Selling a home without a realtor (also called for sale by owner, or FSBO) can save you thousands in listing agent fees — which in Colorado average 2.7% of the sale price.
A FSBO sale makes particular sense when you already have a buyer and don’t need to list and market your home. It can also work if you’re an experienced home seller with a solid support network, like a realtor friend who can help price and list your home and a lawyer who can draw up the contract.
FSBO homes have lower median sale prices than homes sold with an agent,and they’re prone to sit on the market longer. A survey of recent home sellers found that those who sold without a realtor were nearly twice as likely as traditional sellers to wait at least three months for an acceptable offer.
While we don’t recommend the FSBO route for every seller, many people have had success selling FSBO. FSBO sales made up approximately 7% of home sales in 2022.
If you do decide to sell without a realtor, here are a few approaches you can take.
Options for selling without a realtor
1. Get a cash offer from an investor
If you need to sell fast without a realtor, you can usually get the quickest offers from investors. Investors include national brands like We Buy Houses and local house flippers. They can usually make offers on the spot and close in as few as 7–14 days.
A key benefit of investors is that they can purchase homes that most buyers either aren’t interested in or can’t get traditional funding for. (Most mortgage lenders won’t finance homes in severe disrepair.) Investors are also adept at handling tricky situations, such as pre-foreclosure, problem tenants, or debt-related property liens.
However, if you want the maximum price for your home, you probably won’t get it from an investor.
Investors earn a profit by purchasing homes at bargain prices — usually no more than 70% of fair market value — then fixing them and selling or renting them for market value. However, some investors can offer 80–90% or more through lesser-known options like novation agreementsand seller financing
Any honest investor will tell you that you’ll get more for your home by listing it with an agent. But if you feel like you’re running out of options, an investor can get you cash quickly — with no added fees for repairs or closing costs.
When should you consider selling to a cash buyer?
Selling to a cash buyer makes the most sense when:
- You’re willing to sacrifice equity to sell quickly
- Your home requires extensive repairs you can’t afford
- You’re dealing with a difficult situation, such as pre-foreclosure or problem tenants
- You inherit a property in poor or outdated condition
How can you get the most cash for your house?
When selling your house for cash, you’ll get the best outcome by seeking competing cash offers from multiple buyers. You can do this on your own, with the help of a realtor, or through a free service like Clever Offers.
The amount you get for your home will depend on your property and situation, as well as the type of agreement you make with an investor.
Options like novation agreements or mortgage assumptionscan get you more than the standard cash offer for your home. But you’ll need to have some flexibility with your selling timeline — or be willing to get paid over time instead of all at once.
2. Sell to an iBuyer
iBuyers like Offerpad and Opendoor promise a quick, hassle-free home sale.
Like investors, iBuyers make an initial cash offer based on the property details you provide and can close in as little as a week or two — no showings, negotiations, or home prep required.
In exchange for this convenience, iBuyers tend to offer 5–10% below market value and charge service fees of about 5%. They also make deductions for repairs, lowering offers by at least another 1–2%.
It’s free to request an offer from an iBuyer. If you decide to move forward, the iBuyer sends an inspector to look over your home and document any visible repairs. After the inspector’s assessment, you receive a final offer reflecting any deductions for repairs.
Many homeowners have been happy with the process of selling to an iBuyer. But recent reviews from Opendoor and Offerpad note that final offers are sometimes dramatically lower than initial estimates — even by as much as $100,000.
If you accept the final offer, the iBuyer handles the paperwork and closes on your preferred timeline — anywhere from 8–90 days, depending on the company. You don’t pay any out-of-pocket closing costs, since everything is deducted from your offer.
3. Hire a flat fee MLS listing service
If you list your home without a realtor, a flat fee MLS listing service can help you increase your listing’s visibility without breaking the bank.
While realtors charge 2.5–3% to sell your home, a flat fee MLS company can list your home for a few hundred dollars. And just like with a regular listing, your property is visible to buyers on popular real estate sites like Zillow and Redfin.
You still handle plenty of the selling process on your own, including pricing, photography, staging, showings, and negotiations. You’re also in charge of vetting offers and verifying buyers’ financing.
And you probably still need to offer a 2–3% buyer’s agent commission, or else you risk buyers going elsewhere. Most buyers won’t like having to pay their agent out of pocket, especially when other sellers are willing to cover their realtor fees.
If you’re mainly considering a flat fee MLS company to save money — and aren’t familiar with the process — you’ll find much better overall value with a discount realtor.
4. Hire a real estate attorney
If you already have a buyer, you may only need to hire a real estate attorney to handle paperwork and closing.
An attorney won’t negotiate the price or the terms of a sale, but they’re uniquely qualified to give legal advice related to your home sale.
For example, a real estate lawyer can:
- Draw up a purchase agreement based on terms you and the buyer agreed on
- Make amendments to a contract after inspections or further negotiations
- Advise you on the best approach for complicated legal issues, like selling a home with a deceased owner or splitting proceeds after a divorce
- Look for loopholes in a purchase agreement and advise you on closing them
- Complete a title search and resolve any issues
- Prepare a statement of the transaction fees you’ll pay at closing
- Draft the deed and other documents required for closing
- Oversee the closing process, including recording the deed with the appropriate county official
For a real estate transaction, an attorney may charge a flat fee or an hourly rate. Fixed rates for a straightforward home sale — including contracts and closing — can cost $500–2,000. Hourly rates can be $150–600. More complex transactions can end up costing several thousand dollars.
If you’re not sure about selling without a realtor, check out our thorough guide to selling FSBO to help you decide. If you’d like to explore other cost-saving options, consider highly rated discount real estate companies, like Clever Real Estate, that allow you to work with a top local real estate agent at about half the typical cost.
8 steps to sell a home in Colorado without a realtor
Selling a home without a realtor involves many of the same steps as selling with one, except you’re on your own. To learn more about the basic steps to sell, read our simple, 12-step guide to selling a house.
For Colorado FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get familiar with the FSBO process
Regardless of how you choose to sell FSBO, you should familiarize yourself with the practical and legal requirements of selling a house in Colorado.
For example, Colorado home sellers must complete a standard Seller’s Property Disclosure notifying buyers about the general condition of the home and any known defects. They are also required to fill out a Green Disclosure form informing buyers of the property’s relative energy efficiency, based on factors like its construction materials, heating and cooling systems, and appliances.
You should provide disclosures to the buyer before signing a contract.
If you hire a lawyer, they can help you know which documents to prepare. Some flat fee MLS companies also provide legal paperwork required by the states they operate in.
2. Get your home ready to sell
If you’re planning to list your house, the next step is preparing your home for photos and showings. This means making sure everything is updated and in great shape to make a good impression on buyers.
Common preparation tasks include:
- Replacing light bulbs and broken fixtures
- Making small repairs
- Ensuring everything is up to code
- Shampooing carpets and deep cleaning
- Applying a new coat of paint
- Improving the landscaping
Strive for a clean, decluttered look when prepping your home for sale. You want the buyer to imagine living there, so many realtors recommend sticking to neutral paint colors and removing personal items.
Avoid making costly upgrades unless they affect the home’s ability to sell. Old, stained carpet or a leaky roof could scare away buyers, so you should address those problems. But you probably won’t get your money back by adding a new porch or swimming pool.
When you’re comfortable with how your home looks, stage it and take listing photos. Realtors especially recommend staging for luxury properties and homes that may need help getting buyers to look past their flaws.
You can do the staging and photography yourself or hire them out. On average, a Colorado photographer charges $149 for new listings, and a stager charges about $886.
3. Price your home accurately
When selling a house in Colorado without a realtor, be very careful about choosing a list price. This task is something half of recent FSBO sellers struggled to get right. Err on the side of listing your house either at or slightly below market value.
Often, high list prices result in more time on the market, lost buyer interest, and the seller lowering the asking price before actually achieving a sale. A more competitive list price can lead to a lot more showings and interest from buyers, possibly sparking a bidding war and significantly driving up the price.
According to research from Collateral Analytics and the National Association of Realtors, FSBO sellers make anywhere from 5% to 26% less on their homes than realtors with comparable listings.
Nonetheless, you can still use some of the same methods as realtors to determine the ideal listing price.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis, or CMA, is the standard method for determining a listing price. This report compares your home to recently sold homes in the area that are similar in size, age, features, and condition. By examining what buyers have paid for those homes, you can get an idea of what they might pay for yours.
Hire an appraiser
An appraisal is considered the most accurate method of determining a home’s value. An appraisal is similar to a CMA, but it’s completed by a licensed professional who personally visits your home and accounts for the physical condition of the property, along with many other factors.
If a buyer uses financing to purchase your home, their lender will order an appraisal to confirm the home is worth the cost of the loan. In Colorado, the cost of an appraisal typically falls between .
4. List and market your home
Before marketing your home, familiarize yourself with Colorado’s laws about advertising real estate. Many of the rules apply to realtors, but since you won’t have an agent to help you write the listing, it’s best if you make sure you’re in compliance with the for sale by owner laws in Colorado.
Start by listing on free FSBO listing websites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, ForSaleByOwner.com, and Zillow/Trulia (in the FSBO section). These sites are a good place to gain a foothold, but if you want maximum exposure, think about working with a Colorado flat fee MLS company.
Colorado flat fee MLS companies
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a database where listing agents promote their listings, and buyers’ agents find for-sale homes for their clients. Only realtors can list properties on the MLS, but as a FSBO seller, you can work with a flat fee MLS company to have your listing posted.
In Colorado, a flat fee MLS service will cost you anywhere from $200 to $700, depending on the specific services you choose. Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in Colorado are:
Read our in-depth guide to Colorado’s flat fee MLS companies to decide which one works best for you.
Can I use a For Sale By Owner sign in Colorado?
The state of Colorado doesn’t require sellers to get a zoning permit to place “For Sale” signs in their yards. Real estate signs are allowed on private property as long as they don’t interfere with public right-of-way.
However, some Colorado cities have slightly different requirements for real estate signage. In Denver, signs must be placed at least 3 feet away from sidewalks and can’t be any larger than 5 square feet. In Colorado Springs, signs can be up to 6 square feet, but must be removed within 14 days after the property is sold.
To be safe, check your county’s regulations before putting a sign in your yard.
Required Colorado seller disclosures
Sellers must fill out a residential property disclosure form that lists all known defects or problems with their home. If a seller finds another issue with the property after completing the disclosure form, they must inform the buyer immediately. Failing to do so could result in legal trouble.
If your property was built before 1978, federal law requires you to disclose the existence of any lead-based paint. Some mortgage lenders may also ask you to provide a Flood Zone Statement.
Sellers in Colorado must additionally disclose:
- If the property is in a special taxing district
- If the property is part of a common interest community
- If the property has been used as a meth lab (unless the damage is fully resolved)
- Any transportation projects that are affecting or will affect the property
- The home’s source of potable water
- Information about surface and mineral rights
Mineral and oil rights
In Colorado, underground minerals can be severed from the ownership of the surface-level property. Known as a “mineral estate,” these underground resources can be sold, subdivided, or leased, just like the surface property.
If you’re not sure if you own the mineral rights, your county’s clerk and recorder’s office can help you locate records. However, you might need legal assistance to fully understand what your rights entail.
You can also check the Geographic Information System (GIS) to see if the state owns mineral rights beneath your home. The Colorado State Land Board owns approximately 4 million mineral acres throughout the state, so there’s a good chance they might own your subsurface property.
5. Manage showings on your own
After officially listing the home, potential buyers will begin reaching out to schedule showings. Respond promptly to questions and showing appointment requests.
Create a spreadsheet to keep track of agent and buyer contact details. Use a scheduling app such as Google Calendar to organize appointments.
💡Tips to make the most of your home showings
- Leave the home before buyers arrive. Homeowners can be distracting to buyers when they’re touring a home. If they have any questions, they can contact you later. To give realtors access, purchase a lockbox from a local hardware store for around $50.
- Schedule home showings one after the other to create a sense of competition among buyers. When buyers see others arriving to tour the property before or after their appointment, it suggests the property is in high demand, creating a sense of urgency. This may motivate them to make an offer before losing the opportunity.
- Place the listing description, fact sheets, and all necessary disclosures in a noticeable location, such as a table or kitchen counter. Make sure your contact information is easy to find.
6. Review and negotiate offers
When you receive an offer, it will come in the form of a document called a purchase and sale agreement. This is what a Colorado real estate purchase agreement typically looks like.
You won’t have a realtor to look over this for sale by owner Colorado contract, so read the offer very carefully and note anything you don’t understand. An attorney is not required to sell a home in Colorado, but it could be worth it to hire one to read over the contact for you. In Colorado, a real estate attorney typically costs about $295 per hour.
In addition to the offer price, pay attention to the following things as well:
Do the purchasers have any contingency requests? It’s common for buyers to ask for certain conditions to be met in their offer, known as contingencies. It’s reasonable to expect an appraisal contingency and an inspection contingency, but accepting several contingencies can create a riskier deal for you.
Is it a cash offer or a financed offer? Most home purchases are financed, which means the buyer is obtaining a mortgage to pay for the home. Financed offers often include extra steps such as an appraisal and waiting for the lender’s approval. Although cash offers are usually quicker and simpler, there are exceptions.
Do the buyers provide a reason for their price? In some cases, offers may contain requests for repair credits, which outline specific issues with the property and their estimated repair costs. For instance, a buyer might mention that the driveway needs repaving and reduce the offer price accordingly to account for the cost. If you know the driveway is likely a deal-breaker for other buyers, think about the offer from that perspective.
After reviewing the offer, you have three options: accept, reject, or propose a counteroffer. To submit a counteroffer, simply change the form, add your own terms, and return it to the buyer.
If you get a lowball offer, you can just reject it. If you’re considering a counteroffer, be careful how you respond. You’re free to change the terms however you like, but a counteroffer that’s too aggressive might as well be a rejection if the buyer sees it as unfair.
To learn more, check out our negotiation strategies guide for inspiration on how to respond.
7. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
Once you accept an offer, you will enter the “due diligence” stage where the buyer has an opportunity to closely inspect the home and make sure it’s a solid investment.
During this period, the following may occur:
If any issues come up during this period, it may be necessary to renegotiate the sale’s terms. During this time, either the buyer or seller may terminate the agreement, but we suggest consulting with a lawyer before walking away.
If everything goes according to plan, though, you can move on to the closing process.
Prior to closing, you’ll get a closing statement that shows what you’ll earn from the sale and what you’ll pay in closing costs
Real estate closings are usually held at the office of a real estate agent, a title company, or an attorney. Talk to the buyer’s agent if you need help finding a location.
At closing, you’ll sign a lot of documents, including the deed transfer that officially makes the buyer the new owner.
In Colorado, you can expect a check or wire transfer for the difference later the same day.
Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Colorado
Below, you’ll find a list of prices for common services you might want to consider if you decide to sell without a realtor. However, know that if your home is in need of repairs or is in a buyer’s market, you might need to spend a lot more to prep and market your property.
💸 Common costs for FSBO sellers
|Appraisal||$340 to $495||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$149||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$886||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$295 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||$200 to $700||To get listed on the MLS|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.8% of sale price||To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (it’s customary for the seller to pay)|
On average, it costs 7.5% of the home price to sell by owner and about 10% of the home price to sell with a real estate agent. However, the amount you’ll actually save will depend on repairs you need to make, concessions, and other expenses.
Use our calculator to get an idea of how much you can expect to spend if you sell without a realtor.
The average realtor commission in Colorado is 2.7% of the sale price, or about . If you want to keep more of this money in your pocket, Clever can match you with an experienced agent at a fraction of the price.
For sale by owner paperwork in Colorado
Here’s a list of the Colorado paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
- Seller’s Property Disclosure Form
- Green Disclosure Form
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- Flood Risk Disclosure
Not finding what you’re looking for? Check out our comprehensive list of paperwork for selling your house without a realtor.
Best alternative: Work with a discount broker
For many people, trying to sell without an agent isn’t worth the hassle. If you think you’ll need some help along the way, a discount broker is a good alternative.
Discount brokers are full-service real estate agents who offer reduced commission rates. Sellers can save thousands while still receiving assistance from an expert local agent.
For discount broker services, we highly recommend Clever Real Estate. Clever pre-negotiates with top agents to offer you low commission rates without compromising on service quality. Other reputable discount brokers include Redfin and Ideal Agent.
Frequently asked questions
Can I sell my house without a realtor in Colorado?
Yes, you can sell without a realtor in Colorado. However, this might not be the best choice if you're unfamiliar with the local market or don't have a lot of time to sell. A real estate agent can save you time and help you sell for top dollar.
Is Colorado a buyer beware state?
No, Colorado has strict disclosure requirements for sellers. Sellers are required by law to disclose all known problems or defects with a property before listing. If additional issues are found after the disclosure form is completed, the seller must tell the prospective buyer as soon as possible.
If you need some more advice about selling your Colorado home, here are a few great resources to check out:
Average Real Estate Commission in Colorado: Even if you decide to sell without a realtor, it’s still a good idea to offer a buyer’s agent commission. Learn how much this might cost you here.
Top We Buy Houses Companies in Colorado REVEALED: We Buy Houses companies offer to buy homes quickly, even if they’re in poor condition. If you need to sell your property quickly, find out if one of these agencies can help.
25 of the Top for Sale by Owner Questions, Answered: Still not sure if FSBO is right for you? Get answers to your most pressing questions here!