Should I sell without a realtor? | Cost of selling FSBO | How to sell without a realtor | FSBO paperwork | Best alternative: discount realtors | FAQs
Selling your home without a realtor means you won’t have to pay a listing commission, which in Maine averages 2.7% of the sale price. Considering a typical Maine house is worth about $345,000, that’s a savings of $9,177.
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 Maine. Especially considering there are low commission real estate companies that offer professional assistance for a lower cost.
If you’re considering FSBO in Maine, 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 Maine). 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. 2.5% is typical in Maine.
- 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 Maine 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 Maine
- 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 Maine
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||$187||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 $1,500||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)|
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 Maine, 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 Maine, sellers pay an average of 2.7% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Maine is $345,000, that amounts to $9,177. 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 Maine 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 Maine FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get your home ready to sell
Before you list your home for sale, you’ll need to prep for listing photos, showings, and open houses. This usually involves:
- Making small repairs
- Adding a new coat of paint
- Cleaning up the landscaping
- Cleaning and decluttering the house
You usually want to avoid major, costly repairs, but if an issue is going to be a deal breaker, then you might consider larger fixes as well.
When prepping your home, be sure to remove personal items and change the paint to neutral colors. You want the buyer to feel like they’re standing in their next home, not looking at yours.
You can take care of staging and photos yourself, but only if you’re confident you can do a good job. The average photographer in Maine costs about $140 and staging averages $1,529, but both could be well worth it for the value.
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
When selling a home in Maine yourself, pricing accurately is the biggest hurdle you need to clear. Maine FSBO sellers often cost themselves more money than they save when they misprice their homes.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the average FSBO home sells for 5–26% less than a realtor sold home. For the average-priced home in Maine, that’s $17,000–88,000 less.
Overpricing your home can be just as bad as underpricing. Overpriced homes sit on the market longer and require more carrying costs. You may end up lowering the price to less than a fair market value. If you’re trying to time the seasonal market, you can also miss your season, making matters worse.
Below are some options for how to price your house correctly the first time.
Get a comparative market analysis
A comparative market analysis (CMA) involves looking at similar properties that have sold in your area recently — usually the past three months — and using those sale prices to set your own price. A realtor usually provides this to their clients free of charge, but you can also do it yourself.
Be careful though. You need to select the right properties and objectively account for differences in the houses when settling on your own value. Often sellers’ biases will trick them into fudging the numbers to get a higher value, but this will cost you money if you misprice your home.
You can also get a CMA from a flat fee MLS company. These companies allow you to pay à la carte for a CMA and other select services without having to pay a full-service realtor fee.
Hire an appraiser
You can also hire an appraiser for a pre-listing appraisal. This means you’ll have an expert on local housing values evaluate your home to help you set your listing price.
The appraiser will view your home, compare it to other homes in the area, and then account for local market trends to determine a fair market value of your home.
Appraising your house before listing gives you the best chance to price it correctly. Also, if the buyer’s appraisal comes in low, you can request a third opinion since you have your own assessment of the value.
In Maine, a professional appraisal costs $300 to $435.
» LEARN: Should I get an appraisal before selling?
3. List and market your home
Before you list your home for sale by owner in Maine, familiarize yourself with the local ad regulations. Comply with the rules so you can avoid any legal headaches when listing and selling your home.
Since FSBO sellers in Maine are usually trying to save on the cost of selling, a good place to start with your marketing is on free venues, such as:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Zillow or Trulia (in the FSBO section)
There are other great sites for FSBO sellers, but they’re not all free.
Besides social media and the internet, sellers can also use word of mouth and yard signs to get more exposure for their listing. Some people even print out flyers and leave them in public places where it’s allowed.
If you want maximum exposure, think about working with a flat fee MLS company.
Maine flat fee MLS companies
Selling a house without a realtor in Maine doesn’t mean you can’t have any help. Flat fee MLS companies are a great option for sellers who want to keep costs down but don’t want to handle every aspect of the home sale.
Flat fee MLS companies’ primary function is to allow non-realtors to get their listing on the MLS, which is the number one place realtors find listings to show their clients. That said, flat fee MLS companies sometimes offer packages that include a variety of other services related to selling your home as well.
In Maine, this will cost you $80 to $1,000. Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in Maine are:
🥇 Landfall Properties: Best for affordable support
🥈 Discount Realty: Best for hard-to-sell-homes
🥉 EntryOnly.com: Best for inexperienced sellers
Read our in-depth guide to Maine’s flat fee MLS companies to decide which one works best for you.
Don’t forget to include a buyer’s agent commission (BAC) in your listing
By offering a buyer’s agent commission (also called a buyer’s agency fee), you’ll have more buyers knocking at your door with more (and better) offers.
While you won’t have to pay a listing fee as a FSBO seller in Maine, we still recommend you offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission in your home listing. In Maine, the average BAC is about 2.7% of your home’s sale price.
While it may be tempting to forgo this commission to save, that decision could cost you. A competitive BAC incentivizes buyer’s agents to bring their buyers to your home and do their part throughout the transaction. Without a BAC, the buyer’s agent would be working for free (not too enticing, huh?).
Required Maine seller disclosures
Selling a house in Maine requires presenting property disclosures to buyers, either before or as they make an offer. These disclosures include:
You can either attach these forms to your listing or email them to interested buyers. You can also bring them to showings and open houses, but you must make them available to buyers before you sign a purchase agreement. That way they can’t rescind their offer because you hid problems with the property from them.
4. Manage showings on your own
Managing showings requires you to be very organized, so it’s important to have a system for scheduling showings and collecting information from interested buyers.
Services like Calendly, Doodle, and Square Appointments are just a few ways to keep track of appointments, but even something as simple as using Google Calendar will be essential for keeping things straight.
If you decide to use a flat fee MLS company, they might offer packages that help with managing showings.
When scheduling showings, here are things you can do to make the process easier and more effective:
- Schedule showings close to each other for convenience.
- Leave a 10-minute gap between showings to avoid overlap.
- Consider using lockboxes so realtors can give showings without you there.
- Open shades and turn on the lights before showings.
- Put neutral air fresheners around the house on low settings.
- Make any disclosures or flyers easily available to interested buyers.
Be prepared to answer questions about the property, neighborhood, and your timeframe for selling before, during, and after showings. It is common for buyers to think of additional questions later on, so make sure it’s easy for them to contact you after their showing.
5. Review and negotiate offers
If your showings go well, you’ll likely start receiving offers — hopefully lots of them! These usually come in the form of a purchase and sale agreement.
Read the purchase agreement carefully and be sure you understand all the implications of the offer before signing it. Besides the offer’s purchase price, you’ll also want to pay attention to the following items:
- If the offer is cash or financed
- The included contingencies
- The timeframe for closing
- The language used regarding repairs and seller credits
Don’t let the purchase price in the offer letter distract you from these other important details. Cash offers, for example, often don’t require jumping through the same hoops as a traditionally financed offer.
Financed offers also sometimes include a letter of pre-approval. If the buyer shows a pre-approval amount lower than your desired sale price, it’s possible they can’t actually afford your home.
Keep in mind that being accommodating with contingencies and repairs can give you more leverage for negotiating a higher sale price. Check out our other negotiation strategies for more ideas on how to get the best deal possible.
Before a deal can be finalized, the buyer will need to hire a real estate attorney to examine and certify the title. However, the seller is not required by law to hire an attorney. That said, as a FSBO seller, you may benefit from hiring an attorney to review the purchase and sale agreement to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to unnecessary risk or legal loopholes.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
Once the purchase agreement is signed, the buyer enters the due diligence period. During this time, they’ll schedule any previously agreed-upon inspections, appraisals, or title searches. These are the responsibility of the buyer, and the buyer can’t forgo these actions or use them as excuses to back out of the deal.
For traditionally financed deals, the process usually involves the following steps:
- Mortgage underwriting
- Property title search
- Final walkthrough
If the purchase agreement includes any contingencies, this is the stage when those come into effect. For example, if the offer is contingent on the appraisal coming in at or above the purchase price and the appraisal comes in lower, then you either need to renegotiate the deal or the buyer needs to cover the difference out of pocket.
Just because a contingency clause isn’t met doesn’t mean the deal can’t happen. It also doesn’t mean you have to completely concede to whatever the buyer wants. You reserve the right to walk away from the deal or renegotiate to suit the needs of all parties involved.
If you want to back out without allowing a contingency, you should speak to an attorney to ensure you’re not setting yourself up for legal issues.
If everything goes smoothly during the due diligence period and there are no issues with contingencies, then you are cleared to close.
The closing date is included in the purchase agreement, but you can push this back if both parties agree. Closings are usually managed by a third party like a title company or real estate attorney.
During closing, both the seller and the buyer usually appear in person and go over the closing paperwork. This includes documentation that lays out all the expenses and credits that apply to both parties and gives a final account of the amount needed to close the sale.
Everyone will sign lots of paperwork, including the deed transfer which gives ownership to the buyer.
You will be paid the day of closing, usually via physical check or wire transfer.
For sale by owner paperwork in Maine
Here’s a list of the Maine paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
- Maine Seller’s Property Disclosure Form
- Federal Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- Maine Purchase and Sale 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 are willing to work for a reduced commission rate. Sellers can save thousands while still receiving assistance from an expert local agent.
» READ: The Best Discount Real Estate Brokers in Maine
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 Maine?
In Maine, sellers are not required by law to hire an attorney. That said, as a FSBO seller, you may benefit from hiring an attorney to review the purchase and sale agreement to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to unnecessary risk or legal loopholes. Real estate attorneys in Maine typically charge around $200 to $300 per hour.
Is selling a house without a realtor worth it in Maine?
Selling FSBO can save you around 3% in commission fees. However, you will have to handle most of the selling process on your own, and one mishap can cost you more than you’d save. For instance, if you inaccurately price your home, you can miss out on thousands of dollars. As such, it might not be worth selling without a realtor if you don’t have experience in selling real estate or if you don’t know your local market.
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 Maine: 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 Maine 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.
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