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 Michigan averages 2.8% of the sale price. Considering a typical Michigan house is worth about $215,000, that’s a savings of $5,956.
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 Michigan. 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 Michigan, 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 (2.8% on average in Michigan). 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. 2.9% is typical in Michigan.
- 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 Michigan 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 Michigan
- 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 Michigan
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||$270 to $320||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$150||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$1,057||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 $1,000||To get listed on the MLS|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.9% of sale price||To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (the seller usually pays)|
|State transfer tax||$3.75 per $500 of sale price||To pay the state of Michigan for the title transfer|
|County transfer tax||$0.55 per $500 of sale price||To pay the city or county for the title transfer|
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 Michigan, 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 Michigan, sellers pay an average of 2.8% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Michigan is $215,000, that amounts to $5,956. 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 Michigan 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 Michigan FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get your home ready to sell
If you’re wondering how to sell a house by owner in Michigan, the first step is to get your home looking its best.
- Paint your home’s interior and exterior. It’s one of the most effective (and affordable) ways to improve your home’s appearance.
- Perform small repairs around the house and tackle big expensive ones, too. Expensive repairs like a new roof or boiler can scare off a lot of buyers.
- Refresh your landscaping with hardy native plants like the wild columbine and smooth aster.
- Deep clean and declutter your space by removing half your furniture. Don’t forget to declutter storage areas too.
If you don’t like the way your furniture looks, consider a professional home staging service. In Michigan, staging costs an average of $1,529.
Once your home is looking its best, take listing photos. If you want a more professional look, hiring a photographer in Michigan costs an average of $140.
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
Pricing is one of the most difficult tasks when selling for sale by owner in Michigan. Pricing it too low will make many buyers think it has hidden problems; pricing it too high will simply alienate many buyers.
Take a page from the experts and use one of their common tools for pricing homes.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis (CMA) is the most commonly used pricing tool by realtors. It looks at data from recent home sales that are comparable to yours (called “comps). It compares these homes against yours, adjusting for differences like size, age, condition, neighborhood, and amenities, to suggest a relative list price for your home.
You can get a CMA by:
- Asking real estate agent. They typically offer them for free to prospective clients, but they may expect your business in return.
- Working with a flat fee MLS company. Some companies offer them for free or for a small fee.
- Creating your own CMA. You can do this exercise yourself – just try to remain unbiased about the condition of your home.
Hire an appraiser
An appraisal generally agreed to be the most accurate valuation of a home. Banks and lenders use appraisals to ensure a home is worth the amount a borrower has agreed to pay.
It requires a professional, licensed home appraiser to inspect your home in-person, making it more formal and more detailed than a CMA.
In Michigan, the average cost of a home appraisal is $300 to $435.
» LEARN: Should I get an appraisal before selling?
3. List and market your home
Review your state’s laws on real estate advertising to make sure you’re in compliance during your sale.
Next, list your home on free for sale by owner websites like:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Zillow and Trulia (in the FSBO section)
Use word of mouth to tell friends, family, and coworkers about your listing. Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, NextDoor, and LinkedIn are great ways to spread the word – and they’re free.
Finally, use an old-fashioned yard sign to let neighbors and passers-by know your home is on the market. Yard signs are legal in Michigan, though you should double-check with your city’s laws to make sure.
Free options are a good place to start, but if you want maximum exposure, think about working with a Michigan flat fee MLS company.
Michigan flat fee MLS companies
Flat fee MLS companies will get your listing onto the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the main online directory for real estate listings. MLS listings automatically populate onto huge real estate sites like Redfin, Zillow, and Realtor.com, making it easy for any potential buyer or agent to find them.
Typically, the MLS can only be accessed by licensed agents, but working with a flat fee MLS company provides a loophole, allowing you to list on on the MLS without an agent.
In Michigan, a flat fee MLS listing will cost you about $80 to $1,000. Our top picks in Michigan are:
🥇 Flat Fee Pros: Best for pricing support
🥈 Kermath Realty: Established local brand
🥉 Modern Way Realty: Best for hard-to-sell properties
Read our in-depth guide to Michigan’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 Michigan, we still recommend you offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission in your home listing. In Michigan, 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 Michigan seller disclosures
Michigan’s disclosure law requires sellers to disclose known material defects of the house. Complete and sign this disclosure form and present it to potential buyers before any purchase agreement is signed. Otherwise, the buyer can back out of the deal.
As in all U.S. states, Michigan sellers are required to disclose the presence of lead-based paint with this form. They may also be required to disclose flood risks.
4. Manage showings on your own
Running your own open houses and showings can be a lot to keep tabs on. Make things easy on yourself by coming up with a solid system.
Consider using a free calendar tool to track showings and buyer info. Some flat fee MLS companies provide tools like this in their standard package.
Use these proven tips to conduct showings:
- Keep your home clean and presentable. This way, you’ll be ready for a showing on a moment’s notice.
- Schedule showings close to each other for efficiency. It can also build competition among buyers to see others leaving or waiting for their showing time.
- Give buyers space during showings. Don’t hover, as it makes many buyers uncomfortable. Ideally, try not to be in the house.
- Use lockbox for secure and independent showings. If this still makes you nervous, consider installing security cameras.
Provide buyers packets containing a profile of the home, disclosure forms, and your contact information. Place the packets in a high-traffic spot like the kitchen counter.
Interested buyers will have further questions after their showing, so be prepared to address them.
5. Review and negotiate offers
Buyers typically submit offers in the form of a purchase and sale agreement. When evaluating offers, fully and carefully read each one, making sure you understand all implications. If you’re unsure about anything, reach out to the buyer’s agent for clarification.
Here are some key points to consider in each offer to help you decide which one makes the most sense for you:
- Buyer contingencies: These are conditions that must be met in order for the deal to proceed. At least one contingency is typically, but several can create more risk in your sale.
- Financing: Is it a cash offer, or is the buyer taking out a loan? Many sellers see a cash offer as less risky since there are fewer approval steps involved.
- Repair credits: Buyers may negotiate a lower price by asking for repair credits – money that allows them to make necessary repairs. You can negotiate the amount, or offer to do the repairs yourself.
If you want to counteroffer, simply amend the purchase agreement and send it back. Before you do, consider these negotiation strategies to get the best deal possible.
In Michigan, you’re not legally required to hire an attorney to sell a home. Still, as a FSBO seller, it can give you significant peace of mind to have an attorney look over your sale paperwork just to make sure you’re in compliance with Michigan purchase agreement laws.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
The due diligence period is the time between acceptance of the offer and final closing of the sale. In Michigan, there may also be a finance period that can run consecutively or concurrently with the due diligence period.
During due diligence, the buyer and their lender typically conduct:
- The home inspection
- The home appraisal
- Mortgage underwriting
- The property title search
- Final walkthrough
Depending on the results of the above, the buyer may want to enter into negotiations or use a contingency to back out of the sale. If you, as the seller, want to back out of the deal but don’t have a contingency giving you an out, talk to a lawyer.
Once negotiations are settled, both parties move on to closing.
The date of your closing will be listed in the purchase agreement. All parties must agree in writing to adjust the closing date
A few days before closing, you should receive the closing statement. This will list all the fees associated with the transaction, and who’s responsible for paying them.
At the closing itself, you’ll sign all necessary paperwork. Closing is typically facilitated by a third party— usually the title company, though it’s sometimes handled by a broker or attorney.
At the end of closing, you’ll sign the deed over to the buyer, and give them the keys. In Michigan, sellers generally receive payment in full the same day as closing.
For sale by owner paperwork in Michigan
Here’s a list of the Michigan paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
- Seller Disclosure Form
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- Flood Risk Disclosure
- Michigan 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 Michigan
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 real estate attorney to sell my house in Michigan?
No, the state of Michigan doesn't require sellers to hire an attorney. However, it isn't a bad idea to have a legal expert review your paperwork or assist you with the closing process.
Can I sell my home in Michigan without a realtor?
Yes, it's possible to sell your home without a realtor, but it isn't the best choice for everyone. Selling real estate can be a lot of work, and many first-time sellers can become overwhelmed with the number of responsibilities they'll need to take on.
Still have questions about selling your Michigan home? Check out these additional resources to learn more:
Average Real Estate Commission in Michigan: What’s Fair in 2022?: Whether you decide to sell your home FSBO or with a realtor, you should still offer the buyer’s agent commission. Find out what agents in Michigan expect to earn from a sale in 2022!
Top We Buy Houses Companies in Michigan REVEALED: If you need to see your house quickly, selling to a We Buy Houses company may be a good option. Learn how much you can expect to earn, how long it will take to close, and other details here.
How to Sell Your House – The Ultimate Guide: Our guide breaks down the process of selling a house in 12 steps. We discuss how to find and choose a realtor, list your home for sale, review and negotiate offers, close, and calculate capital gains tax.
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