You’ve made your mind up. You’re hell bent of selling your house yourself. Now you need to know how to sell your house without a realtor. We got you covered.
Do you have the time and the willingness to roll up your sleeves and do the work? Yes? Then selling your house For-Sale-By-Owner might be a good option for you. If you don’t want to pay for expensive real estate agent commissions you have no option. You’ll need to ditch the idea of using a realtor.
Want to sell your house without a realtor but don’t want to deal with the hassles? One option to consider is selling it to a cash house buying company like Sesa Properties. This option allows you to sell your home quickly without a realtor, pay no costs and make no repairs.
Learn everything you need to know about selling without a realtor. Download our FREE 50+ page eBook How To Sell Your House Without an Agent. It’s packed with 101 tips for selling your house yourself. Get your free copy.
Why sell your house without a realtor?
There are many reasons why you might decide to sell your house with a realtor. Let’s explore some of the big ones.
First, you could save thousands. Seriously, like A LOT of money
If you want to sell your house as inexpensive as possible you have to consider selling it without a realtor.
Average realtor commissions that you pay as a seller are about 6%. To clarify, that is 6% of the total sales price you get for your house. It’s not 6% on your net profit. In other words, the realtor’s commission you pay is based on the total price you sell your house for.
You as the seller pay the commission for both your agent (the seller’s agent at 3%) and the buyer’s agent (another 3%). You basically pay everyone’s commissions. It’s like when Oprah goes crazy and gives everyone a car. BUT this is YOUR money and you are forking it over to realtors.
What does that mean in real dollar and cents terms?
It means you will fork over some serious dough if you use a realtor to sell your house. Let’s actually break down how much money.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis the average selling price for a house in the US (for the 3rd quarter of 2020) is $387,000. Of course this will vary depending on your location and the market. But it’s an average value that we can use as a reference. So a seller selling their house at $387,000 will pay…wait for it…$23,220 in realtor commissions.
Was that a typo? No, that’s the correct number. Legit. You will pay $23,220 in realtor commissions. $23,220. Again, $23,220.
That’s A LOT of money. Like seriously, a lot of money to give up.
Second, you could save yourself the hassle of dealing with an agent
Outside of the money reason some sellers just refuse to list their house with a realtor. Some realtors are what you might call “bossy.” Maybe demanding is the better word? Maybe….
We’re not saying this is true for all realtors. Some realtors are amazing (whether they are $23,220 amazing is another question). But some have a way of coming into your house and telling you what to do.
Maybe it’s about the work (repairs, updates, decluttering, cleaning, painting, etc.) you need to do. Maybe its about what price they insist “you are going to” list it for. Or it could be insisting on open house after inconvenient open house, etc. Regardless, sometimes realtors just rub some sellers the wrong way.
Their intentions are good, we are sure. But it’s easy to see how they rub off the wrong way with sellers.
If you don’t want to deal with this then selling your house without a realtor might be a good option.
How to: selling a house without a Realtor
In the introduction of this article we asked you if you have the time and a willingness to do some work.
Why? Because selling a house yourself is A LOT of work. It’s also a lot of hassle. You could say it’s a pain in the you know what.
So here we try to simplify the process and help you accomplish your feat. In other words, we’ll discuss some things that will help you sell your house without a realtor.
Critical upfront questions to ask before you even start: the planning stage
First things first, you need to answer a few up front questions before you begin. Strategizing is important. Going into the process without planning is a recipe for disaster. Simply put, you need to plan.
In order to help you need to know the answers to at least these questions:
- Will you market your house to traditional buyers or will you sell it to a cash buying company for cash?
- Will you sell your house as-is or will you make repairs and updates?
Now that you have determined the answers to those questions you can go forward appropriately. Below we discuss how to do it successfully.
How to sell your house without a realtor on the market (to traditional buyers)
How to sell your house without a realtor on the market
- Decide if you will sell your house as-is or if you are going to make repairs and updates. Do the math to determine if it makes sense.
Make a list of everything that needs to be repaired in your house. Then make a list of all items that are outdated and won’t appeal to buyers. Next, get estimates and calculate the total cost for the repairs and updates. Determine if the potential return (higher sales price) you will get justifies the out-of-pocket expenses. In other words, will the repairs and updates you pay for increase the sales price? Does that higher sales price justify (pay for) the out-of-pocket costs?
One thing to consider is if you have the money to be able to make the repairs and updates. These things can be really expensive. Make sure you are not spending your entire savings on getting your house ready for the sale. Why? If your house sits on the market for months you will be in a bad spot financially.
- If you have decided to make repairs and updates then vet and select contractors and complete the work. Alternatively you can complete the work yourself if you are handy and have a lot of time.
You will need to find contractors, get estimates (we recommend at least 3 estimates for each project), select your preferred contractor(s), and coordinate the actual work.
If you are planning on selling to a cash house buying company you can ignore this step. Those companies will buy your house as-is with no repairs needed.
- Prepare the house for pictures, open houses (if you are planning on doing one) and showings: decluttering, cleaning, home staging, etc.
Whether you have decided to make repairs and updates or not you should present the house as nice as possible. De-clutter the house by removing excess belongings, cleaning out unneeded items and putting items in storage temporarily. Remove as many unnecessary items as possible to create a fresh pallet that a buyer can truly imagine living in.
Once decluttered you can stage the house or have a professional stager stage the house for you. Although this can cost a bit of money it will help make the house more attractive to potential buyers.
Once the house is staged and de-cluttered you can have a professional cleaner do a deep clean. Many cleaners will offer a real estate “open house cleaning” service. This service is specifically meant to get a house ready for photos and/or an open house.
Again, if you are planning on selling to a cash home buying company then you can ignore this step. They will buy your house as-is.
- Hire a professional photographer to photograph your house.
Although it is another expense professional photographs will help make your listing stand out. Don’t take your own pictures. You put a lot of time and money into getting your house ready so far. You want to make sure people are attracted to the house when they look at the listing. Photographs are the tool that will draw a potential buyer to your listing and get them in your door. Photographers will also edit the photos to make them look better than they actually are. Tricky, yes, but helpful.
- Do your research to determine the right price and marketing language.
This is one that can’t be overstated. You want to make sure you are pricing your house right. A house that is overpriced will sit on the market forever, no matter how nice it looks. If you over price your house you will not sell it. It’s as simple as that. Then if it sits on the market for a period of time it will start to make buyers wonder why it hasn’t sold. This will hurt you further. At the least, it will invite people to offer you much less than asking.
How do you determine the right price? Look at recently sold houses in your immediate area (within a mile as a rule of thumb), that have sold recently (in the last 1-3 months as a rule of thumb), and that are similar. By similar we mean both similar in size and features as well as condition. Looking at the price/SqFt of similar houses is a simple but somewhat accurate way to price your house accordingly.
As an alternative you could pay for an appraisal to get a better estimate of what your house is worth. It will cost you another $400-600, yes. But for that price you will have more confidence that you priced your house appropriately. Also, you can show the appraisal to buyers and include it in your marketing.
In addition to setting the price you want to make sure your marketing language is attractive to buyers. Look at the language of listings for houses that sold quickly around you. Are there common points that are mentioned? Try to use those listings as an example.
One sure fire way to turn off buyers is not having a good property description. Worse yet is not having one at all. It leaves too many questions and signals to buyers “I don’t care enough about this listing to put the time in.”
- Buy a for sale by owner sign and put it up.
This one is pretty simple. You can buy a for-sale-by-owner sign online or at most big-box stores. Put your number clearly and legibly in big, thick writing. Most people will not take the time to stop, get out and read the number.
- Market your house everywhere you possibly can.
You will not have access to the MLS unless you pay a realtor to list your house on it. If you don’t want to deal with a realtor or the cost to have them list it there are some other options. List your house on sites like craigslist.com or forsalebyowner.com. You can try online marketplaces like Facebook, etc.
You can also list your house on Zillow, but if you are trying to avoid realtors in general this might not be ideal. First, you will get buyers who are working with a realtor. This means even though you aren’t using an agent you will have to pay the buyer’s agent 3%. Second, Zillow will do their best to set you up with one of their agents. In other words, using Zillow increases the chances you end up paying a realtor or using a realtor in some way.
Lastly, it helps to tell everyone you talk to that you are selling your house. Someone will know someone looking for a house. Having a big mouth in this regard is a great idea as it spreads the word.
- Answer incoming inquiries in a timely fashion.
This one sounds simple, but it is critical. The reality is that buyers who are actively looking are making a lot of inquiries on houses. If they are interested enough to take the time to reach out to you then you need to make sure you answer them promptly. They won’t hound you if you don’t answer their inquiry. They’ll soon forget about your house if you don’t answer. They will find another house to focus on, and you will have lost your chance.
- Coordinate showings for interested buyers.
This one is where a lot of the work comes in. You will hopefully get a lot of showing requests. Coordinating them for a time that works with both your schedule and the buyer’s might be tough. But you won’t be able to sell a house without people seeing it. Do your best to coordinate showings and make it convenient for the buyers. It’s a pain, but it needs to be done.
- Review incoming offers and accept one.
When you get some offers on your house you will need to review them closely.
Pay attention to not only the offer price, but also the timing for closing and any and all other contingencies and terms. Consider if the buyer has a mortgage contingency, inspection contingency, appraisal contingency, or any other contingency. Look at what kinds of inspections they are performing. Make sure you understand what closing costs items they are willing to pay and expect you to pay (credits, etc.).
We recommend you enlist the help of a lawyer versed in real estate to help you fully understand any offer you are seriously interested in. Don’t make assumptions when it comes to legal terms and obligations of a contract. Once you fully understand the contract pick the offer that you like the best.
- Have an inspection and negotiate repairs and credits for repair items.
Unless you are selling your house to a cash house buyer the buyer will most likely do a thorough home inspection. Once the inspection is over they will have a list of items they want you to fix or give them money for.
You’ll need to negotiate with the buyer on these items and then put them into the contract. Again, make sure you understand your obligations and the legal language you agree to. Don’t take chances on anything legal related.
- Close the deal
This step will vary depending on what state your house is in.
If you’re selling your house in a state that uses title/escrow companies then you will need to find a title company if the buyer hasn’t specified one. You will send all the paperwork to the title company and they should walk you through the process to close.
If you’re selling in a state that uses real estate attorneys then you will have to find and hire one. If you already used a real estate attorney for the earlier legal items we discussed then you can use that one.
- Move out and move on.
You’re all done. Congratulations.
Well, that wraps it up. If you want to save 6%+ and not deal with any realtors then selling your house without a realtor might be a good option for you.
The process can be tedious, but if you follow the steps provided above it is definitely possible.
If you want to sell your house in Cleveland or Ohio without a realtor but skip the repairs, preparation, showings, inspections and headaches then consider selling it to a cash house buying company like ours. You can sell 100% as-is, quickly, easily and without any headaches or hard work.
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