Can You Sell Your House Without a Realtor?

Updated: Aug. 01, 2023

Do you have the time, energy and patience to go through the home selling process without an agent? While you can save thousands, the cost of an agent is sometimes worth it.

Selling a house can be a significant undertaking, and homeowners often find themselves debating whether to engage a real estate agent or explore the ‘For Sale By Owner’ route. While working with an agent can provide certain advantages, going solo also has its benefits — and challenges.

What Does ‘For Sale By Owner’ Actually Mean?

As the name infers, ‘For Sale By Owner’, or FSBO, means the homeowner is selling a property without involving a real estate agent. Homeowners take on the responsibilities traditionally handled by agents, including property marketing, negotiations and contract management, while avoiding a traditional closing cost fee (typically between four and six percent).

FSBO popularity has skyrocketed since the rise of online real estate platforms and resources, enabling sellers to reach potential buyers directly.

Pros and Cons of Using an Agent

Pros:

  • Experience and expertise: Real estate agents are experienced professionals who possess in-depth knowledge of the market, pricing strategies and negotiation tactics. Their expertise can help sellers navigate the complexities of the selling process.
  • Networking: Agents have access to a vast network of potential buyers, other agents and industry contacts. This network can significantly expand the reach of a listing and increase the likelihood of finding the right buyer quickly.
  • Time saving: Selling a house involves numerous tasks, from marketing to paperwork. Agents can handle these responsibilities, allowing sellers to focus on their daily routines and other personal commitments.
  • Negotiations: Agents are trained negotiators who can help sellers secure the best possible deal by advocating on their behalf and skillfully navigating offers and counteroffers.

Cons:

  • Commission fees: This is the primary drawback of using an agent. These fees can significantly impact the seller’s net proceeds.
  • Lack of control: By working with an agent, sellers may have less control over the selling process, including marketing strategies and negotiations. However, this could also be a pro. Buyers can be critical of a home during negotiations, and a third party not emotionally invested in the home is more likely to stay level-headed.
  • Potential conflicts of interest: Agents may prioritize closing deals quickly, potentially leading to a rushed sale or a lower price.

How to Determine A Home’s Market Value

Accurately determining a home’s market value is crucial to setting the right asking price. Here are the steps to assess a property’s market value:

  • Finding comps: Start by researching recent sales of comparable properties (comps) in the local area. Look for homes with similar features, size, age and location. Online real estate platforms and county records are valuable resources for gathering this data.
  • Consider market conditions: Assess the current state of the real estate market. A seller’s market, where demand outweighs supply, may justify a higher asking price, while a buyer’s market might require a more competitive price to attract potential buyers.
  • Get a professional appraisal: Hiring a licensed appraiser can provide an unbiased assessment of the property’s value based on its condition, location and recent sales data.
  • Calculate the cost of improvements: Take into account any renovations or upgrades made to the property that could increase its value.
  • Price competitively: Avoid overpricing the property, which can lead to prolonged listing times and less buyer interest. At the same time, underpricing may result in missed opportunities for higher profits.

How to Get a Home Ready to Sell

While you may think your home is perfect just the way it is, know going into the selling process that no one else is in love with your home — yet. Follow these steps to get your home ready:

  • Declutter and depersonalize: Remove excess belongings, personal items and family photos. A clutter-free and depersonalized space allows buyers to envision themselves living in the home.
  • Complete repairs: Address any visible issues or damages, like leaky faucets, chipped paint or broken fixtures. A well-maintained home appears more appealing to buyers.
  • Deep clean: This means the entire house, including carpets, windows and appliances. A clean and fresh-smelling home enhances its overall appeal.
  • Enhance curb appeal: First impressions matter. Improve the home’s exterior by mowing the lawn, trimming bushes and adding fresh mulch or potted plants.
  • Stage the home: Well-arranged furniture and tasteful decor can make the property more inviting.

How to List a Home Without a Realtor

Effectively marketing your home is essential to attracting potential buyers. Here’s how to list a home without a realtor:

Take advantage of online real estate platforms like Zillow, Trulia, and ForSaleByOwner.com to list your property. These websites receive significant traffic from potential buyers. Create an appealing and accurate description of your home, highlighting its distinctive features and amenities. Use high-quality photographs to showcase the property.

Schedule open houses to allow interested buyers to view the property in person. Be prepared to answer any questions and provide relevant information. Use local advertising methods, such as posting flyers or signs in the neighborhood, to reach potential buyers who may be interested in staying in the area.

Promptly respond to inquiries and maintain good communication with potential buyers. Being accessible can foster trust and interest in the property.