selling a house without a realtor

When the time comes to sell your home, you may be wondering how selling a house without a realtor works. Don’t be concerned. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the procedure, including any stumbling blocks, so you can decide if it’s appropriate for you.

What Is a “For Sale By Owner” FSBO Listing?

When you list your house as For Sale By Owner (FSBO), you intend to sell it without the assistance of a real estate agent. That means you must take charge of the entire process, beginning with the placement of your “for sale” sign and ending with the closing. While this is a lot of labor, some people do it to save on the costs of selling a house.

How Do Home Sales Work Without a Realtor?

Selling a house without a realtor or agent functions fairly similar to those with them. The process of selling a house without a realtor, on the other hand, differs mostly in the listing phase.

When a seller hires a real estate agent, the home is listed on the local multiple listing service (MLS), where the majority of agents look for available properties to submit to their buyers. Unfortunately, the MLS is only accessible to licensed agents. As a result, homeowners cannot list their properties on the MLS themselves.

FSBO sellers can pay a flat charge to specialized real estate companies to list their houses on the MLS. These services, however, typically cost a few hundred dollars and do not involve any form of representation. As a result, the majority of homeowners opt to advertise their houses for free on online listing sites such as

Selling a House Without Using a Realtor

Selling a house without a realtor can make the transaction more challenging. However, the more you understand about the procedure, the better prepared you will be to confront the difficulties. Read these ideas for a successful FSBO transaction to help you along the way.

#1. Conduct Extensive Local Market Research

You must first determine the house of your home before listing it for sale. To accomplish so, you must be well-versed in both the local and national housing markets.

Real estate agents employ what is known as a comparative market study when pricing property, which estimates value by comparing the home to similar homes that have recently sold. While you can use this method to estimate the fair market value of your home, it is significantly more difficult without the experience and resources of an agent. Instead, you can hire a real estate agent for a Broker Price Opinion or an appraiser for an appraisal.

You should also start preparing the papers you’ll need to sell without a REALTOR®. Without the assistance of an agent, you will be totally responsible for ensuring that all of your documentation is in order for the sale to close.

#2. Strategic Advertising

Because FSBO sellers do not have access to the MLS, they must find alternative ways to market their homes. While posting a sign in your front yard may get your house seen if you live in a major housing complex or on a busy road, most FSBO sellers find that marketing their home online works better. is the most popular sale-by-owner website, with over 2 million visitors every month. ForSaleByOwner provides sellers with free tools and a team of specialists to assist them in creating a successful listing. The site also provides potential sellers with a professional Home Listing Coordinator who will guide you through the process for a nominal, one-time charge. Another advantage of working with a professional is that they can help you avoid frequent listing blunders that make it difficult to sell your home.

Aside from FSBO sites, you may also utilize social media to spread information about your home. There are so many imaginative ways to attract buyers’ attention these days, from Facebook Live tours to eye-catching Instagram postings. You should, however, consider twice before posting. You don’t want to violate any fair housing regulations or irritate potential purchasers.

#3. Prepare the Interior and Exterior of Your Home

You must prepare your home for sale before taking images for your FSBO listing – and particularly before showing it. To improve your home’s curb appeal, clean and arrange every room in your house and straighten up your landscape.

It’s also a good idea to have a home inspection performed. Having an inspector assess your home ensures that you have a comprehensive idea of its state and that you have the opportunity to make any necessary repairs before selling your home. It may appear ridiculous to put work into your home shortly before selling it, but it is critical. The higher the offers you’re likely to receive, the better the condition of your home.

After you’ve cleaned and done any required repairs, walk through your home and assess it from the perspective of possible buyers. If the furniture appears to be old and worn out, or if it appears to be too large for the space, you may want to consider staging your home. Again, the nicer the appearance of your home, the easier it will be to sell.

#4. Provide Open Houses and Private Viewings

Some FSBO sellers ask if open houses or private showings are more effective at attracting buyers. The answer is that they both matter. You want to get as many offers as possible as soon as possible.

Hosting an open house on the first weekend after you’ve listed your home will attract buyers and entice them to come to see it all at once. Setting up private showings, on the other hand, will allow purchasers to spend more time with your home.

These customized meetings will allow you to lead buyers through your house and point off all of its unique features. With fewer people in your home at that time, the showing also allows buyers to actually see themselves living in the house, which is what ultimately sells homes.

#5. Prepare to bargain with prospective buyers.

While every seller fantasizes about inciting a bidding war on their home and having to choose the best of numerous offers, such fantasies rarely come true. You will almost certainly need to be adaptable and open to dealing with possible purchasers.

It’s critical to remember that money isn’t everything when negotiating an offer. Of course, you want to receive the best price for your home, but you also want to make sure you get the finest terms possible.

It’s a good idea to plan ahead of time when you need to close and what you’re willing to include in the sale so you’re ready to bargain when the first offer comes in. However, you should also consider what contingencies you are willing to accept.

You want to ensure that the offer you select does not fail to owe to the buyer’s inability to obtain financing or find a buyer for their own home. So, carefully read the terms of each offer since the longer your home stands on the market, the more difficult it will be to sell.

How Much Does Selling Without a Realtor Cost?

#1. Appraisal

One of the most difficult issues for FSBO sellers is selecting how to price their homes.

As a result, you might choose to engage an appraiser. A professional pre-listing evaluation guarantees that your home is correctly priced before it reaches the market. This service costs an average of $341, according to Home Advisor.

#2. Photography

Professional images that are eye-catching are vital, especially given the prevalence of online home sales platforms like Zillow. According to Thumbtack, professional home photography costs an average of $165.

To compete with other properties in your price range, you may need to invest in drone photographs, films, or a 3D tour.

#3. Marketing

Depending on your home and the local market, you may need to spend as little as a few hundred dollars to capture the attention of a suitable buyer.

Marketing can range from a free Craigslist ad and a dollar store lawn sign to an ad in your local newspaper.

#4. MLS Entry

The multiple listing service (MLS) is how real estate agents in your region find out about available homes.

Unfortunately, only licensed agents are permitted to list a home on the MLS. However, there are companies (known as flat-fee MLS services) that you can pay to list your home. A flat-fee MLS listing normally costs between $100 and $300, however, this can vary depending on your region and add-ons.

#5. Real Estate Lawyer

If there are any flaws in your contract to sell, you may find yourself in legal difficulty in the future.

Although there are websites that provide free contract forms, we recommend that you consult a real estate professional to evaluate your contract to ensure that it is legally binding. This service typically costs $300.

Should I Sell Without the Help of a Realtor?

Selling your house without the assistance of a realtor is a lot of work.

And it’s unlikely to save you any money. In fact, you may wind up selling your home for less than the commission you save.

We believe it is smarter to engage with an agent unless you live in a hot housing market and are an experienced seller. It will save you time and a lot of stress during the home-selling process.

Pros of Selling a House Without a Realtor

#1. You save money on real estate agent commissions.

You keep the 3% commission charge that would normally go to the listing agent if you sell your home yourself. However, keep in mind that you may still be required to pay your buyer’s agent commission fees, which are normally 3% of the home’s sale price.

While Carson will show his customers FSBO homes, the buyer is already bound to pay the commission because they signed a contract with him as a buyer’s agent. Even if the seller does not provide a commission.

When he takes someone to look at an FSBO, he is up and honest, saying, “Look, if I can get them to cover the commission, terrific, but if not, you’re going to have to handle it.” Be mindful that some customers may not want to cover this 3%, which narrows your possible buyer pool.

#2. You can continue to list your home on the MLS.

You can promote your home listing on Facebook groups, Nextdoor, and other online neighborhood networks, as well as on your personal Facebook profile. However, to reach the broadest potential homebuying audience, you should list your home on the real estate industry’s multiple listing service (MLS), where 9 out of 10 sellers list their homes. To be seen on the MLS, use a flat-fee MLS listing service, which costs $50 to $500.

#3. FSBO houses can sell more quickly.

Because it is not an arm’s length transaction, FSBO homes can occasionally sell and close faster than open market sales. In 2020, 77% of FSBO properties sold in less than two weeks. According to the National Association of Realtors, many sales finished swiftly because the sellers frequently sold their houses to people they already knew.

Cons of Selling a House Without a Realtor

#1. You are statistically more likely to sell your house for less money than if you hired a realtor.

According to Collateral Analytics, real estate brokers sell properties for 6% more than FSBO sellers. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average FSBO home sold for $260,000 in 2020, compared to $318,000 for agent-assisted homes.

There are a variety of reasons why FSBO houses typically sell for less:

  • Buyer’s agents outbid FSBO vendors in negotiations.
  • FSBO sellers frequently fail to set a competitive listing price. They lose money when they underprice their homes. When they overprice their homes, they cause them to sit on the market, resulting in a lower final selling price.
  • A home inspection report may disclose problems that the seller is unable to fix effectively. They might agree to have too many repairs done and lose money on selling of their home. Or they may push back too aggressively, and the buyer abandons the transaction.

#2. FSBO takes time because you are in control of marketing and messaging.

It will feel like a part-time job if you plan to serve as your own agency. The seller must use social media, flyers, and open houses to market their home. Top Sarasota, Florida, agent Joanne Owens encourages sellers to use a service like Vistaprint to assist publicize their home, where 500 46-inch postcards cost $50. Ordering is only the first step; you must also design it and hire a skilled photographer. Don’t forget to include a $.35 stamp with each postcard!

As a seller without an agent, you must also be accessible to reply to queries on days, nights, and weekends. If you do not promptly respond to an email or phone call, you may lose the buyer who discovers another home in the meantime.

#3. You are responsible for the photos and setup.

You’ll need to hire a professional photographer to shoot interior and exterior photographs of your home. The usual cost runs from $110 and $300, and plan on spending several hours picking up ahead of time. Professional images will not compensate for a cluttered or badly set home.

#4. Your personal safety may be jeopardized.

Owens recently spoke with an elderly woman who was selling her home for the first time. When she heard about some recent home showings, she became afraid for her safety. “Are they simply checking it out or do they intend to buy it?” she questioned. An agent will not only conduct walk-throughs but will also evaluate potential buyers to ensure the safety of you and your home by ensuring that they are authentic, pre-approved buyers.

#5. You could be duped.

FSBO sellers should also be wary of wire fraud and online phishing scams.

Wire fraud occurs when sellers receive an email from a title firm that appears authentic but contains forged transfer instructions that direct funds to a scammer’s account. You usually can’t get it back after it’s gone.

Some con artists would say that they wish to buy your house but are unable to visit it in person. They’ll propose sending a money order as a deposit. They’ll ask for their money back a few days later. After you issue the return, your bank realizes that the money order was fraudulent, and you will likely not be able to get your money back.

#6. You must conduct all negotiations yourself.

Agents are skillful negotiators who strive to achieve the best possible bargain for their clients. The buyer’s agent is not looking out for your best interests and may try to take advantage of your lack of knowledge during negotiations. They may want non-standard contingencies or timetables.

Are you comfortable saying no to requests, and do you understand what’s normal in the market? Can you handle the back and forth of negotiations while remaining calm, preserving the bargain while still gaining what you require? Before you decide to sell by owner, be honest with yourself about your negotiating skills because it’s an important component of the deal.


Selling a house without the assistance of a REALTOR® or agent is a difficult and frustrating task. The majority of homeowners choose to engage with real estate agents since their experience and resources usually result in higher market values for their homes.

That being said, there are a few strategies you can employ to assure the success of your FSBO sale. Simply conduct thorough market research, strategically advertise your property, meticulously arrange your home to be displayed, and wisely negotiate with possible purchasers.


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