DIY Guide on selling your house without a realtor

DIY Guide on selling your house without a realtor

Selling your house is an important task. Getting the best deal while cutting out unnecessary expenses. So, while many homeowners traditionally turn to real estate professionals to guide them through this journey, there’s a growing trend of individuals taking matters into their own hands and opting to sell their homes without the assistance of a realtor.

In today’s digital age, access to information and resources has empowered homeowners like never before. Many find themselves asking whether they even need the help of real estate professionals when there are so many tools and services that offer to help get properties sold for next to nothing. 

DIY home-selling is now a viable option that allows you to retain more control over the process and potentially save on hefty commission fees. 

If you’ve ever wondered about the ins and outs of selling your house without a realtor, you’re in the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps, strategies, and pitfalls to avoid when venturing into the world of DIY home sales. We’ll explore the benefits and challenges of bypassing traditional real estate professionals, helping you make an informed decision that suits your unique circumstances.

This guide is designed to provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to get prepared on selling a property without a real estate agent. 

Let’s dive into it. 

Can you save money by selling without a realtor?

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One of the most important questions on the minds of FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sellers is whether they can save money by avoiding the use of real estate agents. 

The answer? 

It’s a resounding yes.

Here’s how:

Realtor Fees and Commission Costs

Traditional real estate transactions typically involve realtor fees, which can eat into your profits. Realtors usually charge a commission, often around 5% to 6% of the final sale price. For instance, on a $300,000 home sale, you might end up paying $15,000 to $18,000 in realtor fees. 

By opting to sell your house without a realtor, you eliminate these substantial costs, putting more money back in your pocket.

Closing Costs

While realtor fees are the most noticeable expense, there are other costs associated with selling a house that FSBO sellers can save on. 

These include various closing costs, such as:

  • Title insurance
  • Escrow fees
  • Legal expenses
  • Realtor Fees

 While some of these costs may still apply, they tend to be lower when you take the DIY route because you can negotiate directly with the buyer and have more control over the process.

Direct Negotiations

When you work with a realtor, negotiations often go through them, potentially leading to concessions that can impact your bottom line. FSBO sellers have the advantage of negotiating directly with buyers, giving them more control over the terms of the sale and potentially securing a better deal.

While saving money is undoubtedly a compelling reason to sell without a realtor, it’s not without its challenges. In the subsequent sections, we’ll delve into the intricacies of the FSBO process, offering insights, tips, and strategies to help you navigate this journey successfully. 

Selling your house without a realtor can be financially rewarding, but it requires careful planning and execution to ensure a smooth transaction that can maximize your savings.

Know your state’s FSBO process

FSBO listings are appealing and may seem straightforward enough. However, the selling process can vary significantly from one state to another. 

Different states have distinct legal requirements when it comes to selling a property without a realtor. These can involve mandatory disclosures, specific forms, and regulations regarding contracts. Familiarize yourself with what the state requires to avoid any legal backlash later down the line. 

Here are some examples: 

Real Estate Contracts

Different states have their own standard real estate contract forms. For example, in Texas, the Texas Real Estate Commission provides standardized contract forms that FSBO sellers must use. The correct contract forms required by the state must be used to ensure a legally binding transaction.

Escrow and Closing Process

Some states require the use of escrow services in real estate transactions. In California, for instance, escrow companies are typically used to handle the closing process. FSBO sellers in such states need to be aware of the legal requirements associated with escrow and closing, including the allocation of closing costs.

Home Inspections and Repairs

Some states have specific regulations regarding home inspections and repairs. For example, in Oregon, sellers are required to provide a Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS), which includes information about known defects and repairs. 

Get in touch with market trends

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When getting your home sale listing ready, you should have a selling price in mind. This requires doing some homework to find out what’s happening in the local real estate market. Start by researching the average and median sale price of similar properties in your area. So, identify comparable homes to see how much they sold for and when they were listed to help you get a better idea. 

By doing so, you’ll gain a clearer picture of what buyers are willing to pay for homes like yours. Understanding these market prices will guide you to the right price to list your property. This step is so important to ensure that you’re not asking too much, which could scare away potential buyers or set the price too low, potentially leaving money on the table. So, take the time to study the market to ensure you’re setting the best possible asking price.

Prepare your home for sale

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Now that you’ve got an idea about how much your property could be worth, it’s to get your property ready. You have a few options here, and ultimately, it comes down to your budget. However, making some simple aesthetic improvements can dramatically increase the appeal of your home:

To prepare your home for sale, this should form your to-do list. 

  • Deep Clean – Give your home a thorough cleaning to make it shine and feel inviting.
  • Declutter – Remove personal items and excess clutter to make rooms appear more spacious.
  • Repairs and Maintenance – Fix any noticeable issues like leaky faucets, broken fixtures, or damaged walls.
  • Curb Appeal – Enhance your home’s exterior by maintaining the lawn, planting flowers, and painting the front door.
  • Neutralize Decor – Paint walls in neutral colors and remove bold or unique decor that might not appeal to all buyers.
  • Staging – Invest in professional staging to showcase your home’s potential and help buyers envision themselves living there.
  • Photography – Hire a professional photographer to capture your home’s best angles for online listings.
  • Small Upgrades – Make minor updates like replacing outdated light fixtures, cabinet hardware, or faucets.
  • Major Upgrades – If budget allows, consider a kitchen or bathroom makeover to increase the appeal of your property.
  • Landscaping – Tidy up the yard, trim bushes, and ensure outdoor spaces are well-maintained.
  • Home Inspection – Arrange for a pre-listing home inspection to address potential issues in advance.

Consult a real estate attorney

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Real estate attorneys play an important part in real estate transactions, but whether or not you need one depends on various factors. Here’s what you should be aware of regarding real estate attorneys:

Why do you need a real estate attorney?

Simplifying complex transactions

If your home sale involves complex legal issues, like boundary disputes or unique contract terms, an attorney can guide you through those issues and offer solutions and advice. 

Complying with state-specific laws

Real estate laws vary by state, and an attorney can help you navigate the specific regulations in your area.

Ensuring contracts are correct

An attorney can review purchase agreements and other legal documents to ensure your interests are protected.

Solving Title Issues

They can help resolve any title issues that may arise during the sale.

Do you need a real estate attorney?

Whether you need a real estate attorney depends on your comfort level with legal matters and the complexity of your transaction. While it’s not always mandatory, having an attorney can offer peace of mind and minimize potential risks.

What do they do?

Real estate attorneys are there to review contracts and other legal issues. Through this, they’ll assist with the closing of the sale, ensuring that it meets the legal requirements. Additionally, if there are any disputes, then they can resolve them and ensure you remain protected. 

Costs of a real estate attorney?

The cost of hiring a real estate attorney can vary widely depending on location, complexity of the transaction, and the attorney’s fees. Some attorneys charge by the hour, while others have flat fees for specific services. On average, you might expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for their services.

Market Your Home Listing

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Getting your property sold will require some marketing skills on your part. You need to be able to entice potential buyers to at least come and visit your property. Although, it doesn’t end there. You’ll need to be able to answer their questions and handle any objections to ensure a final sale. In essence, you’ll need to act like a top-level listing agent.

Here are some top tips to ensure your marketing is on point.

1. Invest in professional photos

Start with professional photos of your property to make a strong first impression online and attract prospective buyers. The photos need to catch the attention of the buyer and make your property look unique compared to others out there. 

2. List your property on the Multiple Listing Service

Ensure your listing is featured on the MLS, expanding its reach to real estate professionals and increasing its visibility. This will help get your property sold faster and get more eyes on your property. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for this service. 

3. Open house events

Host open house events to showcase your property to potential buyers in person. During the event, you will need great communication and people skills to ensure you keep the attention of prospective buyers. Additionally, if you can attract enough people to the event, you can create a sense of urgency to help get the property sold. 

Vet potential buyers

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Once you’ve listed your property and start receiving leads and offers from interested buyers, you need to remain vigilant. The last thing you want to do is to waste any time. Some potential buyers may register interest and make an offer, claiming to be cash buyers. This may just be a ploy to get you to stop having conversations with other buyers. Too many times, home sellers find themselves facing delays because the buyer is unable to get the financing needed to close on the sale. Don’t make this mistake. Make sure you keep a record of all the buyers you communicate with in case a deal falls through at the later stages. 

Review offers and negotiate with the buyer

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Once you have found the right buyer, the first stage of negotiations can take place. This can include the home’s final sale price, although inspections can still affect this at a later stage. However, at this point, you will communicate with the buyer and sometimes the buyer’s agent to set contingencies and create a purchase agreement.

Contingencies are conditions that must be met for the sale to proceed, and they are usually outlined in the purchase contract. These conditions often include things like the buyer obtaining financing, the property passing inspections, and the completion of any necessary repairs or negotiations based on inspection findings.

The sequence of events usually goes like this:

Purchase Agreement Stage

The buyer and seller agree on the terms of the sale and sign a purchase agreement. This agreement often includes contingencies that protect the interests of both parties.

Contingency Period

After the purchase agreement is signed, there is a contingency period during which the buyer conducts inspections, such as a home inspection, termite inspection, or any other relevant inspections.


The buyer arranges and pays for the inspections during the contingency period. The purpose of these inspections is to assess the property’s condition and identify any issues that may need to be addressed.


If the inspections reveal problems or issues that were not disclosed or known previously, the buyer may request repairs, credits, or a reduction in the purchase price. This can lead to negotiations between the buyer and seller to reach a resolution.

Contingency Removal

Once the buyer is satisfied with the inspection results and any negotiations are finalized, they typically remove the inspection contingencies in writing, stating that they are proceeding with the purchase.


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Once the purchase contract has been signed, the buyer will conduct their inspections of the property. They will conduct thorough examinations of the property, aiming to uncover any potential issues or needed repairs. This can include general home inspections, as well as specialized inspections like termite, radon, or mold assessments, depending on the property’s location and condition. 

You should be prepared for these inspections as you may need to address any concerns that arise. The results of these inspections can affect negotiations on the property price. Ensure complete transparency and responsiveness to maintain trust with the buyer. If they feel like you are hiding something, then they may end discussions, and you will have to go through the process of finding a buyer again.

Being transparent and responsive during this stage can help maintain trust between buyers and sellers and ultimately facilitate a successful and fair transaction.


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At this stage, negotiations have been finalized, contingencies have been met, and both parties are ready to proceed. The buyer’s agent will facilitate the transaction, ensuring all necessary paperwork is completed accurately and guiding their client through the closing process. 

One of the most important aspects of this stage is determining the home’s final sale price, which is typically based on the agreed-upon terms in the contract. It’s essential for sellers to review the settlement statement and ensure that all costs and fees are accurate before signing the final documents. 

Once all paperwork is signed and the funds have been transferred, ownership officially transfers to the buyer, and the sale is successfully closed. 

Bottom Line 

There you have it. Selling a house yourself has never been easier. Hopefully, this article will have helped you understand the process and what you need to be aware of to sell a property by yourself. 

We hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to browse the rest of our site for more on the real estate world.


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