The traditional model of real estate dictates a process like this: You decide to sell your home, you find a realtor, and you work with them to sell your house. The seller then pays the agent a commission, typically 5% to 6% of the final sale price.
The median sale price of American homes sold in early 2022 was $428,700 according to Federal Reserve Economic Data. That means a homeowner who sold their house for this median price would have paid roughly $21,435 to $25,722 in realtor fees alone.
While you can technically sell your house without a realtor, like by listing it on Craigslist, there are other factors to consider. Before you decide to go it alone, make sure you understand what you’re on the line for when selling your house without a realtor.
When you sell your house without a realtor, it’s listed as FSBO or for sale by owner. This means that you will complete the entire transaction without the guidance of a licensed real estate agent.
FSBO listings are exceedingly rare. According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of home sellers worked with a real estate agent to sell their home, and only 7% of homes sold in 2021 were FSBO.
Of homeowners who list their home for sale by owner, many choose to forgo an agent to save on the commission fees, which are commonly paid by the seller as a part of the seller’s closing costs. But the savings in commission might not be worth it when you look at the big picture.
→Learn more about the difference between a realtor vs real estate
But if selling your house was simple, everyone would do it. Depending on your situation, the cons of selling your house without a realtor might outweigh the pros.
However, homes listed with Orchard sell in 10 days on average. When you sell with Orchard, you'll get the advantage of world class marketing, stress-free.
These tasks are second nature to real estate professionals, but without training and experience, they can be real challenges for the average homeowner.
The most common way to sell your house without a realtor is to list your home FSBO and sell it on your own. Here’s how to do it.
To prepare your house for sale, you’ll need to get your home ready for photographing, showings, and ultimately, selling. To do so, you’ll need to:
Setting the right listing price for your home is equal parts art and science — you want to get the most money for your home, but you don’t want to send potential buyers into sticker shock. Your best bet for setting a compelling list price is to mimic what the experts do and conduct a comparative market analysis.
Browse listings in your area to find recently sold homes to get a listing price range. Prioritize homes in your immediate area that sold within a six-month period with similar features to yours. You’ll want to look for the following:
Better yet, use Orchard’s Home Value Estimator to get an idea of your listing price — our estimations are 30% more accurate than leading estimates.
Once you’ve settled on a price, it’s time to bring your home to market. You’ll need to add your listing to the MLS (multiple listing service) for it to get the most exposure. This platform is a centralized database for real estate professionals, homebuyers, and sellers, to post property listings.
Adding your listing to the MLS will cost a flat fee of $100 to $400. While other free platforms exist, the MLS is the most widely used and is more than worth the cost of entry.
Putting your listing out in the world isn’t enough to secure a buyer: You’ll need to do a little leg work to bring buyers in. You can do so by putting a for sale sign in your yard, sharing your listing on social media, and holding open houses.
Don’t discount word-of-mouth marketing. You may never know who you know who is looking to buy a house if you don’t start the conversation. Remember, 57% of FSBO sellers in 2020 knew the buyer of their home.
Consider working with Orchard — we invest over $1,500 to make your listing shine.
Hosting showings is customary in most markets and a crucial part of the selling process: It helps buyers envision themselves making your house their home, which can be a powerful motivator for putting an offer in.
To help buyers along, make sure your house is clean and inviting. Set a comfortable temperature and allow buyers to browse on their own time. You can encourage them to make themselves at home by putting out light snacks and drinks and leaving a welcoming note by the refreshments.
Money isn’t the only thing to consider when an offer comes in. There are contingencies, financing, and of course, you want to get top dollar for your home.As you review the offers, think about what is going to be best for your unique situation. It may be worth it to accept a lower offer with better terms.
For example, let’s say you want to sell your home fast. You’ve listed it for $400,000 and you get two offers.
Offer A is for $404,000 with contingencies for an appraisal, home inspection, and financing. That means that if the appraisal comes in low, the home inspection reveals problems like foundation issues, or the buyer’s lender doesn’t approve their loan, the buyer is protected, and you have to start over.
Offer B is a non-contingent cash offer for $390,000. That means no inspection or appraisal needs, and no risk of financing falling through. While it’s a lower price, you have more certainty the deal will go through.
If you can’t negotiate with the buyers of Offer A, you might be better off accepting Offer B for the surer, faster deal.
You’ve made it to the finish line, but your work isn’t done yet. It can take almost two months to close on a house. In order to ensure that your deal doesn’t fall through at this crucial stage, it’s best to hire a real estate attorney to help you navigate all of the different steps of the closing process.
Real estate attorneys can cost from $220 to $250 per hour, but the peace of mind they offer may be well worth it.
When you sell your house on your own, you won't have an agent to keep tabs on all the necessary paperwork for the sale. Here are the documents you'll need to have for a seamless transaction:
If selling your house by owner feels intimidating, you might consider one of the following ways to sell your home:
Orchard guarantees your home will sell, so you can buy your next one worry-free.
We provide peace of mind that your home will sell, plus list your home on the market to maximize your earnings.
Use our home sale calculator to estimate your net proceeds.
Our Home Advisors are experienced local agents who know how to sell for top dollar and help win your dream home.
All Orchard Home Advisors are experienced agents who know your local market inside and out. Request a consult today.
Did you know cash offers are 4x more likely to be chosen by a seller? Let us help you make one on your next home.
Orchard’s home value estimates are 30% more accurate.
Orchard Home Loans shops the market to find your best rates.
A cash offer is 4x more likely to be chosen by a seller. Get qualified today.
Make a cash offer now, and Orchard will sell your old home after you move.
Tell us your must-haves to see personalized home recommendations that meet your criteria.
With Orchard, secure your dream home before you list. Avoid home showings, rentals, and double moves.Learn More