Should I use a realtor? | What does a realtor do in Virginia? | Cost of selling without a realtor | Virginia 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 Virginia averages 2.6% of the sale price. Considering a typical Virginia house is worth about $352,000, that’s a savings of $9,011.
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 Virginia. 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 Virginia, 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 Virginia). 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. 2.7% is typical in Virginia.
- 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 Virginia 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 Virginia, that puts 2.6% of your final sale price back in your pocket. However, you will still need to offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission (2.7% is typical in Virginia).
» LEARN: How realtor commissions work in Virginia
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 take on all the tasks a realtor normally handles.
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 Virginia 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 Virginia.
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 Virginia 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. Get started today!
What does a realtor do in Virginia?
Virginia 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
Agents will provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) to accurately price your home. 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.
But if you’re earlier in the home selling process and just need a general idea of what your house is worth, you may not need to contact a realtor. Try online home value estimators instead.
To get an idea of how much home values can vary, here’s a comparison of different sized homes value in Virginia.
|Home size||Home value in Virginia|
⚡ How much is my house worth? Get a free home value estimate!
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 features.
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.
» MORE: Learn about the difference between CMAs and appraisals
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 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, or you will face a much smaller pool of potential buyers.
» MORE: Read This BEFORE You Pay For a Flat Fee MLS Service
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.
» MORE: How to Sell a House By Owner: Paperwork You Need
Do I need a real estate attorney in Virginia?
No, unless you want to be represented by a different settlement agent than the buyer. Virginia’s Consumer Real Estate Settlement Protection Act (CRESPA) allows the buyer to choose an attorney or settlement agent to help them with the closing process. The buyer’s attorney will also assist you if you don’t hire another representative.
Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Virginia
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||$300 to $365||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$150||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$773||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$238 to $400 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||$300 to $1,300||To get listed on the MLS|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.7% of sale price||To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (the seller usually pays)|
|Grantor tax||$1 for every $1,000 of the property’s sale price||To pay the state 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 Virginia, 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 Virginia, sellers pay an average of 2.6% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Virginia is $352,000, that amounts to $9,011. 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.
Virginia regulations FSBO sellers should know
Whether you’re selling a family home in Alexandria or a little vacation cottage in Virginia Beach, there are some basic statewide regulations that apply to all sellers.
However, different counties may have additional rules or requirements. Be sure to check with your local county to see if there’s any other information you need to know before selling your home.
Virginia is known as a “buyer beware” state because of the minimal disclosure requirements for sellers. The standard disclosure statement explains that buyers are responsible for doing their due diligence before buying a house.
However, Virginia does require sellers to make affirmative disclosures about any of the following issues affecting their property:
- It’s near a military air installation.
- There are pending enforcement actions about the building code or local zoning ordinances.
- There is a private stormwater management facility located on the property.
- The home was used as a meth lab and hasn’t been cleaned according to state regulations.
- The property is a “repetitive risk loss,” which means that two or more claims exceeding $1,000 were paid by the National Flood Insurance Program within the past ten years.
- The property has a septic system that needs repair.
Forms for each of these issues are available from Virginia’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website.
Federal disclosure rules
If your house was built before 1978, federal regulations require you to disclose the presence of any lead-based paint hazards.
Despite Virginia’s limited disclosure requirements, sellers aren’t permitted to intentionally mislead or lie about known problems on the property. Sellers must answer buyer questions honestly or they might face legal trouble.
FSBO marketing rules
On-site “For Sale” signs are allowed on private property in Virginia, but “For Sale By Owner” signs aren’t permitted if you’re listing your home on the MLS.
The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors explains that signs need to adhere to statewide regulations. According to these rules, real estate signs must:
- Not interfere with public right-of-way
- Be free-standing
- Not use any reflectors or other type of illumination
- Not have balloons, streamers, or any other kind of moving decorations attached
9 steps to sell a home in Virginia 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.
🏡 Section 1: Prepare your home for sale
🏡 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.
» LEARN: The 8 most important repairs to make before selling your home
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 Virginia it costs an average of $773 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 Virginia 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 Virginia, an appraisal costs $300 to $365.
» 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 Virginia, this will cost you $300 to $1,300, 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
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.
» LEARN: What fees sellers should expect to pay at closing
Alternatives to selling without a realtor in Virginia
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.
Virginia 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 Virginia include Cottage Street Realty, Home Discovery Realty, and NetNowRealty. Package fees range from $299 to $1,299, depending on how many services you need.
|Cottage Street Realty||Home Discovery Realty||NetNowRealty|
|Number of Photos||Max Allowed||Up to 40||50 to Max Allowed|
|MLS Listing||6 months to Unlimited||Unlimited||6 months|
» READ: The Top Flat Fee MLS Companies in Virginia
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 for Every Budget
For discount broker services, we highly recommend our friends at Clever! Clever pre-negotiates with top agents to offer you the lowest commission rates without compromising on service quality.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need a real estate attorney to sell my home in Virginia?
No, sellers aren't required to hire a real estate attorney in Virginia. In most cases, the buyer will choose an attorney to help them and the seller through the closing process. However, you can choose to hire your own representative if you don't want to use the buyer's.
Is Virginia a "buyer beware" state?
Yes, Virginia is one of several "buyer beware" states. Sellers aren't required to disclose much information about their homes, so it's up to buyers to do their due diligence before purchasing.
Need some more advice about selling your Virginia home? Check out these additional resources:
Average Real Estate Commission in Virginia: What’s Fair in 2022?: Selling FSBO can help you save money on a listing agent’s commission, but you should still offer commission to buying agents. Find out how much realtors expect to earn here!
Top We Buy Houses Companies in Virginia REVEALED: If time is of the essence, selling to a We Buy Houses company can be much faster than finding a traditional buyer. Learn more about how these companies work and if they might be the best option for you.
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