:
      1. Pro-Tip: Marketing is one of the most important parts of any transaction. You can have the best product in the world and if no one knows about it, no one will want to buy it.
      2. Comprehensive Listing, Marketing, and Sales Agents vs. Basic Listing Agents
    6. UNDERSTANDING YOUR COMPETITION: The Key Differences Between a “Comprehensive Listing and Marketing Agent” vs. a “Basic Listing Agent”
      1. Pro-Tip: Most listing agents are “Basic Agents”, only the best are “Comprehensive Listing and Marketing Agents”. The best break records, the rest drive rusty cars.
    7. Conclusion:
    8. Notes about the author

How to sell your home without an agent, For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

How to sell your home without an agent FSBO

This is a step-by-step guide on how to MAXIMIZE YOUR PROFITS SELLING YOUR PROPERTY with or without an agent.

Have a property you need to sell?

If you are like most homeowners looking to learn HOW TO TAKE THE MOST MONEY TO THE BANK AFTER YOU SELL YOUR HOME by reducing your closing costs, and dominating your local housing market by strategically obliterating the competing marketing efforts of your neighboring homes for sale, then this guide is for you.

Why trust this article?

We’re experts in real estate and can help you generate the highest income from your home sale. We know how to generate maximum interest in your listing and get it sold quickly – oftentimes for more than the asking price.

What you can expect from reading this:

You will learn how to sell your home for astronomical returns on your own, or learn how to best assess an agent’s strength before you hire them to sell your home. If after reading this article you decide you don’t have the time, expertise, or desire to take on selling your home by yourself then we welcome you to call us to work with our team directly, or to have us help you find a local agent in your area to assist you in getting the highest proceeds before you move.

When you work with us, you can relax and know that everything is being handled expertly on your behalf. You’ll have access to our team of skilled professionals who will market your property aggressively and negotiate the best deal possible for you. Plus, we offer a no-pressure selling experience that puts your needs first.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you sell your property!

Written by a veteran real estate investor, national real estate broker, builder, developer, business-to-business lending professional, syndicator, and real estate flipper with over 30 years of experience and countless successful transactions serving clients with billions of dollars of real estate assets under management; this is a never seen before SNEAK PEAK and first-time publication details how the head strategist of the New York City based brokerage firm The James Ruff Group LLC teaches his agents to maximize financial gains for their clients making his sellers wealthy beyond imagination by consistently maximizing the net proceeds of their sellers. You’re thinking about selling your asset without an agent? This guide teaches how the best in the business sell real estate for their clients and achieve maximum profit every single day.

First of all, what is your home worth?

For your convenience, this free home evaluation tool can help you estimate your home’s value.


How to sell your home on your own:

This article will go in-depth into understanding how to sell your home with or without hiring a real estate agent. We will explore the pros and cons of choosing to sell on your own (FSBO) or with an agent. And finally, we will cover the actionable steps you can take if you choose to sell your home on your own. This article is a comprehensive training manual. Skipping ahead will rob you of valuable insight and learning, instead of empowering you to take control of your home sales and get fat-checks every time.

Assessing an agent’s true strength in advance:

If after you read this guide you decide you would prefer to work with an agent, this article can serve as a template for you to determine if an agent has the skills and strategy to sell your home for more than similar homes on the market. By making sure you understand an agent’s strategy and guarantees before signing with them, you will improve your odds of making the most money during your home transaction.

Why trust this resource?

Originally an internal document that I use to train my agents nationally on how to provide our clients with best-in-class service allowing us to dominate our competition for decades and outperform our competition in one of the most competitive housing markets in the nation, New York City. This strategy works regardless of the location and is even more powerful in less competitive markets where the agents are weaker and your competition is more fragile.

When choosing to sell your home, the devils are in the details, and in the end, the money you keep and the experience you have during the transaction are what will stay with you.

Key Point Logo

Pro-Tip: Did you know that you can work with a national broker to help manage and lead your local agent if your local professionals aren’t great at their job? Many sellers choose to hire a newly licensed family member or friend to show them support without realizing the person they hired lacks the skills and experience needed to truly maximize their profit, oftentimes leaving thousands of dollars on the table, or worse, landing the owner in hot water. Click here for more information.

contact us The James Ruff Group


Before we begin, if you feel this information is helpful please like & upvote, share this with everyone you care about, and subscribe for notifications. You can also join our mailing list for more helpful resources. If you have questions, you can schedule an appointment with me or one of my team members using our calendly link here, or check out our other resources including social channels, youtube videos, and our blog by exploring our link tree.


This article has been created in an easily searchable manner to help you navigate this very dense resource. Because this information is intended to genuinely help you organize your thoughts and design an actionable strategy and plan to Achieve the Highest Net Sales Proceeds Possible When You Sell Your Home I strongly recommend you become familiar with these tools:

  • This document came from our internal Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), and as such, is meant to be read from beginning to end in the order it’s been presented as the topics build upon themselves from one chapter to the next.
  • Read the table of contents to understand what you will find in this document, which provides quick links to the chapters and topics within this resource.
  • If you get lost or want to seek something out quickly: Use the find function of your browser (Google Chrome: Apple Command +F, Windows Ctrl +F)
  • Using the find feature of your browser: Search for and read all of the “Key Point” and “Pro-Tip” tags as they summarize large concepts into bullet points for you.
  • Connect with us via the Contact Information section of this document to ask questions if you need help, and we will do everything we can to assist you

INTRODUCTION: How to sell your home without an agent (FSBO)

If you are reading this article you are likely searching for ways to maximize your bottom line, putting the most dollars in your pocket when selling your house. You may have read articles or heard stories of unsung heroes and their ability to “CRUSH THE MARKET AND SAVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS” by selling their homes on their own without an agent! It’s only natural to assume that if they can do it, so can you!

You’ve probably started to do your research and have come to realize that a real estate transaction has many closing costs associated with it, leading you to the obvious conclusion that you should at the very least explore the idea of selling your home on your own without an agent to keep more dollars in your wallet. Maybe you’ve come to think that just about anyone can sell a home with the use of the internet and sites like Zillow or Redfin.


(Are you?)

The burning question remains:

 “How do you sell your home on your own, and is it worth the effort and risk?” 

Maybe you already know exactly what goes into selling your home but are worried about making a huge mistake that could cost you major money having read conflicting reports about the good and bad of trying to sell your home without an agent. There are possibly infinite forum writers promising you salvation and glory as long as you follow a few simple steps, while others tell of the woes and dangers of going at it alone putting you at risk of severe legal trouble and major financial losses due to a lack of know-how and skills.

Buying and selling a home is generally one of the largest transactions of most people’s lives.

Read on to learn more about:

  • What is the best way to sell your home for top dollar?
  • How do you get the most bang for your buck, while also retaining peace, joy, and sanity during such a high-stakes transaction?

How to net more money when you sell your home James Ruff

What are net proceeds?

Often a buyer will think about how much money they’ll make out of selling their property. After paying all taxes and commissions, a property salesperson’s net profit is referred to as net profit. The exact sum the sellers could make is difficult to calculate unless they accept an offer for the property. You should be able to understand how much you’re trying to accomplish.

confidential real estate agent secrets


In this article:

  • We will pull back the curtain and share with you some of the most VALUABLE INDUSTRY SECRETS that I teach my agents throughout the country to maximize the price a home sells for when we list and market homes for our selling clients.
  • We will briefly explore the pros and cons of going at it alone so that you can determine if selling without an agent is the best choice for you concerning your:
  1. NET PROCEEDS OF SALE (Your bottom line)

Table of contents

  • Deciding if FSBO (selling your home without an agent) is right for you.
  • The seven questions to ask yourself before starting
  • Pros and Cons of working with an agent vs. going FSBO
  • Perception vs. reality
  • Pros of selling without an agent
  • Cons of selling without an agent (FSBO)
  • Statistics of FSBO properties: numbers talk bullshit walks
  • The financial woes and pain the bards of FSBO don’t want you to know
  • Step by Step guide on how to sell your home FSBO
  • How to sell your home without an agent (FSBO) and what gets in the way
  • Best practice steps for preparing your home for the market
  • Pricing Correctly – Positioning your property correctly for its initial market offering
  • Cleaning the home
  • Pre-home sale Inspection
  • Repairing the home
  • Staging the home
  • Seller’s legal requirements for disclosure
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Scheduling & Follow-up
  • Negotiation
  • Contracts
  • Assembling the transaction team
  • The closing
  • Reinvesting the proceeds of your home transaction
  • How to get the most eyes on your home to increase your bottom line:
  • Marketing and Advertising: The unsung hero of fat checks and maximizing your bottom line.
  • The difference between a Listing Agent and a Marketing Agent
  • Doing it on your own
  • About the Author

7 essential questions to make more money when selling your home James Ruff

The Seven Essential Questions to ask yourself before listing your home without an agent

After reading this article you will be able to answer the following:

Question 1:

Is the potential savings worth the risk, effort, and hassle?

Question 2:

Do you know the legal risk and liabilities involved, and have you accurately assessed the potential financial gains vs. the cost?

Question 3:

Are you confident in your ability to remain emotionally grounded and mentally and physically present throughout the entire process?

Question 4:

What are the skills required to do a transaction of this type on your own and do you have them?

Question 5:

Do you have a qualified, vetted, and trusted team?

Question 6:

Do you understand the process and negotiation better than the best agents in your town or city?

Question 7:

What is your actual goal in selling your home? Are you sure that trying to skip hiring a Realtor will provide you with the highest net proceeds for the transaction and be worth the effort?

3 key elements to a successful transaction James Ruff

The Three Essential Elements of a Real Estate Sale

In any transaction, three major concepts cannot be ignored if you are to be successful. This document will guide you through these three cornerstones of your future success.

  1. Marketing: If no one knows, no one cares.
  • The bigger the reach, the bigger the net.
  • How do you compare to the best?

2. Negotiation: welcome to the shark tank.

  • Real estate is a “winner takes all” transaction. Don’t delude yourself into thinking anything else.
  • How strong are your negotiation skills?

3. Legal: no deal is worth ending up in hot water.

  • Real estate transactions require legal compliance. Do things the right way, and sleep well at night, no deal is worth an orange jump-suit.
  • How much do you know about legal compliance and do you feel 100% confident about the laws surrounding your future transaction?

PROS AND CONS of selling your home on your own – Perception vs. Reality

Paying the buyer’s agent, while doing all the work of the listing and marketing agents.

Is selling your property on your own worth it?

Let’s look at the potential pros and cons to find out:

Perceived Pro #1:

“You will save on the realtor commission.”

  1. The Dream: you’ll save a ton of cash and it’s easy to sell on your own.

The Facts: No one of quality works without compensation:

  1. Statistically, there are two agents in every transaction, a listing agent AND a buyer’s agent.
  2. If you do a deal that involves any agent they will require payment.
  3. As the seller of the property, the buyer’s agent will most commonly expect you to share the proceeds of the home transaction proceeds with them for bringing you a buyer.

If you don’t offer payment upfront:

  1. The buyer’s agent won’t show your property to their buyer.  
  2. Or if they are a stronger agent they will instruct their buyer to discount their offering price by their needed commission rate so that the buyer can compensate the buyer’s agent directly from the transaction price. This results in a discounted home value, and lowered net proceeds to your pocket.
  3. By not offering a buyer’s agent commission you severely limit your buyer pool. Since fewer people will see your home, this gives much greater leverage to any buyer that comes in, (working directly against your interests!)
  4. This may seem counterintuitive: By not offering payment upfront, or being ready to pay the buyer’s agent directly, you give the bargaining power to the other side.
  5. While commission costs vary, it is common to see a quality buyer’s representative, working as the buyer’s agent, charge a transaction commission anywhere between 2-6% depending on the market and circumstances of the home sale.
  6. When there isn’t a listing agent involved a buyer’s agent may feel entitled to a large commission BECAUSE they know they will be doing the work of two agents to get the deal closed.
  7. This doesn’t mean there aren’t discount agents out there, they just happen to be outliers and usually don’t work with the best clients: water seeks its own level.

Discount real estate agents:

  1. Their buyers are typically poorly qualified to do a purchase.
  2. Don’t believe me? If a discount agent had the skills to demand a full fee, why wouldn’t they charge a full fee? (People charge what their skills demand!)
  3. Discount agents typically lack the sophistication required to do a transaction in a quality way, if at all. Because they don’t have the skills or support to fix problems when problems arise causing deals to fall apart.
  4. While commissions are not fixed and different agents can charge higher or lower depending on their skill and the circumstances surrounding the sale of the home, it is common that a listing agent charges 4-8% to list, market, and sell a home.
  5. Listing agents typically pay the buyer’s agent from the listing commission.
  6. A buyer’s agent can charge as much as they want if the seller needs the buyer.
  7. Commissions can greatly differ depending on the quality of the agent you choose. Generally speaking, you get what you are paying for.

Real estate commission calculations by James Ruff

Key Point Logo 2
Key Point: Commission Savings

To realize the potential gain of a commission discount requires that you can outperform the best agents in your area and achieve a transaction price that is at least equal to what the best agent’s in your area can produce.

If when you sell your home FSBO you discount the transaction price you are discounting your own time and effort.

Is the opportunity cost worth it?


To receive a higher net proceeds you must get at least an equal sale price on your property as a top agent in your area would.

Real Estate Agent Commission Savings Example:

  • $300,000 home at 6% listing = $18,000 commission.
  • $300,000 home at 3% buyer’s agency offer sold FSBO = $9,000 commission.
  • $300,000 home at 3% listing agent fee potential savings = $9,000.
  • Oftentimes, a buyer’s agent in a FSBO transaction will charge the seller MORE because the buyer’s agent is aware that they will most likely be doing the job of two agents.
  1. Let’s assume the buyer’s agent requires a 4-4.5% commission as a solo agent to the transaction, then your actual savings would be 1.5-2% of the transaction’s price in this example = $4,500 – $6,000.

Key Point Logo 3

Key Point: Buyer’s Agents expect to be paid
  • If you achieve an equal sale price, as you would working with the top agents in your area, you will only realize a NET SAVINGS of 1.5-2% for your efforts.
  • If you discount your transaction by 1-2% because you are selling FSBO, then you likely did all the work for FREE.

House on a platter

Prospective Buyers: Should you engage with Represented or Unrepresented shoppers?

Alternatively, you can try to work with fewer buyers exclusively that are unrepresented by an agent when selling real estate.

  • Most buyers have an agent, so choosing this path severely limits your options in terms of getting the most traction on your home, which will directly impact your ability to see the most competitive offers.
  • Statistically, the more buyer’s who see your home and are motivated to make an offer to purchase your house, apartment, condo, co-op, building, multi-family home, etc., the better your odds of getting the highest transaction price and best terms for the sale of your home.
  • Reducing your target buyer pool means you will likely receive lower offers with less desirable terms.

Perceived Pro #2: 

You’ll have more control over your time and will be better able to control the people coming in and out of your home.

  1. While you may be the one scheduling your time, you will now be the responsible party for all scheduling, follow-up, qualifying, and vetting.
  2. How will you work, and live, while also doing the work of someone else?
  3. Required meeting times generally are not convenient for anyone who has a job or career due to scheduling conflicts.
  4. Potential buyers typically want to see the property when it is convenient for them, not when it is convenient for you.
  5. QUESTION: When do most buyers want to see a home?

           ANSWER: During work hours, evenings, and weekends

You will need to set aside time and be available for communication to:

  • Answer calls and be ready to respond to questions about your property at the time people call, without accidentally giving away valuable information that can hurt you.
  • Vet the potential buyer’s finances and motivation.
  • Set up the appointments (scheduling).
  • Be physically present to meet at the required time of the appointments. (open houses, showings, return visits, inspections, appraisals, and the final walk-through)

Key Point Logo 4

Key Point:

Every time you engage directly with the buyer or their agent throughout the sale process it becomes an opportunity for them to negotiate with you for their interest and for them to gain insight into your circumstances so they can leverage this against you.

Real Estate transactions are “winner takes all” interactions.

Elephant in the room James Ruff The James Ruff Group

The Cons of selling your home on your own (FSBO)


  1. You are choosing to do the work of multiple full-time professionals
  2. Wise people ask themselves honestly if they have the skills, time, and expertise required to do the job to its highest potential to get the most money at the time of sale.


  1. Is the time, effort, and headache worth the POTENTIAL gains?
  2. Do you feel the potential savings are in balance with the level of effort and risk associated with doing the sale on your own?
  3. Are you willing and able to give up nights and weekends while also working two jobs during the day to get this done?
  4. Do you have the capacity, and the required time and resources needed to make the transaction happen while achieving more or equal money in your pocket than working with the best agent in your location?


  1. You may or may not have the expertise needed to generate the top dollar transaction impacting your bottom line.
  2. Are you a skilled negotiator, marketer, analyst, and salesperson?
  3. You will likely be negotiating against seasoned professionals who negotiate for a living. These negotiation experts understand the transaction process and how to use the terms of the Sales Agreement to benefit their client by deploying negotiation tactics and tricks that more often than not result in harm to the uninformed.
  4. A Buyer’s Agent’s sole responsibility is to help their client, THE BUYER, get the best deal possible.
  1. You open yourself up to legal liability beyond most owners’ realization that can cost you thousands of dollars and even lead to criminal charges if you do not honor the legal requirements surrounding disclosure.
  2. You must know the rules around disclosure and fraud before selling your home and be confident that you are doing the right things required by law.
  3. Contrary to common belief an “AS IS” contract does not protect the seller against fraud and misrepresentation.

Key Point Logo 5

Key Point: AS IS Contracts

Contrary to common belief an “AS IS” contract DOES NOT protect the seller against fraud and misrepresentation.

***Sell a lemon and you are likely to get more than lemonade coming back at you unless you know the proper procedures to follow.

STATISTICS: Homes sold without an agent

Source: NAR

National studies show that the grand majority of properties sold without an agent commonly experience:


  1. Your home may not sell, wasting valuable time due to a lack of know-how and the time, resources, and energy required to successfully sell the home, house, land, or any piece of real estate.
  2. If a home owner is in distress, a home not selling quickly can cause devastating effects including:
  3. Unnecessary and avoidable foreclosure
  4. In the best case, time is money: spending money on costs associated with owning a home that hasn’t sold, very quickly chipping away at any “perceived” savings they hoped to achieve by selling their home on their own.


  1. May take longer to sell due to a lack of marketing, contract, negotiation, and transaction process know-how.


  1. May or may not sell for less than comparable properties because of many factors:
  2. SELLING TO SOMEONE YOU KNOW: Studies show that direct transactions (a transaction between a seller and someone they know) more often than not sell far below their potential value due to the personal connection and a perception of “fairness” that will likely rob you of your equity.
  3. While there are conflicting studies, some reports say that homes sold without an agent commonly sell for 26% below comparable properties, while other studies suggest the opposite.

Self reflection in the wild James Ruff The James Ruff Group


  1. Professional investors, skilled agents, and even savvy prospective buyers know that a FSBO is generally the easiest target for a price reduction and unskilled negotiators. In other words, the sharks generally see properties being sold directly by the owner as low-hanging fruit.
  2. Very few owners could negotiate to save a life if their life depended on it, and are grossly overconfident in their negotiation abilities when it comes to selling their own home.
Issues that negatively affect an owner’s ability to negotiate:
  1. Limited or no experience in negotiating high-stake complicated transactions.
  2. Unreasonable expectations due to emotional attachment, fear, and inexperience
  3. Inappropriate sentimental feelings in the transaction.
  4. Pricing issues.
  5. Lack of knowledge on available terms to an agreement and how to use them to their advantage.
  6. Inaccurate assessment of the costs of needed repairs.

Key Point Logo 6

Key Point: Selling to someone you know:

If you’re considering selling your home at a discount SIMPLY BECAUSE SOMEONE KNOWS YOU instead of selling for fair-market value on the open market and putting more profit in your pocket, you’re either:

  • Uncommonly generous…
  • Fiscally irresponsible…
  • Or, you better have a really compelling reason to do so…

…WHY would you GIVE AWAY thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, to someone else who is providing you with something you could get elsewhere under better circumstances? (aka. YOU CAN SELL FOR MORE MONEY!)

How to Sell Your Property Without an Agent and what gets in the way:

The main reason things do not sell is basic. Because what I am about to tell you is so basic, most people overlook its importance. Selling anything requires the ability to see into the other person’s perspective. Put bluntly: Your feelings on what your home is worth are not half as important as what the buyer activity says your home is worth, if you intended to sell your home in a reasonable amount of time, or have it ever sold.

As a SELLER OF ANYTHING, you must put yourself in your TARGET BUYER’S shoes looking solely from their perspective, not your own. This is generally very difficult, and in my experience nearly impossible for most people considering selling their home without someone to check their worst impulses and ground them in reality, which believe it or not, is one of the most important skills of a comprehensive listing agent vs. a basic listing agent.

You may have put a lot of time, effort, and resources into the renovation of your home, making it exactly what you wanted it to be. Sadly, if this effort doesn’t translate to potential buyers, your efforts may go unnoticed, or worse, they may detract from your final sales price because the alterations to the house may make it less desirable to a buyer.

Top 8 Pre-Marketing Preparations You MUST DO To Make The Most Profit When You Sell Your Home

Pricing your home accurately

How to price your home correctly for the market

For most owners, setting the correct expectation on what the home can sell for, and what the property should be priced at, is one of the greatest challenges surrounding selling a home. Powerful emotions like fear, hope and worry cloud judgment. Our biases get in the way of being subjective. Sentiment and memories work their way into the decision making process. In short, it is very difficult for most people to accurately assess the value of their home.

There is no tool that can give you an accurate estimate of value, without being supplemented by a real live human touring your property. Algorithms simply can only be so accurate as they measure and compute based on averages. But you know just like the rest of us that no two properties are the same, and if your neighbor put in marble flooring and countertops, while also installing hardwood floors imported from Brazil, while someone else has the cheapest materials available with vinyl floors, even if they properties are exactly alike otherwise they simply don’t have the same value. Is your neighbor’s landscaping nicer than yours that just sold for a huge number? Guess what, that matters and the algorithms don’t know these details. Luckily, you can use this FREE HOME VALUATION TOOL to begin determining an initial asking price for your home, which will give you a place to start.

Price your real estate correctly BEFORE listing.

Incorrectly pricing your home when you list it can cost you thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars.

  • Hire someone to help you assess the fair market value of your property to overcome owner confirmation bias.
  • Understand your local selling conditions and how to determine the value of your home.
  • Understand the best market position strategies before you list your property publicly.

Overcome your bias and avoid well-intentioned bad advice

  • Know that owners almost always feel their property is worth more than it is.
  • A great agent helps you check your worst impulses and grounds you emotionally during the marketing and transaction of your home, which for most people is a very stressful circumstance.
  • A bad agent won’t tell you the hard information and will simply “Yes” you to death.
  • Spouses, children, and neighbors are generally not reliable resources when it comes to business advice unless they qualify as active professionals in the field you desire advice within. Worse, because of a loved one’s goal to be liked and loved by you, and other emotional entanglements, a loved one seldom give objective guidance, if ever. A talented agent’s goal is to sell your home in an efficient, effective manner. Period.

Home valuation comparisons

How to increase your home’s appeal:

A first impression is a lasting impression. Make sure your house leaves people dreaming of their first night sleeping in their new home.

Clean your home.

The importance of cleanliness can not be exaggerated in how it affects “curb appeal” as all human beings are impacted by their emotions. Filth, clutter, and unkept exteriors can detract thousands of dollars from your final takeaway at closing. Clean those ceiling fans and vents, and fix all unsightly issues! Haven’t washed your windows since Aunt Beatrice visited… What are you waiting for? Pressure washing is good for your teeth, and it’s good for your sidewalks, windows, siding, and roof, do it. No seriously, this should never be overlooked. Check out the guide below.

Stage your home.

Staging your home is an essential step to making a good impression on prospective buyers. Staging allows you to showcase the best features of your home and create certain emotional triggers in potential buyers. It also helps them envision themselves living in the property, thus creating better engagement and increasing demand. One of the most effective techniques when staging is performing all necessary repairs.

Doing necessary repairs before listing your home is essential for making a good impression on hungry buyers. Replace broken fixtures, repair faulty wiring and plumbing problems, patch any holes in the walls or floorboards, and make sure everything functions as it should. Even seemingly minor repairs can go a long way in selling your property quickly and at top value.

Make all necessary home renovations and repairs for a BIG impact.

Increase your curb appeal and spruce up your home before listing it on the market to make a lasting positive impact. Small and inexpensive projects like painting, deep cleaning carpets, vinyl siding, laminate flooring, replacing old ceiling fans, tidying up landscaping, applying a fresh coat of paint on the front door, resanding or finishing your exterior to make your deck look like a new deck, and updating light fixtures can go far in improving the overall look of your home. If you’re willing to invest more time and a bit more money into home renovations, you can also consider changing out cabinet hardware, replacing countertops, or refacing cabinets. Replacing older appliances with Energy Star-rated models and installing new flooring are also great ways to add value to your home. Taking on major remodeling projects like extending decks or adding a room addition can significantly increase the sale price of your home.

Makes sense right? Only investors and the truly desperate want a broken-down, dirty home, and you’re competing with all the other new listings. Want a detailed list of exactly what you should do to prepare your home to be sold to achieve the best financial outcome possible? This free home preparation guide will give you more info and get you on your way!

Vet and assemble your real estate team.

  • Hire the right agent
  • Hire the right home valuation expert, typically a broker
  • Pay for a pre-sale inspection from a qualified and licensed inspector
  • Find and enlist a preferred mortgage lender
  • Retain a trustworthy Real Estate Attorney
  • Retain a closing and escrow/title company
  • Get a great home inspector

Require the buyer to provide an earnest deposit.

  • Give them time to close
  • A strong broker can help restructure a buyer’s lending and help them purchase your home in as little as seven days!

Don’t let the buyer move into the property before closing.

  • Know the laws in your area, and don’t become a victim to predators and would-be opportunists.

Be at all home tours and inspections to prevent burglary, damage, and potential squatters moving in.

  • One of the jobs of a Realtor is to keep watch over your property when the public is in the home. If you are doing this on your own, make sure to protect your personal belongings and property.
  • Squatter laws vary from state to state. Be aware as an owner that you can be rendered powerless for an undetermined amount of time simply by not realizing someone has moved into your property without authorization and now has occupancy rights in your home. Be informed and protect yourself.
  • Know who is coming and going from your property and if your home is being sold vacant, make sure to check in on the property routinely.

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Key Point: Initial Offering Price
  • The initial offering of your property to the public is one of the most fundamental steps in determining if your property will sell promptly, and result in the highest net proceeds at the time of closing.
  • Making a mistake in the initial offering both in the way you position your property on the market and in how you present the property to the public, can cost you sums of cash far beyond anything you would save by avoiding employing professionals to assist you in preparing the property correctly for your transaction.
  • Taking the time to do the work necessary to present your real estate to the public effectively is a key element of achieving the highest net proceeds at the time of closing.
  • Being lazy or cheap in this stage of the listing process causes homeowners to lose major profit. Investing time and resources correctly, without wasting unnecessary funds, during each stage of the process will provide you with the greatest financial return.

marketing 101 market or die James Ruff

How to Market Your Property Like a Professional:

Learn from the best in the business how to do what you intend to do. The only way to compete with others effectively is to understand who your competitors are and what they do to dominate their local housing market. In this section, we will overview the different types of listing agents and explore what sets them apart from one another. The rest is up to you to learn and deploy to ultimately sell your property for top proceeds.

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Pro-Tip: Marketing is one of the most important parts of any transaction. You can have the best product in the world and if no one knows about it, no one will want to buy it.

To win any game you must understand your competition.

Accurately evaluating your competition is one of the most important keys to your success when looking to advertise and sell real estate. Professional marketing and sales agents will be your strongest competition. The great ones are master marketers, sales professionals, and negotiation sharks who specialize in selling property every day. Let’s briefly look at the different types of “listing” agents.

Comprehensive Listing, Marketing, and Sales Agents vs. Basic Listing Agents

Each legally working Realtor or real estate agent holds a license and has the legal right to represent their client. However, this in no way guarantees that they can perform the same level of service or that they have similar skills and abilities.

Too often would-be sellers price shop for agents instead of looking for what the agents can provide and how this will best empower the owner to achieve their ultimate goals!

For example, if you are looking for a surgeon to perform a highly specialized and very high-risk medical procedure that can either save the life or deny the future of someone you love, are you going to look for the cheapest guy or gal with a knife?

Choosing an agent, an attorney, an inspector, or a mortgage lender should be based on how good they are and what they can do for you. If one service provider is a bit cheaper but screws up the deal costing you significantly more cheddar than you save working with them, did you save anything by working with them? If you’re looking to sell one of the most important assets in your life, this isn’t the time to be cheap. Find the best in the business and hire them.

Comparing different quality levels of agents:

  1. A basic listing agent (puts the property on the MLS)
  2. This commonly includes flat fee services and brokerages, and low-quality agents who have low confidence in their abilities, skills, and track record.
  3. A comprehensive listing, marketing, and sales agent
  4. If an agent claims to be a comprehensive agent, then this person or team should also be a marketing expert, an expert negotiator, and a skilled transaction agent with the knowledge, skills, and team to complete a successful transaction promptly while being able to overcome unanticipated problems when they arise.
  • Many agents pitch that they are a “full-service agent” and most uniformed consumers accept this without digging deeper. Learn to ask the right questions.
  • A skilled agent anticipates problems before they arise and has solutions already in place.
  • A skilled agent is a professional in multiple disciplines. Read below to learn how it’s done.

This article goes into detail about the differences between the best and the worst agents, and the strategies used by the best in the business.

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Key Point:
  • Most AGENTS don’t even know the difference between a truly professional listing, marketing, and sales agent, and how their offerings to list a home are flimsy at best compared to their competition.
  • Simply putting a home on the MLS is NOT a properly marketed home.
  • Most agents DON’T offer performance guarantees and have little, if any, skin in the game when they take on your listing!

UNDERSTANDING YOUR COMPETITION: The Key Differences Between a “Comprehensive Listing and Marketing Agent” vs. a “Basic Listing Agent”

The difference between a high-quality Comprehensive Listing and Marketing Agent and a low-quality Basic Listing agent is outstanding. To explain this simply the difference is so extreme it would be like hiring a second or third-line athlete from a high school football team for the NFL playoffs. You wouldn’t hire a first-year medical student to do brain surgery on someone you love, and since you deserve the best of the best to represent you in one of the most important transactions of your life you should only work with excellent sales and marketing talent.

Do you feel like you’ve learned everything you need to learn to compete with the best in your local market? If not, this article explains in detail the strategies used by the best of the best in the real estate business, and if you’re thinking about selling on your own, or are considering hiring a professional team you’d be foolish not to read it.

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Pro-Tip: Most listing agents are “Basic Agents”, only the best are “Comprehensive Listing and Marketing Agents”. The best break records, the rest drive rusty cars.


When most people think of selling their home on their own without an agent it is for good reasons. You want to live your best life responsibly managing your resources as best as possible for you and the ones you love. Growing your wealthy, through investing it properly, is the key to building prosperity, security, and living a happy life.

Before you sell your home, it is also wise to have an exit plan for your cash in advance, in which you are informed on how to utilize the proceeds of your sale without giving the bulk of your proceeds to Uncle Sam and his ever hungry taxation hands. In this article you can learn how to protect your proceeds of sale, potentially avoid taxation completely, and grow your wealth.

The decision to sell your home is a large event full of many complex emotions, and demands, and as you can now see a multitude of advanced skills that require significant time and effort. Selling your house on your own is possible, however, four questions remain:

  1. Is it worth the time and effort?
  2. Do you have the skills, resources, and knowledge needed?
  3. Are you willing to trade the time and deal with the stress to do this alone?
  4. Are you confident that you can do a better job and net more profit than if you had hired the best professional in your area?

Whenever you consider doing anything in life, research is a valuable tool to make sure you are informed and walk boldly into your decisions with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to achieve your goals. If there is one thing I have learned personally and professionally over my 20+ years in business, managing my own growing family, and trying to balance a social life and personal time to remain healthy, it’s that sometimes its simply best to hire someone else to do the job so that my time and effort can better be used to live an enjoyable life.

The key to hiring a consummate professional starts with understanding what separates the real champions from the rest so that you can ask your potential hires the right questions. Leverage is the most powerful tool utilized by all people who achieve true wealth and prosperity. Leveraging other people’s knowledge is the beginning of personal growth. Leveraging other people’s time and effort is the key to lasting scalable success. While doing things on your own may seem like the most productive use of time, for most people, it’s generally best to employ the highest quality professionals you can afford to do things right so that you achieve the best results possible.

No price can be put on happiness. If you save some change but it destroys your marriage, causes you to get sick, or leads to misery in some way, is it worth it? For me, the answer is, “No”, nothing is more valuable than the health and happiness of my home. You will have to answer this question on your own.

What can you do with the time and energy you save without taking on unproductive and unnecessary stress? Learning to leverage other people is one of the superpowers you must learn if you desire genuine prosperity. Learn to leverage other people’s time, and learn the difference between good and bad debt so that you can leverage other people’s money.

In homage to my grandfather who truly taught this boy to fish and my mother who taught me never to give up, in addition to helping our clients find the best deals in the market, and sell their houses for the highest net return possible, we educate our clients on how to build generational wealth from the bottom up. You’re welcome to reach out if you want to learn how to build wealth through real estate.

 I hope that this article helps you better understand the process as it relates to selling your home and achieving the maximum value at the time of close. Best wishes to you in life and if you feel this article is valuable please share it with everyone you know.

James Ruff owner of The James Ruff Group LLC

Notes about the author

NYC-based investor and serial entrepreneur, James R. Ruff, amongst being an owner and partner in multiple companies, has a primary business focus on developing real estate investment portfolios in the corporate housing sector, alongside real estate sales, strategy, and marketing, while working directly with private owners and with sizable portfolio access to off-market real estate.

James R. Ruff is the owner and principal broker of The James Ruff Group LLC, a United States-based National Real Estate Firm that specializes in assisting clients to build multi-generational wealth through client education, estate planning, and the sale and acquisition of real estate both nationally and internationally. Mr. Ruff has worked in real estate for over 30 years in development, construction, renovation, brokerage transactions, and leasing both in residential and commercial real estate, commercial lending, and income-producing asset portfolio development.

Headquartered in Manhattan, New York, Ruff has a passion for writing and helping others achieve personal wealth through the implementation of tried and true principles and practices learned through his boyhood mentorship provided by his blue-collar turned multi-millionaire grandfather which later lead Ruff to seek relationships that resulted in decades of direct exposure and working relationships with ultra-high net worth clientele over the last twenty years. Mr. Ruff guides agents in becoming maximally productive through one on one coaching and consults businesses to help empower them to grow through strategic consulting, maximizing their market share, improving their cash flow, and optimizing team and operational functions.

If you feel this information is helpful please like & upvote, share this with everyone you care about, and subscribe for notifications. You can also join our mailing list for more helpful and reliable resources. If you have questions that you’d like answered, you can schedule an appointment with us using our calendly link here, or check out our other resources including social channels, youtube videos, and our blog by exploring our link tree.

If you don't see enough properties for sale, or properties that you would like to purchase we may have off market properties for you! We are an off-market specialist and will find you whatever you are looking for whether it is for sale on the market, or not. Call us to find out more.

James Ruff Principal Broker Owner The James Ruff Group Realtors
James R. Ruff Principal Broker, Owner of The James Ruff Group Realtors

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The James Ruff Group LLC Privacy Policy


We are committed to respecting your right to privacy and protecting your information when you visit or use our services.

This privacy policy also describes the choices available to you regarding our use of your personal information and how you can access and update this information.

We want you to understand what information we gather about you, how we use it and the safeguards we have in place to protect it. This Privacy Policy applies to information collected through this website and otherwise. Your use of this website and our services, and any disputes arising from it, is subject to this Privacy Policy as well as the Terms of Use and all its dispute resolution provisions, including arbitration, limitation on damages and choice of law.

This website is a general audience site and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13.

If you have questions or concerns regarding this policy, you should first contact us at

Email and Email Addresses
We collect your email address when you provide it to us through our website or when you sign up for our blog. We will never sell your email address. We will only use your address to communicate with you regarding the servicing of your accounts or to make you aware of products and services that may be of interest to you.

When you send The James Ruff Group an email, we may retain your message and our response for quality assurance purposes. It is important to remember that regular (non-encrypted) email is not secure.

Online Forms
We collect information from you when you fill out an online form. All online forms are subject to the same policy we have on email.

Planning Tools and Calculators
Information that you input on the web site while using any of our planning tools and calculators is not captured, stored or used in any way other than to provide you with the information you’re looking for at the time you use the tool or calculator. These calculators were built only for the purpose of helping you understand your financial options, enabling you to explore various scenarios and “what if” calculations for items like loan payments, retirement and education planning.

We may use cookies and other online tracking devices. Cookies are small text files that a website’s server places on your computer. The cookies provide a means for websites that you visit to track browsing activities conducted with your computer. This includes information such as pages and content viewed, the time and duration of visits, search queries entered into search engines, and whether a computer user clicked on an advertisement. Cookies make the personalization of your web experiences possible and can also be used to retain data related to a particular browser such as items in online shopping carts.

There are other devices for tracking online activity including web beacons. A web beacon is a small string of software code that represents a graphic image on a website or in email. Web beacons can be used for many purposes – including website traffic reporting, unique visitor counts, advertising/auditing/reporting, and personalization of a website.

Working with Other Companies
From time to time, our partners may establish a relationship with other partners on the Internet to provide you with additional value and new products we may not offer ourselves. In these circumstances, we will treat information you provide us in the same manner described in our Privacy Policy. Our partner website may offer access to other sites either through the use of hyperlinks. In some cases, the other site will also collect information from you. Please review the privacy policies of these third parties prior to providing any information to them when you link to their web site.


  1. Collection and Use of Your Personal Information

We collect Personal Information from you only when you voluntarily submit it in order to obtain certain information, including without limitation (A) requests to find out more about our programs; (B) requests to contact us; and (C) requests to forward your information to one of our affiliates.

We honor all “do not track” requests and settings. If you use any signal(s) or other mechanism(s) that provides you the ability to exercise choice regarding the collection of personally identifiable information about your online activities over time and across third-party websites or online services, we will not attempt to override such signals or mechanisms, nor will we track your use of any such signal or mechanism. When you use our website, no other parties can collect personally identifiable information about your online activities over time and across different websites. Your choice is indicated by your settings in your web browser. A “do not track” indication sent from your web browser will result in any tracking activity (i.e., tracking cookies) within the website to be programmatically disabled.

We collect the following personal information from you:

  • Contact Information such as name, email address, mailing address, and phone number

We use this information to:

  • Send you requested product or service information
  • Respond to customer service requests
  • Administer your account
  • Send you a newsletter
  • Send you marketing communications
  • Improve our Web site and marketing efforts
  • Conduct research and analysis
  • Display content based upon your interests

By clicking the Submit button, you agree to have your information shared with us and for us to contact you via telephone, mobile phone (including through automated dialing, text SMS/MMS, or pre-recorded messaging) and/or email, even if your telephone number is on a corporate, state, or the National Do Not Call Registry, and you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Special Notice to California Residents. If you are a resident of California, in addition to the rights set forth in this Privacy Policy:

  1. We will not share any personal information about you to the extent prohibited by applicable California law or to the extent your prior consent to share is required by applicable California law; and
  2. You have the right to request information from us regarding the manner in which we share certain categories of information with third parties for their direct marketing purposes. California law gives you the right to send us a request at a designated address to receive the following information
  • 1.1. the categories of information we disclosed to third parties for their direct marketing purposes during the preceding calendar year
  • 1.2. the names and addresses of the third parties that received that information; and
  • 1.3. if the nature of the third party’s business cannot be determined from their name, examples of the products or services marketed.

The rights of Users

We adopt this Notice to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). Any terms defined in the CCPA have the same meaning when used in this Notice.

Users may exercise certain rights regarding their Data processed by the Owner.

In particular, Users have the right to do the following:

  • Withdraw their consent at any time. Users have the right to withdraw consent where they have previously given their consent to the processing of their Personal Data.
  • Object to processing of their Data. Users have the right to object to the processing of their Data if the processing is carried out on a legal basis other than consent. Further details are provided in the dedicated section below.
  • Access their Data. Users have the right to learn if Data is being processed by the Owner, obtain disclosure regarding certain aspects of the processing and obtain a copy of the Data undergoing processing.
  • Verify and seek rectification. Users have the right to verify the accuracy of their Data and ask for it to be updated or corrected.
  • Restrict the processing of their Data. Restrict the processing of their Data. Users have the right, under certain circumstances, to restrict the processing of their Data. In this case, the Owner will not process their Data for any purpose other than storing it.
  • Have their Personal Data deleted or otherwise removed. Users have the right, under certain circumstances, to obtain the erasure of their Data from the Owner.
  • Receive their Data and have it transferred to another controller. Users have the right to receive their Data in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format and, if technically feasible, to have it transmitted to another controller without any hindrance. This provision is applicable provided that the Data is processed by automated means and that the processing is based on the User’s consent, on a contract which the User is part of or on pre-contractual obligations thereof.
  • Lodge a complaint. Users have the right to bring a claim before their competent data protection authority.

Details about the right to object to processing

Where Personal Data is processed for a public interest, in the exercise of an official authority vested in the Owner or for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the Owner, Users may object to such processing by providing a ground related to their particular situation to justify the objection.

Users must know that, however, should their Personal Data be processed for direct marketing purposes, they can object to that processing at any time without providing any justification. To learn, whether the Owner is processing Personal Data for direct marketing purposes, Users may refer to the relevant sections of this document.

How to exercise these rights

Any requests to exercise User rights can be directed to the Owner through the contact details provided in this document. These requests can be exercised free of charge and will be addressed by the Owner as early as possible and always within one month.

We may provide this information in a standardized format that is not specific to you. The designated email address for these requests is

Consent to Receiving Emails, Auto-Dialing & Auto-Texting:

By registering, you are giving us and our professional real estate clients and advertisers permission to contact you via text message, email, or telephone using the email address and/or telephone number that you have provided during the registration process. Such contact may, from time to time, include attempts to contact you via auto-dialing or auto-texting technology. You may opt out of receiving these forms of communication by unsubscribing from any email communication or texting STOP as a reply to one of our text communications. There is no fee charged by us or its advertisers to receive text messages, however, your mobile service provider may charge you for sending and/or receiving text messages and air-time, as well as any other standard applicable rates charged by your mobile service provider.

Information Sharing

We will share your personal information with third parties, including with one of the participating lenders associated with this site, only in the ways that are described in this Privacy Statement. We may provide your personal information to companies that provide services to help us with our business activities such as offering customer service. These companies are authorized to use your personal information as is necessary to provide these services to you.

We may also disclose your personal information:

  • As required by law such as to comply with a subpoena, or similar legal process.
  • When we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights, protect your safety or the safety of others, investigate fraud or respond to a government request,
  • To any other third party with your prior consent to do so.
  • We may share your personal information with other companies so that they can market their products or services to you. If you do not want us to share your personal information with these companies, contact our website vendor and advertising provider at

Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We may use cookies, for example, to keep track of your preferences and profile information. Cookies are also used to collect general usage and volume statistical information that does not include personal information.

We may use another company to place cookies on your computer to collect non-personally identifiable information to compile aggregated statistics for us about visitors to our site.

Links to Other Web Sites

Our Site includes links to other Websites whose privacy practices may differ from ours. If you submit personal information to any of those sites, your information is governed by their privacy policy statements. We encourage you to carefully read the privacy statement of any Web site you visit.


The security of your personal information is important to us. We follow generally accepted industry standards to protect the personal information submitted to us, both during transmission and once we receive it. No method of transmission over the internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure, however. Therefore, we cannot guarantee its absolute security. If you have any questions about the security of our Web site, you can contact our website and advertising provider

Additional Policy Information

Our Web site includes Widgets, which are interactive mini-programs that run on our site to provide specific services from another company (e.g. displaying the news, opinions, music, etc.). Personal information, such as your email address, may be collected through the Widget. Cookies may also be set by the Widget to enable it to function properly. Information collected by this Widget is governed by the privacy policy of the company that created it.

Our Web site offers publicly accessible blogs, social media, or community forums such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. You should be aware that any information you provide in these areas may be read, collected, and used by others who access them.

Visiting our Websites From Outside the United States.

This Privacy Policy is intended to cover collection of information on our websites from residents of the United States. If you are visiting our websites from outside the United States, please be aware that your information may be transferred to, stored and processed in the United States where our servers are located and our central database is operated. The data protection and other laws of the United States and other countries might not be as comprehensive as those in your country. By using our services, you understand that your information may be transferred to our facilities and those third parties with whom we share it as described in this Privacy Policy.

No Rights of Third Parties.

This Privacy Policy does not create rights enforceable by third parties or require disclosure of any personal information relating to users of our websites.

Notification of Privacy Policy Statement Changes

We may update this privacy statement to reflect changes to our information practices or changes in regulations governing privacy. If we make any material changes we will notify you by email (sent to the email address specified in your account) or by means of a notice on this Site prior to the change becoming effective. We encourage you to periodically review this page for the latest information on our privacy practices.

This Privacy Policy was last revised on October 1, 2022. We reserve the right to modify or amend this policy at any time by posting the revised Privacy Policy on the website.

At The James Ruff Group, we respect your privacy.

If you have questions regarding our Privacy Policy, please email us at We hope you enjoy our site!