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 New Jersey averages 2.6% of the sale price. Considering a typical New Jersey house is worth about $452,000, that’s a savings of $11,888.
However, trying to sell a home For Sale by Owner (FSBO) can be tough. You’ll be responsible for all aspects of the selling process, which can cost 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 New Jersey. Many sellers don’t 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 New Jersey, 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 New Jersey). 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 New Jersey.
- 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey
- 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 New Jersey
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||$375 to $585||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$195||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$1,963||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$105 to $432 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||$250 to $600||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.
If you’re considering selling without a realtor in New Jersey, 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 New Jersey, sellers pay an average of 2.6% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in New Jersey is $452,000, that amounts to $11,888. 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 New Jersey without a realtor
1. Get your home ready to sell
Before hosting showings, you’ll need to make your home a place where potential buyers can imagine themselves living. This means going through your home and removing personal items like family photos and other mementos. If your walls are painted bold colors, consider a fresh coat of off-white or light gray paint.
Remove as much furniture as you can without making the home seem empty. Items like end tables and large recliners can go into storage. Clear your kitchen counters of gadgets and other items to make the kitchen appear as large as possible. If you think your home could benefit from professional staging, you can hire a stager in New Jersey for about $1,963.
Outside, you can boost your curb appeal with fresh blooms. All of New Jersey is in one of four similar planting zones, so it’s usually safe to plant annuals anywhere after Mother’s Day.
📸 Once your home is looking its best, snap a few photos.
Your home listing will need about 25–50 photos of the interior and exterior. Try to wait for a sunny day to get the best looking photos. If your home has any unique features, like a great outdoor entertaining area, make sure you feature them in the photos. It might take only one photo to grab the attention of a buyer. If you’re not much of a shutterbug yourself, you can hire a professional photographer in New Jersey for about $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
Deciding on a list price for your home is probably one of the most difficult decisions you need to make as a seller. You’re not alone: 18% of Americans surveyed said that choosing a price was the most challenging part of selling their home. Without the help of a realtor, this step can seem even more stressful.
Even if you don’t have a realtor, you can still use the same methods real estate agents use when pricing a home.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis (CMA) is a report comparing your property to recently sold homes in the same area that are similar in terms of size, age, and condition. By analyzing the selling prices of these homes, you can get a better understanding of how to price your own property.
Typically, real estate agents prepare a CMA for you when you initially express interest in hiring them. You can also create a CMA on your own. The process is relatively simple, but it is crucial that you describe your home’s condition accurately. If you have a tendency to overestimate the condition of your property, you may want to enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to provide an honest assessment.
Some flat fee MLS companies provide CMAs as part of their services, as well.
Hire an appraiser
Contacting a professional appraiser is probably the most accurate way to place a value on your home. The appraiser will visit your home and inspect it themselves, comparing it to other homes in the area. If you sell your home to a buyer using financing, it’s likely the lender will eventually require an appraisal to make sure the home is worth the cost of the loan.
If you want to hire an appraiser in New Jersey, it’ll cost you about $300 to $435.
» LEARN: Should I get an appraisal before selling?
3. List and market your home
As you’re thinking about how to describe your home, make sure that you review the New Jersey rules for advertising real estate. Most of these rules apply to realtors, but it’s important to ensure you’re compliant since you won’t have a realtor to double-check.
Get word of your listing out there on free FSBO listing websites like Facebook Marketplace, ForSaleByOwner.com, and Zillow/Trulia — all of these are great places to start. But if you really want to reach serious buyers, you’ll need to list on your local MLS.
The MLS is an online database where you can find all of the homes in your area for sale. Buyers’ agents start with the MLS to choose homes for their clients to tour. You need to be a realtor to list homes on the MLS, but it’s still possible to get this kind of reach while selling FSBO in New Jersey by working with a flat fee MLS company.
New Jersey flat fee MLS companies
A flat-fee MLS company is a real estate broker who specializes in helping FSBO sellers list their homes on the MLS along with realtor-listed homes. You’ll pay a one-time fee for a listing that typically lasts six months. In New Jersey, this will cost you about $80 to $1,000.
Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in New Jersey are:
🥇 NJ Real Estate Boutique: Best customer support
🥈 1-2-3 Realtors: Best for hard-to-sell homes
🥉 Jersey Flat Fee: Best for short-term listings
Read our in-depth guide to New Jersey’s flat fee MLS companies to decide which one works best for you.
Can I use a For Sale By Owner yard sign in New Jersey?
Yes, you can use a yard sign to advertise your FSBO home in New Jersey. But there are a few regulations that you must follow.
Generally speaking, real estate signs in low-density residential zones can’t exceed 6 square feet. Signs in all other zones can’t exceed 24 square feet. Check your area’s zoning ordinances to see if you’re in a low-density residential zone.
Although county rules can vary throughout New Jersey, there are a few statewide regulations that sellers need to follow:
- Sellers can only have one sign for each street-facing yard.
- Signs have to be removed within 14 days of the sale.
- Signs can’t interfere with traffic or obstruct the view of drivers.
- Signs can’t be placed on trees, radio towers, or other structures.
- Flashing, animated, or moving signs aren’t allowed.
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 New Jersey, we still recommend you offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission in your home listing. In New Jersey, the average BAC is about 2.5% 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 New Jersey seller disclosures
Before the 1970s, New Jersey was a “buyer beware” state. Since then, New Jersey courts have ruled that buyers can back out of an agreement or sue for damages after closing if a seller fails to disclose a material fact about the property.
Although there’s no list of required disclosures a seller has to make, buyers are legally protected from sellers who hide or fail to disclose information.
Sellers can help put buyers at ease by completing a Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. This document includes facts regarding:
- The age and condition of the roof
- Issues with driveways, retaining walls, or other structural components
- Problems with plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, or other mechanical systems
- The condition of the sewage system
- Any environmental conditions, such as pest infestations, or the presence of hazardous materials like radon or asbestos
- HOA regulations (if applicable)
If your property was built before 1978, federal law requires you to disclose any presence of lead paint.
Lastly, radon testing is recommended in New Jersey. Performing a test ahead of time could help put buyers’ minds at ease.
4. Manage showings on your own
Once you’ve listed your home, get ready to field requests for showings. With any luck, you’ll have plenty of scheduling to do. You won’t want to forget any appointments, so use tools like Google Calendar and a spreadsheet to keep track of showing times and contact information.
💡Tips for making the most of each home showing
Let the buyers roam through your home without your help. Any realtor will tell you it’s best to be away from the home during showings. Buyers are better able to imagine the home as their own without the current owners following them around. If there are two co-buyers touring the home, they’ll be more comfortable discussing the home as they walk through it if they have it to themselves.
Schedule showings back to back. Not only does this make it easier to be away from the home for a set period of time, it could lead to buyers crossing paths as they arrive at the home. A steady flow of interested buyers creates buzz and a sense of competition.
Be ready to answer questions from buyers. Buyers only ask about homes they’re interested in, so it’s a good sign if you’re getting questions. Respond quickly — buyers usually have a long list of homes, and they could lose interest if they’re not getting the answers they need.
Place any disclosure forms and property fact sheets in a noticeable spot, like a kitchen counter or dining room table. Clearly state interested buyers should contact you, the owner, with questions or offers.
5. Review and negotiate offers
When you receive an offer from a buyer or their agent, it will come in the form of a purchase and sale agreement, sometimes called a buy-sell agreement. This is what a typical purchase agreement looks like in New Jersey.
You won’t have a realtor to review the offer with you, so it will be up to you to carefully comb through the details and decide if it’s acceptable. An attorney is not legally required to sell a home in New Jersey, but you could hire one for $105 to $432 per hour to look over the offer.
The offer price may be the first thing you notice, but take note of other important details such as:
Is it a cash offer or financed offer? The majority of home buyers borrow money to buy a new home. These financed offers create a few extra hoops to jump through, like a possible appraisal ordered by the lender or waiting for the buyers to be approved for their mortgage. Cash offers are typically preferred because they’re faster, but there are exceptions.
Does the offer mention any contingencies? A contingency is a special request from the buyer to help them meet their end of the deal. A common contingency is a financing contingency, which states that the buyer needs to be approved for a mortgage before the deal can go through.
If the buyer is offering less than asking, do they mention why? Many offers simply state the offer price with no justification, while others may mention problems with the house and request a credit for repair later. For example, if you’re selling a house with obvious roof problems, the buyer may offer a lower price in order to afford roof repairs later. If you think the roof is going to be an issue for most buyers, carefully consider the request before making a decision.
Once you’ve reviewed the offer, you have three options: accept the offer, reject the offer, or make a counteroffer. In order to make a counteroffer, simply amend the form and return it to the buyer’s agent.
Want to sharpen your negotiation skills? Check out our guide to 26 negotiation strategies.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
Once you accept an offer, the buyer has until closing to perform “due diligence,” which means verifying that the house is indeed a good investment. This period leading up to closing may include some or all of the following:
- Mortgage underwriting
- Property title search
- Final walkthrough
If a title search or home inspection uncovers any problems, you may head back into negotiations with the buyer to work everything out. Both the buyer and the seller are free to walk away from the deal before closing, but we recommend that you speak to a lawyer before backing out.
If there are no problems, or if all issues are resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, you’re on your way to closing.
In New Jersey, the closing is usually held at the office of an attorney, a real estate broker, or a title company. Wherever yours is held, it will involve signing a lot of documents. You’ll eventually make your way to signing the deed transfer, which officially transfers ownership to the buyer.
At the end of closing, you’ll get a stack of documents including a statement that details the home’s sale price, your closing costs, and what’s left over. In New Jersey, you can expect a check or wire transfer for that amount the same day.
For sale by owner paperwork in New Jersey
Here’s a list of the New Jersey paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
New Jersey’s tax code is more complicated than many other states. The New Jersey Division of Taxation provides this Tax Guide to Buying or Selling a Home in New Jersey to help consumers understand their responsibilities.
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 New Jersey
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
Can I sell my house "as is" in New Jersey?
Selling a house “as is” is legal in New Jersey. However, you're still required to meet federal and state disclosure requirements. Listing a property for sale "as is" simply means that you won't be making any upgrades or repairs to the home.
Do I need a real estate attorney to sell my New Jersey home?
No, the state of New Jersey doesn't require sellers to hire an attorney. However, having legal help can prevent complications when drawing up a contract, reviewing offers, or completing closing documents.
If you need some more advice about selling your New Jersey home, here are a few great resources to check out:
How to Sell a House in NJ: Our detailed guide breaks down your options for selling a home fast in NJ, including how to find and choose the best real estate agent, sell without a realtor, or sell fast to a cash buyer.
Average Real Estate Commission in New Jersey: What’s Fair in 2022?: Even if you sell FSBO, your buyer will most likely have an agent. Learn how much New Jersey realtors expect to earn in commission here.
Top We Buy Houses Companies in New Jersey REVEALED: We Buy Houses companies can be great if you want to sell your home quickly, but you’ll make a lot less from the sale. Find out if selling your house this way is the right move for you.
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