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 Maryland averages 2.6% of the sale price. Considering a typical Maryland house is worth about $382,000, that’s a savings of $9,932.
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 Maryland. 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 Maryland, 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 (2.6% on average in Maryland). 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 Maryland.
- 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 Maryland 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 Maryland
- 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 Maryland
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||$295 to $380||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$164||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$891||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$210 to $283 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||$250 to $1,000||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)|
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.
The average realtor commission in Maryland is 2.6% of the sale price, or about . If you want to keep more of this money in your pocket, Clever can match you with an experienced agent at a fraction of the price.
7 steps to sell a home in Maryland 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 Maryland FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get your home ready to sell
Start your sale process by maximizing your home’s appeal.
- Take care of repairs around the house including small stuff like leaky faucets, and big expensive fixes like a new roof or HVAC system. Outstanding big-ticket repairs can be dealbreakers for many buyers.
- Repaint your home inside and out. It’s an easy, affordable way to make your home look new again.
- Upgrade your landscaping by planting attractive native plants like the Christmas fern and moss phlox.
- Meticulously clean and declutter your home. Get rid of unwanted items and remove roughly half your furniture to make your space look larger.
If you still don’t love how your home looks, consider hiring a professional home staging service to replace your furniture and decor. In Maryland, staging costs $1,529 on average.
Finally, it’s time to take your listing photos. You can take them yourself or hire a professional for $140 on average.
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
Nailing the right list price is one of the most important steps in how to sell your own home in Maryland. Here are the best options for discovering your home’s ideal list price:
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis (CMA) is a report that collects info about recent sales of homes that resemble yours. It then analyzes that data to come up with a fair list price for your home.
You can get a CMA from a real estate agent (they often provide them free to prospective clients), a flat fee MLS company (you may have to pay an additional fee), or you can create your own using publicly-available data. Just make sure to stay objective when selecting homes that closely resemble yours, and be honest about the condition of your home.
Hire an appraiser
During an appraisal, a licensed, professional appraiser will visit your home, closely examine it, and estimate its value based on its size, condition, materials, materials, neighborhood, and surrounding local market.
An appraisal report is more comprehensive than a CMA, which is why it’s trusted by banks, lenders, and investors.
In Maryland, a home appraisal costs an average of $300 to $435.
» LEARN: Should I get an appraisal before selling?
3. List and market your home
First, read over Maryland’s state laws on real estate advertising to make sure you’re compliant during your home sale.
Next, post your listing on free FSBO-friendly sites like:
- Zillow’s and Trulia’s FSBO section
- Facebook Marketplace
Use free social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor to get the word out to your network. Tell friends, family, and coworkers about your home sale to tap into the power of word of mouth.
Finally, put up a yard sign to let neighbors and pedestrians know your home is on the market. Yard signs are legal in Maryland as long as they’re not adjacent to a state highway.
However, if you want maximum exposure, think about working with a Maryland flat fee MLS company.
Maryland flat fee MLS companies
The local multiple listing service (MLS) is your area’s main directory of homes for sale, but only eligible agents and brokers can upload listings there.
A flat fee MLS company, which is run by an eligible agent or broker, can increase your listing’s visibility by getting in onto the MLS for a single, flat fee. Listings that appear there are automatically uploaded to high-traffic sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com.
Flat fee MLS companies don’t typically offer many services beyond the listing, but they’re much cheaper than a conventional agent.
In Maryland, a flat fee MLS listing will cost you about $80 to $1,000. Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in Maryland are:
- Cottage Street Realty: Best for showcasing your home
- DNK Real Estate: Best for rock-bottom pricing
- Mr. Lister Realty: Best for inexperienced sellers
Read our in-depth guide to Maryland’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 Maryland, we still recommend you offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission in your home listing. In Maryland, 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 Maryland seller disclosures
In Maryland, sellers are legally required to either fill out a standard disclosure form describing known defects in the home, or submit a disclaimer form that states they’re selling the home “as is.” Sellers who use either option can still be sued for misrepresentation or fraud if they fail to disclose a “known defect.”
As in all U.S. states, Maryland sellers have to disclose the possibility of lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. They may also have to disclose flood risks.
Provide disclosures to buyers by attaching them to the listing, printing out hard copies for showings, and emailing copies to interested buyers.
4. Manage showings on your own
Hosting your own showings and open houses is a lot of work. Make it easy on yourself by coming up with a system and sticking to it.
Use a free calendar tool to track appointments and buyer contact information. If you use a flat fee MLS company, they may provide one.
Some tips on conducting showings:
- Schedule showings together to build competition; when buyers see other interested parties coming and going, they may submit faster or more competitive offers.
- Try not to be around during showings, as your presence can make browsers uncomfortable. If you must be present, give them space.
- Consider using a lockbox on your door so buyers and their agents can access a key to your home while you’re not there.
Provide flyers that contain the home’s specs and your contact information. Consider attaching required disclosure forms, and put these packets in a conspicuous area like the kitchen counter.
Buyers will have questions at the end of their showings, so be prepared to provide answers.
5. Review and negotiate offers
Offers for your home will come as a document called a purchase and sale agreement, also known as a “buy-sell.” (When it comes to the Maryland real estate contract, for sale by owner and conventional agented sales can use the same form.)
First, carefully read the entire text of the offer. If you have any questions, contact the buyer or their agent.
How do you tell the difference between a good offer and a not-so-good offer? Consider the following:
- Note any contingencies, since these can cancel the deal. One or two contingencies in an offer is common, but several can create more risk for you.
- Determine if it’s a cash offer or a financed offer. Some sellers prefer cash offers, since there’s no lender approval needed.
- Note if the buyer is asking for repair credits. You can negotiate the amount, or offer to do the repairs yourself.
Use these negotiation strategies to get the best deal possible.
You can accept the offer, reject it, or submit a counteroffer with suggested changes. If you want to counteroffer, simply amend the purchase agreement and return it to the buyer’s agent.
You’re not required to hire an attorney when selling a house in Maryland, but as a FSBO Maryland seller, it never hurts to have a lawyer review your sale paperwork.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
The period after you accept the offer and before final closing is the due diligence period.
This is when the buyer (or their lender) takes care of things like:
- The home inspection
- Mortgage underwriting
- The property title search
- The home appraisal
- The final walkthrough
The buyer may want to negotiate the purchase agreement based on findings from this process, or maybe even back out of the deal using a contingency. On the other hand, if you decide you want to back out of the sale, but don’t have an out via contingency, speak to an attorney.
Once negotiations are settled, you can proceed to closing.
The exact closing date will be identified in the purchase agreement.
A few days before closing, you should receive the closing statement. This document lists all fees and charges associated with the sale and specifies who pays what.
The closing is typically facilitated by the buyer’s title company, though it can also be coordinated by an attorney or broker.
At the actual closing, you’ll sign legal and financial paperwork, sign the deed over to the buyer, and hand over the keys. In Maryland, sellers typically receive payment in full the same day as closing.
For sale by owner paperwork in Maryland
Here’s a list of the Maryland 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.
» READ: The Best Discount Real Estate Brokers in Maryland
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 to hire an attorney to sell my house in Maryland?
No, Maryland law doesn't require sellers to hire a real estate attorney. It's still a good idea to have a legal advisor on your side if you have any questions or concerns about your responsibilities as a seller, though.
Can I sell my house without a realtor in Maryland?
Yes, it's possible to sell a house without a realtor in Maryland. However, this isn't always the best option for sellers. A lot more goes into selling property than cleaning up your home and scheduling tours.
If you need some more advice about selling your Maryland home, here are a few great resources to check out:
Average Real Estate Commission in Maryland: What’s Fair in 2022?: Even if you decide to sell FSBO, you should still offer a buyer’s agent commission. Learn what realtors expect to earn from an average home sale in Maryland here!
Top We Buy Houses Companies in Maryland REVEALED: Need to sell your home quickly? A We Buy Houses company may be willing to purchase your property right away, but for a discounted price.
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