Should I use a realtor? | What does a realtor do in Texas? | Cost of selling without a realtor | Texas selling regulations | How to sell without a realtor | Alternatives to selling without a realtor | FAQ
If you want to avoid working with a real estate agent, selling your Texas home yourself could be a good option. Listing your home for sale by owner (FSBO) means you won’t have to pay a listing agent commission, saving you between $5,521 and $8,281. It will also give you more control over the sale process.
However, trying to sell a home without an agent can be tough. It can cost you a lot of time, and you’ll also be fully responsible for completing all the necessary paperwork.
Want to save money, but don’t want to take on all the work? A better option for you might be to work with a discounted agent!
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!
If you’re still set on learning how to sell your house without a realtor in Texas, we’ll go over the process below.
🔑 Key takeaways:
- Selling without a real estate agent can save you money, but it may cost you lots of time.
- Sellers are required to complete lots of paperwork, including a seller’s disclosure, flood zone statement, and a lead-based paint disclosure.
- Trying to sell property without an agent is best for experienced sellers or people selling to family or friends.
- Using a discount agent is a good way to save money while getting the expert help you need to sell your home.
Should I sell my house without a realtor?
Still not sure if FSBO is right for you? Use the checklists below to find out which option is best for your needs.
✅ 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. However, you will still need to pay a buyer’s agent commission if your buyer uses an agent.
How do commissions work?
The average commission rate in Texas is between 4.5% and 6%. This amount is usually split between the buyer’s agent and the listing agent. If you don’t use an agent to sell your home, you can cut your commission expenses in half.
For example, if you sell a home for $350,000 and you have to pay 6% commission to the agents, that would be $21,000 less profit for you. However, if you sold without a realtor, you’d cut out the listing agent commission. That means you’ll just pay the buyer’s agent a 3% commission, keeping an extra $10,500 in your pocket.
You already have a buyer.
If you already have a buyer, it doesn’t make sense to pay an agent to list your home on the MLS or host open houses.
You’re experienced in the real estate industry.
If you’ve sold a property before and are familiar with your neighborhood’s real estate market, you’ll feel more confident throughout the selling process. It’s also helpful if you have experience negotiating with buyers.
You have lots of time to spare.
Selling a house is a lot of work! You’ll need time to prepare the home for sale, market the property, host open houses, review paperwork, negotiate with buyers, hire inspectors and photographers, and more.
You’re located in a hot seller’s market.
If you’re in a high-demand area with low inventory, your house is more likely to sell quickly at or above the listed price.
🚫 Selling without a realtor might not be right for you if…
You want to sell quickly.
If you don’t have much spare time or you’re on a tight deadline, hiring an agent might be your best option. In cases where the seller doesn’t already have a buyer, their home may sit on the market for a longer period of time.
You lack confidence about the selling process.
Without an agent, you won’t have any professional guidance about choosing the best offer, increasing your property’s curb appeal, or pricing your home competitively.
You want to get the most money for your home.
Your home may end up selling for less if you don’t use an agent. FSBO homes have been shown to sell for 5.5% less than comparable homes listed on the multiple listing service (MLS).
🕵 Fact check: Do FSBO properties really sell for less?
There are conflicting studies about FSBO properties selling for less compared to those sold by agents.
Some research shows that FSBO properties just tend to be homes of lesser value. For example, someone is more likely to sell a small mobile home on their own, whereas someone with a highly valuable property would opt to sell using an agent.
FSBO sellers are also more likely to sell to friends or family and offer them a good deal on the home.
What does a realtor do in Texas?
Real estate agents have to juggle several tasks to sell their clients’ properties efficiently. If you choose not to use an agent, it can feel like taking on a full-time job.
Here’s what a realtor in Texas does — and what you’ll have to do if you decide not to use one:
Prices homes competitively
If you’re earlier in the home selling process and just need a general idea of what your house is worth, we recommend trying several free online home value estimators.
However, an agent can provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) for a more accurate valuation. CMA home values are calculated based on the strength of your housing market, how much similar properties are selling for, new upgrades or renovations, and other variable factors.
If you sell FSBO, consider hiring a licensed appraiser to assess how much your home is worth. An appraisal is an objective inspection that estimates the value of a property. Pricing is one of the most important aspects of listing your house, so it pays to accurately reflect its value.
Connects you with local pros
Experienced agents have networks with the best professionals in the area. They can connect you with home inspectors, 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 to show their clients. Without a realtor, you’ll need to pay a flat fee MLS company to list your property.
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 take care of negotiating with prospective buyers. Homeowners can often struggle to think of their homes objectively, so negotiating can be an intimidating and frustrating process for FSBO sellers.
Agents can take care of all the paperwork required to sell your home, 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.
If you decide to sell without an agent, you’ll need to complete all these steps by yourself. Sound like a lot? You might want to work with a discount realtor instead.
An even better option for most sellers is a free service like Clever Real Estate. Clever negotiates 1.5% listing fees with experienced realtors at top brokerages like Berkshire Hathaway and Coldwell Banker. You’ll save up to 50% on listing fees but still get all the hands-on service and support you need to have a successful home sale.
Plus, there’s no obligation — if you don’t like your agent, you can go back to selling your home on your own, no strings attached.
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
|Appraisal||$300 to $450|
|Photography||$200 to $350|
|Staging||$500 to $600 per room|
|Self-storage unit||$90 per month|
|Real estate attorney||$150 to $350 per hour|
|Flat fee MLS package||Varies by package|
|Buyer's agent commission||2% to 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 about how much you can expect to spend if you sell without a realtor.
Specific concerns about selling without a realtor in Texas
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.
However, before FSBO sellers reach the closing date, they’ll be responsible for adhering to Texas real estate laws and regulations.
Texas sellers are required to fill out a disclosure form, listing all information known about their property. In particular, sellers will need to include a flood zone statement and a lead-based paint disclosure.
Some buyers may ask the seller if they own mineral rights or not. According to a 2018 Texas A&M report, you can sometimes find this information on the title insurance policy the homeowner got when they first bought the property. However, many title companies no longer list mineral ownership as an option since the process can be complex and time-consuming.
You may be able to find out if you own mineral rights by checking Texas File. This is a database of land and county records that can help you track down mineral ownership data.
Minimum service regulations
Texas is a minimum service state, which means that if you use a broker for any kind of help, they’ll always be required to perform specific tasks, whether you need those services or not.
This is no issue for FSBO sellers unless they choose to work with a flat fee MLS company. Since these companies function as brokers, they’re still required to perform certain services for each of their clients. This reduces the number of packages you can choose from, and it will likely cost you more.
✍ Advice from an agent:
“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.”
12 steps to sell a home in Texas 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
Simple repairs, such as fixing a squeaky door or repairing dents in the drywall, 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. Declutter and clean
Scrub your home from top to bottom. Dust all surfaces, wash the windows, vacuum the floors, and put away all miscellaneous items. If you have any items you won’t need until after you move, put them in a self storage unit.
» LEARN: How to deep clean your home
3. Stage the rooms
You can hire a professional stager to get your home picture-perfect for showings, but this can be expensive. In Houston, the average cost to stage a home for one month is $1,905, whereas the average cost in Austin is $1,500 per month.
4. 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 you can expect to pay between $200 and $350 for a professional photographer. Before hiring someone, be sure to check out their photography portfolio and read other customers’ reviews.
Selling your Texas home “as is”
If you’re on a tight budget or deadline, you could try selling the property “as is.” However, this might get you fewer interested buyers.
Be sure to say whether or not you’re selling the property “as is” in the listing description.
» CONSIDER: Should I sell my home as is?
✍ How to list your home for sale
5. Get a home value estimate
To accurately price your home, you can get a CMA report from a realtor or hire an appraiser.
A CMA is estimated based on similar properties in your neighborhood that have recently sold. Many agents are willing to do a CMA for free in the hopes of gaining your business. An appraisal, on the other hand, is performed by a professional appraiser who thoroughly examines your home and estimates its value.
If you don’t want to meet with an agent or pay for an appraisal, we recommend using several free online home value estimators.
Comparing pricing estimates from multiple tools can get you an estimate that’s closer to your home’s fair market value — especially if one of the websites relies on inaccurate or outdated information.
6. Consider using a flat-fee MLS agency
Only realtors can list properties on the MLS, and other agents use this database to quickly find potential homes for their clients. If you’re selling on your own, the only way to get your property listed on the MLS is to pay a Texas flat fee MLS company to list your home for you.
7. Share your listing on social media
If you want to get the most possible eyes on your home, ask your friends and family to share your listing on Facebook and Twitter. This can help you reach thousands of potential viewers.
» MORE: How to sell a house on Facebook
📅 How to manage showings
8. Schedule visits with potential buyers
Ask prospective buyers if they have a pre-approval letter from a lender before scheduling a tour. A pre-approval letter shows that a buyer is able and qualified to buy a house.
As you host tours and open houses, make sure to keep track of who shows up. Have a sign-in sheet where visitors can put their names and contact information down so you can follow up with them later.
9. Print informative flyers
Buyers can take these when they come to an open house. Make sure to include all of the important details about your home, including the address, price, main features, and a few photos.
📃 How to go through offers
10. Consider your own timeline
When it’s time to review offers, don’t just look at the prices. For example, if you have a strict deadline for closing or need extra time to move out, a buyer who’s flexible on the closing timeline might be the best option.
10. Account for contingencies
In hot real estate markets, buyers might be willing to waive contingencies, such as an appraisal contingency or an inspection contingency. When a buyer waives these contingencies, it means they will purchase your property regardless of these outcomes.
» LEARN: Common home buying contingencies
🤝 How to accept an offer and close
11. Choose a title company
A title company can take care of collecting signatures and fees while ensuring that sellers have all the required documents for closing.
You and the buyer can negotiate which company you’d like to use.
12. Negotiate with the buyer’s agent
If the buyer is using an agent, they will negotiate on the buyer’s behalf. Be prepared to discuss contingencies, closing costs, your desired timeline, and other specific details about the deal.
Alternatives to selling without a realtor in Texas
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, here are a few other low-cost options.
Texas 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.
A few of the best flat fee MLS agencies include Flat Fee By You, Creekview Realty, and Texas MLS Broker.
|💲Price||📷 Number of photos||📆 MLS listing term|
|Flat Fee By You||$45-$295||6 to max allowed||6 months|
|Creekview Realty||$600-$1,400||Varies||6 months|
|Texas MLS Broker||$175-$399||10-50||6-12 months|
Another option for FSBO sellers is hiring a discount broker. Discount brokers in Texas can help you save thousands in realtor fees without having to compromise on the high-quality services a great agent can provide.
Here are some of the discount brokers available in Texas:
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.
FAQs about selling a house without a realtor in Texas
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: What’s Fair in 2022?: 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.