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 Ohio averages 3.2% of the sale price. Considering a typical Ohio house is worth about $202,000, that’s a savings of $6,444.
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 Ohio. 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 Ohio, 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 (3.2% on average in Ohio). 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. 2.6% is typical in Ohio.
- 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 Ohio 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 Ohio
- 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 Ohio
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||$290 to $340||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$135||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$1,887||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$161 to $306 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||$199 to $999||To get listed on the MLS|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.6% of sale price||To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (the seller usually pays)|
|State transfer tax||$1 per $1,000 of sale price||To pay the state of Ohio for the title transfer|
|County transfer tax||$1 to $3 per $1,000 of sale price||To pay the Ohio 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.
The average realtor commission in Ohio is 3.2% 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 Ohio 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 Ohio 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 Ohio, the first step is to get your home looking as appealing as possible.
- Apply fresh coat of paint inside and outside to renew your home’s appearance without spending a fortune.
- Refresh your landscaping, with a focus on low-maintenance natives like Bee balm, Goldenrod, and Wild Bergamot.
- Perform any necessary repairs, from small stuff like leaky faucets to big things like a leaky roof. Expensive repairs can be a deal-breaker for many buyers.
- Deep clean and declutter your home.
- Remove half your furniture and half-empty your storage to make your home seem roomier.
If you’re not happy with how your furniture looks, consider a professional home staging service; in Ohio, staging costs an average of $1,529.
Finally, take your listing photos. You can take them yourself or hire a pro. In Ohio, professional photos cost, on average, $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
No matter how you sell your home, your list price can make or break your sale. Set your price too high, and people will assume you have unrealistic expectations and stay away. Set it too low, and they may assume the home has major flaws.
So how do you settle on the right price? We recommend the following options:
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis uses data on recent local sales of properties that have the same profile as yours to come up with an up-to-the-minute list price. You have several options for getting a CMA:
- Get one from a flat fee MLS company.
- Ask a realtor (who often provide them for free to potential sellers).
- Create your own. (Just make sure to stay objective.)
Hire an appraiser
A licensed, professional home appraiser will closely inspect your home and produce an unbiased assessment of your home’s value that you can use to set your list price. In Ohio, a home appraisal will cost an average of $300 to $435.
» LEARN: Should I get an appraisal before selling?
3. List and market your home
Go over Ohio’s laws regulating real estate ads before you do anything. You don’t want to accidentally break the law during your sale.
Next, list your home on free, FSBO-friendly sites like:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Zillow’s and Trulia’s FSBO sections
Take advantage of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor, and Twitter. These platforms are free, and many for sale by owner Ohio homes have found buyers on there.
Use word of mouth, too. Tell your friends, family members, coworkers, and anyone else you can think of about your home sale.
Finally, consider a FSBO yard sign. Sellers throughout Ohio can put a “For Sale” sign in their yard. However, the exact guidelines for installing signs can vary by city or county. Check with your local county to see if there are any specific sign ordinances in your area.
However, if you use a flat fee MLS company, you’re legally barred from using a FSBO sign. Since the company is technically representing you in the sale, you’ll have to display one of their signs.
If you want maximum exposure, think about working with an Ohio flat fee MLS company.
Ohio flat fee MLS companies
If you’ve been researching how to sell your own home in Ohio, you’ve likely read about flat fee MLS companies.
A flat fee MLS company will get your home onto the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the main directory for home listings. MLS listings are automatically populated onto huge, highly visible real estate sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and Realtor.com.
Only agents can access the MLS, but flat fee MLS companies act as brokers, allowing you access to the MLS without a full-service realtor.
In Ohio, a flat fee MLS listing will cost you about $80 to $1,000. Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in Ohio are:
🥇 Team Results Realty: Best for inexperienced sellers
🥈 Ohio Property Group: Best for sellers who need pricing help
🥉 Flat Fee Realty: Best no-frills service
Read our in-depth guide to Ohio’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 Ohio, we still recommend you offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission in your home listing. In Ohio, 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 Ohio seller disclosures
Ohio’s disclosure law requires sellers to disclose defects they already know about, meaning they aren’t required to order an inspection to discover unknown defects. Sellers should deliver their disclosures to the buyer before the purchase agreement is signed. Failure to do so means the buyer can back out of the sale within three business days.
The Residential Property Disclosure Form is available for free from the State of Ohio Department of Commerce. The form asks sellers about the property’s:
- Environmental hazards, such as radon or asbestos
- History of pest infestations
- HVAC systems
- Risk of flooding or erosion
- Structural defects in the roof, foundation, walls, or floors
- Water, plumbing, and sewage systems
At the end of the disclosure form, there’s room for the seller to write down any additional facts or issues that don’t fit neatly into any of the previous categories.
For federal disclosures, they can use this form for disclosure of lead-based paint in homes built before 1978, and this form for flood risk disclosures.
Make these important Ohio for sale by owner documents available to buyers by having hard copies at showings, sending digital copies to buyers and their agents, and attaching completed disclosures to your listing.
4. Manage showings on your own
Scheduling and conducting showings is a tough job even for an experienced realtor. It’s important to come up with a system to manage your workload.
Use a free calendar tool that enables you to track appointments and buyer contacts. If you sign on with a flat fee MLS company, they may provide one.
Here’s our advice on showings:
- Schedule showings back to back to encourage competition among buyers
- Consider using a lockbox and security cameras for buyer-guided showings
- Try not to be in the home during showings
- If you must be there, don’t hover; give the buyers space
Provide buyers with fact sheets listing your contact info and the home’s specs. Attach disclosure forms, and place the packets in a conspicuous place like the kitchen counter.
Many buyers will have questions at the end of their showings, so be prepared.
5. Review and negotiate offers
Offers typically take the form of a purchase and sale agreement (sometimes known as a “buy-sell” agreement).
Carefully and completely read the offer before you sign, paying special attention to the following:
- Are there any buyer contingencies? These can cancel the sale later. You can also insert your own buyer contingencies.
- Is it a cash offer or a financed offer? Cash offers usually come with less risk, since they don’t depend on mortgage approval.
- Is the buyer asking for repair credits? You can offer to perform the repairs yourself, negotiate the amount of the credits, or accept them.
Utilize these negotiation strategies to get the best deal. If you want to submit a counteroffer, amend the purchase agreement and send it back.
You’re not required to hire an attorney to sell a house in Ohio, but it’s wise to have one review your paperwork, especially since you won’t have an agent on your team to call out any red flags.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
Once you accept the buyer’s offer, the due diligence period begins. Generally, it runs up until the day of closing.
During this period, the buyer makes sure the property’s acceptable while their lender finalizes the mortgage. The due diligence period may include any or all of the following:
- Home inspection
- Home appraisal
- Property title search
- Mortgage underwriting
- Final walkthrough
The buyer may want to renegotiate after seeing the results of the inspection or appraisal, or they may even use a contingency to back out of the deal. If you want to back out, but don’t have a contingency giving you an out, talk to an attorney.
Once negotiations are done, you can move on to closing.
Your purchase agreement specifies the exact date of closing.
The title company generally runs closing meetings, though they can also be handled by an attorney or broker.
Around three days before closing, you should receive a closing statement that lays out all the charges associated with the sale and who’s responsible for them. On the day of closing itself, you and the buyer will sign all the necessary paperwork, and then you’ll transfer the deed to them. In Ohio, sellers typically receive payment in full on the same day as closing.
DOES OHIO HAVE A TRANSFER TAX?
Yes! The current state transfer tax rate is $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s sale price. Ohio counties may collect their own transfer taxes as well, charging anywhere from $1 to $3 per $1,000 of a home’s value. For example, Franklin County imposes a $2 fee for every $1,000 of a property’s sale price. In total, this would mean that Franklin County sellers have to pay $3 per $1,000 of their home’s sale price.
For sale by owner paperwork in Ohio
Here’s a list of the Ohio paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
- Seller Disclosure Form
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- Flood Risk Disclosure
- 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 Ohio
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 a house in Ohio?
No, the state of Ohio doesn't require sellers to hire a real estate attorney. However, it can be a good idea to have legal guidance on your side to avoid complications during the closing process.
Does Ohio have a transfer tax?
Yes, the current state transfer tax rate is $1 for every $1,000 of a property's sale price. Individual Ohio counties may also charge transfer fees, ranging from $1 to $3 per $1,000 in value.
Still have questions about selling your Ohio home? Check out these additional resources to learn more:
The Cost to Sell a Home in Ohio: Realtor Fees and More. Ohio realtor fees and seller closing cost figures vary by market, but it’s typically more expensive to sell in Ohio compared to other states. Learn more about Ohio realtor fees and seller closing costs.
Average Real Estate Commission in Ohio: What’s Fair in 2022? Even if you choose to list your house on your own, you should still consider offering the buyer’s agent commission. Learn what Ohio agents expect to earn from an average real estate transaction here.
Top We Buy Houses Companies in Ohio REVEALED. Need to sell your place right away? A We Buy Houses company could purchase your home for cash without requiring you to make any expensive repairs. Find out if this could be the best option for you!
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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