Should I use a realtor? | What does a realtor do in Georgia? | Cost of selling without a realtor | Georgia real estate regulations | How to sell without a realtor | Alternatives to selling without a realtor | FAQs
Selling your home without a realtor means you won’t have to pay a listing commission, which in Georgia averages 2.9% of the sale price. Considering a typical Georgia house is worth about $301,000, that’s a savings of $8,642.
However, trying to sell a home For Sale by Owner (FSBO) can be tough. You’ll be responsible for every step of the selling process, which can take up a lot of your time and energy.
In the end, selling a house without a real estate agent isn’t worth it for most homeowners in Georgia. Many sellers don’t even realize that there are low commission real estate companies that offer professional assistance at reduced prices.
If you’re considering selling a house without a realtor in Georgia, read on to find out everything you need to know to do it successfully.
✍️ Key Takeaways of FSBO Sales
- Selling without a real estate agent means avoiding a listing commission (2.9% on average in Georgia). But in exchange for those savings, you’ll have to do everything from advertising your home to completing legal paperwork to negotiating the final deal.
- In most cases, you’ll still need to offer a buyer’s agent commission. 3.0% is typical in Georgia.
- Selling without an agent is best for experienced sellers or people selling to family or friends.
- For most sellers, there are better cost-saving options that will net you more money and provide professional support.
Should I sell my house without a realtor?
Not sure if FSBO is right for you? Use the checklists below to find out if selling your Georgia home without a realtor is the best option for your situation.
✅ Selling without an agent might be right for you if…
You want to save on commission.
When you sell without a realtor, you won’t pay a listing agent commission. In Georgia, that puts 2.9% of your final sale price back in your pocket. However, you will still need to offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission (3.0% is typical in Georgia).
You already have a buyer.
If you’ve already lined up a deal with a friend or family member, there’s no need to pay an agent to list your home on the MLS, host open houses, or negotiate on your behalf.
You have lots of time to spare.
Selling a house is a lot of work! You’ll need time to take on all the tasks a realtor normally handles, such as preparing the home for sale, marketing the property, reviewing paperwork, and much more.
You’re in a hot seller’s market.
If you’re in a high-demand area with low inventory, it can be easy to find a buyer without an agent’s help. With a flat fee MLS package or “For Sale” in your yard, it’s possible to find several potential buyers in no time.
Here’s how fast and for how much homes in Georgia are currently selling for so you see how your local market compares.
|Avg. days on market||Avg. listing price|
🚫 Selling without a realtor might not be right for you if…
You’re short on time.
If you’re on a tight deadline, hiring an agent might be your best option. Unless you already have a buyer lined up, you’ll have to squeeze home selling tasks into your nights and weekends — or make sacrifices elsewhere in your schedule.
You’ve never sold a home in Georgia.
Without an agent, you won’t have any professional guidance about increasing your property’s curb appeal, pricing your home, or choosing the best offer.
We can’t say this enough: If you’ve never been through a Georgia home sale or are facing a complicated transaction, do not try it without a real estate agent.
Making one mistake could cost you tens of thousands of dollars or create some serious legal headaches for you.
You want to sell for more money.
There are conflicting studies about whether FSBO properties sell for less compared to those sold by agents.
On the one hand, FSBO sellers are more likely to sell to friends or family and offer them a good deal on the home. This lowers the average price of homes sold without a realtor.
However, if a FSBO seller is inexperienced with pricing a home, they can lose money by pricing too low or scare away buyers by pricing too high.
There are other ways to save on commissions if selling your house without a realtor sounds too risky or stressful.
Clever Real Estate offers a free service that gets home sellers lower rates from top agents at trusted brands like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. You’ll get full service from a local agent (guaranteed), but pay just 1.5% in listing fees — half the rate agents typically charge. Get started today!
What does a realtor do in Georgia?
Georgia realtors are familiar with all the rules and regulations that can easily overwhelm first-time sellers. An experienced agent can take care of several important home-selling tasks for you, from listing your property on the MLS to negotiating with buyers to taking care of your paperwork.
Even if you’re in a hot seller’s market, selling a house can quickly become like a full-time job. If you don’t hire an agent, you’ll be responsible for handling every step of the selling process on your own.
Prices homes competitively
Agents will provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) to accurately price your home. They look at the popularity of your housing market, how much similar properties are selling for, new upgrades you’ve added to the home, and other variable factors.
But if you’re earlier in the home selling process and just need a general idea of what your house is worth, you may not need to contact a realtor. Try online home value estimators instead.
To get an idea of how much home values can vary, here’s a comparison of different sized homes value in Georgia.
|Home size||Home value in Georgia|
Before you list your home without a realtor, consider hiring an appraiser. A state-certified appraiser will take a look at your home’s location, condition, and amenities to estimate your home’s fair market value.
Connects you with local pros
Experienced agents have networks of the best professionals in the area. They can connect you with handymen, stagers, photographers, and other service providers so you don’t have to track down reliable pros on your own.
Lists your home
Working with an agent will get your property listed on the multiple listing service (MLS) database. This site can only be accessed by real estate agents, who use it to find homes for their clients. Without a realtor, you’ll either need to pay a flat fee MLS company to list your property on the database or forgo this marketing opportunity altogether.
Markets and negotiates
An agent can market your home, schedule open houses, reach out to potential buyers, and follow up with people who toured your home.
Agents will also negotiate with prospective buyers, which can be an intimidating process for FSBO sellers. It can be difficult for homeowners to view their houses objectively, so having a professional take care of negotiations can lead to the best outcomes for both parties.
Agents can take care of all the paperwork required to complete the real estate transaction, which can be a huge relief for sellers. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the sheer number of documents you’ll need to finalize the transaction.
Do I need a real estate attorney in Georgia?
Yes, Georgia requires sellers to have an attorney present during the closing process. An attorney will review all of the paperwork and answer any legal questions you might have.
Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Georgia
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||$290 to $365||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$136||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$1,532||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$150 to $243 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||$100 to $300||To get listed on the MLS|
|Buyer’s agent commission||3.0% of sale price||To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (the seller usually pays)|
|Transfer tax||$1 for every $1,000 of sale price||To pay the state of Georgia for the title transfer|
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.
If you’re considering selling without a realtor in Georgia, check out our friends at Clever Real Estate. Clever eliminates all the hassles and headaches of FSBO while helping you pay less than you would for a traditional realtor.
In Georgia, sellers pay an average of 2.9% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Georgia is $301,000, that amounts to $8,642. But with Clever, you can sell with a top local agent for just 1.5%, letting you keep more of your home’s equity in your pocket.
Georgia regulations FSBO sellers should know
Real estate regulations can vary from state to state, and even county to county. Whether you’re selling a condo in Atlanta or a bungalow in Sugar Hill, you’ll need to make sure you follow the federal, state, and county guidelines to avoid fines or other penalties.
Here are some of the key facts you need to know before listing your home in Georgia — whether you choose to sell with or without a realtor.
Georgia is a “buyer beware” state, so buyers must do their due diligence before purchasing a home. Sellers only have to disclose known material defects of the property, such as a leaky roof or cracks in the foundation.
According to Georgia law, sellers aren’t required to fill out a disclosure statement or tell buyers:
- If a prior resident had a disease that’s highly unlikely to be transmitted through occupancy
- If a homicide, felony, suicide, or other death occurred on the property
However, if a buyer asks about the home’s history, sellers need to answer honestly or state that they can’t disclose that information.
Since you’ll already have to inform buyers of known material defects, you can simplify things and increase buyer confidence by completing a disclosure form. The Georgia Association of REALTORS® crafted the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement to address several aspects of your home, such as:
- Environmental hazards, such as radon or asbestos
- Flood damage or water leaks
- Heating, cooling, and electrical systems
- History of pest infestations
- Litigation and insurance information
- Roof and gutters
- Sewer and plumbing systems
- Structural components
The disclosure statement also has a checklist to help you keep track of major fixtures that will be staying in the property after closing. Simply mark any items the buyer can expect to receive along with your home, such as appliances, home decorations, or outdoor features like swing sets or birdhouses.
Does Georgia have a transfer tax?
Yes, the state of Georgia charges a $1 transfer fee for every $1,000 of the home’s sale price. For example, a home that sells for $350,000 would have $350 in transfer fees.
It’s customary for sellers to pay the transfer tax, but this can be negotiated with the buyer.
FSBO marketing rules
In 2009, the Georgia Municipal Association suggested enacting the same sign regulations for the whole state. However, most counties chose to keep their own unique rules, meaning you’ll need to check with your local area for specific regulations before you put up a sign.
For example, here’s how temporary “For Sale” sign regulations compare from Columbia County to Chatham County:
|“For Sale” signs in Columbia County||“For Sale” signs in Chatham County|
|Signs smaller than 6 sq ft in area don’t require a permit||“Open House” signs can be put up 2 days before an open house|
|Signs can’t be more than 3 ft high||“Open House” signs must be removed within 24 hours after the event|
|Signs must not be illuminated in any way||Signs cannot exceed 4 sq ft in size|
|Signs can’t obstruct public right-of-way||Signs can’t exceed 5 ft in height|
|Signs can’t be placed on public property||Only 1 sign per street frontage is allowed|
|Signs can’t have extra decorations, such as ribbons or balloons||Signs aren’t allowed on public property or within public right-of-way|
9 steps to sell a home in Georgia without a realtor
Selling your home without a realtor can be intimidating. Here, we’ve created a step-by-step guide for you to rely on and make the selling process less daunting.
🏡 How to get your home ready to sell
1. Make basic repairs
Don’t underestimate the power of quick, inexpensive fixes! Taking the time to fix a squeaky door or patch up a dent in your wall can greatly improve the aesthetic appeal of your house. Outdoors, a fresh coat of paint and some basic landscaping work can boost curb appeal.
2. Stage the rooms
You can hire a professional stager to get your home picture-perfect for showings, but this can be expensive. While prices vary from city to city, in Georgia it costs an average of $1,532 to stage a house.
3. Photograph the home
High-quality photos of your property can make a huge difference when attracting buyers. Prices can vary based on your location, but in Georgia you can expect to pay $136 on average for a session with a professional photographer.
✍ How to list your home for sale
4. Get an appraisal
Pricing your house can be difficult without an agent’s guidance. Getting a professional appraisal done can make it easier to estimate your home’s fair market value based on its condition, location, and other factors. In Georgia, an appraisal costs $290 to $365.
» MORE: Tools for pricing your home
5. Advertise your home
There are several websites that allow FSBO listings for free or for a low cost, such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. However, you’ll probably get the most bang for your buck by using a flat fee MLS company.
In Georgia, this will cost you $100 to $300, but without a realtor, it’s the only way to get your property listed on the MLS — which is how most buyers find homes.
📅 How to show your home
6. Get organized
Once interested buyers start contacting you, use a digital calendar to keep everything organized. Schedule open house times, set reminders for buyer tours, and take notes of each visitor who comes through your door.
When you schedule tours with individual buyers, make sure they have a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender first. Pre-approved buyers know they’re qualified to purchase a house, so they’re more likely to make an offer.
7. Don’t hover
During open houses and showings, try to avoid following people from room to room. Allow them to take their time so they can appreciate everything your house has to offer.
It’s recommended to stay in a common area — like the living room or kitchen — so visitors can easily find you if they have questions.
🤝 How to accept an offer and close
8. Know your priorities
Make sure to consider more than the sales amount as you’re reviewing offers. Keep your own priorities in mind, such as your preferred closing date or your renovation budget.
For example, if a buyer is willing to waive certain contingencies, that could save you money on expensive home repairs.
» LEARN: Common home buying contingencies
9. Use a title and/or escrow company
On closing day, meet with your real estate attorney at a title or escrow company to finalize the transaction. Your attorney will guide you through the required paperwork and answer any questions you may have. Then, the title company will collect the closing fees and complete the title transfer.
Alternatives to selling without a realtor in Georgia
Most sellers come to realize that trying to sell without an agent isn’t worth the hassle. If you think you’ll need some help selling your house, here are a few other low-cost options to consider.
Georgia flat fee MLS companies
If you’re confident about selling your home on your own, you might benefit from using a flat fee MLS company to increase the visibility of your property.
Some of the best flat fee MLS agencies in Georgia include List with Freedom, Georgia Listing Express, and XFlatFeeMLS. Packages range from $89 to $295, depending on how many services you need.
|List with Freedom||Georgia Listing Express||XFlatFeeMLS|
|Number of Photos||1 to Max Allowed||5||Max Allowed|
|MLS Listing||6-12 months||6 months||1 month to Until Sold|
Discount brokers are full-service real estate agents who are willing to work for a reduced commission rate. Sellers can save thousands while still receiving assistance from an expert local agent.
For discount broker services, we highly recommend our friends at Clever! Clever pre-negotiates with top agents to offer you low commission rates without compromising on service quality.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need an attorney to sell my house in Georgia?
Yes, sellers are required to hire a real estate attorney to supervise the closing process in Georgia. An attorney will review all the paperwork and answer any legal questions you have to ensure that the transaction goes smoothly.
Is Georgia a buyer beware state?
Yes! Buyers are expected to do their due diligence before purchasing a home, and sellers are not required to complete a disclosure statement. Sellers only need to disclose known material facts about the property.
Still wondering if selling without a realtor is the right move for you? Check out these resources for more information:
Average Real Estate Commission in Georgia: What’s Fair in 2022?: Even if you choose to sell FSBO, you should still offer commission to the buyer’s agent. Find out how much realtors expect to earn on a sale and what you can do to negotiate a fair price!
Top 5 We Buy Houses Companies in Georgia REVEALED: If you need to sell your property as quickly as possible, a We Buy Houses company could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Discover which companies will offer you the best deal for your Georgia property here.
How to Sell Your House – The Ultimate Guide: Our guide breaks down the process of selling a house in 12 steps, to educate you on the process. We discuss how to find and choose a realtor, list your home for sale, review and negotiate offers, close, and calculate capital gains tax.