Should I use a realtor? | What does a realtor do in Illinois? | Cost of selling without a realtor | Illinois 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 Illinois averages 2.7% of the sale price. Considering a typical Illinois house is worth about $256,000, that’s a savings of $6,882.
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 Illinois. 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 Illinois, 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 (2.7% on average in Illinois). 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. 2.5% is typical in Illinois.
- 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 Illinois 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 Illinois, that puts 2.7% of your final sale price back in your pocket. However, you will still need to offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission (2.5% is typical in Illinois).
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.
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 Illinois 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 Illinois.
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 Illinois 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.
Our friends at Clever Real Estate can match you with a top local agent who can provide high-quality service at a fraction of the cost — just $3,000 or 1% for homes over $350,000.
What does a realtor do in Illinois?
Realtors in Illinois are familiar with the local and state regulations that can easily confuse and overwhelm first-time sellers. An experienced agent can manage dozens of home-selling tasks, such as connecting you with local pros to prepare your house for showings, listing your property on the MLS, negotiating with buyers, and taking care of all the paperwork.
Even if you’re in a highly desirable city, selling a house can feel 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
If you’re earlier in the home selling process and just need a general idea of what your house is worth, you can plug your address into several free home value estimators.
However, an agent can provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) for a more accurate valuation. CMA home values are calculated based on the strength of your housing market, how much similar properties are selling for, new upgrades or renovations, and other variable factors.
To get an idea of how much home values can vary, here’s a comparison of different sized homes value in Illinois.
|Home size||Home value in Illinois|
Before you list your home on your own, consider getting a pre-listing appraisal first. During this process, a state-certified appraiser will estimate your home’s fair market value based on its location, condition, amenities, and other key details that buyers are looking for.
Pricing your house appropriately is one of the most important aspects of selling your property, so it’s worth it to get an objective report.
» LEARN: What is an appraisal?
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 Illinois?
No, sellers in Illinois aren’t required to hire a real estate attorney. However, it’s still a smart move to have a legal expert review your paperwork and help you through the closing process.
Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Illinois
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||$315 to $405||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$153||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$760||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$100 to $470 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||$300 to $800||To get listed on the MLS|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.5% of sale price||To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (it’s customary for the seller to pay)|
|State transfer tax||$0.50 per $500 of sale price||To pay the state of Illinois for the title transfer|
|County transfer tax||$0.25 per $500 of sale price||To pay the county for the title transfer (only applies in some counties)|
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 Illinois, 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 Illinois, sellers pay an average of 2.7% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Illinois is $256,000, that amounts to $6,882. However, Clever agents provide full service support and list your home for $3,000 (or 1% for homes that sell for more than $350,000).
Illinois regulations FSBO sellers should know
Real estate regulations can vary from state to state, and even county to county. Sellers in Illinois have to make sure they’re following federal, state, and county rules to avoid fines or other penalties.
Here are some of the key facts you need to know before listing your home — whether you choose to sell with or without a realtor.
The seller is only required to disclose known material defects. In other words, you don’t have to get an inspection before completing the form — you just have to be honest about what you already know about the property.
The state of Illinois put together the standard Residential Real Property Disclosure Report form to make sure sellers cover everything required by law. The form includes 23 questions that can be checked with “Yes,” “No,” or “N/A.”
What are some of the questions on the Illinois disclosure form?
- I am aware of leaks or material defects in the roof, ceilings, or chimney.
- I am aware of material defects in the walls, windows, doors, or floors.
- I am aware of material defects in the electrical system.
- I am aware of unsafe conditions in the drinking water.
- I am aware of material defects in the heating, air conditioning, or ventilating systems.
- I am aware of material defects in the septic, sanitary sewer, or other disposal system.
- I am aware of current infestations of termites or other wood boring insects.
At the end of the document, sellers are asked to write about the defects they responded to with “Yes.”
If a seller finds another defect after submitting the disclosure to the buyer, the state requires them to complete a supplemental disclosure form.
Illinois Radon Awareness Act
The Illinois Radon Awareness Act requires sellers to give two pamphlets about radon hazards to buyers.
The first document, “Radon Testing Guidelines for Real Estate Transactions,” is from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. The second document is simply a copy of the law, which explains that the property may be exposed to radon.
Although state law doesn’t require sellers to test for radon, it’s strongly recommended to put buyers at ease.
Does Illinois have a transfer tax?
Yes, the state of Illinois has a transfer tax of $0.50 per $500 of a property’s sale price. Some counties may impose an additional tax of $0.25 per $500 of a home’s sale price.
The seller typically pays the transfer fees, but this can be negotiated.
FSBO marketing rules
FSBO sellers in Illinois are allowed to place “For Sale” signs in their yards. However, sign ordinances can vary from city to city.
For example, here’s how Rochester compares to Peoria:
|Rochester “For Sale” signs||Peoria “For Sale” signs|
|Don’t require a permit||Don’t require a permit|
|Must be placed on-site||Must be placed on-site|
|Can’t exceed 8 sq ft||Can’t exceed 8 sq ft|
|Can’t exceed 6 ft in height||Can include 1 sign per street frontage|
|Must not be illuminated in any way||Must not be illuminated in any way|
|Can’t interfere with the public right-of-way||Can’t interfere with the public right-of-way|
|May include up to 2 off-premise directional signs for open houses||Must be removed within 7 days of the sale|
9 steps to sell a home in Illinois 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
Simple repairs, such as fixing a squeaky door or repairing dents in the drywall, 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 Illinois it costs an average of $760 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 Illinois you can expect to pay $153 on average for a session with a professional photographer.
✍ How to list your home for sale
4. Get an appraisal
Without a real estate agent, it can be difficult to accurately price your home. An appraisal is a professional assessment of a home to evaluate its condition and estimate its value. In Illinois, an appraisal costs $315 to $405.
If you don’t want to meet with an agent or pay for an appraisal, and just want a quick ballpark home value estimate, we recommend using several free online home value estimators.
Comparing pricing estimates from multiple tools can get you an estimate that’s closer to your home’s fair market value — especially if one of the websites relies on inaccurate or outdated information.
» MORE: Tools for pricing your home
5. Advertise your home
In Illinois, this will cost you $300 to $800, 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 buyers start contacting you, it’s important to have a system to track showing appointments and their contact information. If you don’t have one already, set up a digital calendar that will remind you when showings are and also allow you to take notes about the buyer.
Also, ask if they have a pre-approval letter from a lender before scheduling a tour. A pre-approval letter shows that a buyer is able and qualified to buy a house.
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
To make sure the closing process goes smoothly, find a title or escrow company to oversee the closing. The third-party agency will help you and your buyer complete the required paperwork, collect the closing fees, and handle the title transfer.
Alternatives to selling without a realtor in Illinois
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, here are a few other low-cost options.
Illinois 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 Illinois include Mentor Listing Realty, Prello Realty, and beycome. Packages range from $295 to $795, depending on how many services you need.
|Mentor Listing Realty||Prello Realty||beycome|
|Number of Photos||1-25||25||Max allowed|
|MLS Listing||6 months||6-12 months||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 the lowest commission rates without compromising on service quality.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to hire a real estate attorney to sell a house in Illinois?
No, sellers in Illinois aren't required to hire a real estate attorney. However, it's still a smart move to have a legal expert review your paperwork and help you through the closing process.
Is there a transfer tax in Illinois?
Yes, the state transfer rate is $0.50 per $500 of the property sale price. Some counties also charge an additional $0.25 per $500 of the sale price, too.
Still have questions about selling your Illinois home? Check out these additional resources to learn more:
Average Real Estate Commission in Illinois: What’s Fair in 2022?: Even if you choose to sell without an agent, your buyer will probably rely on an agent to help them find a home. Find out how much agents expect to earn on an average transaction here!
Top We Buy Houses Companies in Illinois REVEALED: If you need to sell your house quickly, working with a We Buy Houses company is one possible solution. Learn about the pros and cons of the top companies in Illinois to decide if it’s the best option for you.