How to Sell your House Without a Realtor (14 Tips): Complete Guide

How to Sell your House Without a Realtor

Are you a home-owner looking to sell your property? Your home is a significant investment, and for most people, it’s the most significant asset purchase of their lifetime. You may be selling your home for a variety of reasons – maybe you’re moving to another state, or your job is relocating you and your family overseas. Perhaps you want to downsize, and sell your home in the city suburbs to fund a purchase of a beachfront apartment for your retirement years?

Whatever the reason for selling your home, it’s important to remember one crucial truth in property deals – “You make your Profit when you buy, not when you sell.” Before you get started with the selling process, you need to sit down with your accountant and decide if you can afford to sell your home. In some cases, the falling real estate market in some states may mean that you are losing money if you sell.

However, if you purchased your home some time ago, and property values have gone through the roof in your neighborhood, then you’ll probably have plenty of equity in your home.

Many people are under the assumption that they require a realtor to sell their home. For their services, realtors can charge you up to 7-percent of the sale value for realty fees on the transaction. We don’t know about you, but this is a significant chunk of change to pay someone for a task that you can do by yourself.

7-percent of a million-dollar home is $70,000 – that’s a considerable saving if you manage to pull off a deal by yourself. However, is this a risk you should take? After all, estate agents are there for a reason aren’t they? Don’t you have to use an agent to meet some legal agreement?

What Does a Real Estate Agent Do?

So, what do you need a real estate agent for exactly? When an agent agrees to list your home, they provide you with the following services;

  • Listing your home with the Multiple Listing Service, (MLS).
  • Hosting open house events for interested buyers.
  • They negotiate with the buyer on your behalf, with your best interests at heart.
  • Closes the deal and handles the paperwork process for you.

When you take a look at the elements of selling your home, there’s nothing that you can’t do yourself in this process. Here’s a step-by-step method you can use to sell your home and avoid paying the real estate agent 7-percent.

1. Make Your Home Attractive to Buyers

The first step in selling your home is to make it more presentable to potential buyers. Clear up any clutter, and send any extra furniture you can to storage. Buyers want to see the size and depth of rooms – and that’s a challenge if you have boxes stacked in corners, or you have old furniture lying around.

You would be surprised to see the state of some people’s property when they go to market. Make sure your yard looks immaculate before you ever book an open day., Hiring a garden service to clear it up and make things seem presentable is well worth the money.

Sell Your House

On the interior of your home, makes sure the walls are clean, and give them and rinse with some sugar soap if they’re dirty in some areas. Don’t make any repairs unless you intend on doing a serious overhaul to the kitchen or bathrooms.

Typically, realtors state that bathrooms and kitchens are what sell houses. Unless you’re prepared to spend money on the refurbishment, it’s best to leave it alone and let the buyer sort it out.

Painting the exterior and interior of your home may improve the selling price if your house doesn’t need any other significant repairs. However, if you’re going to be selling a fixer-upper, then don’t bother with the additional expense.

2. Set an Asking Price

After making your home look like it’s something someone would want to buy, it’s time to focus on setting an asking price. It’s important to note that in today’s market, you probably won’t get your asking price unless you live in an area with huge demand, such as the Bay area around San Francisco.

Most of the time, property owners have to settle with an offer that’s typically anywhere up to 10-percent less than their asking price, depending on the condition of the property and the urgency of the sale. With this in mind, you can set your asking price relative to other homes on offer in your area.

Some agents will visit your home and complete a valuation for free, with no commitment on your part to hire them as your realtor. This strategy allows you to get an expert opinion on your asking price – without spending a dime on consulting fees.

3. Price to Sell

Should your research into what other homes are selling for in your area reveals that there’s plenty of stock available for willing buyers, then you might have to price your home to sell to attract buyers. Take the average home price for your style of home, and compare it against your home valuation set by the realtor.

If your home is already below the average asking price, then there’s no need to drop your asking price any further. Attract potential buyers by slipping your home in slightly under the average asking price.

4. Competitive Pricing Strategies

A competitive pricing strategy is a useful tool for selling your home faster in current market conditions. However, if you’re not in any rush to sell your home soon, then you can skip this segment.

Should you want a quick sale, then you’re going to need to prepare yourself to offer a deep discount over other homes on offer in your area. Try pricing your property at 5-percent below the average asking price for a similar home.

For Sale Sign

5. Opt for a Flat Fee Listing on MLS

All realtors list homes on the MLS, and nothing is stopping you from doing the same in your private capacity. We suggest you go for the flat-fee listing. It’s the most economical version and still provides your home with the exposure it needs to get offers from potential buyers.

6. Write an Attractive Description of Your Home

You’ll need to provide an accurate description of your home in your MLS listing. We suggest you spend a few hours examining the listings of professional real estate agents. Copy and paste their listings onto a notepad, and reword them until you have a listing that accurately depicts your home in a language that’s designed to bring you more inquiries.

7. Photography Tips for Your Listing

When attaching photos to your listing, it’s vital that you take time in producing quality photos that show off the selling points in your home. Make use of natural light and focus on the spacious areas of the property.

Taking bad photos can adversely affect whom prospects see your offering. If you are terrible at taking pictures, then hire a professional to do the job for a few hundred dollars. Remember the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In this case, it could be worth thousands of dollars on your asking price.

Real Estate Photography

8. Alternative Property Listings

While the MLS is the bread and butter of all listing services for real estate agents, it’s not the only pony in town. Private listings services such as Craigslist and niche real estate sites in your state also provide viable opportunities to sell your home.

9. Arranging Show Days and Viewings

When agents receive inquiries from prospective buyers, they typically arrange a single show day on a Saturday or Sunday. This strategy allows them to deal with multiple buyers on the same day, saving them time and money on traveling to your home during the week. It also provides the homeowner with less hassle from people intruding on their home during weeknights.

If you don’t mind having people over during the week, it’s always better to let interested buyer come over whenever they want. People often make an impulse decision, especially if it’s a good deal. However, if you can’t handle having people over during the week, then coordinate your inquiries and set them up for a show house on the weekend.

10. Understand the Property’s Unique Selling Points

Do you know your homes unique selling points? What areas of your home separate it from the others in your area? Maybe you have a double garage with automatic doors when most other houses only have carports.

Maybe your lounge leads onto a well-lit patio? Do you have a swimming pool? All of these features of your home separate them from others on the market, providing prospective buyers with something that makes them want to choose your home over the other show house they were at before.

11. Negotiating with Buyers

Negotiation is where the rubber meets the road in the deal – or in this case, where the brick meets the mortar.

Before you enter into any negotiation, it’s vital that you set the rules of engagement, and never break your rules, no matter what happens. Set your minimum asking price that your willing to consider, as well as your terms of the deal, such as what you’re willing to renovate.

Stick to your guns and never break your rules of engagement. There are plenty of willing buyers, and someone will eventually meet your terms. Don’t shortchange yourself.

12. How to Accept an Offer

After accepting an offer, make sure you get a verbal agreement, as well as an email stating the buyers intent. It’s important to note that noting is final until all parties sign the legal contracts, and you would be surprised at how many deals fall apart in this final stage.

IF you do experience a buyer walking away, don’t take it personally – that’s business. Pick up where you left off and continue your pursuit of finding a buyer for your home.

Accept an Offer

13. Hiring an Attorney

While you can get away with avoiding working with a real estate agent, you’ll need an attorney to handle the paperwork in the final stages of the sale. Always ensure you hire a reputable law firm to handle the deal. Look through online reviews to find competent attorneys in your area.

Your attorney handles all issues relating to legal compliance in your area. You won’t be able to handle this yourself, so make sure you work with professionals on this step.

14. Handling Re-Negotiations

After committing to the purchase, the prospective buyer typically hires a surveyor to go over the house from top to bottom, and look for any abnormalities. For instance, they may discover mold in the retaining walls or find issues with the electrics in your home.

Should the buyer find any problems, they have the right to enter into renegotiations with you. Depending on their renegotiations requests, you may have to lower your price to get them to close on the deal. Be wary of anyone that’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes and try and take you for a ride to gain a further discount on the asking price.

In Closing – Sometimes a Realtor Makes Sense

After reviewing this list of steps to sell your home, you’ll have one of two reactions. The first response is – Is that all there is to selling a home? Let’s do this! The second response may be that you have no idea how to handle all of this, and the very thought of taking the matter into your hands sounds like an intimidating experience.

Relax, if the thought of selling your home brings you feelings of anxiety, then let a professional handle it for you. There’s nothing wrong with working with the pros – that’s what they are there for, to help you get the price you want.

However, should you feel you can manage the process, then why not take up the challenge? You could and save yourself thousands on your real estate agent fees when you sell your home.

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Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyCheck and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience in Investing and UK Business. His writing has been quoted by Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Investopedia, The New Yorker, Forbes, Techcrunch & More. He built Money Check to bring the highest level of education about personal finance to the general public with clear and unbiased reporting.


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4 comments

  1. Great read! It’s really a challenge to sell your house yourself. But thousands of people do it every month. And once you know the process, it’s actually very doable. You basically need a strategy.

  2. Though your article provides simple to follow advice on how to sell a home without a realtor, I think personally that a realtor will help with a lot of the points found in the article. One such point is point 10, as a realtor is professionally trained to figure out the unique selling points that a property has and will be quick to make them known. When the time comes for me to sell my house, I think that I will hire a realtor instead of opting to do the job by myself.

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