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?
Selling a house for sale by owner in Virginia 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 Virginia
- 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 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.
7 steps to sell a home in Virginia 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 Virginia FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get your home ready to sell
If you’re just figuring out how to sell your own home in Virginia, the first thing you need to do is get it ready for pictures and showings. Start with small and affordable tasks like:
- Fixing minor issues around the house
- Deep cleaning
- Improving curb appeal
It’s a risky move making bigger alterations to the home. Major issues could deter buyers, though, so try to eliminate deal-breaker issues but avoid making stylistic changes when possible.
When the home is ready to show, get it photographed and staged. This costs an average of $140 for photos and $1,529 for staging in Virginia, or you can do it yourself — just be sure the result is high quality.
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
The number one thing to avoid when selling your Virginia FSBO is mispricing it. Many FSBO sellers set their list price based on how much they’d like to walk away with rather than how much a buyer is likely to pay for it, and this costs them thousands of dollars.
To protect yourself from this expensive mistake, we suggest the following strategies to ensure your list price is a market-based estimate.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis is one of the most used and valuable tools in real estate valuation. This strategy looks at similar homes that have sold recently and what they sold for.
Finding other homes in your area that are similar in size, condition, and amenities is a tried-and-true method for establishing a price range you can reasonably expect your home to sell for.
Usually, a realtor would do a CMA for you as part of their services, but FSBO sellers can do the analysis themselves as well. The trick is accounting for differences between homes and not letting your desire for a high sale price skew your numbers. Try to select your comparable homes, or “comps,” based on neighborhood, square footage, bathrooms and bedrooms, and condition. Sale price should only be factored in as a last step in the analysis.
If you’re worried you can’t be objective or would simply feel better having a real estate professional conduct your CMA, a good option is working with a flat fee MLS company. These companies provide a CMA for a fraction of the cost you would pay a realtor.
Hire an appraiser
For the most thorough valuation of your home, we recommend getting a pre-listing appraisal. Appraisers will conduct a CMA as well, but they will fine-tune it with expertise on local market trends. They will also likely tour your home in person to account for the specific amenities in your home and its condition.
An appraisal costs around $300 to $435 in Virginia, but it’s a great value at that price. It could also come in handy later if you need to contest a low valuation from your buyer’s appraisal if they get one.
3. List and market your home
Virginia FSBO sellers are usually trying to save money, so a great place to start posting your listing is free venues online, such as:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Zillow’s and Trulia’s FSBO sections
You can gain more exposure through paid sites, but this isn’t always necessary, depending on how hot your market is. Other cost-effective options include word of mouth and yard signs.
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
If you want maximum exposure, think about working with a Virginia flat fee MLS company.
Virginia flat fee MLS companies
To list your home on your local MLS, you probably need to work with a flat fee MLS company. These companies allow you to access the MLS without being a realtor, which is very important for reaching high-quality buyers.
In Virginia, this will cost you about $80 to $1,000. Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in Virginia are:
Read our in-depth guide to Virginia’s flat fee MLS companies to decide which one works best for you.
What do you have to disclose when selling a house in Virginia?
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 legislation also requires you to provide a lead-based paint disclosure if your home was built prior to 1978.
You can make these disclosures available to interested buyers by emailing them, providing copies at showings, or attaching them to your listing.
4. Manage showings on your own
Managing showings isn’t easy, so have your system figured out before listing to keep yourself organized.
Whether it’s Doodle, the ShowingTime app, or Google Calendar, you need some way to coordinate schedules and keep track of appointments. Use whatever tools work best for you, but make sure you are comfortable with the technology you’re using before you get started.
You should also keep track of all communications with agents and buyers so you don’t miss out on promising leads. Have a strategy in place that includes follow-up emails, calls, or texts with buyers who express interest or attend showings.
When scheduling showings, there are certain steps you can take to make sure you make a great first impression:
- Open the shades and let natural light in.
- Plug in subtle air fresheners around the house.
- Open the windows in advance to allow some airflow if the weather is right.
- Put any documents for the buyers in an easy-to-see location.
- Schedule appointments on the same day but leave room between to avoid overlap.
- Be prepared to answer questions about the house, utilities, taxes, and neighborhood.
We also recommend getting a lockbox so realtors can access the home without you being there. Buyers are often shy about looking around and discussing the home if the owner is present.
5. Review and negotiate offers
If your showings are successful, it won’t be long before you start receiving offers. Virginia FSBO contracts to purchase are submitted as a formal purchase agreement — don’t allow buyers to negotiate verbal offers, as these are non-binding.
Contracts can be somewhat complicated, depending on the buyer and the state of your market. Generally speaking, offers will be more straightforward in a seller’s market because the buyer doesn’t want to deter the seller from considering their offer. In more neutral markets, however, buyers may get more nuanced trying to negotiate smaller details in the agreement.
Although it’s not required by law, you may want to hire a real estate attorney to help you understand and compare offers. This is the stage in which you lock in the terms of your agreement, so you should fully understand the contract before signing it.
Particularly important aspects of a purchase agreement include:
- Purchase price
- Cash offers versus financed offers
- Pre-approval amount, if it’s traditionally financed
- Buyer contingencies
- Repair expectations
- Closing timeline
- Seller credits
- Earnest money
If the buyer makes specific requests about terms besides the purchase price, like a later closing date, you can leverage that to negotiate a higher price or shift other terms in your favor. Considering every aspect of the deal and not getting tunnel vision with only the purchase price is the key to successful negotiations.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
Before you can close on the property, you must allow the buyer to conduct the due diligence outlined in the purchase agreement. Occasionally, cash buyers will waive the right to common due diligence steps, such as inspections or appraisals. However, it is more common that some kind of due diligence will be necessary before closing.
For traditionally financed purchases, certain steps are almost always required. They include:
If an issue is found during due diligence, you may need to go through a second round of negotiations. That said, you’re not obligated to accept worse terms based on the outcome of the due diligence. Just know that you might lose your buyer and have to start the process over again — and you could encounter the same issue with the next buyer.
If you decide you want to stop the purchase for reasons not specified in the purchase agreement, you should discuss it with a real estate attorney first to see what the consequences would be.
Ideally, the due diligence goes smoothly and doesn’t discover any major issues. In that case, you will proceed to closing as planned.
Unless everyone involved agrees to push back the appointment, you will close on the date identified in the purchase agreement.
The closing appointment is usually conducted by a title company. You can also hire an attorney to conduct closing, as stipulated in the Virginia Consumer Real Estate Settlement Protection Act (CRESPA), but doing so means you won’t benefit from their insight during the negotiation stage.
When you arrive, you’ll go over the closing statement, which itemizes every part of the transaction, including closing costs. Then you will sign a series of documents acknowledging the legal transfer of property, including transferring title to the new owner.
You’ll receive the proceeds of your sale on the day of closing, either via wire transfer or check most likely.
For sale by owner paperwork in Virginia
Here’s a list of the Virginia paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
- Residential Property Disclosure Statement
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- Flood Risk Disclosure
- Virginia Residential Sales 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 are willing to work for a reduced commission rate. Sellers can save thousands while still receiving assistance from an expert local agent.
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 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. Learn more by chatting with an experienced real estate lawyer.
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.