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 West Virginia averages 2.7% of the sale price. Considering a typical West Virginia house is worth about $144,000, that’s a savings of $3,917.
However, trying to sell a home For Sale by Owner (FSBO) can be tough. It will cost you a lot of time and energy.
In the end, selling a house without a real estate agent isn’t worth it for most homeowners in West Virginia. Especially considering there are low commission real estate companies that offer professional assistance for a lower cost.
If you’re considering FSBO in West 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 (2.7% on average in West Virginia). But in exchange for those savings, you’ll have to do everything from advertising your home to negotiating the final deal.
- In most cases, you’ll still need to offer a buyer’s agent commission. 2.7% is typical in West 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 West 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 West 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 West 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||$315 to $420||To price your home more accurately|
|Photography||$123||To compete with homes listed by agents|
|Staging||$1,529||To stand out to local buyers|
|Real estate attorney||$279 to $300 per hour||To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements|
|Flat fee MLS listing||To get listed on the MLS|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.7% of sale price||To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (it’s customary for the seller to pay)|
Overall, 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 West 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 West Virginia, sellers pay an average of 2.7% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in West Virginia is $144,000, that amounts to $3,917. 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 West Virginia without a realtor
Selling a home without a realtor in West Virginia 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 West Virginia FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get your home ready to sell
Even if your home is in immaculate condition, it’s probably not quite ready to show to potential buyers. Besides being clean, your home needs to be free of clutter and personal items like family photos before you schedule showings.
If your living room features bold paint colors, consider painting over them with an off-white or light gray paint. This will make the walls neutral and brighter, making the room appear larger. It’s also a good idea to remove as much furniture as you can. End tables and recliners give you comfort and convenience, but if you can live without them for a little while, your room will appear larger to buyers.
To give your home some curb appeal, plant flowers. Take a look at a planting map for West Virginia before planting flowers in early Spring. West Virginia has many different local climates, and the best time to plant depends on where you live in the state.
📸 Capture your home looking its best in photos for the listing.
Wait for a sunny day and take about 25–50 photos of the home, making sure to showcase any unique features that will grab the interest of buyers. You can also hire a photographer, which costs about $140 per session in West Virginia.
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
Choosing a list price for the home is one of the most difficult decisions a seller needs to make. In fact, nearly 18% of Americans surveyed said that pricing was the hardest part of selling, even with the help of a realtor. Pricing a home as a FSBO seller in West Virginia is an added challenge, but fortunately, you can use the same methods an agent would use to price your home.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
A comparative market analysis (CMA) is a report that compares your home to other local recently-sold homes similar in size, age, and condition. If you can see what people are paying for homes like yours, you’ll have a good idea of how to price your own house.
Real estate agents usually prepare a CMA after you first interview them. You can also prepare a CMA on your own. Making your own CMA is pretty straightforward, but it’s important that you’re honest when describing the condition of your home so the CMA is accurate. If you think you’re likely to judge your home as “excellent” when it’s actually closer to “good,” ask a friend or family member to help.
Hire an appraiser
Finding a professional appraiser to inspect and value the home is probably the most accurate method for determining a price, but it will cost you. In West Virginia, the average cost of an appraisal is $300 to $435.
» LEARN: Should I get an appraisal before selling?
3. List and market your home
Before listing the details of your home online, read up on the West Virginia real estate laws regarding advertising. Most of these laws apply to realtors, but it’s important to be extra careful about compliance because you won’t have an agent to double-check your work.
You can start getting the word out by listing on free FSBO listing websites such as Facebook Marketplace, ForSaleByOwner.com, and Zillow/Trulia — all of these are great places to list West Virginia homes for sale by owner.
You can also spread the word on social media and place a For Sale By Owner sign in the yard. But if you really want to compete with other homes listed by realtors in your area, you’ll need to get on the MLS.
The MLS is an online database that lists all of the homes represented by listing agents in the area. It’s the first place buyers’ agents go to compile wish lists for their clients. You need to be a realtor to list your home on the MLS, but there’s a way for FSBO sellers to list their homes there, too.
If you want maximum exposure, think about working with a West Virginia flat fee MLS company.
West Virginia flat fee MLS companies
A flat fee MLS company is a broker who can take your listing and place it on the MLS for a relatively small one-time fee. You won’t have agent support, but at least your listing will be visible where most buyers look for homes.
Choose a flat fee MLS company that fits your needs — some provide just the bare-bones listing, while others offer agent support with paperwork and negotiations for an extra cost.
In West Virginia, expect to pay $80 to $1,000 for a flat fee MLS listing, depending on the company and service package you choose.
Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in West Virginia are:
- Flat Fee Realty: Best for low prices
- FSBO.com: Best for showing off your home
- Fizber: Best for tools like home valuations
Read our in-depth guide to 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 West Virginia, we still recommend you offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission in your home listing. In West Virginia, 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 West Virginia Seller Disclosures
West Virginia is a “buyer beware” state, which means that as a seller, you’re not obligated to provide a form listing the condition of various aspects of the home like you must do in many other states. You can still offer a standard West Virginia seller disclosure form to provide peace of mind for the buyer, however.
Per Federal law, you must still disclose the presence of lead paint. Certain mortgages may require you to disclose if the home is in a flood zone. Attach these documents to the listing and make them available at showings and open houses.
Keep in mind that you still have to be honest. Just because there’s no required disclosure form, you can’t get away with hiding major issues or deceiving the buyer if they ask a specific question. This could lead to legal trouble.
4. Manage showings on your own
If you’re fortunate, requests for showings will come pouring in once you list your home on the MLS. Having a lot of attention on your listing is great, but you’ll need a good system to keep track of the appointments and buyers’ contact information.
Most FSBO sellers will find that simple apps like Google Spreadsheets and Calendar are enough to keep organized. Your flat fee MLS service may also provide tools to help.
💡Tips to make the most of each home showing
Leave the home before each appointment. It’s much easier for buyers to imagine themselves living in the home without the current owners following them around. It also gives buyers the freedom to discuss the home freely if they’re touring the home with a spouse or co-buyer.
Schedule showing appointments back to back. If buyers see other buyers arrive as they leave, it will create the impression that the home has a lot of interest. This will also help minimize the time you need to spend away from the home.
Answer buyer questions immediately. Questions about your home mean that someone is interested. Answer the phone on the first ring, respond to texts and emails immediately, and be ready for follow-up questions. Buyers usually have a long list of homes to consider, so if you’re not responsive, they’ll likely lose interest and move on to another home.
Leave out disclosure forms and property fact sheets with your contact information somewhere they’ll be noticed, like a table or kitchen counter.
5. Review and negotiate offers
When you receive an offer, it will come in the form of a purchase and sale agreement, sometimes called a buy-sell agreement. This is what a West Virginia Real Estate Purchase Agreement typically looks like.
Since you won’t have a realtor to evaluate the offer, it’s important to make sure you understand absolutely everything before accepting an offer. An attorney isn’t legally required to sell a home in West Virginia, but it might be worth the $279 to $300 per hour fee to make sure you’re not making a costly mistake.
Once you’re sure that you understand the offer, your options are to accept, reject, or counter the offer. In addition to the offer price, pay close attention to the following:
Is the offer in cash or financed? Most offers are financed, which means the buyer is borrowing money to pay for the home. This could mean extra steps, such as waiting for lender approval or a required appraisal. Sellers typically prefer cash offers because they’re faster, but there are some exceptions.
Are the buyers asking for any contingencies? A contingency is a special favor the buyers may ask of you to help them buy the home. A common contingency is a home sale contingency, which asks you to wait for the buyer to sell their old home so they can afford to buy yours.
Do they mention why they’re offering less than the asking price? Buyers will sometimes ask for repair credits, which is money taken off the offer price in order to pay for necessary repairs. For example, a buyer might shave $5,000 off the offer price and explain they need that money to pay for new windows. If you know the windows are indeed pretty shabby, and figure other buyers might also have an issue with them, taking the reduction in price to make the deal could be a smart move.
If an offer is way too low or asks for contingencies that just don’t align with your goals, you can reject it. If the offer is close but not perfect, you could counter the offer with your own terms by amending the form and sending it back to the buyer. Be careful not to be too aggressive with a counteroffer, though. You might turn off the buyers for good.
Need help thinking through negotiation scenarios? Check out our guide to 26 negotiation strategies.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
During the “due diligence” period between offer acceptance and closing, the buyer has the opportunity to confirm the home is a solid investment. The due diligence period may include some or all of the following steps:
- Mortgage underwriting
- Property title search
- Final walkthrough
The point of these steps is to look for problems, and finding something that needs to be addressed could mean going back to negotiations. The buyer and the seller are free to back out of the agreement during the due diligence period, but we recommend speaking to an attorney before abandoning the deal.
If everything goes smoothly, the next step is closing.
In West Virginia, the closing appointment usually takes place at the office of a realtor, attorney, or title company. You and the buyer will both sign a lot of documents, including the deed transfer, which officially gives ownership to the buyer.
Once closing is complete, you’ll receive a statement explaining the proceeds from the sale and how much you can expect to take home once closing costs are subtracted. In West Virginia, you should receive your money via check or wire transfer later that day.
All you have left to do is hand the keys to the home’s new owner and celebrate your sale.
For sale by owner paperwork in West Virginia
Here’s a list of the West Virginia paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
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 West Virginia
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 lawyer to sell my house in West Virginia?
An attorney isn't legally required to sell a home in West Virginia, but it might be worth the $279 to $300 per hour fee to make sure you're not making a costly mistake. Although they cost quite a bit of money, their help can prove invaluable when navigating through all the legal documentation.
Is selling a house without a realtor worth it in West Virginia?
It can be worth it, provided you know what you’re doing. Selling without a realtor will save you the 3% commission fee that’s typically charged, but you can lose much more if you make even a minor mistake in the sales process. For example, an error in filling out legal paperwork may cost you a lot of money to remedy, including hiring a lawyer and or paying fines.
If you’d like some more advice about selling your home, here are a few great resources to check out:How realtor commissions work in West Virginia: Even if you decide to sell your house without an agent, it’s still a good idea to offer commission to the buyer’s agent. Learn how much realtors expect to earn and what you can do to make your listing more appealing to agents and their clients. Top We Buy Houses Companies in West Virginia REVEALED: If you need to sell your home in a hurry, a We Buy Houses company may purchase your house as-is for a reduced rate. Find out if this option could be the best option for you here!
How Much Does it Cost to Sell a House? True Costs Revealed: Wondering how much you’ll have to pay to sell your house? Check out this article to calculate your repair budget, closing fees, marketing expenses, and more.
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