Selling a home without a realtor (also called for sale by owner, or FSBO) can save you thousands in listing agent fees — which in Idaho 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 Idaho 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 Idaho FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get familiar with the FSBO process (1st 2 paragraphs)
Regardless of how you choose to sell FSBO, you should familiarize yourself with the practical and legal requirements of selling a house in Idaho.
For example, Idaho home sellers must complete a Seller Property Disclosure Form notifying buyers about any defects that may affect the home’s value or livability. The form also includes information about the general condition of the home, including its major 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 stage and photograph your home yourself, or you can hire someone to do it. The average cost for a photographer in Idaho is $175, and a stager costs around $1,529.
3. Price your home accurately
When selling a house in Idaho 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. For the average home in Idaho, that could cost you between $385 to $520.
Below are a couple of strategies for pricing your listing correctly the first time.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis is a tool for estimating the optimal asking price for a home. Conducting a CMA involves researching properties similar to yours that have sold in the past few months and using these to estimate what your home will likely sell for.
A realtor usually provides a CMA for free as part of their services, but you can also conduct one yourself. Be careful though — selecting the right properties and accounting for differences makes your analysis vulnerable to bias.
Another option is getting a CMA from an Idaho flat fee MLS company. This gets you an expert opinion on the fair value of your home without paying the cost of a full-service agent.
Hire an appraiser
A local appraiser can also give you an accurate assessment of your home’s value. An appraiser will do all the things involved in a CMA, but they will also account for the condition of your home.
Appraisers are experts in your local housing market and will probably give you the best estimate of your home’s value, but their opinion will cost you $385–520. That said, the fee could be well worth the amount you save by accurately pricing your home.
Appraisals can also come in handy if a buyer’s appraisal comes in lower than expected. A professional appraisal gives you a legitimate reason to contest the lower appraisal and request a third opinion.
Be sure you’re fully aware of any tax implications that may apply based on your asking price and expected sale proceeds before listing your home.
4. List and market your home
Before you list and market your home, you should review advertising regulations in Idaho to avoid any legal issues during your sale.
Listing on free venues can help you gain exposure while keeping costs down. Some good options include:
- Facebook Marketplace
- The FSBO section of Zillow or Trulia
Other sites are great for FSBO listings as well, but not all are free. Still, the additional exposure might be worth the cost depending on your situation. And, of course, there are always the old standbys of lawn signs and word of mouth.
If you want maximum exposure, think about working with an Idaho flat fee MLS company.
Idaho flat fee MLS companies
Flat fee MLS companies exist to help non-realtors list their homes on the local MLS. This is the number one place realtors search for listings to show their clients, so not having your listing posted on the MLS is a disadvantage. Flat fee MLS companies solve this problem.
In Idaho, this will cost you $300 to $400. Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in Idaho are:
Read our in-depth guide to Idaho’s flat fee MLS companies to decide which one works best for you.
Required Idaho seller disclosures
Before a buyer can sign a contract to purchase your FSBO home in Idaho, you are required to provide them with a Seller Disclosure form. This form notifies the buyer of any known issues with the property that may affect their decision to purchase or their perceived value of the home.
Federal regulations also require you to provide a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure if your home was built prior to 1978.
All disclosures must be made available to potential buyers before a purchase agreement is signed. You can do this by attaching them to your listing, emailing them to interested buyers, or providing physical copies available at showings.
5. Manage showings on your own
Managing showings can be stressful and time consuming, so it’s essential to have a strategy for keeping everything organized.
Start a calendar dedicated to scheduling showings and create a separate document for tracking interested buyers and their contact information or inquiries.
More advanced sellers might use Doodle or Square Appointments. The most important thing is you have a system that works for you and the potential buyers.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your showings:
- Schedule showings near each other for convenience.
- Leave a 10- to 15-minute gap between showings to avoid overlap.
- Be sure parking spaces are cleared of any snow or debris.
- Make the home as well-lit as possible prior to arrivals.
- Place any documents in easy-to-find locations and print extras.
- Use a lockbox to let realtors in when you’re not there.
As a seller, it’s best not to be present at showings. You don’t want to make buyers feel uncomfortable by hanging around while they discuss what they like and don’t like about your house.
If you feel like this is too much to manage by yourself, some flat fee MLS companies include packages that assist with showings.
6. Review and negotiate offers
Hopefully it doesn’t take long after scheduling a few showings for the offers to start rolling in. These will usually come in the form of a purchase and sale agreement. According to Idaho law, offers to purchase property must include the following:
- A legal description of the property
- A provision for earnest money as assurance of good faith
- All terms and conditions of the transaction as directed by the buyer or seller
- All appropriate signatures and dates
You can amend the purchase agreement after signing, but any changes must be agreed to by all parties involved in the transaction.
Be sure you understand all the stipulations of the offers. If something confuses you, consult a real estate lawyer or the buyer’s agent for clarity. Although you’re not required to hire a real estate lawyer to sell your home, it might be a good idea if you’re overwhelmed at any point in the process.
Pay special attention to high-priority items like purchase price, contingencies, and closing timeline. You’ll also want to note whether the offer is cash or traditionally financed. Traditionally financed offers often require jumping through more hoops, but cash offers can sometimes be lowball offers.
Purchase agreements can also include language specifying expectations around repairs. For example, “The buyer agrees to cover expenses for repairs totaling up to $500 based on an inspection report.” This means you don’t have to worry about the buyer trying to renegotiate based on a bunch of small-ticket items that are recommended for repair in an inspection report.
Remember that all aspects of the purchase agreement are up for negotiation, so you can use the closing timeline or seller credits as leverage to get a higher sales price. Check out other negotiation strategies to help you get the best deal on your home sale.
7. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
The time between signing the purchase agreement and closing is the due diligence period. Usually, a purchase agreement will specify a certain number of days the buyer has to conduct due diligence like having the home inspected or appraised. Cash buyers may forego these options, but traditionally financed homes generally require thorough due diligence before approving a purchase.
The most common due diligence process includes the following steps:
If anything surprising arises during due diligence or a contingency clause applies (like a major repair recommendation in an inspection report), you may need to go through a second round of negotiations.
The buyer may agree to pursue the purchase with the original terms, but they could also request seller credits, insist on repairs, or ask for a lower purchase price. They could also just walk away if a contingency is not met.
If the buyer tries to walk away without legitimate cause, as specified in the purchase agreement, you will probably be entitled to the earnest money deposit.
If you wish to back out of the deal without allowing a contingency, you should consult a real estate attorney to understand the ramifications of that action.
If no issues arise during due diligence or renegotiations are successful, you will be cleared to close.
The closing date is identified in the purchase agreement, though these can be pushed back if all parties agree.
Closings are facilitated by a third party such as a title company or real estate attorney. During closing, you and the buyer will sign a lot of paperwork, including the deed to transfer ownership of the home.
Your title company will provide a closing statement that summarizes all aspects of the transaction and tallies how much money is required to finalize the purchase.
Since Idaho is a dry-funding state, it will take a few days for you to receive the proceeds of your home sale. These will likely arrive via physical check or wire transfer. Be sure to confirm the payment method and expected timeline with whoever is conducting the closing before leaving.
Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Idaho
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||$385 to $520||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$175||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$1,529||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$204 to $359 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||$300 to $400||To get listed on the MLS|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.7% of sale price||To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (it’s customary for the seller to pay)|
Overall, 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 Idaho, 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 Idaho, sellers pay an average of 2.7% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Idaho is $430,000, that amounts to $11,524. 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.
For sale by owner paperwork in Idaho
Here’s a list of the Idaho paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
- Seller Disclosure Form
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- Flood Risk Disclosure
- Idaho Residential Purchase Agreement
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
Do I need a lawyer to sell my house in Idaho?
No, it is not required to hire a real estate lawyer when selling in Idaho. While that may be the case, it is in your best interest to have an attorney look over your documentation and contracts to ensure everything is on the up and up. On average, a lawyer in Idaho will cost you about $200 to $300 dollars per hour.
Is selling a house without a realtor worth it in Idaho?
FSBO can be worth it if you have previous experience selling real estate. Although selling without a realtor will save you the 3% commission fee, a small mistake in the sales process can cost you much more than you’d have saved. Incorrect paperwork, for example, can open you to legal complications that will take a long time and a lot of funds to remedy.
If you’d like some more advice about selling your home, here are a few great resources to check out:How realtor commissions work in Idaho: Even if you decide to sell your house without an agent, it’s still a good idea to offer commission to the buyer’s agent. Learn how much realtors expect to earn and what you can do to make your listing more appealing to agents and their clients. Top We Buy Houses Companies in Idaho REVEALED: If you need to sell your home in a hurry, a We Buy Houses company may purchase your house as-is for a reduced rate. Find out if this option could be the best option for you here!
How Much Does it Cost to Sell a House? True Costs Revealed: Wondering how much you’ll have to pay to sell your house? Check out this article to calculate your repair budget, closing fees, marketing expenses, and more.