Want to know how to sell your house by owner without a realtor? Here’s every step.
Selling your own home without an agent is called For Sale by Owner or “FSBO”). Most people have heard of it but aren’t sure what the process is or if it’s worth the hassle. Fortunately, it is possible to sell a house without a realtor and at a price that the home deserves. It just takes a little work.
But is it right for you and your situation? Let’s find out.
Consider your options
Before you jump into all the work involved with selling by owner, take a step back and ask yourself “should I sell my house by owner”?
The most common answer to this question is either “I want to save money” or something like “I can do it better myself”. That’s reasonable. After all, agents are expensive! The typical agent commission is between 5-6%. But selling your own home doesn’t mean you don’t pay any commissions at all. Or closing costs and title charges. This can be surprising to many people who want to sell their house FSBO. More on this later in the article.
Here are the main ways to sell your property
On Market Sale – Take home about 90% of your home’s value
When you sell the normal way with an agent, you can expect to pay about 10% of the property’s value in total costs to sell, including commissions, closing costs, preparation to sell and your normal expenses while it’s on the market.
By Owner – Take home 93-95%of your home’s value (but you work for it)
When you sell by owner, you can save about half of the normal commission rates in your area. It can be difficult to find a full price buyer who doesn’t have an agent, so you may need to offer buyers agent commissions. We recommend trying to generate offers yourself at first and if offers aren’t acceptable, consider offering a commission to a buyer agent.
To Investors – Take home 70% or less of your home’s value
We are real estate investors, so we know how the game works. When “sell your house fast” investors make offers on your home, they need to make a profit. And guess who pays for that? That’s right, it’s YOU. These investors offer convenience and speed but it comes at a price. (There’s a better way)
To FullPriceOffers – Take home 100% of your home’s value (for flexible sellers)
We have a unique way of buying property that allows Full Price Offers to cover all selling costs you’d normally pay. We pay full market value and you pay $0 in selling costs. In exchange for giving you back 7-10% of your home price (that you’d normally pay), we make payments on your equity for a few years until you’re fully cashed out once we resell the property.
It’s like lending your equity and getting paid 10% of your home price to do it. We close as fast as “cash buyers” but without you selling at a discount. You get:
- monthly payments
- a fast sale
- full price
- $0 selling costs
- sell as-is with no repairs needed
This way of selling has been around for hundreds of years and it’s a popular way of selling that commercial real estate investors use to sell apartment buildings and malls. And it doesn’t matter if your mortgage is completely paid off or you have negative equity in your home. We’re fans of it because we both win when we cut out the middlemen!
Find out how much you could save with our calculator tool (works best on desktop) or get a no-pressure offer for your property anywhere in the US.
Still interested in selling by owner? Here are more questions and answers:
Do you have the time and energy to sell by owner?
This question is personal. Do you have an extra 10 hours a week to spend on your home sale? From cleaning up to staging to answering questions and negotiating, you’ll have your hands full. Feel exhausted just thinking about it? It might not be the best option.
Does it fit your interpersonal skills?
Much of the selling process involves dealing with other people. Unless you’re putting a kid through medical school, a house is usually the most expensive purchase in your entire life. That means people can be stressed out and behave irrationally
Can I sell my house without a Realtor?
Yes, there are many reasons sellers may decide to sell on your own. It takes time and effort to sell your house yourself, which is why we recommend people who want to save money, time and still get a good price, to sell to Full Price Offers.
Why Consider Selling Without a Real Estate Agent?
The most obvious reason to sell a home by owner is to avoid having to pay a hefty real estate commission to an agent. On average, you’re looking at paying around 5-6 percent of the home’s selling price to a real estate agent. So, if your home goes for $400,000, you might pay $24,000.
6 percent might not sound like a great deal of money but don’t forget as seller you pay the agent commission as a percentage of the full price of the property.
As an example, let’s say that your home is worth around $400,000, and you have a $250,000 mortgage that needs to be paid off, leaving you with net equity of $150,000. However, if you are paying a commission to real estate agents, then that means paying $24,000, which means that you end up with $126,000 at the time of closing the sale.
The other major expense sellers will pay is closing costs. On average, they can end up further reducing your owners net equity by another 2-3 percent – roughly $10,000 in this example. Your $150,000 in equity is now down over 20% to $116,000. That’s one big reason why many home sellers attempt to sell the home without a realtor – to save money. But unless you can find a buyer willing to pay market price AND your side of the closing costs, you’re stuck. In this example, selling for sale by owner (FSBO) could save about $34,000 – the price of a decent new car or a few really nice vacations.
Reasons You Might Not Want to Sell Your House Without a Listing Agent
It takes time and effort
The first reason an owner might decide against selling by owner is the time and effort it will take to do it yourself. You’ll still need to take the time to prepare the home for sale, take good professional photos, put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, facilitate showings, negotiate pricing and coordinate closing. Potential For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sellers may change their minds after considering all the work involved. Home sales are stressful enough to begin with!
You’ll probably still need to pay buyers agents
When you sell your house by owner, you may still need to pay a commission to a buyer’s agent. Many buyers use a real estate agent when they search for homes, and those agents typically split the commission paid by the seller. Even if there is no listing agent, the buyer agents may expect to be paid for bringing their buyer to the table. If you look at FSBO listings online, you’ll commonly see phrases like “buyer’s agents welcome”, which means the seller is still paying at least some commission. The buyer may not know exactly how this works and thinks the service is “free” to them.
You’re not good at negotiating or dealing with people
Negotiating the terms of a real estate sale by owner is not too complicated, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. As both seller and agent, you need to be able to compare offers and give feedback. If you have difficulty dealing with people or would consider yourself a “pushover”, selling by owner might not be the best fit.
Steps to Selling a House by Owner
Determine the Fair Value of Your Home
Now, before selling a house by owner, you will need to know what value to expect so you can estimate your equity. Getting this step right is crucial to closing a sale with as little effort as possible and all the while without feeling as though you could have sold it for more. If you price the home too low, you will walk away with obviously less money. However, price it too high, and your house can end up sitting on the market for maybe months if not for over a year, at which point you’ll then reduce the price. That said, pricing too high is one of the most common mistakes FSBO sellers make and it ends up costing them in the way of time and money. It’s important to realize the property’s value to buyers is what gives it value – not what you think it’s worth to you!
Now there are three main ways to find out how much your property is worth:
Use Real Estate Valuation Websites
Many websites can automatically tell what your home is worth. The tools are free to use and draw on data from previous sales in your area. However, these are estimates and can at times be very inaccurate if there are not many similar properties that have sold nearby. The valuation websites don’t compare the property condition to yours, so if your home is updated and the recent similar properties that sold were dated, the estimate could be way too low (or visa versa). These sites usually have current MLS listings so you can see where asking prices are trending compared to the sales that already closed.
Get a Market Analysis from a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent will have access to everything needed to come up with a detailed analysis of your home and usually some details on their plans to market your home. Most real estate agents will do this for free and provide an estimate which can be considered reliable.
However, since the real estate agent is running the analysis in an effort to list your home, you will get a sales pitch along with the analysis. Plus, some agents may give you a high estimate just to get you to list your home with them. But there is no guarantee that if you hire a professional realtor, that’s the price they can help you get.
Use a Licensed Appraiser
A licensed appraiser will give you the most accurate estimate of your property’s value. The appraiser’s assessment can also be used as a basis of valuation when in the process of negotiating a sale with a potential buyer without an agent.
Appraisers charge money for their work, which is the only potential downside. You can expect to pay around $500 for a report. Also, since you are ordering the appraisal on your own, it isn’t going to be accepted by the buyer’s mortgage broker or bank.
Once you feel comfortable that you have a good asking price to start with, it’s time to get the house ready.
Prepare the Home to Sell
Now many first-time sellers may not know this, but preparation is one of the most crucial steps to sell your house without a realtor. You’ll need to carefully go through the property, looking at it from the eyes of a potential buyer. Think about what you like and dislike about the property? FSBO sellers can be biased, for obvious reasons but it literally pays to be objective here.
You need to start with finding issues with the home. When most buyers are looking at a home, they know all the flaws that could soon become their problem once the sale closes. Many may be looking at the general appearance of the home, in addition to thinking, does it have curb appeal? Does it flow well? Is the kitchen functional?
As a homeowner, this step is understandably hard to do. However, you need to be objective; if you can’t handle this step, you could get an outsider’s opinion. That said, don’t be offended by what an outsider may tell you. Their observations are important because it is going to be your job to make the property presentable based on them.
Unless the home is maintained in highly unlikely showroom condition, below are a couple of improvements we think you might want to invest in before attempting to sell:
Make minor repairs, inside and out
It’s time to fix up all the things that buyers will notice when touring your house. Check the house for loose door handles, leaky faucets, sticky windows, electrical switches, fans, lights, the heating system, garage door opener, etc., all need to be in 100% working condition, otherwise you can expect buyers to lower their offer price. And don’t forget the first impression: curb appeal. Consider a front door upgrade to start your showings off right.
Neutralize your paint colors
Touch-up or, if needed, repaint rooms in your home that may look tired or make it hard for buyers to visualize living there. If you have bright orange walls, it’s time to get them back to eggshell.
Declutter the home.
You will want to remove unnecessary items from the attic, closet, garage, and basement. Minimize the amount of furnishings and other stuff you have in every room. Taking this step will make your home’s appearance flow much better. Many sellers will rent a storage unit for the stuff that will hurt the buyer’s value perception of the house.
Evaluate major updates
If you’ve owned your home for a long time, it might be looking dated and hurt the value. You may need to renovate kitchens and bathrooms to entice buyers who are looking for move-in ready housing (and are willing to pay for it). You’ll need to consider the cost of the projects vs what you’ll pay. Get 3-4 quotes for your project and focus on making your home similar to the homes that sold for the highest value nearby. What the buyers want to see is what’s important here, not what you like!
Now, if you don’t have time to work on all those improvements or are not sure how to go about doing it, then maybe hire a home staging service. The services specialize in staging homes for sale, so they know their way around making a home presentable, but they charge a fee. However, staging can be crucial to fetch the price you want when you put up the home for sale.
Start Marketing Your Home
It is important to be clear here that there is no single, best way to sell your home that we can recommend or talk about. However, there are a couple of basic strategies that can be employed.
Below we’ll go into a few basic marketing strategies to sell your home without an agent.
Get a Good Yard Sign
Now, this is a no-brainer because you’ve seen them in front of just about every home that’s for sale. You will need a similar-looking sign. You can purchase these signs from an office supply store. However, we recommend spending a little more money on something that looks better.
Create Flyers to Market Your Home
Create a nice flyer which you can give out on tours or post them around your area. Websites like Canva.com have templates you can use. Make sure to add several quality photos showcasing the best features of your home, both on the inside and outside. For instance, if you have an expensive front door installed make sure its featured on the flyer. Doing this makes selling a house much easier.
You will also want the flyer to have the home’s address and your contact information, i.e., phone number and email address. Make sure you have a list of all the features and the sale price. Describe the local neighborhood, the school zone, neighbors, etc. It’s hard to sell a house when the buyers don’t know it’s for sale! The best way to approach content for the flyer is to think about what potential buyers will be interested in and talk about that.
Advertise Your Home Online
The internet is home to dozens of popular websites where you can advertise a home without a listing agent. Zillow is one of them, but there are others that also have a dedicated category for owners selling homes. Apart from these websites, you can also list your property for sale on Craigslist and Facebook, though you will probably have more success and attract buyers via websites dedicated to connecting property sellers with potential buyers. There are likely some professional, flat-fee services in your area that will list your home on the MLS for a fixed dollar amount, rather than a percent of the sale price paid by the seller.
Host Open Houses
Home sellers need to schedule open houses. You can schedule an open house over the weekend. During these days/hours, your home will be open to the public, who will and come in and walkthrough. However, make sure to advertise your open house a weak prior to the event and set up signs on major roads or subdivisions to lead potential buyers. Also, make it very easy for people to find your home. Be sure not to take feedback personally since you’ll hear the negative feedback without a realtor running the showing for you.
Collect Offers & Negotiate
Traditionally, the real estate agent will be responsible for negotiating the sale. However, since you don’t have one, its up to you to directly negotiate with the buyer’s agent or prospective buyers to sell your house. Like most negotiations, it is a give-and-take situation that you have to be comfortable with. Buyers come in with a figure in mind to make you an offer, which is often below your asking price. The offer may also come with a couple of tough conditions like you, i.e., the seller taking care of closing costs.
If you think that the initial offer isn’t acceptable based on your market knowledge or of recently sold homes in your area, then you will need to go back and forth. However, as you come down on the price and the buyer may agree to raise it slightly, you can decide which is the sweet spot for both buyer and seller.
Most initial home sale negotiations are verbal, but once an agreement has been reached, the buyer has to send you a written offer. You will need a small number of real estate contracts that are specific to the property; fortunately, these are easy to find online.
Ensure that the contract spells out every detail of the sale, which includes closing concessions, purchase price, and the items that are part of the sale. Also included and worth mentioning is the closing date and the location of the sale closing.
The contract will also need to have contingencies built into it. For instance, the buyer is going to insist on getting the home inspected by a professional. However, you need to insist that the buyer get a copy of their mortgage approval within a week of accepting their offer.
Most real estate closings take place at the offices of a real estate attorney or even the title company, depending on where you live. The seller usually makes this decision but you’ll need to mutually agree.
How Do Sale by Owner Closings Work?
Technically the closing is a legal affair. In other words, a specific process needs to be followed, and that’s going to be entirely handled by an attorney or a title agent. Once you decide who handles the closing, you will be provided with the next steps needed to close.
The closing agent or the closing attorney will do most of the heavy lifting for a home sale. However, you might be called upon to provide documentation if and when needed. That said, you will want to ensure that everything is easily accessible so that the sale can close without a hitch.
Make sure to keep in continuous contact with buyers between the time a contract is accepted and when it is closed. Sure, there will be points of contention, but if you have good communication it can help you get through without compromising on the sales price too much.
In our experience, the most major closing obstacle is the mortgage. Even if the buyer has given you a copy of their mortgage approval, you will want to stay on top of all the developments. It is important to remember that all mortgage approvals have conditions associated with them, which need to be satisfied from the time of approval right up to the time it closes. Some conditions aren’t minor, which is why if the buyer can’t meet them, the approval for a loan can be withdrawn, in which case the sale falls through.
Make sure that the mortgage closing agent is involved with all the back and forth. You don’t want to have a nervous buyer on your hands who provides more information to the closing agent than they did to you.
When Does FSBO Make the Most Sense?
Well, there are certain cases when FSBO may make sense for a seller. As mentioned earlier, FSBO may not be for everyone, but here are some of the situations in which it might be the right choice.
When You Already Have a Buyer
It does not happen a lot, but you can get lucky and find someone interested in buying your home even before listing it on the market. The buyer can be a friend, family member, or a neighbor who loves your home and wants to know if you’d sell it to them. If anything this makes selling a house way easier.
As you probably guessed, the majority of pitfalls of FSBO are during the marketing phase. That’s where real estate agents shine; they are pros at marketing and getting potential parties interested. However, those selling on their own may struggle to find interested parties. But if you don’t have to market because a buyer is already lined up, then you’ve gotten past arguably the most challenging stage of the process. All you need now is an attorney.
The important thing to remember is that viability and interest aren’t the same things. You need to make sure that the buyer is, in fact, capable of following through. Ensure that you ask that they (buyer) get the mortgage approved and bring an attorney on board as soon as possible to avoid potential issues.
When Selling in a Market with High Demand
In major cities like Washington, D.C, San Francisco, or any other market where homes are in high demand but the supply is relatively low, it is possible to find prospective buyers without going through an agent to sell a house. It can be easier if you set a price that helps to sell the home sooner than later instead of maximizing profit.
In high-demand markets, sellers have the upper hand in negotiations because there is a lot of competition amongst potential buyers than properties aren’t on the market for long. Many can sell within a few days, which means every new property on the market is a hot commodity.
If you take the FSBO route in a hot market, you need to show the property off in the best possible way. Hire a pro photographer to take excellent quality professional photos and then spread the word online and through flyers. It will not be long before you have a buyer on the hook.
It is important to bear in mind that if you are trying to maximize profits, FSBO isn’t probably the best choice, even if you’re selling in a booming market. While you might save on closing costs and commission, agents are great at negotiating and can help you get more money via a shorter selling process.
When You Don’t Want to Sell Fast
Time is one of the most important factors when it comes to selling a home. If you have all the time in the world to sell then, FSBO is going to work for you. After all, home selling takes time. Marketing your home and finding a potential buyer takes time. If you hire an agent, they take around 3-5 days to list a home and then another 65 days to sell it on average. If you are relying on your own skills, it is likely going to take longer.
If you are not in a hurry, then FSBO might be for you. You have the time to handle all the leg work, and that can translate into savings after the sale closes.
When Selling a Manufactured Home
In the manufactured home and mobile home market, it is very common for owners to sell their own homes instead of hiring a real estate agent because these types of homes are cheaper than other types. Plus, it is a far smaller market with a defined, niche buyer.
However, if you are going to take the FSBO for a manufactured or mobile home, it pays to do a bit of research to find how to best price the home. Even though the differences in pricing are great between selling a mobile home and a single-family home, it is important to know what you might be getting yourself into before starting the process.
Frequently Asked Questions about the ‘Sell home by owner’ Approach.
Are There Closing Costs When Selling By Owner?
Yes, there are closing costs involved when the owner is selling their own home. In fact, anytime you sell property, you’re responsible for paying closing costs. The specific amount you pay will vary depending on how much the property is sold for in the first place. Generally, you’re looking at paying between 2% and 4% of the sale price.
Is For Sale By Owner Worth It?
“For sale by owner” (FSBO) can be worth it depending on your circumstances. You will most certainly save by not having to pay a real estate agent’s commission, which can be at least a few thousand dollars. However, selling a house on your own can challenging and may not be for everyone.
Is it difficult to sell a home by the owner?
Yes, selling a home by owner can be challenging, especially for first-time sellers. There are multiple steps involved, not to mention that it takes time and effort to sell on your own. The decision to sell your own home should be based on if you have the time and are willing to put in the effort required. Also, is doing it yourself worth it?
What paperwork do I need to sell a house by the owner?
You will need a few documents on hand when selling your own home. These documents will include but will not be limited to:
• Purchase contract
• Regulatory disclosures (such as for lead paint)
How to Sell a Home Buy Owner Within Just a Week?
Now that you know what’s involved with selling a home on your own, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. After all, it does entail so many steps, and it’s near impossible to get away with skipping any of them. But even after all that effort and money spent, you might not be able to sell a home for what you thought was possible. Also, selling a home by putting it on the market isn’t for everyone. Some types of homes, like ones that require extensive repairs, something which the owner can’t afford, will not sell taking the conventional FSBO route.
Fortunately, there is an alternative, faster way to sell your home, and that’s to a cash-for-home buying company like ours.
At Full Price Offers, we make offers within 24 hours and can close within 7-days! You pay no commission, repairs, or anything else. Plus, our team handles everything for you, which speeds up the process considerably.
Fill out our short online form here to get a quick no-obligation offer. You can also call or text (844) 997-3559 for a free no-obligation offer.
How Selling Your Home to Full Price Offers Works?
It is important to start by saying that we will buy just about any home, regardless of location, condition, or construction date. We are real estate investors that have been buying property for a very long time. Our team of experienced professionals have years of experience evaluating homes and making fair offers based on their assessment. In most cases, we make fair all-cash offers to sellers. However, there is no pressure to sell your house, and you choose when to close.
Selling your home quick to us is easy, and here is how it works:
Fill out our online form or give us a call – It all starts with you getting in touch to provide us with a bit of information about your property. We will then use the home’s address to pre-fill most of the information regarding your home’s size and type, like the number of bedrooms and square footage, etc. We will also ask you a couple of questions, like if you want to move quickly with the sale? Maybe a reason for why you’re selling etc. However, we don’t expect you to give us any personal information if you don’t want to.
Choose an offer – We will give you a couple of offers based on what we know about your home. Each offer is a win-win for both of us. While most other companies may give you just one offer, we give you multiple offers because, once we agree on a price for the property, the equity is paid out in terms instead of a single payment. However, it depends on the situation; at times, it is a cash payment upfront, and in others, it might be a monthly payment. You get to choose what works best for you, and that’s why we give you multiple options.
Sign the purchase agreement and then schedule a closing date – Once the terms are agreed upon, a purchase contract will need to be drawn up. The documents are usually e-singed with Docusign. Furthermore, we can also handle paper documents for anyone who wants them. However, these agreements are a lot like the standard contracts from the old days.
Closing the sale – We close all real estate transactions via a local title company, or we’ll arrange for a real estate attorney. A final walkthrough is scheduled for the day of the closing to ensure that the property is in the same condition in which the offer was made. In most cases, it is, so there is nothing to worry about.
If you decide to go with our offer, all of this is completed with 7-days, or you can choose when to close.
Getting an offer from FullPriceOffers, is simple, something we’ve demonstrated above, and you’ll save much more money as compared to going the traditional FSBO route. Unlike the traditional FSBO route, you also don’t need to pay buyer agent commissions or closing costs.
If you are thinking of FSBO, we would highly recommend that you save yourself a great deal of time and effort by first getting an offer from us. Since it is a no-obligation offer, you can decide if it is worth going through the trouble and time often required by FSBO.
Want to sell your home fast without a hitch? Call us today to start the process.