Selling your home without a realtor is typically harder than selling with an agent. For sale by owner (FSBO) sellers are responsible for completing all of the tasks that an agent would normally take on, including setting the list price, marketing the property, negotiating, and much more.
However, a FSBO sale can be relatively easy in some cases: you already know the buyer, you have experience selling homes, or it’s a hot seller’s market.
What makes selling without a realtor harder
Setting a listing price
To accurately value a home, experts conduct a comparative market analysis (CMA), which considers the sale prices of recently sold homes as well as neighborhood conditions. You can use Redfin and Zillow to find some of this data, but it may not be accurate.
According to the National Association of Realtors, pricing the home correctly is the hardest part of an FSBO sale. In fact, FSBO homes sold for a median of $120,000 less than agent-listed homes in 2022.
Handling the paperwork
Buying and selling a home is a huge financial transaction worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And there’s legally binding paperwork at every stage of the selling process.
You’ll need to document inspections, any code violations and repairs, systems health, environmental quality, and more. Individual states determine what you need to disclose to buyers.
Mistakes can be costly — whether by delaying closing or by opening you up to lawsuits and penalties.
Marketing your home
After setting an asking price and listing the home for sale on the MLS, you have to make the home more appealing to potential buyers. This can involve deep cleans, staging, taking high- quality pictures, and promoting the home on social media.
Making the property available for buyers is crucial — but harder than it may seem. You need to respond to buyers or their agents within a day, set viewing appointments quickly, and resist the urge to be a salesperson during the tour.
Negotiating with buyers
Simply accepting or rejecting an offer can require submitting your response according to local laws. Negotiations may also include repairs, seller concessions, and closing credits.
Not only will you need to advocate for yourself while being objective — you’ll also have to precisely calculate these figures, document the decisions accurately in the final purchase contract, and make sure to follow through on the terms of the agreement.
A real estate lawyer could help at $150–350 per hour, though that’ll eat away at your sale profits.
A home is a very personal space, and it’s often difficult for sellers to see their home as others may see it. This can create a challenge when setting a fair listing price that will attract potential buyers.
How to make selling your own home easier
If you’re interested in how to sell your house without a realtor, there are ways to make the process easier on you while still making sure you get the job done.
Use the right tools
Flat fee listing services can help you list your home on the MLS as well as offer other tools that you may need. You can also order an appraisal, pre-listing inspection, and have an agent prepare a CMA to help you list the home appropriately.
In 2022, 89% of sellers listed their home on the MLS. These homes are then syndicated to other real estate sites like Zillow and Redfin, helping the home get in front of as many potential buyers as possible. If you decide to handle the sale on your own, a flat fee MLS listing company can help you with this step.
Also, realtors often have a network of cash buyers who prefer fixer-uppers or can offer suggestions for what you should fix up before listing it. You can reach these buyers by listing on a cash investor marketplace.
Check your state paperwork
Selling a house requires a lot of paperwork, from disclosures to closing documents. Making sure the paperwork is in order, especially without a realtor by your side to guide the process, is crucial to a successful home sale.
Hire pros for certain tasks
If you don’t want to go all in working with a realtor, you can hire a limited service agent, transaction coordinator, or a real estate attorney (or all three) to help you navigate the transaction.
If you want to do a FSBO to save money, it’s possible to get a full-service agent for half the price of a traditional listing agent. Clever agents take care of the entire home sale process just as a traditional agent would, but they only charge a 1.5% commission — half the price of other full-service realtors.
Do I Need a Realtor to Sell My House? How to Decide. Here are situations when you might need a realtor to sell your house, and when you may be able to go it alone.
The Ultimate For Sale By Owner Toolkit. If selling your own home seems overwhelming, check out this list of tools to help you through every stage of the process.
Paperwork for Selling a House Without a Realtor (Free Examples and Downloads). Wondering how to sell a house by owner? Paperwork is essential, but it can be overwhelming. Find out what paperwork you need to sell FSBO.
Transaction Coordinator vs. Real Estate Agent. Transaction Coordinators seem like a great deal on the face of it, but what do you really get? Let’s compare agents with transaction coordinators to find out!
Do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer to Sell My House? Do you need a real estate lawyer to sell your house, or is working with a real estate agent only your best choice? Learn ALL the facts here.