Should I use a realtor? | What does a realtor do in Michigan? | Cost of selling without a realtor | Michigan 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 Michigan averages 3.0% of the sale price. Considering a typical Michigan house is worth about $228,000, that’s a savings of $6,804.
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 (3.0% 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. 3.0% 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?
Not sure if FSBO is right for you? Use the checklists below to find out if selling your Michigan 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 Michigan, that puts 3.0% of your final sale price back in your pocket. However, you will still need to offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission (3.0% is typical in Michigan).
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 complete all the tasks an agent would typically take care of, such as preparing the home for sale, marketing the property, reviewing paperwork, and much more.
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 Michigan 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 Michigan.
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 Michigan 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.
Clever Real Estate offers a free service that gets home sellers lower rates from top agents at trusted brands like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. You’ll get full service from a local agent (guaranteed) but pay just 1.5% in listing fees — half the rate agents typically charge. Get started today!
What does a realtor do in Michigan?
Michigan real estate agents are familiar with the local and state regulations that can often confuse and overwhelm first-time sellers. An experienced realtor can manage dozens of home-selling tasks, such as connecting with local pros to prepare your house for showings, listing your property on the MLS, negotiating with buyers, and taking care of the paperwork.
Even in highly desirable areas, selling a house can be 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. They look at the popularity of your housing market, how much similar properties are selling for, new upgrades you’ve added to the home, 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 Michigan.
|Home size||Home value in Michigan|
Before you make up your mind about selling FSBO, it’s highly recommended to get an appraisal. During this process, a state-certified appraiser will estimate your home’s fair market value based on its location, condition, amenities, and other details.
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 Michigan?
No, the state of Michigan doesn’t require sellers to hire an attorney. However, it’s still a smart move to get legal advice before accepting an offer or submitting your paperwork.
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||3.0% 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 3.0% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Michigan is $228,000, that amounts to $6,804. 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.
Michigan regulations FSBO sellers should know
Real estate regulations can vary from state to state, or even from city to city. Some rules apply to all sellers across the state of Michigan, but keep in mind that your county may have additional regulations.
Here are some important rules to remember before listing your home:
All sellers of residential real estate property with one to four dwelling units must fill out the Seller Disclosure Statement. Sellers are required to disclose all known information about the property to their best knowledge.
The disclosure form includes questions about the following components:
- Condition of appliances, systems, and services (such as the plumbing or electrical systems, washer and dryer, lawn sprinklers, etc.)
- Any leaking from the roof or in the basement
- History of pest infestations
- Environmental problems, such as asbestos, radon gas, or lead-based paint
- Any damage caused by natural disasters (fire, floods, landslides, or wind)
- Any encroachments, easements, or zoning violations
- Proximity to a landfill, airport, or shooting range
- Any pending litigation that could affect the property
If the condition of the property changes after completing the form, sellers must inform the buyer as soon as possible. For example, if the seller finds an issue with the home’s roof after submitting the disclosure form, they must contact the buyer to let them know.
Title insurance etiquette:
In Michigan, the seller usually pays for the owner’s title insurance policy, and the buyer covers the lender’s title insurance policy.
FSBO marketing rules
Sellers are allowed to put a “For Sale” sign in their yard in Michigan. In general, there are just a few rules that apply for all residents:
- For single and two family properties, one sign per parcel is allowed.
- Signs can’t exceed six square feet in area and four feet in height.
- Signs must be removed within 30 days after the property is sold.
- Signs can’t interfere with the public right-of-way or cause hazards to traffic.
- Properties that face more than one street may put up an additional sign for each frontage.
Specific content rules for on-premise signs vary by city, so check with your local county to see if there are any additional regulations you need to follow.
In Michigan, transfer taxes are collected by the state and the city or county where the real estate is sold. The total transfer tax is $4.30 per $500 of the property’s value. Of that, $0.55 goes to the city or county, and $3.75 goes to the state.
Example of how Michigan transfer taxes work
The city of Detroit collects $0.55 in transfer taxes for every $500 of a property’s sale price. The state of Michigan collects $3.75 for every $500.
So, a property that sells for $300,000 would require $2,580 in transfer taxes.
($300,000 / $500) x ($0.55 + $3.75) = $2,580
(Sales price / cost per $500 of sales price) x (city/county tax + state tax) =
total transfer tax
Sellers are typically expected to pay for the transfer fees in Michigan.
9 steps to sell a home in Michigan 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
Don’t underestimate the power of quick, inexpensive fixes! Taking the time to fix a squeaky door or patch up a dent in your wall 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 Michigan it costs an average of $1,057 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 Michigan you can expect to pay $150 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 Michigan, an appraisal costs $270 to $320.
» MORE: Tools for pricing your home
5. Advertise your home
There are several websites that allow FSBO listings for free or for a low cost, such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. However, you’ll probably get the most bang for your buck by using a flat fee MLS company.
In Michigan, this will cost you $300 to $1,000, 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 interested buyers start contacting you, use a digital calendar to keep everything organized. Schedule open house times, set reminders for buyer tours, and take notes of each visitor who comes through your door.
When you schedule tours with individual buyers, make sure they have a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender first. Pre-approved buyers know they’re qualified to purchase a house, so they’re more likely to make an offer.
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 Michigan
Most sellers come to realize that trying to sell without an agent isn’t worth the hassle. If you think you’ll need some help selling your house, here are a few other low-cost options to consider.
Michigan 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 Michigan include The Flat Fee Pros, Kermath Realty, and Modern Way Realty. Packages can range from $299 to $1,499, depending on how many services you need.
|The Flat Fee Pros||Kermath Realty||Modern Way Realty|
|Number of Photos||15-50||6-50||25|
|MLS Listing||3 months to Until Sold||6 months to Until Sold||12 months|
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 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.