How to Sell Your Own Home Without a Realtor

How to Sell Your Own Home Without a Realtor

Ten percent of homes sold in 2021 were sold by their owners without a realtor. As online resources for pricing data, flat-fee listing services, and plenty of marketing options become available, homeowners can more easily navigate the market and handle transactions without paying for their own listing agent.

If you want to sell your home, that journey begins by learning more about how to sell your own home without a realtor, what tasks you’ll be required to manage, and common challenges so you can move forward strategically.

In this guide, we explore the core steps of selling your home. Then we’ll dive into each step so you know what to expect and can start getting your home ready for the market. Along the way, you’ll learn more about the resources available for navigating the real estate market without an agent and why so many homeowners are starting to sell their own homes.

A Quick Overview: How to Sell Your Own Home Without a Realtor

You don’t need a realtor or a licensed real estate agent to sell your home in Texas. While their advice and services can be helpful, you aren’t legally required to use one. Many people sell their homes without a realtor every day. A For Sale by Owner (FSBO) property is one where the property owner manages the preparation, selling strategy, and closing process. You can sell your home as an FSBO by following these five basic steps:

  1. Make repairs or renovations to your home (if applicable).
  2. Decide what price you want to list your property at.
  3. Market your home and start getting offers.
  4. Negotiate offers and accept one.
  5. Close on the transaction.

While each step of the journey may involve smaller to-dos and an understanding of real estate transactions, knowledgeable homeowners can manage the process without hiring an agent.

Is FSBO the Right Fit for You?

Knowing how to sell your own home without a realtor can offer you several benefits, such as better control of the process and more of the home sale profits in your pocket. However, some people worry about the workload or technical details of FSBOs and want to know more about the process requirements before committing.

Related: Key Things to Consider When Evaluating FSBO Websites

An FSBO transaction could be a perfect fit if you:

  • Have sold a home before and are familiar with the entire process
  • Already have a buyer in mind and want to complete the transaction quickly
  • Want to manage all of the pricing strategy, marketing, and negotiation steps without an intermediary
  • Want to save money and not pay a listing agent a 3% commission to represent you

A Closer Look at Selling Your Own Home Without a Real Estate Agent

Selling your home can seem like an overwhelming process, especially if you’re selling a home for the first time. But if you break it down into the five sequential steps mentioned above, managing each one becomes simpler, and you can decide how you want to manage the process. Let’s take a closer look at the process of putting your home on the market and selling it to a new owner.

1. Make repairs or renovations to your home (if applicable).

FSBO sellers identify this step as one of the biggest challenges in selling their homes, but there are a few ways to simplify it.

  • First, consider if your home needs repairs or upgrades. Move-in ready homes can often get a higher price on the market, and you may see more interest in the property.
  • Some easy repairs and updates—like replacing the carpet, pressure washing the exterior, and updating the lights—can instantly add more appeal to your home.

But if you already have a seller lined up or comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for a good price without any updates, you can skip this step entirely.

Leaving some upgrades off your to-do can even be strategic. Consider if the ROI of the remodeling project is too low; this report from the National Association of Realtors measures the financial return of popular renovations. Also, you might offer a price reduction as a seller’s concession to a serious buyer, which spares you the trouble of managing the project yourself (and is often cheaper than the remodeling cost).

2. Decide what price you want to list your property at.

While navigating how to sell your own home without a realtor, many sellers (16% of FSBOs) identify price as the primary challenge. There are three main prices you may consider: the minimum price you’d be willing to accept, the price you want, and the listing price.

You can determine these prices for yourself by using market data from your neighborhood or an online tool that has real-time market insights and algorithms for assessing your property’s likely sales price. This takes the guesswork out of creating the numbers.

Next, set your listing price. You don’t want it to be too high—if it’s overvalued, then buyers might ignore it and it will sit on the market until you reduce the price. But if it’s too low, you can leave money on the table.

A popular strategy real estate agents use is rounding the expected price to the nearest ten thousand and then subtracting $100. For example, if you anticipate a sales price of either $397,000 or $402,000, you might list it at $399,900. This will likely get you competitive offers a little above the listing price if you’re in a competitive area, and it ensures your property will be visible on searches with pricing parameters.

3. Market your home and start getting offers.

This is when the more visible work begins. You’ll create a detailed description of your property, take photos of the home so you can publish them online, and start considering all of your different marketing options. Some of the most common marketing tactics for FSBOs are:

  • Conversations with friends, family, and neighbors
  • Yard signs
  • Ads
  • Open house
  • Websites and social media

But it’s also important to consider one of the biggest marketing channels used by realtors: the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is a database that holds the property profiles for homes that are active on the market. The database distributes the details to real estate websites that buyers browse, like, and agents use the database directly to find properties for their clients. 

Only licensed real estate agents have access to the database, so it used to be unreachable for FSBO sellers. However, flat-fee listing services can upload all the details of your property, your photographs, and your offer requirements (like your price and other negotiation points) to the MLS on your behalf. Completing this step can help you reach a lot more buyers and get more offers on the property by your preferred deadline.

Once your listing goes live, you might start receiving communications from buyers and agents. They’ll ask to schedule a showing, discuss hypothetical offers, and start sending you signed offers.

4. Negotiate offers and accept one.

Many Texas metroplexes have seen a surge in real estate demand, so you might receive several offers very quickly. During this stage, you need to:

  • Carefully read through every offer and be sure you understand the terms
  • Consider which ones you want to accept or reject
  • Negotiate with serious buyers so you can both reach an agreement you like

For example, you might get a clean-cut offer for your listing price, and you can accept that offer without any changes. Alternatively, you might receive several offers that are slightly under the list price. You might accept one of those but only if they have mortgage pre approval and don’t have a lengthy option period or onerous terms. Because you own the home, you get to choose which offer makes the most sense for you.

5. Close on the transaction.

After you sign an offer, there’s typically a month-long period between that date and the close. During this time, the buyer may have an option period where they can inspect the home and decide whether they want to stay in the contract. This period also allows a title company to verify your ownership of the property and get ready to transfer the title to the buyer, which is a requirement for Texas home sales.

Related: Prepping Your Home for Sale: Key Features Buyers Are Looking For

If your buyer has a mortgage loan, the lender will also send out an appraiser to make sure the value of the home is at least the value of the loan. These steps take time, but at the end of the window, you’ll visit the title company and sign the final documents. Then you’ll receive the funds from the sale, minus closing costs and any remaining balance on your mortgage.

Advantages of Learning How to Sell Your Own Home Without a Realtor

While the process of selling a home has many steps, you can do it on your own. Some of the advantages FSBO sellers love best about managing the sale themselves include:

  • Saving the 3% commission fee for yourself.
  • Gaining more insight into the process of selling a home.
  • Controlling negotiations without an intermediary.
  • Having more peace of mind.

Sell Your Own Home Without a Realtor Using the Right Resources

With the right tools, you can represent yourself and sell your home without an agent. The team at ListingSpark offers support, smart tools, dashboards, and flat-fee services so you can customize your home-selling process to suit your preferences. You can list your property on the MLS for a fraction of the cost of hiring an agent. You can also use our photography services, smart home pricing tools, offer management dashboard, and consulting services. Reach out today to see how easy it can be to sell your own home while saving money.

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