When you are ready to sell your house, you want to carefully consider all of your options so you get the maximum profit from your largest asset. If you need a certain amount to pay off your current mortgage or have a goal for a large down payment on your next home, you may consider trying to sell your house without using a real estate agent.
Typically, a realtor will take about 6% of the total purchase price as commission. Before deciding to sell your house without the help of a realtor, understand the process and what your responsibilities will be. You will have to do all the work of listing and negotiating. If you are comfortable with that, you can save the fees and list your house on your own.
- Price your house appropriately. Houses are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. Do some market research and look at similar homes in your neighborhood that are for sale or have recently sold. Compare features and how quickly they sold to determine how to price your own home. Keep your emotions out of pricing decisions.
- Advertise. Without a realtor, you do not have easy access to channels of advertising for your home. Find websites that will allow you to post your home for free or a small fee. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that realtors use to widely advertise homes for sale is also available to owners. For a fee, this service will list your home on real estate websites such as Zillow. When drafting your listing, be sure to include all relevant information about your home, such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, heating and cooling source, the year it was built, garage space, and any special features you want to highlight. Take bright and crisp pictures to include in the listing. Place a sign in your yard and consider hosting an open house. You’ll need to be available for any requested showings.
- Negotiate with a potential buyer. When you receive an offer, read it carefully. A contract should include the purchase price, date of closing, what items must be left in the house and any repairs the buyer is requesting. Most states have a standard real estate contract which you can access online to familiarize yourself with the nuances. If you want to change something in the contract that is offered, you will need to negotiate with the buyer or their realtor until you are both happy with the contract.
- Hire an attorney. Even if you don’t use a real estate agent, you will need to pay an attorney to draw up the sale documents. The purchase and sales agreements are legal documents that will need to be approved by an attorney. Some documents also need to be notarized. Typically, your attorney will also deal with the lender the buyers use. They ensure that the purchase price is paid to you and that all taxes and fees are paid correctly. The attorney will also research the property to make sure there are no liens that must be paid before you can sell. You must submit a seller’s disclosure detailing anything that affects the property. If this is not supplied to the buyer or it is incomplete, it could invalidate your sale or leave you vulnerable to legal action. You will also need to hire an escrow or title company to handle the closing process. This is a large legal transaction, and you will need the assistance of these other parties to hash out details and include them in all paperwork that will be essential to transfer the property to the new owner. Usually, the buyer pays the closing costs, but check your contract for any variations.
If you choose to sell your house without a realtor, remember that you will still be responsible for paying the buyer’s real estate agent’s portion of the commission if they are working with one. This will be 2-3% of the total purchase price. However, this is still lower than paying both agents. Plus, you will be in total control of the process. It takes a lot of time and work to sell your house without an agent because you’ll need to take care of all the details. Some buyer’s agents are hesitant to show For Sale By Owner homes because they know they won’t be working with another agent. If you are comfortable with that, you can potentially save quite a bit of money by selling your house yourself.