Selling your home without a realtor means you won’t have to pay a listing commission, which in Iowa averages 3.0% of the sale price. Considering a typical Iowa house is worth about $193,000, that’s a savings of $5,713.
However, trying to sell a home For Sale by Owner (FSBO) can be tough. It will cost you a lot of time and energy.
In the end, selling a house without a real estate agent isn’t worth it for most homeowners in Iowa. Especially considering there are low commission real estate companies that offer professional assistance for a lower cost.
If you’re considering FSBO in Iowa, 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 (3.0% on average in Iowa). But in exchange for those savings, you’ll have to do everything from advertising your home to negotiating the final deal.
- In most cases, you’ll still need to offer a buyer’s agent commission. 2.7% is typical in Iowa.
- 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?
Selling a house for sale by owner in Iowa comes with many pros and cons. While it’s not recommended for everyone, FSBO can help experienced home sellers save on commission—but only if they know what they’re doing.
✅Selling your home without a realtor might be right for you if…
- You want to save on commission
- You have plenty of time to take on the responsibilities of a real estate agent
- You already have a buyer lined up
- You’re in a hot seller’s market and you have a desirable home
🚫 Selling without a realtor might not be right for you if…
- You don’t have a lot of free time
- You’ve never sold a home in Iowa
- You want to sell for market value – or higher
If you’re still not sure, check out our thorough guide to selling FSBO to help you decide. If you’re open to other options, some low-commission real estate companies, like Clever Real Estate, allow you to work with a top local real estate agent at half the typical cost.
Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Iowa
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 $420||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$257||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||$100 to $500||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 Iowa, 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 Iowa, sellers pay an average of 3.0% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Iowa is $193,000, that amounts to $5,713. 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.
7 steps to sell a home in Iowa 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 Iowa FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get your home ready to sell
Preparing your home for showings is more than just a good cleaning. Declutter and remove personal items so potential buyers can really imagine themselves living there. Since you won’t have an agent’s advice, put aside your personal attachment to your home’s look, and try to create as much space and simplicity as possible without making the home look empty.
Once you’re done decluttering, you’ll have room to make some inexpensive improvements like a fresh coat of paint and patching nail holes. If you have carpets, shampoo them yourself or have them professionally cleaned.
📸 Once your home is sparkling clean, take photos for the listing.
If you have a knack for photography, take about 25–50 photos of the interior and exterior of your home. Make sure you’re taking photos from the corners of rooms to make them appear as large as possible. Choose the right time of day to photograph each room in the best light. You can also hire a professional photographer, which costs about $140 per session in Iowa.
If your home needs too much work to sell to a typical buyer, you might consider selling to a cash buyer. You can quickly compare cash buyer offers against your home’s value on the open market with Clever Offers. Try it for free with no obligation.
2. Price your home accurately
The price you choose to list your home at can be the difference between a fast sale or a home that lingers on the market for months. Even when using a realtor, 18% of Americans say that pricing their home is the most difficult part of selling. If you don’t have a realtor to advise you, this step can be extra confusing.
Fortunately, as an FSBO seller in Iowa, there are a few methods you can use to help you find the right price for your home.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis (or CMA) is a report on home sales near you that is used to determine an appropriate price for your home. The report looks at recently sold homes similar to yours in size, age, condition, and other features so you get a sense of how much buyers are willing to pay at the moment.
Real estate agents provide you with a CMA soon after you express interest in working with them. Some flat-fee MLS services provide a CMA for an extra fee.
Or, you can create your own CMA. Making your own CMA is a quick and straightforward process, but you need to make sure that you’re honest about the condition of your home. Since it’s likely that personal bias might lead you to give your home higher grades than it truly deserves, think about asking a friend or family member to do it for you.
Hire an appraiser
Using an appraiser is the best way to get a professional opinion about the value of your home. If you end up selling to a buyer who is financing the purchase, their bank will end up sending an appraiser before the mortgage is approved, so getting an appraisal before listing could help you avoid questions about the home’s value later.
In Iowa, hiring an appraiser costs $300 to $435.
3. List and market your home
While you’re writing the description of your home for the listing, make sure you review the rules for advertising real estate in Iowa. It’s important that you make sure your description is compliant with the state’s laws, since you won’t have a realtor to review it.
Listing your home on free FSBO listing websites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, ForSaleByOwner.com, and Zillow/Trulia is a good start. But to get noticed by the most buyers, you’ll need to list your home on the MLS.
The MLS is a database where listing agents advertise their listings and where buyer’s agents comb through listings to find good options for their clients. You have to be an agent to list directly on the MLS, but there are still ways to get your home on the MLS even if you’re selling for sale by owner in Iowa.
Iowa flat fee MLS companies
Selling your home without a realtor in Iowa means you’ll have to pay a flat fee MLS company to list your home on the MLS, giving your listing the same visibility as homes listed by realtors. Using a flat fee MLS service will get your home’s description and photos in front of as many buyers’ eyes as possible.
In Iowa, a flat fee MLS listing will cost you anywhere from $80 to $1,000, depending on the company and service package you select.
Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in Iowa are:
- Flat Fee Group: Best for sellers who need support
- Flat Fee Realty: Best for rock-bottom pricing
- FSBO.com: Best for showing off your home
Read our in-depth guide to Iowa’s flat fee MLS companies to decide which one works best for you.
Can I use a For Sale by Owner sign in Iowa?
Iowa is one of just a few states that restricts who can place a for sale sign in front of the home. If you list your home on the MLS (even if you’re selling FSBO with a flat fee MLS listing), you’re technically represented by a brokerage. This means you’ll need to get a for sale sign from the flat fee MLS service.
Iowa law requires sellers to provide a property disclosure form to all interested buyers before signing a purchase and sale agreement.
4. Manage showings on your own
If you’re lucky, your home will be popular with buyers and their agents, leading to plenty of requests for showings. The only downside to this popularity is that you’ll need to keep track of showing appointments. Most sellers will find that free tools such as Google Sheets and Google Calendar are enough to keep track of appointments and contact information. Some flat fee MLS companies will provide access to apps that can help, too.
💡Tip: Plan on being away from the home for showings. Any realtor will tell you that it’s best if the owner is not present during the showing. When potential buyers see the owner, they can have a tougher time imagining themselves as the owner.
You can get a key lockbox from a local hardware store for less than $50. This will allow buyers’ agents to access the home without you being present.
When scheduling showings, try to book them back to back. Not only will this make it appear that people are lining up to see the home, but it will also make it easier to schedule time to be away from the home.
Leave out completed disclosure forms as well as flyers with the home’s listing information and your contact info. Be ready for questions from interested buyers in the next day or so, and make sure to respond quickly!
5. Review and negotiate offers
When you receive offers, they’ll come from the buyer’s agent in the form of a purchase and sale agreement, or buy-sell agreement. This is what the form typically looks like in Iowa.
Since you won’t have a realtor to review the offer with you, it’s crucial that you understand everything outlined in the offer before moving forward. Your options at this point are to accept, reject, or make a counteroffer.
Besides the offer price, pay attention to the following:
Cash vs. financed offers. Sellers usually prefer cash offers, since they don’t involve lenders and move faster (however there are some exceptions). A financed offer can still be a great offer, but the lender may need to perform an appraisal before approving the loan amount.
Contingencies. Buyers may ask for contingencies, or special favors, to help them meet their end of the deal. For example, a buyer might ask you if you’re willing to wait until they sell their current home before closing on this one.
Repair credits. Buyers will sometimes negotiate by asking for a reduced price so they can put money towards repairing known issues with the home. Consider carefully if these requests are reasonable.
If an offer is way too low, you can simply reject it. If instead, the offer is close but still not quite enough, you can counter the offer with a slightly higher price by changing the form and returning it. Consider your moves carefully — buyers are unlikely to continue making offers if you counter with something too high.
For more ideas on negotiating, check out these 26 negotiation strategies.
A real estate attorney isn’t required by law to sell a home in Iowa, but hiring one might give you peace of mind if you don’t have a realtor to review the purchase agreement.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
The “due diligence period” is the time between the seller accepting an offer and closing. During this time, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to make sure the home is a good investment.
During the due diligence period, these steps may occur (depending on what’s outlined in the purchase agreement):
Any one of these steps could uncover issues that lead to further negotiations. For example, problems found during the inspection might lead the buyer to ask for repairs or a credit for repairs later. Either party is free to back out of the agreement at this point, but we recommend speaking to a lawyer before taking that step.
If no further issues pop up, or if everything is resolved amicably, you’ll be ready to move on to closing.
In Iowa, closings typically take place at the office of a title insurance company, a realtor, or an attorney. Expect to sign a lot of paperwork at the closing appointment. You’ll sign the deed transfer, which officially gives the buyer ownership of the property.
At the end of closing, you’ll receive a closing statement that details your earnings on the sale of the home, minus closing costs. In Iowa, you can expect a check or wire transfer for that amount on the same day.
Finally, all that’s left to do is to hand over the keys to the new owner.
For sale by owner paperwork in Iowa
Here’s a list of the Iowa paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
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 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 a lawyer to sell my house in Iowa?
A real estate attorney isn't required by law to sell a home in Iowa, but hiring one might give you peace of mind if you don't have a realtor to review the purchase agreement. Although working with one will cost you a couple of hundred dollars an hour, their expertise will help you navigate the legal documentation and requirements. Learn more by chatting with an experienced real estate lawyer.
Is selling a house without a realtor worth it in Iowa?
It can be worth it if you know what you’re doing. Selling FSBO will save you around 3% in listing commission fees, but this also puts you in charge of the entire sale process. A simple mistake in filing paperwork or mispricing your home can cost you more than what you would have saved, which is why it’s only recommended to sell FSBO if you have previous real estate sales experience.
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 Iowa: 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 Iowa 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.