As you prepare to sell your home, you have many options to consider. You must choose when to list and sell your home, your next living place, and the proceeds you want to make from the sale.
One of your choices is selling a house without a Realtor.
For many people, avoiding the real estate agent’s commissions is a massive advantage to “for sale by owner (FSBO).” You must know the home selling process and the amount of work you’ll be responsible for during the transaction.
We’ll review the advantages and disadvantages of your options and outline fundamental steps you should follow when selling a house without a Realtor.
Is It Harder to Sell a House Without a Realtor?
Selling a house without a Realtor, or listing agent, is hard. As you prepare to sell your home, you must contend with various required tasks that require experience and expertise.
The tasks you need to handle are the following:
- Sale price
Pricing your home
Pricing your home is among the most important things you do when you sell your home. If you set the price too high, you won’t attract buyers.
That means your home will be on the market longer with no offers. The longer your home goes without offers, make other potential home buyers think that your home is flawed in some way. Thus, it creates a negative feedback loop where you may struggle to sell your home.
On the other hand, if you price your home too low, it’ll attract potential buyers but leave thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on the table.
Marketing your home
After you’ve decided on the price, you’ll need to market your home to attract buyers. At a minimum, you’ll need to market the house by doing the following:
- Pricing using comps and Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data
- Taking professional photos
- Rich, descriptive listing
- Curating a presence online, on social media, and websites like Zillow, Trulia, or Redfin
- Sharing property details with real estate agents and other buyers
Staging your home
It would help if you staged your home so buyers can imagine themselves in the property. You’ll need to do the following:
- Deep clean and maintain the cleaning
- Paint a fresh coat
- Store unnecessary items
If you don’t want to stage the home yourself, you can hire a professional home stager which may cost $150 to $600.
Showing your home
When you decide to sell your home, you’ll be at the mercy of your potential buyers’ schedule. The time you spend scheduling and following up with home showings is essential.
Remember that the showing may occur any time during the week or weekend. That means you may have to take time off work or spend your weekends showing your home.
Preparing your home to sell without a Realtor is a time-consuming process and can be treacherous. It may be worth it for you to avoid the massive commissions that real estate agents command.
Tips for Selling a House Without a Realtor
FSBO homes can be challenging, but we’re here to help with some proven tips.
In general, you’ll want to make sure that you do the following:
- Market research and pricing of your home
- Account for closing costs
- Prep your home for the market
- Craft a compelling listing
- Market your home
- Schedule showings
- Prepare for closing
- Make sure your buyer is lender approved
Market research and pricing your home
When selling your home, one of the best ways to select a reasonable price is to research comparable home prices with a comparative market analysis (comps).
You can use comps to set your home’s market value price by comparing it to similar properties sold in your neighborhood. You may need to hire an appraiser to help you determine your home’s baseline value, but remember that an appraisal value is not the same as the market value.
This is among the most critical aspects of selling your home. If you price too high, your house won’t sell. If your price is too low, you’ll lose thousands of dollars. Many homeowners struggle with pricing their home devoid of emotion, so use data to instead.
Account for home selling costs
Selling your home costs more than you think. You’ll have to pay for the services of selling a house. That includes landscaping, staging, marketing, repairs, taxes, and legal fees.
There are also closing costs that come with selling a home which includes, but are not limited to:
- Escrow fees
- Home inspection
- Mortgage payoff
- Property tax
- Title company fees
You can hire a professional to help sell a home, but those fees add up.
Prep your home for market
You need to clean and repair things in your home to get it market-ready to increase the listing price. Usually, a buyer wants to purchase a move-in-ready home.
That means you need to clean up your home’s exterior and interior.
For the exterior, you might consider doing the following spruce-ups:
- Power washing surfaces
- Repaint the exterior
- Remove dead plants
- Repair gutters and railings
- Refresh or replace your front door
Curb appeal is a huge factor in whether you sell your home. A neat, well-maintained exterior may be enough to get your potential buyer in the door and one step closer to making an offer. An ugly exterior will cause any potential buyers to drive by without even stopping.
For the interior, you should consider doing the following items:
- Remove odors (pet, food, and musty home)
- Deep clean
- Declutter and depersonalize
- Repaint the interior a neutral color (think blank slate)
Craft a compelling listing
Your home has features that potential buyers will like. It would be best if you crafted your listing so potential buyers can find your home when researching.
Highlight the features of your home that will make a buyer click on your listing. For instance, you may want to highlight the following aspects of your home:
- Detailed descriptions (granite, spotless, upgraded)
- Emotional words
You also must include photos from a professional photographer that show your house its best light. In this case, pictures are absolutely worth a thousand words.
Market your home
Marketing your home is tough when selling without a Realtor. After getting professional photos of your home and having a killer listing, you need to go wide with your marketing efforts.
Some marketing tips you should consider:
- List on the MLS (this’ll usually cost a flat fee)
- Post on social media
- Schedule an open house
Open houses are great for gathering a pool of buyers. Still, you’ll need to offer options for potential buyers to come for a personal showing.
You may adjust your lifestyle to meet your potential buyer’s schedule. Part of being prepared to show means keeping the house spotless, smelling great, and ready for people at a moment’s notice.
If possible, get solid feedback from your visitors to address your home’s shortcomings in future showings.
Prepare for closing
After you’ve gone through prepping, marketing, and showing your home, you may receive an offer. It might feel like you’ve crossed the finish line, but you’re still going.
You may have to go through round after round of negotiations with the buyer’s agent, where you will have to discuss all aspects of the home sale. It is a good idea to make sure your buyer can afford your home, so ask your potential buyer for a pre-approval letter.
Once all the details are hammered out (concessions, seller warranty), your buyer should present an official offer to purchase your home (with a pre-approval letter, ideally). This is also called a purchase agreement.
As you close, you might want to hire a real estate attorney, so you don’t run afoul of your responsibilities. It would be best if you remember the following:
- Due diligence is key to avoiding lawsuits
- You must fulfill your legal requirements (ignorance of the law doesn’t save you)
- Real estate transactions tend to protect the buyer
Do’s and Don’ts When Selling a House By Yourself
We’ve covered several strategies and tips. Let’s recap some critical do’s and don’ts when selling a house yourself.
Things to do:
- Set an accurate market price for your home value
- Get your home market-ready
- Deep clean, declutter, depersonalize (make it look like a new home)
- Stage and show
- Be prepared for closing
Don’t do these things:
- Set a price without market research
- Cut corners with cleaning or repairs
- Negotiate in bad faith
- Forget to validate your buyer’s financials
- Skimp on attorneys when closing
Selling a house without a Realtor is challenging. In some cases, it becomes a full-time job. But it’s possible, especially if you devote loads of time and money to the project. The money you save on real estate commissions may be worth it though.
You may save money from commission fees when you sell a home without a real estate agent. That saved money comes with the trade-off of doing everything on your own.
FSBO sellers need to do the following things:
- Research the local housing market
- Set an accurate price with an MLS listing
- Prep and upgrade your home for market
- Stage and schedule
- Close with an attorney to help with legal documents
Do you want to avoid the hassles and costs of selling your home without a seller’s agent?
If so, you may benefit from selling your home to a cash buyer. A cash buyer will get your information, schedule a house inspection, and potentially make an all-cash offer on your home.
The benefit of cash buyers is that you avoid the need to clean and repair your home. They’ll buy it “as-is.”
You won’t be forced to wait for a buyer’s mortgage approval. The speed of a cash buyer comes because they have the cash in hand. That means you can close on your timeline and receive a fair home offer.