Selling a home without a realtor (also called for sale by owner, or FSBO) can save you thousands in listing agent fees — which in Texas average 2.7% of the sale price.
A FSBO sale makes particular sense when you already have a buyer and don’t need to list and market your home. It can also work if you’re an experienced home seller with a solid support network, like a realtor friend who can help price and list your home and a lawyer who can draw up the contract.
FSBO homes have lower median sale prices than homes sold with an agent,and they’re prone to sit on the market longer. A survey of recent home sellers found that those who sold without a realtor were nearly twice as likely as traditional sellers to wait at least three months for an acceptable offer.
While we don’t recommend the FSBO route for every seller, many people have had success selling FSBO. FSBO sales made up approximately 7% of home sales in 2022.
If you do decide to sell without a realtor, here are a few approaches you can take.
Options for selling without a realtor
1. Get a cash offer from an investor
If you need to sell fast without a realtor, you can usually get the quickest offers from investors. Investors include national brands like We Buy Houses and local house flippers. They can usually make offers on the spot and close in as few as 7–14 days.
A key benefit of investors is that they can purchase homes that most buyers either aren’t interested in or can’t get traditional funding for. (Most mortgage lenders won’t finance homes in severe disrepair.) Investors are also adept at handling tricky situations, such as pre-foreclosure, problem tenants, or debt-related property liens.
However, if you want the maximum price for your home, you probably won’t get it from an investor.
Investors earn a profit by purchasing homes at bargain prices — usually no more than 70% of fair market value — then fixing them and selling or renting them for market value. However, some investors can offer 80–90% or more through lesser-known options like novation agreementsand seller financing
Any honest investor will tell you that you’ll get more for your home by listing it with an agent. But if you feel like you’re running out of options, an investor can get you cash quickly — with no added fees for repairs or closing costs.
✅ When should you consider selling to a cash buyer?
Selling to a cash buyer makes the most sense when:
- You’re willing to sacrifice equity to sell quickly
- Your home requires extensive repairs you can’t afford
- You’re dealing with a difficult situation, such as pre-foreclosure or problem tenants
- You inherit a property in poor or outdated condition
💰 How can you get the most cash for your house?
When selling your house for cash, you’ll get the best outcome by seeking competing cash offers from multiple buyers. You can do this on your own, with the help of a realtor, or through a free service like Clever Offers.
The amount you get for your home will depend on your property and situation, as well as the type of agreement you make with an investor.
Options like novation agreements or mortgage assumptionscan get you more than the standard cash offer for your home. But you’ll need to have some flexibility with your selling timeline — or be willing to get paid over time instead of all at once.
2. Sell to an iBuyer
iBuyers like Offerpad and Opendoor promise a quick, hassle-free home sale.
Like investors, iBuyers make an initial cash offer based on the property details you provide and can close in as little as a week or two — no showings, negotiations, or home prep required.
In exchange for this convenience, iBuyers tend to offer 5–10% below market value and charge service fees of about 5%. They also make deductions for repairs, lowering offers by at least another 1–2%.
It’s free to request an offer from an iBuyer. If you decide to move forward, the iBuyer sends an inspector to look over your home and document any visible repairs. After the inspector’s assessment, you receive a final offer reflecting any deductions for repairs.
Many homeowners have been happy with the process of selling to an iBuyer. But recent reviews from Opendoor and Offerpad note that final offers are sometimes dramatically lower than initial estimates — even by as much as $100,000.
If you accept the final offer, the iBuyer handles the paperwork and closes on your preferred timeline — anywhere from 8–90 days, depending on the company. You don’t pay any out-of-pocket closing costs, since everything is deducted from your offer.
3. Hire a flat fee MLS listing service
If you list your home without a realtor, a flat fee MLS listing service can help you increase your listing’s visibility without breaking the bank.
While realtors charge 2.5–3% to sell your home, a flat fee MLS company can list your home for a few hundred dollars. And just like with a regular listing, your property is visible to buyers on popular real estate sites like Zillow and Redfin.
You still handle plenty of the selling process on your own, including pricing, photography, staging, showings, and negotiations. You’re also in charge of vetting offers and verifying buyers’ financing.
And you probably still need to offer a 2–3% buyer’s agent commission, or else you risk buyers going elsewhere. Most buyers won’t like having to pay their agent out of pocket, especially when other sellers are willing to cover their realtor fees.
If you’re mainly considering a flat fee MLS company to save money — and aren’t familiar with the process — you’ll find much better overall value with a discount realtor.
4. Hire a real estate attorney
If you already have a buyer, you may only need to hire a real estate attorney to handle paperwork and closing.
An attorney won’t negotiate the price or the terms of a sale, but they’re uniquely qualified to give legal advice related to your home sale.
For example, a real estate lawyer can:
- Draw up a purchase agreement based on terms you and the buyer agreed on
- Make amendments to a contract after inspections or further negotiations
- Advise you on the best approach for complicated legal issues, like selling a home with a deceased owner or splitting proceeds after a divorce
- Look for loopholes in a purchase agreement and advise you on closing them
- Complete a title search and resolve any issues
- Prepare a statement of the transaction fees you’ll pay at closing
- Draft the deed and other documents required for closing
- Oversee the closing process, including recording the deed with the appropriate county official
For a real estate transaction, an attorney may charge a flat fee or an hourly rate. Fixed rates for a straightforward home sale — including contracts and closing — can cost $500–2,000. Hourly rates can be $150–600. More complex transactions can end up costing several thousand dollars.
If you’re not sure about selling without a realtor, check out our thorough guide to selling FSBO to help you decide. If you’d like to explore other cost-saving options, consider a top discount broker, like Clever Real Estate or Redfin, which would allow you to work with a top local real estate agent at about half the typical cost.
8 steps to sell a home in Texas 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, 9-step guide to selling a house in Texas.
For Texas FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get familiar with the FSBO process
Regardless of how you choose to sell FSBO, you should familiarize yourself with the practical and legal requirements of selling a house in Texas.
For example, Texas home sellers must use a Seller’s Disclosure Notice to notify buyers about any defects that may affect the home’s value or livability. This form also has information about the home’s general condition, major appliances, and vital systems (like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC).
You should provide disclosures to the buyer before signing a contract.
If you hire a lawyer, they can help you know which documents to prepare. Some flat fee MLS companies also provide legal paperwork required by the states they operate in.
2. Get your home ready to sell
If you’re planning to list your house, the next step is preparing your home for photos and showings. This means making sure everything is updated and in great shape to make a good impression on buyers.
Common preparation tasks include:
- Replacing light bulbs and broken fixtures
- Making small repairs
- Ensuring everything is up to code
- Shampooing carpets and deep cleaning
- Applying a new coat of paint
- Improving the landscaping
Strive for a clean, decluttered look when prepping your home for sale. You want the buyer to imagine living there, so many realtors recommend sticking to neutral paint colors and removing personal items.
Avoid making costly upgrades unless they affect the home’s ability to sell. Old, stained carpet or a leaky roof could scare away buyers, so you should address those problems. But you probably won’t get your money back by adding a new porch or swimming pool.
When you’re comfortable with how your home looks, stage it and take listing photos. Realtors especially recommend staging for luxury properties and homes that may need help getting buyers to look past their flaws.
You can do the staging and photography yourself or hire them out. On average, a Texas photographer charges $140 for new listings, and a stager charges about $1,529 per room.
3. Price your home accurately
When selling a house in Texas without a realtor, be very careful about choosing a list price. This task is something half of recent FSBO sellers struggled to get right. Err on the side of listing your house either at or slightly below market value.
Often, high list prices result in more time on the market, lost buyer interest, and the seller lowering the asking price before actually achieving a sale. A more competitive list price can lead to a lot more showings and interest from buyers, possibly sparking a bidding war and significantly driving up the price.
According to research from Collateral Analytics and the National Association of Realtors, FSBO sellers make anywhere from 5% to 26% less on their homes than realtors with comparable listings. For the average-priced home in Texas, that could cost you between $14,700 and $76,500!
To get the most from your home sale, we suggest the following approaches to setting your list price.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
The most common approach for valuing residential real estate is a comparative market analysis. Select 3–5 homes in your area that are most similar to yours that have sold in the past few months. You’ll use those to establish a likely range for how much your home would sell for. Finally, you zero in on a price based on similarities and differences between those comparable homes, or “comps,” and yours.
This analysis is usually included in the service provided by a conventional realtor, but there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself, as long as you stay objective in your analysis.
Working with a flat fee MLS service is a cost-effective alternative that allows you to employ an objective third party without spending a ton of money.
Hire an appraiser
You can also hire an appraiser to give you a formal analysis of your home’s fair market value. An appraiser will tour your home, account for its amenities, age, and condition, and then factor in the state of your local housing market to determine what your home is worth. As a realtor would do during a CMA, an appraiser also looks for comparable properties in the neighborhood to give a more holistic evaluation of your home.
A pre-listing appraisal in Texas will probably cost between $300 to $435, but it could be well worth it to avoid the thousands you could lose by mispricing your home.
After deciding on a list price, we recommend you read up on capital gains taxes to see if you’ll have a tax burden from the proceeds of your sale. This isn’t super common for primary residences, but it’s something you don’t want to be surprised by.
4. List and market your home
Before you begin marketing your home, we recommend reading up on advertising regulations in Texas to make sure you’re complying with the rules. Many of these are directed at brokers and agents, but sometimes they will apply to you as well, particularly if you plan to use physical advertisements.
These days, it’s more common for FSBO sellers to put their listing online for free. Popular free sites for FSBO properties include:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Zillow’s and Trulia’s FSBO sections
In cooler markets, you might consider gaining a wider audience by listing on paid websites as well, though many FSBO sellers prefer to save money by avoiding these. Between word of mouth, yard signs, and free websites, you can achieve a pretty big audience for your listing.
If you want maximum exposure, think about working with a Texas flat fee MLS company.
Required Texas seller disclosures
Texas property code requires that you provide a seller’s disclosure notice for prospective home buyers alerting them to any known material defects with the property. This means you can’t withhold knowledge of those issues if they would affect a buyer’s decision to purchase your house. When in doubt, it’s safer to disclose something, even if it’s been fixed, than to hide it.
In some cases, buyers may also be interested in the mineral rights of your land. According to a 2018 report out of Texas A&M, information on mineral rights can sometimes be found on the title insurance policy, but this is becoming less common. You could also check TexasFile.com for information on mineral rights.
Besides the general disclosure form, you also need to include a lead-based paint disclosure if your house was built before 1978.
There are a variety of ways to share disclosures with buyers, including attaching them to your listing, providing hard copies at showings, or emailing them. Just make sure the buyer sees the disclosures before signing a purchase agreement so they can’t use any information contained in the disclosure to back out of the deal.
5. Manage showings on your own
When people consider how to sell a house by owner in Texas, one of the first things that comes to mind is probably managing showings. Showings are a major part of the home-selling process, and you need to be organized and strategic to solicit the best offers from buyers.
For starters, you need to keep a record of all communications with buyers and their agents. Usually this involves saving texts during the sale process and having a dedicated folder for emails.
You also need a scheduling tool to manage all the appointments you’re in charge of. Doodle or apps like ShowingTime are common tools for realtors, but even Google Calendar can work.
When conducting the showings, here are some tips to keep things orderly and effective:
- Set the temperature at a comfortable level.
- Let the natural light in.
- Use neutral candles or air fresheners.
- Schedule appointments on the same day with breaks in between.
- Make informational flyers and disclosures easily available and print extras.
- Use a lockbox so realtors can gain entry without you.
Although you might need to be on-site initially to get things prepped, we suggest not hanging around during the showings. Most buyers are more comfortable exploring and opening up about their impressions if the owner isn’t present.
If managing showings feels like too much to handle, flat fee companies sometimes offer add-on services to support you in the showing process.
Be prepared to answer questions about your house, utilities, taxes, and neighborhood after the showing.
6. Review and negotiate offers
Whether you get one offer or many, you need to know how to read these, what to look for, and how to negotiate them.
Don’t entertain verbal offers — a truly interested buyer should submit a written offer in the form of a Texas residential resale contract. This is a legally binding document that can be accepted, denied, or counteroffered as you see fit.
If you’re confused by any part of the purchase contract, reach out to the buyer’s agent or a real estate attorney for clarity. Although an attorney is not required to sell a house in Texas, working with one may be a good idea anyway. They will help you understand the implications of an offer, help you avoid major pitfalls, and even assist you in comparing different offers.
Pay attention to high-impact items on a purchase contract, such as:
- Purchase price
- Traditional financing versus cash offers
- Pre-approval letters and amounts, if applicable
- Closing timeline
- Good faith deposit
- Seller credits and repairs
A savvy seller looks at the complete offer and figures out how to use the buyer’s priorities to negotiate the best deal for themselves.
7. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
For most buyers, some due diligence will be required to proceed to closing. Cash buyers reserve the right to waive some of these actions, but even they will probably have some things they want to check on before actually buying the house.
“The majority of offers will come with an option period, where the buyers will have inspectors come and try and find as much wrong with your property as possible,” said Texas agent Sandy Finkelstein. If any major issues are found, the buyer might negotiate for a lower price or back out of the deal altogether.
To prepare for an inspection, make sure the five key areas are in good condition:
- Electrical system
Finkelstein also warns FSBO sellers that “[i]nvestors may try to take advantage of the homeowner by getting them under contract, only to try and assign or resell the property before it closes.” Sometimes, they might inflate repair costs only “to bring the final offer way down, once they are under contract.”
In addition to an inspection, most conventionally financed homes require the following due diligence steps:
The buyer can attempt to renegotiate at any stage if a contingency clause applies. In this case, you may need to amend the purchase contract using an amendment form.
If you want to cancel the deal at any time without allowing a contingency, you will need to deliver a Notice of Seller’s Termination of Contract. We suggest speaking to an attorney before taking any steps toward that cancellation to understand the full implications of that decision.
If renegotiations are successful or unnecessary, you can proceed to close as planned.
You will close on the date specified in the purchase contract, unless both parties agree to reschedule.
Most real estate closings in Texas take place at a title company to ensure that the buyer receives a clear title. The title company will facilitate the closing process, collect closing costs, and finalize all the paperwork.
The paperwork includes a closing statement that itemizes every part of the sale, as well as the transfer of title to the new owner. You will sign a series of documents saying you understand all of this and approve the sale.
Since Texas is a “wet funding” state, you will get the money from your sale that day either via check or wire transfer.
Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Texas
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. On a $283,000 home (the average home price in Texas), that would be roughly a savings of $7,000. However, the amount you’ll actually save will depend on repairs you need to make, concessions, and other expenses.
💸 Common costs for FSBO sellers
|Real estate attorney||$150–350/hour|
|Flat fee MLS package||Varies by package|
|Buyer's agent commission||2–3% of sale price|
Do I need a real estate attorney in Texas?
No, but it’s highly recommended. An attorney can answer all your legal questions and help you avoid future roadblocks when selling.
If you just need help with a specific service, some attorneys may charge a flat fee to prepare documents of sale or review a contract.
Texas FSBO expenses calculator
Use our calculator to find out how much you can expect to spend if you sell without a realtor.
For sale by owner paperwork in Texas
Here’s a list of the Texas paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
- Flood Zone Disclosure
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- Texas Seller’s Disclosure Notice
- Texas Residential Resale Contract
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 offer reduced commission rates. Sellers can save thousands while still receiving assistance from an expert local agent.
For discount broker services, we highly recommend Clever Real Estate. Clever pre-negotiates with top agents to offer you low commission rates without compromising on service quality. Other reputable discount brokers include Redfin and Ideal Agent.
Frequently asked questions
Can I sell my house as is in Texas?
It may be possible to sell a house as is, but it may not be realistic. Most buyers expect homes to be clean, updated, and ready for them to move in.
Can I sell my house in Texas without a realtor?
Yes, but it's not always the best option. Selling without a realtor can be time-consuming and inefficient if you're unfamiliar with the local real estate market. Working with a discounted agent may be the best way to get expert insights without spending thousands on commission.
What paperwork do I need to sell a house without a realtor in Texas?
You'll need many documents throughout the selling process. Before listing, you'll need the property survey, original sale's contract, and a comparative market analysis (CMA). When your home is on the market, make sure you have a home inspection report, appraisal report, disclosure forms, and the final purchase agreement. At closing, you'll need the deed, closing statement, and your property tax records.
Selling a home in Texas can be complicated and confusing. If you need some extra guidance, these resources can further demystify the Texas home seller experience:
Average Real Estate Commission in Texas: Realtors earn commission when they help a client buy or sell a home. Learn how much Texas agents expect to earn and what you can do to reduce commission rates.
Cost to Sell a House in Texas: Seller Closing Costs and More: Selling your home without a realtor can save you money on commission, but you’ll be on the hook for several other costs. Find out what you’ll need to budget for here!
How to Sell a House By Owner: Paperwork You Need: If you decide to sell without a realtor, check out all the forms you’ll need for a smooth transaction.