How to sell a home without a Realtor

While is it quite common for a homeowner to enlist the help of a real estate agent when they’re ready to sell, you might be surprised to know that it’s not required. In fact, in the age of DIY, many homeowners are opting to list their homes as FSBO (or For Sale By Owner). If you’re the take charge type and have the time to do so, listing your home FSBO might be a great alternative to listing it through an agent.

Why sell a home without a realtor?

One of the main reasons you might consider selling your home soloe is that it can save you some serious green. In most markets, listing agents (also called selling agents) will take a commission of up to 7% of the home’s sales price. To put that into context, that’s $14K right off the top for a home sold at $200,000. While these commission fees are technically taken from the money the buyer pays, it’s still a large amount of money that never makes it into the seller’s pocket.

Not paying these commission fees means you can:

  • Lower your sales price to draw in more buyers.
  • Put more money towards your next home or moving costs.
  • Take care of any repairs, upgrades or renovations (that could increase the value of your home).
  • Be more flexible when negotiating with buyers.

Aside from saving money, selling your home without a realtor also allows you to have more control over the process.

  • You determine when buyers can view the home.
  • You decide what offers you want to field.
  • You control how your home is marketed.
  • You can ensure that buying agent inquiries are answered quickly and accurately.

So, how do you sell your own home?
If you decide to sell your home without the help of an agent, you’ll want to create a comprehensive plan to make sure things stay on track.

Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Determine your goals. What’s most important to you? Selling your home as quickly as possible? Getting the biggest return on your investment? Define your top priorities for the sale, as this will factor heavily into which offers you field.
  2. Do your research. Look at recent comparable sales in your area and get a feel for what similar homes are going for. What are the average days on market? Are properties selling above or under asking? Having this information helps you set the proper expectations and ensures that your home is competitively priced.
  3. Choose the best method. Are you going to handle the process completely solo? Will you market by yourself and bring in an agent to help close the deal? Go back to your original goals for the sale, as this may point you in the right direction.
  4. List or submit your home. Finally, put your home on the market. When you opt for a FSBO listing, you can list your property on sites like Zillow and Trulia. Don’t forget to put a for sale sign in your yard. You can leverage any foot traffic into potential buyer leads.

Keep in mind that a true FSBO means you do all the heavy lifting. You’ll need to coordinate showings with potential buyers, write the listing, take the photographs, market the property and sift through the offers. You’ll also need to navigate the tedious inspection, appraisal and repair process. Pro tip: Having a lawyer assist you during the escrow process is a great idea. While it will be an added cost, it still won’t cost as much as agent commission fees and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that, legally, all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.

Using an online homebuyer

If a quick, hassle-free sale is at the top of your goals list, you might also consider an online homebuyer program like Knock, Offerpad or Opendoor. (Full disclosure: Open Listings is a wholly owned affiliate of Opendoor.) Opendoor gives you two options for selling your home. You can sell it to them for an all cash offer that you can use to pay for your new home, or you can trade in your current home for an all cash offer that you can then use to shop for a new one.

In addition to providing a competitive offer in minutes, Opendoor also lets you:

  • Choose a closing date that works for you.
  • Skip the hassle of marketing and negotiations.
  • Avoid the stress of satisfying contingencies or the home falling out of escrow.
  • Track the entire closing process online.
  • Close and receive your money in days, not months.

So, what’s the catch, right? Well, there isn’t a “catch” per se, however, it is important to note that this option might not be best for you if:
You’re hoping to have competitive buyers drive the price up (Opendoor offers are priced such that pricing negotiations are limited).

  • You aren’t ready to move quickly through the process (the initial offer is only valid for 5 days).
  • The home was built before 1960.
  • The home is valued at more than $600K.
  • The home has unpermitted work.
  • The home is an investment property or being leased.
  • The home is in or near a flood zone.

In addition to receiving a seamless end-to-end selling and buying experience with expert support, anyone who sells their old home to Opendoor and purchases a new home with Open Listings will be eligible for our standard refund of up to 50% of the commission.

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