Most of these ways will of course depend on your situation, but do work. It all depends on how creative you are willing to get and what type of house you are selling!
Sell Yourself With an Open House - This will take some work on your part, but many people feel more comfortable when at an Open House. I know that when we were looking for a house, open houses were a great way to get to know the area and also be a bit nosy!
You will get lots of "tire kickers" who are basically neighbours who are somewhat nosy and want to see what you have done with the place. But chances are that you will get interested people too, who enjoy an open house as there is not the same pressue as with "one on one".
Hire an Inspector - You need to start by really cleaning the house, and doing any repairs and fixups. This is really important. The best way to start this process, is to be pro-active and hire a qualified home inspector. Yes, this will cost you up front, but you will be given a report. On this report will be things that are in need of repairs and anything that may be coming due for repairs.
Do, the repairs necessary, and keep this report, so that you can show serious prospective buyers that you have done an inspection by a qualified inspector and have made repairs to the house. This way if they do end up hiring their own inspector, you can feel confident that they will not find anything new, and the potential buyer will feel more confident about the house, especially if it is an older one.
Stage the House - You can do this yourself. Get rid of any extra furniture, by renting a storage unit. You can get these on a monthly basis, and by cleaning out as much heavy looking furniture as you can will give your rooms a larger feel. Take down photographs, and leCredit: morguefile.comave the walls with just a few pieces of art.
Paint most rooms a neutral colour such as beige, ivory or pale yellow, rather than a deeper colour which can make a room feel smaller and dark. The owners to be will probably put their own touch on it anyways, but this way they don't have to do it right away.
Find All Papers That Pertain To the House - Such as electric bills and gas bills, and tax bills for example, so they can see the running costs of this house.
Talk To Your lawyer about what you will need to know about selling your house private. In Ontario, the prospective buyer will need to create an "offer to purchase" through their own lawyer, so it is good to know ahead of time, just how the purchase should go when selling private.
When purchasing our latest home. We actually bumped into someone at an open house, trying to decide what to price their own home at. We followed them to this home and after inspection decided it was just what we wanted. We haggled on the price right then and there, and then made a list of things that would be included and we both agreed to.
We then went to our lawyer with the list and the legal address, and had a legal "offer to purchase" created that we then delivered to them, and the lawyers took care of the rest. There were no real estate fees involved at all, just the usual legal fees.
Low Commission Real Estate - There are many services around now, that will help you sell your house for a low commission. It all depends on how much of the work you are willing to do.
From personal experience, I have found the local paper doesn't really work, unless you are advertising an OPEN HOUSE and put Private Sale beside it, so that they know it is being sold by you and not real estate. To just state a house is for sale, just doesn't seem to get the calls.
Garage Sale - No you won't sell your house in a garage sale, but it is one way to get potential buyers to see the house. You can have a sign saying House for Sale on your front lawn at the garage sale, and if you can find the help for the day to man the garage sale, you can also have this as an open house day.
All you need is one serious customer. Yes, you will get many "tire kickers" but chances are that there will be a serious buyer in there.
Word of Mouth - let family members and co-workers know that you are selling your house privately and if they are interested to let you know. Word of mouth works quite well. In our case a family member bought our house. As long as everything is done legal and up front with no added surprises, it will go through with no hitches. Credit: morguefile.com
Price it Well - Make sure you do your homework on pricing your house. If you want to sell quickly, then the obvious way is to offer it for a better price, but make sure and list the good qualitites of your house, such as close to schools, and shopping to make the price competitive and worth checking out.
Since you will not be paying real estate fees, then you can afford to drop your price a bit, but have a bottom line in mind, so that if anyone starts negotiating, that you know the lowest you will go. You and your partner need to be on the same page for this.
Third Party Appraiser - I have searched out private buyers before, and many times have found them to be too high. Don't get emotional about your house. This is business, and if you want to stay competitive, it is worth having a third party appraiser let you know how much it is really worth in todays market.
An appraiser will cost you a few hundred dollars, but they do their homework and they don't work for real estate companies, they are their own company and will give you a realistic price.
If you want to do this yourself, there are creative ways to sell your house, you just need to be prepared to be hands on and involved, but you can save yourself time and money in the end.