Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Ask the Readers: Selling a house without a realtor?

Today’s question is from Holly:

We are currently trying to sell our house on our own. In this horrible housing market, we have only had one showing in a month. We would love any tips on how to sell a house on your own. We have a significant amount of money invested in our house, so we don’t want to pay the high realtor fees. We would rather invest that money in our next house. Any suggestions?

Do you have a question you’d like to ask Money Saving Mom® readers? Read the submission guidelines and submit it here.

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Christina says:

    You’re actually spending the same amount of money with or without a Realtor. If you don’t use a real estate agent chances are your home will be on the market longer ( the offer more exposure to homebuyers) so you’re paying your mortgage payment + utilities every month you don’t sell your house. If you go with a Realtor you may be able to sell it quicker. Although you pay the Realtor fees, you are out of your home and into a new house faster. My Dad is a Realtor so I’ve seen it before :]

    • Melissa Z says:

      You could also try looking for a smaller realty company. We just listed our house with a smaller co & they offered a both a lower regular commission or a flat fee option.

    • Kristin says:

      YOU CAN SELL YOUR HOUSE YOURSELF! Save your money!

      I sold my house on my own within 2 months this past fall. Even with 4 other comparable homes on the market in our community (all listed with Realtors), our was the first to sell and sold the highest. I just couldn’t see paying a realtor 5-6% of my sales price just to list my home on the MLS…which I could do myself for a small fee. I did “For Sale By Owner” at first, which I think deters some people, so after about a month, I paid for the following service to list my home on the MLS ( It cost about $400, (plus about another optional $100 for the sign post that I purchased for my for sale sign). Be careful though, there are other similar services out there, I did a lot of research on this particular one before choosing it. After filling out some simple paperwork detailing my home specs, my home was listed on the MLS within a day or two through this service. The staff at this company was AWESOME and were available weekdays and Saturdays to answer all my questions. They even send you a lock box. I was able to get my asking price and go to closing on my own with no problems. The only advice I can offer, other then this MLS listing service, is to make sure your home is super clean and look perfect for EVERY showing. De-clutter your home and make it sparkle. Also, get familiar with the other homes in your community that would be considered competition. Watch their listing prices online, watch their open house dates and consider hosting an open house the same day so you can optimize your traffic (this allows buyers to compare homes) and look at their pics and descriptions online so you know what features your house has that are unique and different…and include those on your sales flyer.

      You CAN sell your house yourself, I did. I needed every penny for my next home down payment and if you are organized and aware of your community, then it’s well worth it. I saved about $15,000 by doing it myself.

      A family friend was also recently having a hard time selling her house this spring. It was listed with a realtor for 6 months. I recommended doing what I did and listing it online herself. I lent her my sign post and she signed up for the MLS service. She now has 2 offers on her home (in less then 2 months). Again, another success story. You really have nothing to lose by listing it yourself…as long as you’re on the MLS, that’s the key.

      Good luck!

  • Val says:

    We sold our house without using a realtor. We used Facebook, local newspaper, a swap sheet with a local credit union (like Craigs List). We bought a sign and put it up. I also made a snazzy flyer using Publisher. I took pictures at higher angels to try to make the rooms bigger in the picture to increase more interest. It took us about 1.5 months. I live in Iowa though, and our housing market is still very strong. If Craigs List would have been as big as it is now I would have for sure used that. I have had a lot of success selling items there.

    • Janet says:

      In addition to all of the above great ideas. Hold your own open house after you promote a ton make some food and make sure your staging of your home is grand. Free food draws people and interest they hang around while they eat. We sold in three days this way in a bad market in San Antonio in 1999.

    • Elizabeth says:

      My sister sold her house through Craigs List

    • Jennifer says:

      We sold our house through Craig’s List, but we also had it listed in the MLS for a flat fee through Creekview Realty.

  • Paula says:

    As a Realtor, I am faced with this challenge every day. When you work with a skilled Realtor you are eliminating a great amount of stress. This person should do all the marketing for you including MLS, internet and newspaper to get as much exposure for your home as possible. They will also coach you on staging your home as well as pricing it correctly, holding an open house while you take the day off and working with the buyers and their agent to make sure escrow goes smoothly. When you look at the breakdown of what the fees pay for, my hourly rate is usually less than minimum wage.

    • Camille says:

      They also make sure that all the legalities are taken care of. If you don’t have a Realtor, you will need an attorney to look over the paperwork (or you SHOULD have one) to make sure everything is correct. I’m going to hazard a guess that hiring an attorney would be more expensive than the Realtor fees.

      • Rachael says:

        My husband is an attoney and we even decided to go with a realtor!

      • Sarah says:

        Unless the sale gets extremely complicated for some reason, I’d be very surprised that a lawyer would cost more than 6% of most house prices. If s/he is simply “looking over the paperwork,” that shouldn’t be more than a few hundred dollars.

        Which, by the way, is a cost I’d pay regardless of whether I’d was FSBOing or not. Realtors aren’t attorneys. While they can give you very good advice, they shouldn’t be relied on for legal counsel.

        • Camille says:

          Nope, they shouldn’t. I’m an attorney and we still hired a lawyer for our deal because I don’t practice that kind of law.

          It will probably cost more than a few hundred dollars, depending on the going rate in your area. In my area, an attorney starts at around $300/hour and goes up. But these days a lot of attorneys need work so you could negotiate a flat rate for the entire sale.

      • Doretta says:

        My husband & I sold our own house in rural PA. We would do it again in a heartbeat. Listing with a realtor would have cost us at least $5400.00. We did hire a licensed appraiser to give us an approximate selling price. That cost us near $300. And the appraisal was trash! We would not hire an appraiser again. (He came highly recommended from a well known realty company). Thankfully we were able to sell our house for $7,000 more than his appraisal. Our attorney wrote our contract and our buyer’s attorney handled closing. Our cost for attorney fees…approx. $300.
        Perhaps attorney fees very widely from one part of the country to the other but as you can see a realtor in our area is much, much more expensive.

    • Jill says:

      Paula, it seems impossible to me that you are making less than minimum wage. We had a buyer’s agent when we bought our last house. She made $4,000 by showing us a few houses and going through the closing process. I’m not saying she didn’t do a good job, but even factoring in overhead, she’s making a good yearly salary. My parents sold their house in eight days, and the realtor never even did an open house. That realtor made over $10,000. If realtors only make minimum wage, why do they do it?

      • Teresa Marie says:

        We have been looking at houses, and working with a Realtor on and off now for 18+ months. She has taken us through probably 2 dozen homes, and emailed back and forth with me on countless others. In 18mo she has not made a dime off of us, because we haven’t purchased anything. I’m sure that’s not the case with every client, but I can definitely see how averaged out Realtors income might be lower. There is probably a lot of time invested in people who decide never to buy or back out of selling or switch agents when contracts are up etc.

        Min wage? IDK but I figure our Realtor wont make more than 4,000 on us, once we do find our home and I truly believe she deserves that or more for all she has done.

        • Brandi says:

          Very true. I’ve worked with lots of people who change their minds, do something to hurt their credit, and more. I just had a closing with a couple that I showed houses every weekend for 7 months. 3-5 hours every weekend, then worked on the transaction. I made $2500… I didn’t do the math, but I know I didn’t even break even between gas and the babysitter.

      • Brandi says:

        As a Realtor I promise that she didn’t just take your money. Yes, sometimes we make less than minimum wage… That $4000 was before she paid taxes, her broker split, cell phone, insurance (she also bought an insurance policy on your transaction to cover anything that may have been wrong and cover any future problems, it’s called Errors and Omissions Insurance), car, MLS fees, National Associaton of Realtor Fees, Lising fees, she bought that lock box, sign and every other item necessary, she pays to keep her license current and keeps up her education. Everything costs money. She has a realtionship with the title co and made sure everything when smoothly. She wrote the contract, reviewed it, and negotiated it. She looked out for your best interest. A good Realtor makes it look easy, but I promise you it’s a hard job and sometimes we get lucky, but most of the time we are working VERY hard for our pay.

      • Kristina says:

        Jill, your Realtor doesn’t make the whole 3%. They get a percentage of the commission. The rest goes to the broker. They do it because some sales go quickly and they make a lot, where others take a lot longer so the hourly rate would be less. Plus all expenses like advertising come out of their pocket.

    • Becky says:

      There is absolutely no reason to use a realtor! You can do nearly everthing a realtor can (with maybe the exception of the MLS). You just need to put the time in. Exposure it key, CraigsList, local publications, etc. We held open houses EVERY weekend…I think this is crucial. One realtor we spoke with was only going to do one or two open houses – how can you expect to sell the house if you don’t get anyone in to see it??!! Make sure to advertise the open house and provide lots of good, clear sineage and make sure your house looks and smells GREAT. Don’t cut corners – make it look good inside and out and people will want to live there. As far as realtors helping you figure a price to sell…I think that’s bull. My personal belief is they price it down so they can make an easier, quicker sale. We consulted several realtors prior to selling on our own…both times, they recommended listing amounts far lower (and I mean thousands) than we ended up selling for on our own!

      • Aryn says:

        My husband and I went to open houses to decide where to buy and what features we wanted. Once we worked with a Realtor, we didn’t need to deal with open houses because she could access the lockbox. We didn’t have to deal with a crush of people or go during open house hours. That’s why Realtors only hold a couple open houses – they get walkthroughs from other Realtors who then bring their clients in later.

      • emily says:

        We sold our house in a terrible local economy. Our realtor worked hard and long. It took over 1.5 years and then another realtor sold it and she only got 3%. She deserved every cent she made plus some. If we wouldn’t have had it listed with the realtor, we would most likely still have it for sale. I don’t care if they make more than average income, my realtor worked OVERLY hard and was so kind in less than desirable circumstances. We had 3 signed purchase agreements before one went through and had proper credit. It would have been a nightmare doing it on our own.

      • Jen says:

        Well, it sounds like this seller was lucky, but most house sales don’t go that way. (And actually realtors want to get as much as they can for a house or else they don’t make much money. Underpricing by any significant amount doesn’t really serve them well.) Having too many open houses can actually work against you, too. People think there’s something wrong and you’re desperate–I actually felt that way myself about this one house that had an open house every saturday and sunday when we were looking. We just felt like there mus tbe something wrong with the house if they were trying so hard. Plus, when you’re selling your home yourself many people won’t even consider buying from you because they don’t want to deal with the problems that can arise. Real estate procedures are complex and to do it correctly you need to know what you’re doing. I actually know someone who was selling their house on their own and they made some mistakes with the documents and the buyer walked away because of it. So I don’t think it’s impossible to do, but it’s not easy. Even if you’re willing to put in the time, you may still not be able to make it work. I think the best plan is to do as much homework as you can, try it yourself and give it enough time, and if you’re struggling or really need to sell later, shop around to different realtors and try that.

        Admittedly though, I’m pro-realtor. When we bought our house we had so many unexpected difficulties that arose right before closing (tax issues, problem repairs, a property lien, etc), and we never could have resolved them without our realtor’s help. She helped negotiate some repairs that needed to be done, and she spotted problems in the contract that needed remedying. (We also had a great lawyer who resolved the problems, but the agent was the one who spotted them.) She even advised us to walk away when things weren’t looking good in the negotiations, after she’d spent 5 months showing us dozens of places and not made a dime yet. (And walking away would have almost certainly meant we wouldn’t be buying a place for several more months–we had literally seen everything in our area.) Again, I don’t think you always need a realtor, but just be careful you don’t end up losing money on a bad deal because you tried to save a few thousand bucks up front.

  • Seasick Mouse says:

    Have you checked to see how much comparable homes in your area have sold for in the past six months? That will be a great place to start to see if your asking price is inline. It may not be pretty, but if you are buying another home you can expect a comparable discount so it will be a wash.

    Good luck!!!

  • Rebecca says:

    As a Realtor (non-practicing) I can tell you that there are definitely advantages to using one. They have a pool of buyers (maybe not as large these days but still there) to show your house to. They have ideas on how to make the house more attractive to buyers and they know the market. Maybe you could negotiate the commission with the Realtor. Some brokerage won’t let their agents take a lower commission but I always charged commission on a case-by-case basis. Some brokerages offer a hybrid plan that would list it on MLS still give you the opportunity to possibly sell it on your own without a commission but still keeps it in front of other Realtors, which is the goal. Also, PLEASE listen to the Realtor (actually Realtor(s) – I recommend interviewing at least three so you can make a good decision) when they give you an opinion on value. They are the experts on the market and even if the value is lower than you thought, they are probably right. Good luck! I hope this helped a little.

  • Tiffany says:

    First, educate yourselves as fully as possible on all the legal issues and terms that are involved with selling your own home.
    Second, clear out the clutter and pack away extra stuff. This will make your home appear larger and cleaner and will make last minute cleaning before a showing easier.
    Also, “stage” it: that is, make sure each room is clear in its purpose by the way you have it decorated and furnished. (like turning your living room into a play room is both confusing and distracting to buyers) Look at your home critically, there are lots of ways you can freshen up your house for little or no cost. i.e. weeding, cleaning, fresh coat of paint, de-clutter, etc….
    Take pictures of your home at its best. Make a flier with all the pertinent info and a few pictures and place it in your front yard. You can purchase the same plastic tubes that realtors use.
    Find out about websites in your area that allow home owners to list their homes online. They usually charge a small fee but it allows you the same online visibility that realtors have without having the realtor. (Just Google “homes for sale by owner” and options should pop up).

    • Tiffany says:

      oh, and use facebook!!! Tell your friends you are selling and ask them to share with their friends. Use the social network to your advantage!

  • Angela says:

    We sold our house FSBO in about a week a few years ago. I put a small ad in our local paper’s real estate section with a black and white picture of our house, and in it I advertised an open house. The ad cost about $125. I also put a for sale sign outside with a plastic envelope attached that contained some full color pictures of the rooms of our house. I sent an e-mail to friends with the pictures also, and asked them to pass it on. At the open house, we received an offer that was very close to our asking price, so we took it. I made sure that the house looked very clean and nice, put some fresh flowers in vases, and lit a good smelling candle.

  • Mrs S. says:

    We will also be selling our home soon. If you absolutely can not or will not use a realtor, advertise as much as you can. Newspapers, Craig’s list, bulitin boards (think major employers in town who might be hiring people from out of town) etc…
    When we list our home in 7 months, we have chosen to spend the additional money on a realtor because we will need to sell quickly. I would suggest that if you have a time frame that you MUST sell your house in that you contact a realtor, but if you are in no rush, just be patient and save that cash for your next home:)

  • Jamie says:

    I’ve never bought or sold without a realtor so I am not sure what to tell you. We had a really good realtor. We had several friends put their houses on the market last year – two didn’t sell and one sold for way, way below asking price. We did everything our realtor told us to do and she worked her tail off – our house sold in 17 days for asking price. To us, she was worth every penny.

  • rhonda says:

    Holly, we sold our condo without a realtor, we were lucky it was in a good market. I feel that with the internet most people start there these days and drive around the neighborhoods that they like. I do feel that you can do it without a realtor if you have a great house in a great neighborhood and it is priced right. Do higher a lawyer for the paperwork though. Good luck!

  • Kelli says:

    Don’t feel bad! We ARE using a realtor and we’ve only had 2 showings and 1 open house at which only 1 family came through. This too is in a months time. Guess in this market we just have to be patient. And its a shame because we have our eye on a house. But, what is meant to be will be!

  • Lynn says:

    I posted mine on MLS. You pay about $400 but you get the exposure that your realtor would bring you.You still post 25 pictures and you just do your own captions. I also posted on Facebook and Craigslist and purchased my own sign. All the marketing part is easy compared all the other stuff that you have to do once you have a contract. Go to the TREC website and they have all the legal documents that you need once you have a contract.

    Good Luck!

  • tablet says:

    There is a reason there are real estate agents. That being said, there are some who are sucessful at selling their own homes. I think that once you put your home on the market you have to realize that it is not your home anymore (if you really want to sell it). Your home is not worth what you think it is worth -it is the market that decides what your home is worth. So I think that listing your home at true market value is extremely important. If you don’t already, watch those HGTV shows about selling your home. You can get great tips from them about how to create curb appeal and stage the interior. I hope you are sucessful in selling your home and finding just the right one for your family! (btw – i am not a real estate agent and these are just my opinions based on what I’ve learned :))

  • Lela says:

    You really need to be on the MLS site , some realtors will just put your house on for a flat fee.

    • connie says:

      We sold our home a number of years back (better market) using a flat fee service after our home did not sell by owner…30 days for sale by owner and 5 days with the MLS exposure.

      We have also sold 2 other homes, by owner, using what many have suggested; craigslist, staging, open houses, fliers with good pictures and information etc. Good luck!

    • Deb says:

      As Lela suggested, we used a realtor who listed us on MLS for a flat rate, provided a sign for us, and that was it. Our traffic increased greatly and I would recommend looking into something like this. Unfortunately, we have yet to sell.

    • MegganB says:

      We used this method and also put up a website and made our own flyers. The MLS is how we sold our house – we paid a realtor a flat $500 and sold hour house in November 2010 in under 4 weeks.

  • Tracy Brumm says:

    My advice, get a realtor.. Too much liability if something goes wrong in the sale, better to have an agent looking out for your interest, and dealing with all the nitty gritty details.. (inspections, showings, staging, negotiations, advertising, legalities, etc). Plus, most buyers stay clear of FSBO (For sale by owner) because of the risks involved.. (I am an agent in San Diego, so I’m speaking from experience) Good luck in whatever you choose and God Bless 🙂

  • katie says:

    this was a few years ago, but we opened a blog so we could upload pictures/descriptions and then posted the link on craigslist and also sent it out to our church family to pass on to friends who then passed it onto friends etc. we had a buyer and their agent in our home filling out a contract hours later. we were also going to host our own open house as we had a bunch of bites from craigslist, but it sold right away. Good luck!

    • Teresa Marie says:

      Church family is a great suggestion. Our church family knows we are looking to buy, and the lovelies suggest every house they see. It has really opened up our eyes and broadened our selection. I’m sure it would work well with spreading the word too.

  • Jen Freeman says:

    There are some things in life that are worth paying for. When it comes to the value & investment of a home, personal protection is imperative. Too many potential disclosure issues without professional help. I wouldn’t recommend it. However, we sold a home “by owner” and hired an attorney to ensure all paperwork was correct etc. The issue was the new buyer felt they could contact us for over a year afterwards, it was not fun! Jen @ tipresource

    • Katie says:

      I echo this! My in-laws sold a home a few years back by owner. Over a year later, the new owners took them to court over things which had come up with the house…even though they had been disclosed. When we had to relocate a few years back, my FIL told us to get a good realtor, and personally paid for us to have a real estate lawyer look over our papers.

  • LK says:

    We sold our house without a realtor, using Craigslist and a website we created full of photos and information. We put the website address on the sign outside our house along with our phone number. It worked really well, but I had a hubby who was willing and able to do all the work. But it is a time-consuming process for sure.

  • Gina says:

    Holly, this is a bad idea, especially in this market. First of all, most of your potential buyers will have a buyer’s agent who represents the buyer for free. They are paid by the seller and the MLS listing for the property is the agent’s guarantee that they will get paid. Secondly, nearly all agents will show MLS properties first because an unrepresented seller means that the buyer’s agent will have to do both sides of the deal and only get paid for one side. Also, I am sorry to say, that most buyers without agents are known as being a pain in the a** to deal with. I’m sure this doesn’t mean you, but that’s how unrepresented sellers are seen by agents. Additionally, a listing agent will market your property to potential buyers in ways you’ve probably never even thought of. The listing agent usually spends a great deal of money and with his/her expertise will attract buyers and their agents to your home. Finally, check the statistics – MLS listed homes sell for more money than For Sale By Owner homes do. (Remember, asking price isn’t the same as actual sales price!) MLS asking prices and sales prices are available for the agents to see, FSBO asking prices are not – so although what the property eventually sells for is public record, the price the seller started out with is not. Bottom line: you’ll make more money from the sale of your home using a listing agent with a good reputation than doing it yourself. Remember: agents are MARKETING experts – they do much more than just printing flyers. Their reputation and their commission rely on this expertise and they front all the cash for this marketing, not you. By the way, I owned both a real estate brokerage and a mortgage brokerage for over 10 years. Once in a while a FSBO gets lucky, but in this market, play the odds and use a professional. Each month that your property sits on the market is another payment out of your pocket that you have to make and means you will net less and less on the sale of your home for each month that goes by.

    • Rachel says:

      And some realtor’s won’t take their own buyers to look at homes for sale by owner. So you could be limiting your pool of applicants. Just something to keep in mind.

      • Melissa Z says:

        Also, when you use a realtor & other realtors show it, you know that there are qualified buyers at all the showings- when you do FSBO, at least in my parents case, you may end up showing your house mainly to people who are “thinking” about buying a house- but they haven’t been to a bank, don’t know how much they’re qualified to borrow, have another house they need to sell first, ect. It ends up wasting a lot of your time.

  • Jenni says:

    We just finished going through a process on the buyer’s end where we were so thankful to have a realtor, because there were inspection issues that needed to be addressed. I would definitely want a realtor to sell as well for the same reason – for protection and advice in terms of legal issues, liabilities, etc.

  • katrina says:

    Hi – I have experience with this – yes, use a realtor. BUT, just like coupons, use a discount realty company, like Assist 2 Sell . It’s nationwide and they charge a flat fee or a reduced commission, depending on the program you select. Trying to sell it yourself is frustrating. Lots of lookie loo’s, lots of cheapos’ thinking they can snow you even lower on price. People who aren’t qualified to even get a loan and most importantly-SAFETY! We are talking about strangers coming in your house, seeing all your valuables, seeing all your important areas (let me show you a special feature, hidden wall in the floor, safe room, etc).

  • DeAnna says:

    As a recent house buyer (and seller) I can tell you that we didn’t even bother with the “for sale by owner” sellers. We assumed that either they didn’t think a Realtor would take the house (poor condition) or were too cheap and that would show in the house’s maintenance. Not saying that is true in your case, but I am sure that I’m not the only only one who would write them off. We used a Realtor to sell our house and sold it (for a small profit) in three days in a pretty stagnant area. Not only did the Realtor add publicity, but she also helped stage the house and offer suggestions to make it more presentable to a broader range of people. She took a 6% commission on the sale, which was worth it not to sit on the market forever. In fact, her commission was only about what we would pay had we been on the market for 3-4 months (the average selling time for houses in the area) and peace of mind was worth it.

    • Agreed. FSBO also often means overpriced, rather than market priced. Also not saying that’s the OP’s situation, but the comment about having a lot of money invested in the house sends up a red flag to me. ALL homeowners have lots of money invested in their houses. Owners often think their houses are worth more than they are, as a result. At the very least, make sure the house is listed at market value, consistent with similar houses in the neighborhood. If it’s too high, no one will bite.

  • kandie says:

    We sold our house without a realtor about 4 years ago. We cleaned the house top to bottom, painted, cleaned carpet, got new Corian counter tops, and did a bunch of DIY upgrades to fixtures and flooring. We staged the house, took pictures, and posted them on craigslist, zillow, and the pennysaver. We made flyers for an open house and posted them all over the neighborhood. We interviewed with several realtors, telling them we wanted to sell it ourselves, and many of them gave us the necessary paperwork that simply had to be filled in. (Many realtors are willing to do this because they figure that most people will fail and end up calling them later on). On our first weekend of open house we got our buyer! We negotiated the deal, found the escrow company, and arranged all the inspections. It made me nervous thinking we might make a big mistake with paperwork or something but everything went smoothly and the whole process was over quickly. I recommend trying to do it yourself–it saved us over 6k and it wasn’t very difficult.

    • Elias says:

      We bought a by owner home but they had posted it on MLS through a friend. They asked us to draw up a contract and we did so by picking one up at a financial place like Citi or something. I’d have to ask my husband where we got it but anyways it was free and on our end and we felt like we could negotiate a lower price bc we knew they would go lower on a price without realtor costs. However we had just sold a home with a realtor so we knew what kinds of things to add in a contract and we got an inspection done (which they paid for). This was our experience from the buyer’s end. It went smoothly for us too but if you can get it on MLS and you have had some sort of experience selling a house, I think you would be fine.

  • Laura says:

    I helped a neighbor sell her house by sprucing up the outside – mulch, weeding, flowers – and walking through the house with her to identify areas that looked “clunky” to me (just get a second pair of honest eyes and don’t be insulted!) – we added some curtains I had in storage and rearranged a bedroom and family room to make them more inviting (smell is important too!). That and a good cleaning and her house sold after the open house.

  • august says:

    I think it can be very intimidating selling a house. We bought our house through the sellers realtors and it was crazy. They left a lot of info out because they were just worried about their money. If you can do it, do it, but it might be worth saving the trouble and money. Who knows, depending on your bills a realtor might be cheaper.

  • Krista says:

    We sold a home in three days without an agent in 2008 in a bad market. We priced it $5-10,000 less than others that had been sitting on the market, created a great website with fantastic photos, staged it beautifully and had an open house that was advertised in the city’s main newspaper. One of the people who came to the open house put a contract on it three days later. If we hadn’t sold it in a month or so we would have looked for an agent.

  • karen says:

    very good comments on here, if you interview realors, don’t be afraid to ask what their fees are and how they plan to market your property, i would give yourself a time limit and get as much exposure on your own, then get a realtor if you don’t have results. a mls listing puts you house out there for a very wide audience. our realtor gave a us a to do list(i asked) and it really made a difference.

  • Rachel says:

    I remember hearing Dave Ramsey say that it is better to have a realtor. Here is a link:

    We sold our house last year and picked a MOTIVATED realtor. We sold our house in 3 days. (We were in a hurry so that we could buy our current home. We were looking for speed.) My friends sold their house themselves and it took them 10 months. We paid 3% commission, it was worth it. He staged our house, brought in buyers and did all the paperwork, arranged all the inspections. It was WORTH 3%. He earned it.

    I suggest a realtor.

  • Monica says:

    Try a “forsalebyowner” website in your area. There is a fee but it is reasonable. Be careful though with pricing. If people are hunting…they will remember where they saw your house and what its price was. If you don’t sale it and then go with a realtor later, you may need to bump the price up a bit. Good luck! My husband and I have sold two houses, one with and one without a realtor. Pray about it. 🙂 Perhaps the perfect buyer is already being prepared for you!

  • Shannon says:

    As someone who has sold two of our houses with NO Realtor and not listing on the MLS, I have learned a few things. One do your homework on Title companies. They each have their own fees list, so be sure to get one ahead of time so you know what yours and your buyers closing costs will be and what inspections, forms, etc… are expected from you at the time of closing. If your house is newer and has a current roof inspection that will save you $ as well. Some of the closing costs can be negotiated with the buyer.

    Also, if the buyer has a Realtor, let them know that, that is ok, but you are not paying for any of their fees.

    Make sure if someone wants to make an offer you have an appropriate form for them to fill out. Once an offer is accepted you can ask them for $1000 deposit that is refundable only if they are denied the home due to low credit, etc… Make sure all that is in the offer paper they fill out and sign. When someone makes you an offer they should give you a prep qualification letter as well.

    As far as showing your house, make sure it is CLEAN from top to bottom and Outside! That means ceiling fans, crown moldings, kitchen cabinets, tile & grout, windows, blinds, baseboards, carpets. Clean and organize all closets and cupboards. Make it a model home! If any of these items are dirty or in disarray, the house will appear dirty and cluttered. Get rid of clutter and depersonalize. If you have bright or odd colored walls, paint them neutral. People want to see that you have lots of storage and envision themselves living there and see that a house is move-in ready. It’s okay to have packed boxes nicely stacked in the garage.

    For the Open Houses, have some fresh flowers in a nice vase in your kitchen. If you have a Trader Joes, grab a $5 bunch for the open house. Also burn a soft smelling candle, such as vanilla or some sort of baked cookie scent. Or bake cookies and have them out for the viewers to enjoy 🙂 It makes the house inviting. Make sure to put out a sign with info fliers. They don’t have to be high quality but make sure they are nice and have all the info people need and good pics. Try to take pics that make rooms look larger than they are as pics tend to make them look smaller. For the fliers, you may want to put an email address on their too just for this, people won’t always want to call or may forget by the time “they have time.”

    There are lots of free places to advertise as well: Craigslist, Kijiji, etc… and maybe you could pay to have it in your local paper for a month

    This is everything off the top of my head! Hope this helps!

  • Cat says:

    We just sold ours by owner. Utilize, craigslist, FB, your local newspaper and flyers at the country club, church, preschool, etc. We saved about $15k. Make sure your pictures stand out, highlight the best parts of your home and advertise your open houses like crazy. Good luck!

  • Kristen says:

    I’d recommend using one for more reasons that I can list (and the many others listed above) – but I’d recommend negotiating with them. We negotiated with our realtor to NOT charge a commission on selling our home – if we signed a contract to buy our next home with her. It was a great deal and she still got a commission. I’ve heard of many doing this.

    • Janelle says:

      Wow, this is interesting. I am a Realtor but can’t imagine anyone in our area accepting this offer. Glad it worked for you though.

      • Erin says:

        When my husband and I sold our home in the DC burbs in 2007, we contacted the realtor we used when we purchased it six or seven years earlier. We staged it ourselves and my husband took all the listing photos, so she agreed to a reduced commission of 4.5 percent rather than her standard 6 percent.

  • Rosie says:

    realtors can really be worth it… however, you can try listing at We also had a friend do a realtor-less sale last year… they paid to have an MLS listing, however. Not quite sure how that works, but you might look into it.

  • jennifer says:

    We were preparing to use a realtor last summer to sell our home. We spent the summer fixing it up and getting it ready.
    God had a different plan…our neighbor’s daughter was looking for a house. She doesn’t drive and depended on her parents to get her and her children around.
    We prayed and prayed….On my birthday no less, we got the call she was approved. Closed in August. We paid a real estate company $150 to handle the paperwork, otherwise we used no realtor.
    I guess I have no advice, other than to pray!

  • heather parker says:

    My husband and I started buying and selling investment properties as soon as we got married. We quickly figured out that the exposure you get using a real estate agent is invaluable, but we hated paying the listing fees. I ended up getting my real estate license 5 years ago to help with the fees we were paying and so that we could still be in charge of the process. In this market it is very important to have good advertising (the most important is the MLS, it feeds the other top real-estate sites such as, and all of the franchised offices).

    One showing in a month most likely means one of two things. First, people don’t realize that the home is for sale. Second, the home is listed too high. A realtor can help you with both of these issues.

    There are a couple of things to consider when paying an up-front fee to get your home on the MLS. 1. you are out your fee regardless if the home sales or not. When you use a realtor they normally do not get paid until you get paid and the home has successfully closed. 2. the MLS was designed to be a tool for Realtors to use, and agents have to pay a lot of money to be members of the MLS. I personally, do not like to see people abusing it (just my opinion) by putting homes on there without offering a commission. If you are not willing to offer a buyers’ agent commission, then don’t list it on the MLS.

    I do have to agree with many of the other posters that Realtors are working for their money. Often times for very little per hour when you break down everything that they do. If you have only had one showing in a month it might be time to look at hiring a professional. If you insist on going at it alone, make sure that you answer your phone promptly and always call people back =) good luck!!!

  • MelissaD says:

    I would recommend hiring a professional photographer to take photos inside and out. We did this and our photographer used a special lens that made it easier to get good photos of our small rooms. The photos made the rooms look big, bright and airy compared to the photos I took with my point-and-shoot camera. I think this made a big difference in terms of getting those people who were looking online to actually come see the house in person.

  • Sam says:

    I was about to suggest the same thing. Watch the HGTV shows. Its hard but you want to take out your personal style of decorating and put a neutral one where ppl want to visualize themselves living in your space. Please take out personal pics from the walls and replace with paintings or any other art piece. Research the price range in your area and set accordingly. Highlight the features of ur house like if u do have a great fireplace paint it and bring the best out. Declutter declutter and declutter because stuff will hide the potential of the house. If possible update ur kitchen which is one of the great selling features n bathrooms with new fixtures. Change the colors of the house to neutral colors unlike pink for girl, blue for boy etc. These are all my tips for u that I picked from watching TV. Hope this helps.

  • miriam says:

    We sold our house without a realtor, we did everything that everyone else has suggested you to do (in the comments) I had open houses, did the advertising, both on line and off, posted signs out front “for sale by owner” took calls and ran over to the house when someone needed it to be shown (we already had moved out into our new home).
    Many came without their own realtors, some came with realtors. We finally got an offer that we could live with (same people came through 3 times bought the house) after 6 months. We thought it was smart to hire an attorney to do all the paperwork for us and to be there at closing. I was glad we made that decision, it saved us the worry if we had everything covered legally. All we did was show up at the closing, sign off on it, receive the cheque, and pay the attorney. He did not cost us much, I believe $1500 and was well worth the effort.
    Now will I do it again, most likely, we saved money, it was a good experience and we learned a lot.
    The only thing I will say is that, if you are willing to go through all the steps that you need to do to have it sold, then go for it. There is no guarantee that it could be sold any quicker with an agent, or that you will get a better price for your home. Only you and your husband can decide if the money you save is worth the effort and extra time spent dealing with it. For my family it was definitely worth the extra effort, considering what we saved.
    I wish you the best and pray the decision you make is the right one for you and your family and peace will be your guide. Weigh up the pros and cons and then if you decide to do it, jump in with both feet, realizing that it is a commitment and that it will take time, but will be worth the effort

  • MrsK says:

    Even if you FSBO, it’s pretty normal that your buyer would have a realtor. So if you are in a buyer’s market, the buyer is probably going to expect you to pay their half of the realtor fees. In our market, fees are about 6%, so you’d end up paying 3% to the buyer’s agent, only saving yourself 3%.

    I’d recommend doing a broker open house – send info over to the major real estate agencies for a 2-4 hour open house. Feed them well. Make sure to offer to pay the buyer’s realtor fees. You could even offer an incentive to the buyer’s agent. A good way to drive traffic. True open houses tend not to be the way to find buyers, but a broker open house will get your house in front of folks who have serious buyers.

    • Janelle says:

      I am a Realtor and this works! If you choose not to hire a Realtor to represent you, I highly recommend doing a broker open house. Make sure every local Realtor is aware of it- not just their offices but mail an invitation to each Realtor individually. Offices get so many things like this that many of us don’t even notice when there is another page on the bulletin board. I definitely recommend food and maybe a door prize giveaway, as well as an agreement to pay the buyer’s side of the Realtors fees (if not then there will be no point in the Realtors showing up so they really won’t.) I would also google the information or speak to an agent in the area to get your house listed in the MLS. It’s usually only a couple hundred dollars and will get you a ton more exposure. Good luck and happy homeselling!

  • Rachel Hodum says:

    We planted a St. Andrew or St. Joseph, or some saint statue. We are not catholic but I marched right to the catholic book store and bought one! We did sell our house (much, much less than we needed but felt blessed to sell it at all). Good luck! I am sorry I do not rememebr what saint it was everybody!

  • Conni says:

    We’ve sold 2 homes without the services of a real estate agent. Both went quickly and smoothly. We did everything we could to make the home look beautiful inside and out. First impressions are everything. We de-cluttered the house and removed personal photos from the walls. We placed a “for sale” sign in the yard with a flyer that a potential buyer could take with them. We posted signs along major streets and intersections in our neighborhood. Our house sold quickly(less than a month). We told any potential buyers that were using real estate agents that we would not pay any agent commissions. This was not a problem for either the agent or the buyer. We also just put the word out that we were selling our house. One of our homes sold to the parents of the neighbor, who wanted to move next door to their children…we didn’t even have to advertise!

  • Andrea Q says:

    Use a wide-angle lens to take nice, clear, bright pictures of the home (or hire a photographer) that show every room, plus the front/back of the clean, clutter-free, staged house.

  • B. says:

    My in-laws just used a realtor to sell their home. It sold in one week and all the realtor did was put an ad in the local paper.

    Make sure you are on the MLS. We sold our home last year by paying an online company a flat rate fee (it was only a couple hundred bucks, I think).

    Of course, that had no bearing on how we sold our home. Never underestimate the small things like word of mouth. I ended up giving a talk in church and mentioned the stress of selling a home and what do you know, a couple who were going to be moving into the area for school and were in the area to look at houses were in the congregation. They bought our home. It was awesome. But it also stunk because we bought at the peak of the housing market and sold at the lowest point possible. At least we sold it though!

  • Amy says:

    We sold our home ourselves (albeit in a much better market). We did much of the things that others suggested. I think the things that helped most were staging our house and the price market we were in. The first you can control, the second you can’t. We packed quite a bit of stuff away before we started showing our home. We also did some small jobs that would make it show better (replaced carpet in kitchen with better flooring, painted a few places, etc.-got back all of that plus more in the sale). I’m not sure what price range you are selling in, but there are some price ranges that are moving more quickly than others. If you are selling in an upper price range for your area, a realtor might be able to help you by bringing the right customers. We had people come by and try to low-ball us because they knew we were selling ourselves. Luckily, I’m too stubborn to let that influence me, but it was a waste of my time. Either way, good luck!

  • Katie says:

    We wasted a lot of time and energy trying to do a FSBO. I don’t want to count how many times someone called to see the house and we spent hours cleaning it, just for them to spend 1 minute in the house. I think most of the people calling for a showing were not even interested in the house – they were just being nosey. We hired a realtor and it sold in 3 weeks after spending 3-4 months FSBO. A realtor will schedule quality showings for people that are seriously looking & interested so that you don’t waste your time.

  • Kelly Hess says:

    Sale is driven by PRICE! If you do it on your own, make sure you are pricing your house at or slightly below other houses in your neighborhood!

  • Jennifer says:

    My husband and I have sold then bought two different houses in the last 6 years due to job changes. I have to agree with the people that say that it all depends on how much time you have before you have to sell your house as well as how much time you personally have to deal with it. We have several small children and it was not working to try to do it ourselves, so we used realtors both times. One of the houses we bought from someone selling by owner and they weren’t completely honest on the disclosure forms. This caused problems later as we had no easy way to handle it with them. Make sure to have all the papers and know that some people are going to be more comfortable having someone as a go-between between you and them (and don’t be offended!) 🙂 Bottom line, if the Lord wants your house to sell, He will help it to happen no matter which way you do it! Good luck!

  • cherith says:

    Recommend using a realtor. Heard once that if folks aren’t willing to use a realtor to market their home, there may be other areas in which they’ve tried to scrape by. Just recently purchased a house and tried to locate FSBO homes, but couldn’t find many. Ended up not using a realtor to purchase, but gave the selling realtor extra commission so that our offer was great!

  • Angela says:

    We had our house up for sale last year and used a flat fee realtor. With this kind of transaction you pay them a flat fee up front for listing your house on the MLS which gets a lot of traffic. You then are the contact for any realtors to show the house. We also opted to purchase a package when we sold our house or had offers they would help us through the process and paperwork. We didn’t end up selling our house, so we ended up losing that money, but had we sold it that way we would have saved $6,000. We still however would have paid the buyer’s agent a 3 or 4% commision. This is standard, and encourages them to show your house. Otherwise they would get nothing for all the work they do for the buyer.

  • rhoda says:

    I was a realtor for 25 years and using a realtor can be to your advantage if you choose the right one. Go outside to the street, look at your house and think about the curb appeal. If it’s something that you don’t like when you look, then fix it-shrubs to big, flowers with lots of grass in them, sidewalk cracked, paint peeling, gutters falling, window with crack, roof curling, just a few of the things that might turn someone off. Inside, look at the kitchen for clutter that can be put away until you sell, if you have to rent a storage unit and put all the clutter in there. Excess toys, furniture that makes it seem crowded, bathroom items, garage items that your can do without, make all the rooms look at large as you can by taking out all the clutter. If the rooms are painted a light color and netural it will appeal to most people. Clean or new carpet, new blinds, clean or new light fixtures, give the home a feel of new. I hope this helps but if I were you, I would just add a few extra dollars to the price and hire a realtor, they are really worth the money, like showing the house, taking all the unqualified calls, know whom they are showing the house to which could be a safety issue. I wish you all the success on selling your home. Also I have burried a St. Joseph statue before for luck.

  • Mary says:

    We’ve sold two homes without a realtor, really depends on the market in your neighborhood. In both cases, we gave the home a unique redo. In addition, we did our homework, went to other open houses in our neighborhood to see what others were doing in terms of make ready and price. In one case, we did a kitchen redo, in the other case we pulled up carpet and exposed the oak floors-bottom line make it look unique and price it correctly by comparing.

  • Emily says:

    The Young House Love blog had some other tips when they did a FSBO:

  • Hayliegh says:

    We initally had ours for sale through a realtor….after 6 months on the market and count them…TWO SHOWINGS (you can claim incompetent realtor, but we interiewed no less than 7 before choosing 1 and we had stats and everything)…we went FSBO – the first month on our own we showed it 17 times…by the next month we had repeat showings and sold it. Used an attorney to make sure all the paperwork was on the up and up and costed us very little compared to what we were told we would have paid to the realtor via the contract when we were listed. I believe advertising is the key – we took out ads in the local paper, had fliers in the box attached to my sign out front, and had it posted for free on a FSBO site. I always asked those calling about the house which source they found it. I was friendly and very flexible with showing. And I did take down names and number and followed up with each and every one. A few tips that I lived by with all those showings – keep a place where you can quickly stash – for us it was a large chest – it stayed empty and when the call came, you toss in and sort later. Also, a can of compressed air – why? Because it’s the fastest way to dust! No joke! So Stash, dust, vacuum, and wipe down the Kitchen and Bathrooms….I had it down to a fine art of less than an hour! Oh, and one of my biggest beefs about the whole process of FSBO – Realtors – they would call and pretend to be interested and send you into all these detail and finally come clean about being a realtor and wanting you to list with them. One even made it in the door – we showed it and as she was leaving she informed us of the fact that she had no interest in it, but thought she had “a perfect client” if we would pay commission to her. Yeah right – they play dirty!! Granted that’s my experience and I’m sure someone might try to dispute my opinion, but I lived it!! And I won’t soon forget it! You can do it! Just be real and do your best! Good luck to you!!

  • Sandra Lee says:

    Personally, I loved the realtor I worked with and would never consider buying or selling without them. Best of luck to you, whatever you decide!

  • Liz says:

    We sold a house by ourselves several years ago in a down market. It took about 3 months and we had open houses often. I did all the legwork and then about a week before closing their mortgage broker wouldn’t speak to me. My husband had to call the broker’s main office and then we found out that the people weren’t going to be approved after we had been assured it would be no problem getting approval. They had a preapproval letter and all of the information that we needed. It worked out that they just needed so more time to improve their credit rating so they leased it from us and eight months later it was theirs.
    Take advantage of today’s technology, do what is needed to get it on MLS, decide if you are willing to pay a buyer’s agent’s commission, and then be prepared to have agents call you. Also be prepared for people wanting you to finance it for them.

  • Corey says:

    Hi Holly,

    We old our 3 bedroom house 4 years ago here in CT and it took us 3 days and 9 showings. We had three offers from those 9 showings and all were for asking price so we were thrilled. Now, the economy wasn’t what it is today but I do believe that my husband and I did a good job of staging and I spent very little money (if any at all). First we moved every single toy out of the main floor. The toys were either organized in the basement or our children’s bedrooms. We did this so the first impression was that any person could live there, not just a family with children. It also gave the impression that there was plenty of storage for toys without cluttering the main living space. I cleared out 1/4 of each closet to give the feeling of space and I set the tables as if company were coming. Right before a showing I put a large bowl of water with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in it and boiled it for 7 minutes in the microwave. Instant aroma! I even purchased some limes and places them in a bowl in the kitchen. The house looked amazing and we only got positive feed back. It didn’t cost us anything and the proper staging meant a quicker sale! Hope some of this helps!

  • Amy says:

    We’re selling and using a Realtor and have only had two showings in as many months, annnnnd both times the people didn’t even show up!! So don’t feel bad, it is just a bad market right now.

  • Sarah says:

    I would say to use a realtor. The realtor take the legal issues and deal with them for you. He does all your advertising and foot work. He will give you suggestions to try to sell your house. He does this for a living and has has been trained. They are insured and certified. The realtor will display your house to all the other realtors and potentional buyers in the area, state and nation which an individual will not be able to do. This is your biggest price item you have, why gamble that you will do it right.

    The price you pay for your realtor is quite small. They dont make a lot of profit off of a house. Here is why… Out of the money they get from the sale of your house (which is the only way they make any money)… They pay for all advertising themselves (which can cost a small fortune), and they pay for the insurance if something goes wrong and they pay for many other things.

    All I can say is dont gamble over a little bit of money, get a professional. But research and interview the realtors. Look for a good honest one that will tell you like it is. Big named realtors are not always the best bet.

  • Whitney says:

    As at least one other commenter mentioned, many buyers do steer clear of FSBO signs. I know I did when looking for houses. There was nothing that could get me to contact one, no matter how nice it looked. The reasons were many, but they included; my concern that the house was priced by the buyer and not by an experienced realtor, therefor, it was likely overpriced. That the seller would not understand the many legal issues involved with selling a house. That MY realtor would end up doing all the work for the seller (and yes, if your buyer has a realtor, you will be asked to pay that realtor’s commission fee.) I was also worried that during an open house I would be walking on egg shells in front of the buyer (or worse, being tailed throughout the house by them). I’d much prefer to look at house with the sellers’ realtor present instead. Someone who does not have an emotional investment in the house.

    These, plus myriad other reasons made me avoid FSBO houses like the plague. There may be lots of buyers out there, but a good portion may feel the same as me.

    • Doretta says:

      This definitely makes a big difference on the buyer’s preferences. We sold our own home a few years ago. I would go out of my way to look for a FSBO. I wouldn’t be able to trust the realtors here any more than a FSBO. That’s why we prefer to simply hire our own attorney.

  • Sarah says:

    My parents have bought and sold 5 houses in the past 30 years and never used a realtor. They did, however, have a good real estate attorney, which I would highly recommend.
    From watching their experiences, I would say that you can definitely save money by selling yourself, and there are people who will look at FSBO houses. However, just like anything else, you need to be willing/able to put in an amount of footwork (showings, advertising, etc).

  • Sarah says:

    We’ve had our house on the market since early March. We FSBO’d for the first 2 months. We had plenty of showings, no offers. We switched to a real estate agent and have had plenty of showings and ONE offer–which fell through because the buyer’s circumstances changed.

    For us, the big issue has been price. We’ve dropped it three times since March but we’ve always had it priced just a bit too high given the competition. If we’d priced $4k less than we did in March, when there were very few other house for sale in our neighborhood, I think we would have sold it immediately. Now there are dozens of houses for sale, we’ve dropped the price a total of $23K and we’re still not getting offers. We’re now about to take it off the market and simply rent it out. If all goes well with the renters, we may just hang on to it as an investment property.

    People expect a FSBO to be a bargain since you’re saving on realtor fees. REALLY study what similar houses are going for in your neighborhood and price competitively.

  • Jenny says:

    Without having read all of the other replies, here are my thoughts:

    We live in a rural community with a terrible housing crisis. It’s not unusual to see over 4 houses for sale on any given street (regardless of the neighborhood). We just purchased a new home and sold our previous home this past December, so we had quite a mountain before us.

    As a home buyer, I will be quite frank and say that we were not interested in going with a home not represented by a realtor and/or bank. There just seemed to be too many “what if”s” associated with purchasing from a “for sale by owner”. You will lose a good chunk of the market by not going with a realtor for this reason. You will also potentially need to significantly discount your home in order to get the attention of potential buyers (enough that you could have most likely afforded the realtor).

    Our home was a tough sale. It was the nicest home in a rougher part of town. Despite this issue, our home sold within 2 weeks of being on the market, and our realtor did ALL the work. She had a team that came in to take the 360 degree pictures, which did the best job of showcasing our home.

    If you are set on selling the home yourself you will absolutely need professional quality pictures to represent your home. It is so true that the home sells before the buyers walk in if they are excited about the pictures (and they truly represent the home). Make sure your home is priced at least slightly below your “competition” homes. This will entice buyers to take a look, and possibly choose your home over a comparable one. Be willing to make a deal. If you are still carrying a mortgage, that’s money out the window each month the home doesn’t sell. Not to mention, the longer your home is on the market the more wary potential buyers are of even looking at it (i.e. “What’s wrong with that house that is hasn’t sold yet??”)

    I hope this helps, and all goes well for your family regardless of how you choose to sell!!

  • Carly says:

    Holly, hi! I’ve sold successfully w/o a Realtor twice. AND I WOULDN’T SUGGEST IT TO ANYONE. The first one was a *snap*: I put a sign out front, and THAT WEEKEND the house sold at full-price; the second, the young (not-yet-married) couple required 7 showings, several of which involved extended family of HIS, then extended family of HERS. They were rudem and intrusive, and disrupted our lives, and we were ready to tell them “this doesn’t seem to be working out – just stop coming”. They acted in ways a Realtor would never allow, ie: “but you paid $104k for the house 10 years ago, why are you asking $128 now?” DUH!! (THIS was their “Market Research”?!?)

    AND THE LEGAL SITUATIONS YOU COULD RUN INTO with certain people could ruin you. Sure, it seems easy: agree on a Price, write up a Contract, and have them take that Contract to the Bank. But a Realtor has more power and professionalism so they can’t hold you to a Contract when you could be released to sell to someone else: I had a young lady CLEARLY bank-approved on my Condo. Halfway in to Closing, she decided to pull a fast one and go to another Bank that would turn down her Loan. Then she tried to back out of the Contract by saying she wasn’t Financed (by the SECOND bank!) I wouldn’t return her $1000, and she wouldn’t sign paperwork so I could sell to someone else. She even had a Lawyer send paperwork.

    Well, I wrote the Lawyer back, explaining her underhandedness (the details she DIDN’T tell them), and kept my $1000. By then, I’d lost MONTHS of time, and the Ads I’d paid for, and feared the expense of a frivolous Lawsuit around every corner.


  • B says:

    I think it is potenital risk. A co-worker of mine was heavily sued after selling his own home. The accusation made were seemingly small, nothing big. It was small steps missing, my co-worker had a realtor friend who had helped them as well as internet searches. He totally thought he did everything correct. Now, he is losing his brand new house and in huge financial trouble due to the law suite.

  • Tonya says:

    If you do use a realtor be sure to find a motivated one. When my parents sold a small rental property a few years ago the realtor they signed on with was far too busy marketing his bigger clients with larger commissions to put much effort into their little house. They wished they had signed with another local agent who sells many smaller houses instead of a few large ones. It did sell before their contract with the realtor ended but it was to a relative through my parents word of mouth so he other than closing the deal he did very little to sell the house. Using a realtor will save you some frustration but if you don’t get a motivated one you end up with a different kind of frustration.

  • Megan says:

    I did not read all the posts but we sold ours without a full time realtor from listing to close in 3.5 months in a horrible market in Atlanta 2 summers ago.

    We updated paint, mulch, etc, borrowed all the staging books from the library I could find and followed them to a T. We signed up with a flat fee realtor, so $600 for the listing and lock box. On MLS, I did my own fliers and marketing. Open houses, craigslist, other website listings. We finally took the price off the flier and someone called to ask about it. They did not have a realtor so were able to use the flat fee folks as a part of our contract. We paid a total approx $2000 (including the initial $600) of commissions on a $230K sale. So about 1% instead of 6%.

    We showed the house to the couple that called but had no other showings besides them.

  • sarah says:

    If you don’t use a realtor make sure you price your home competitively. When we were looking for a house I gave up looking at for sale by owener listings because many were overpriced–I think many sellers are so discouraged by today’s market prices and don’t want to believe realtors when they give an honest estimate of their home’s worth. Our neighbor’s originally tried to sell the home themselves, and finally listed with an agent after not selling in over a year. Now the market has gotten even worse and they are finally using a realtor and trying to sell at a much lower price. Now they will get less for the home and pay a commision. I can’t help but think that if they had gone with a good realtor from the beginning that they would have made a lot more $ even with the commission.

  • Kristina says:

    The “for sale by owner” website has lots of step by step help for sellers if you choose to pay the money for that website. You can also pay yourself to list your home on FMLS, and possibly on your state MLS as well. You can pay for a private appraisal so that you’re not completely shocked if the number comes in lower than expected once you’re under contract. Price competitively from day 1! Staging and cleaning are important, but no one will come and look if your price isn’t right. Good luck to you!

  • We’re currently in the same boat right now and at first we decided to try selling on our own but after researching it and discovering that MLS listings are usually where people turn to first when searching to buy a home, we decided to go with a realtor for that advantage. It can be a lot of money upfront that we did not have. At least with a realtor, you don’t pay if you don’t sell. But if you don’t mind having it on the market and having to be on top of it all the time yourself, I say try it out for six months and list it with a realtor if it doesn’t sell.

    • Whitney says:

      This is an excellent point and I think you were the first to address it. Signing with a realtor costs you nothing until your house sells. Going the FSBO route means many of your costs are upfront, plus you may still need a realtor in the end.

  • Lauren says:

    Val has some great ideas. We used CraigsList,, and YouTube and Facebook. Good Luck!

  • Katie says:

    We’ve done it with and without a realtor successfully so here’s my completely unbiased opinion: Without a realtor the market really has to be good and use every avenue for exposure: local newspaper, flyers on bulletin boards, local websites and do a few open houses with signs all through town. If you live in a small town, the open houses work well because the people who see it will tell others who may be interested. Make sure your house is completely de-cluttered and de-personalized (family pics off the walls, etc) and the rooms are neutral. Example: If your daughters bedroom his highly girly, try to neutralize it to appeal to a wider audience. Curb appeal is what draws their interest so make sure it looks really good from the street. Keeping toys out of the yard, grasss mowed, etc. We sold 2 ourselves and basically could do so because we weren’t in a hurry. The third we gave ourselves 6 months and got basically no traffic (one showing a month is not good traffic) so we switched to a realtor. It took her 6 months (but this was 2 years ago when market was bad) and it got alot of showings in that time and did sell. You really have to weigh how motivated you are and how much you are paying out in mortgage/expenses/etc. Realtors definitely take the hassle factor out, give you more peace of mind legally and give your home alot more exposure.

  • Ann says:

    I would suggest using a Realtor unless you are up on all of the legal disclosures. Selling a house is one thing but getting it to closing is another. Things to think about.
    Who will be doing the title search to make sure that the deed is clean?
    Who will be providing the title insurance?
    Who will be setting up inspections?
    Who will be drafting the deed?
    Who will be setting up the actual closing.
    Who will be handling the bank transactions?
    who will be helping the buyer secure financing?
    Who will be working on fixing the problems that come up on every transaction before the closing. Every closing has some problems.
    Who will be writing up the offer to purchase in a legal manner to protect you?
    This is just a small list of closing issues not to mention all of the work that goes into getting a qualified buyer in the first place.

  • Erin says:

    If you don’t have to sell (i.e., if you are happy to stay in your current home if you can’t get the offer you want), then maybe try to sell on your own. But having purchased three homes, I personally would never buy a for-sale-by-owner home unless I knew the owners and had complete confidence in them–and even then, maybe not, LOL! A house is the largest purchase many people will ever make, and as such, it is important to protect that investment. Remember, if you don’t get your asking price, you owe your realtor nothing. And as I said, if you don’t absolutely have to sell, you can take into consideration the realtor’s commission when pricing your house (and maybe even negotiate the realtor’s commission). Of course, I would not recommend this if you need to sell quickly. We did the opposite–pricing our house on the low end of other comparable homes at the beginning of the housing crisis, and we ended up getting a bit more than asking price. Good luck!

  • September says:

    We bought our first house from a “for sale by owner”; overall it was a great experience for us–particularly since we paid about 15% under market. The sellers were very nice people who just didn’t have a very accurate idea of what things were actually worth, and without getting the input from a professional they were at a disadvantage during negotiations.

    For most people a home is one of the largest financial investments they’ll make in their lifetime, and I can’t imagine taking that step (either buying or selling) without the help of a professional. That’s not to say that all realtors are good–there’s a lot out there who are just listing and waiting, but the right realtor can make all the difference in every step of the process. We just old a house in a NYC suburb and even with buying in a high market (2003) and selling during a recession we made about 150% on our initial investment and cleared enough that we were able to pay cash for our new home and still have a significant amount of money to invest.

    When it came to selling, we spent money to make money…virtually the entire house was repainted (using colors recommended by our stager), hardwood floors refinished, house/roof powerwashed, unfinished portion of basement cleared out and painted. On the recommendation of our realtor we also hired a stager and allowed her carte blanche to set up our home for the listing. In all we spent around 20K getting the house ready to sell, but it sold to the first couple who walked through for 26K more than list price, so we consider it money well spent.

  • Suzanne says:

    I think it totally depends on the market where you are. If you are in a sellers market (and there are a few of them out there) then you can list it yourself. For sure you need to get it on MLS at a minimum.

    But also look at what is available in your area in the price range you plan to list your house at. Be objective, is your house better or worse than some of these homes? And if it’s the same, does it stand out in any way? If it just sort of looks like the other homes for sale, you probably either need a realtor or a much lower price to get traffic to your house.

    Remember, your house is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, not what you want to get out of it.

  • Jennifer says:

    Another option would be to add “brokers protected” or “brokers welcome” This will tell the Realtors you are willing to pay them something. Be sure to put all the terms in a contract before the showing.

    Realtors have the buyers and that’s what you need!

    Suzanne is exactly right, “your house is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it”. Also, a Realtor, if they’re good, will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear!

  • Megan says:

    We sold our home in Arizona last year, where the real estate market is still tanking. I so wish we would have dropped the price early on and started lower. We ended up waiting, moving to another state, having an offer but the appraisal came in so much lower that the buyer walked….it was so frustrating. I just wish we would have started lower. We loved our house and really thought it was worth more. Really, you will sell it faster if you price it just a little below what houses are going for in your area. It is hard because everyone thinks their home is special but bite the bullet and think about your price

  • Tiffany T says:

    We sold our house in DFW, TX in 2008, just as the market was turning. After contemplating using a realtor or doing it ourselves, we went with a flat-fee realtor that did all the “hard” stuff (i.e., stuff we didn’t want to screw up like paperwork). After doing our own research and price comparisons in the area, we came up with a selling price (just slightly below what others were going for, but left room for negotiating), keeping in mind that it did us no good to price too high since we’d have to pay a mortgage for each month it didn’t sell. We wrote the MLS ad, took the pictures, they posted it. They directed all buyer-realtors directly to us to schedule home viewings and we had the option to either be home or not (in which case we took a walk around the block since I am SAHM). When a buyer wanted to make an offer (after only 3 weeks on the market), they walked us through the process, step by step. They explained what we needed to do, what we needed to get from the buyer, why it was necessary, etc. They ran all the checks, gave us the outcome and then let us make the decision. Even during negotiating, we were able to talk to our “realtor” like he was a friend (and btw, we were dealing with the flat-fee business owner himself in most cases) and ask his opinion and what other sellers have done. We could counter-offer, he’d relay the information and then give us an update later for the next move. Other than the viewing of the house and her final walk-through before signing the papers, we never dealed directly with the buyer, which was important to me (since I didn’t want the buyer to know I had no idea what I was doing!) We also had minimal contact with the buyer’s realtor, which was a plus!

    We thoroughly cleaned and de-cluttered our house before even putting it on the market, since we knew how important it was to grab potential buyers as soon as they walk in the door, and make them emotionally want the house – so they could envision living there themselves. Even with a newborn, we kept the house in a 10-minute clean state, so that we could quickly clean the house within 10 minutes if a buyer was on their way.

    If I’m able to (and Crystal please delete if necessary), I’d highly recommend John Prell with Creekview Realty if you’re in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area. I literally cannot say enough positive things about our experience. If we could, we’d sell houses every day with him!

    One thing to consider is that advertising is one aspect of selling your house – getting the word out. Use any and every means necessary, but bear in mind that only people who are interested will actually come and look, so don’t get disappointed if you only get one or two views. Not many people can afford a home right now so you won’t get many calls. Second, you have to make your home an emotional factor. We know that we should remove our emotions when we’re buying a house or a car, but the table is turned when you’re selling. You NEED to create that emotion in a potential buyer – make them want YOUR house !

  • April says:

    We just put our house on the market yesterday using Assist-to-Sell. Just yesterday they started a program where you can pay an up front fee of either $495 or $995 and they do all the work *except* 1-you have to show your own home (they make appointments, you just have to be home and show it), 2-it costs an another $500 at closing for them to do the paperwork IF you find your own buyer OR 3% if they find you a buyer OR 3% to a third party realtor. It makes a lot of sense if you have the $500/$1000 to pay and all you want is a nice sign, nice flyers, nice website postings, and a professional to help. If you choose to upgrade to their full service, it is only $2995 & 3% and that is due at closing and you are credited the amount you paid. They are nationwide, so you should call them and ask about it. It’s basically a for-sale-by-owner with fancier signs and way way way more marketing opportunities.

    • sherri says:

      Geeze, that sounds close to being as expensive as a realtor…but I guess it depends on the amount you are selling your home for.

  • Andrea Q says:

    It is very disappointing to find out that your home isn’t worth what you think it is and that the improvements you’ve made don’t make up for the failing market. My personal feeling is to stay where you are unless you absolutely have to move.

    Experts have been saying that we’re close to the bottom of the market for close to two years now, but no one really knows when things will start to turn around. There are many homes in my area that have lost more than a third of their value in the last 24 months (I live in the Northeast, so that’s typically more than $100,000).

  • Ruth says:

    I don’t know if you will use a realtor or not, but INTERVIEW, INTERVIEW, INTERVIEW any perspective realtors if you do. Email them a list of questions or concerns and see how each of them respond. You will be able to pick out which one will work with you. My husband emailed 5-7 realtors and only one responded to his questions, and guess which one we used? We just bought a home in the early winter, and I am so glad we used a realtor. It helped lessen the STRESS of having to deal with legal matters. Plus, she knew the answers to the legal questions, she knew who to call for help and who to use who wasn’t shady in the town. This is especially true if you are working with a potential buyer from out of town.

    Also, just wanted to add, that laws vary by state, so check out your state laws dealing with the specifics with attorneys and realtors. Some states have stricter laws than others dealing with buying and selling a home.

  • sarah says:

    We just sold and bought houses in the last 2 mths. For me I would want a realtor. I have two toddlers and just keeping the house show ready was hard enough for me. It was nice to leave the house ready and have someone else deal with meeting for the showings. When we interviewed realtors she told us that she didn’t do open houses but only showings for buyers with realtors, she said those were the serious buyers. She did get our house “sold” in two weeks(under contract for sale) She was great at vetting the offers we received, doing leg work i would have never had done(confirm financing for the buyers and such) Then she spent all weekend showing us houses, 12 in one weekend. Once we found the house she helped with the inspections, reports, and lawyers. With a traveling husband and two toddlers I could have never done the move without her. She was worth her comission and then some in my eyes.

    If you are going to FSBO plan on having a full time job to get the house sold.

    • Beth says:

      Ah, this was SO our experience!! I also had two toddlers, a traveling husband, and was pregnant at the time. It was MORE than worth it to have a realtor. 🙂 It is at the very least a part-time job even WITH a realtor if you do your homework and seek to be informed…without a realtor, well, that makes me exhausted just thinking about it. 🙂

      Also, just something from a buyer’s perspective (as my husband and I are in the process of searching for a home and it is the 3rd time we have done so as his job has relocated us numerous times)….this is not to tell you what you should do- just to give a little insight as to what is in OUR heads 🙂 and what we’ve found in our past experience of selling our past homes.

      I have to say, in response to the “let your buyers know you are not paying their realtor fees” thought that someone mentioned earlier….that is exactly why my husband and I primarily do NOT look at FSBO houses or such and prefer to look at homes that are being shown through a realtor. It makes no difference to us on the buying end as typically people WILL pay closing costs if they have a realtor and it is often assumed that they will (we did when we sold our home and assumed that would be worked in at the get-go and negotiated it and kept that in our heads at the very beginning) so for ease of transition and headache (and making sure everything is legit and taken care of) we absolutely want a realtor and are looking at places that are going through a realtor as some FSBO’s won’t even work with realtors, which is a waste of our time (something we have very little of!). So because of that, we typically don’t even bother with FSBO.

      We just made sure to price appropriately and competitively when we sold. We were not in extreme debt and were in a position to take our time, so that affected our buying potential. Our last home was extremely hard to sell because of various issues and the fact that we had to first list it in the winter because of relocation, and we most definitely needed a realtor from the beginning- because of that and also the fact that we moved out of state in the middle of trying to sell it and weren’t able to attend to a lot of things that the realtor did for us. It was well worth the money as it was a headache the way it was and we had plenty of other stress in our lives without adding to it. There were many times in the process I was extremely thankful for our realtor, as the “I’ll handle it” attitude was a huge blessing. We had a lot of issues with our first serious buyers that the realtor was able to muddle through and give sound advice to us regarding, but we wouldn’t have had the wisdom at the time to deal with, no matter how well-researched we felt we were. We’re so busy right now, I love the fact that our realtor is taking care of everything, and all he has to do is send us the paperwork and we can review it and fax it back. An incredible blessing that is more than worth the fees for us.

      Some people think they can negotiate a cheaper price if they look at FSBO, but in all honesty, our experience has been the opposite- we have seen many, many, overpriced FSBO homes (and initially I looked into a LOT as I was curious), and I didn’t like not being able to evaluate based on MLS or realtor websites the trend from when that home was first listed on the market and how much it’s dropped, when it’s dropped, etc. Also, it was quite inconvenient as when you’re with a realtor, you can drive around and if you see a home you’re interested in, they can immediately make a call and get a code to get you in the house to view while you’re in the area if it’s vacant (we had NUMEROUS people do that with our home while we were selling it, and while inconvenient to show that impromptu, the more people we allowed to see the home, the bigger pool of possibilities- so having a key code on our door via the realtor allowed us to show it MUCH, MUCH more often as it wasn’t always convenient for us to show it). It is most definitely a buyer’s market right now (exactly why we are planning on purchasing now if and when we find the right thing, we are currently renting) and if YOU won’t pay realtor’s fees, there will be someone who probably will, and I would prefer to go with them.

      So I guess I would say, if you are selling without a realtor, I wouldn’t necessarily go into it with the assumption that you will NOT pay the buyer’s realtor’s fees. That is limiting your buying pool. Sure, it may work for some, but you may be the ones that it doesn’t work for. 🙂 Once in a blue moon, we’ll look at a FSBO home if we happen to be in the neighborhood, but there are many things that turn up “red flags” in our opinion and cause us to write them off immediately when corresponding to them and one of those things is what you mentioned, about not paying realtor’s fees. Unless we are 100% certain we are getting an INCREDIBLE price on the home, then why would we want to add another several thousand at very least on top of our already assumed price range? On top of that, a lot of people are just nervous about negotiating without a realtor, for good reason as there is a ton of research that goes into it.

      On another note, we also preferred to primarily look at homes that our realtor sent through a specific website for realtors in our local area- we preferred the pictures as opposed to realtor, trulia, FSBO,etc. as it was consistently given in the same format and it was typically much more thorough. We tend to just study those and add those to our spreadsheet of interest as it can be extremely overwhelming to monitor all of the different websites and (although seemingly one of the most thorough) doesn’t always have as many pictures as our particular realtor’s website. Also, we have been really thankful for the experience of the realtor, as we did not initially know the area very well, even though we have now rented here for quite some time in order to get to know the area, and the realtor was focused on this area for the past 30 years, so she was able to add a lot of insight into school districts, various issues and zoning, builders with good repuations, etc., which is important to us. Typically there are a LOT more pictures via the realtor, more information on the layout of the home, etc., that saves us a lot of time.

      Just my thoughts from someone currently looking to purchase. You need to do what you feel is the right decision, and for you, that may be selling without a realtor! 🙂 I hope it goes well and good luck with whatever you do! =)

      • Andrea Q says:

        Beth, we had a couple of bad experiences with Realtors “prescreening” homes for us (and only sending the ones they preferred through their system). It pays to check Trulia/Zillow/MLS, etc every week or so, just to check if the Realtor might have missed something.

        • Beth says:

          Good thought….ours is sent through certain type of city-wide system where we have set up the “screening” ourselves and have access to change our qualifications at any point via passwords and accessing the site, etc. We log on regularly to the site and confirm our qualifications are what we are still interested in and working correctly. Therefore, WE are the ones screening and can adjust it at any point as we have access to it online and are in charge of it. We initially spent a LOT of time also checking zillow, trulia, mls, etc., but found we were just doubling our efforts and all of the potentials were already on our spreadsheets. As we are the ones determining our qualifications and continually checking it to make sure nothing has been changed, there isn’t really any reason for concern in that area I suppose. We are also getting listings from a variety of realtors (3 separate listings sent to our emails) as we have investigated building, renting from a variety of realtors, etc., throughout this process, so I feel like we’re pretty informed. We’ve been investigating for a LONG time and my husband is, well, shall we say, slightly OCD and analytical, which is really helpful in this process, haha! 🙂 In addition to that, our primary realtor is a close Christian friend of ours who loves our family dearly, so it’s not really a concern for us, but I can see how it would be if you didn’t know your realtor well. All of our realtors we know very well. (I know it sounds weird that we have several but we are only purchasing through one, our friend, but have a lot of connections through the sale of our home in a different area, possible leasing options, and potentially building at some point as some realtors are also project managers for the construction companies we are looking into, so they are aware that we are not purchasing through them, but using them for the interim time and are completely fine with that- we’ve been super upfront). Thanks for the thought, though! 🙂 That is probably wise as a general rule!!! I’m sorry you had a bad experience. 🙁

  • Autumn says:

    I would agree with the House Staging. I’ve researched it and it makes a lot of sense. I’ve seen most people continue to drop their asking price since the home is sitting on the market too long with no takers. In my area alone I’ve seeen a ton of homes drop over $80,000 because they are so desperate and want out from underneath the loan. For as little as $500 (more of course if you desire) you can add some dramatic touches to the house with a professional house stager and sell your home much quicker for the asking price. The buyer needs to be able to vision the home with them living in it and unfortunately most buyers cannot without some simple touches making the home more warm and inviting, and spacious. If you research a little you can find someone in your area that does this and they show with a small investment in your home you can actually add a higher resell value to set off the cost of this staging. Something to think about. Our just research yourself on how to improve it yourself but I think the stagers in our area are definitely worth the small investment as opposed to dropping the selling price. Most realtors out here even hire them to sell their properties quicker.

  • Mrs. Amelia says:

    What other job do you not get paid one thing unless you perform and many times even if you do? Not one penny. My husband is a Realtor/Broker and my two oldest daughters are Realtors, we’re a homeschool family as well. Trust me, I cannot tell you how many times my husband and daughters have worked hours and hours for customers only not to be paid a penny. A Realtor is many times a counselor and minister as well if coming from a Christian perspective which I also think is very important. Please give consideration to your local Realtor, that “fee” is their livelyhood, their expertise and time is invaluable.

  • Amy says:

    In the area we live, it would be foolish to hire a realtor. Homes sell themselves because of the fantastic school district we are in. We have bought and sold 4 homes in the last 3 years (fixed them up and sold) and never used a realtor. We think realtors are a dying breed, honestly. With online listings, flat fee MLS services, etc etc. there’s no need to use one. The sales contract (paperwork) is extremely easy and is public for anyone to print online in each state. When you make it to the title company to close on the sale, they look over the paperwork anyway to be sure nothing was missed- so it’s never a problem. Hiring a realtor in an already desireable area is just not smart. I wouldn’t be able to stomach handing over 3-6% to a person who can do just about as mush as I can.

  • Teri says:

    My husband and I currently have our house on the market. We thought briefly about selling it ourselves, but opted to use a Realtor. The commission is 6%. We are glad that we are using her. She has gone above and beyond to help us. We figured up by the time we payed for adverstisng(with money that we didn’t have), scheduled appointments, for showing the house, hiring our attorney to look at any paperwork that we may have at closing, we would end up paying the same price. Now the worry of all of that is gone, and the Realtor can take care of all of that for us. Head ache, good bye!

  • Kim says:

    I find that people are under a misconception about what Realtors make. They generally do not get 6% of the listing price. In a typical situation, there are two separate agents – so the buyer’s agent gets 3% and the seller’s agent gets 3%. Of that 3%, the Realtor and his or her broker have a split – this can be varying strutures depending upon both the agent and the company he or she is with. For example, it could be a 50/50% split, a 40/60% split, or even as high as a 10/90% split (in this case, usually the Realtor is paying a monthly fee, say $1,000/month, to the real estate company for such a high retention percentage, i.e. to keep 90% of the 3%), then there are also fees – franchise fees, errors and omissions insurance, etc. So, say for example a house is $200,000. 6% is $12,000. Each Realtor earns 3% of that, so $6,000 each. Of that, say that the Realtor and his or her company have a 40/60% so the Realtor gets 60% of $6,000 or $3,600, then there are the other fee deductions mentioned (plus local, state and national dues, MLS dues, key and lockbox dues and fees, signs, flyers, etc). If the house is only $100,000, then using the same factors, a Realtor will get $1800 before fees. I think many people think, “oh, my Realtor is making 6% of $200,000 so $12,000! What does he or she do for $12,000?!?” Well, it’s not the case — that $12,000 before fees is really only $3,600 using the factors above. Sometimes even a Realtor puts in tons and tons of hours and then the seller decides to pull the listing and the Reatlor has made nothing (sometimes there may be a “penalty fee” for pulling the listing but it is usually nominal in relation to what the Realtor would have made selling the house, if the Realtor even charges the penalty fee).

  • Meredith says:

    Haven’t read any of the posts above but we sware by 1% realty. It’s a company that you only pay them 1% comission to sell your house and additional 1 or 3% to the buyers realtor (you decide how much) but has all the services of a full broker (i.e will get you on the MLS listings,etc.) Genius idea in my opinion! Think the website is http://www.onepercentusa or something like that…

  • maya says:

    We have a duplex we rent out so it is a different thing, but we have to advertise it similarly. We have a craigs list ad that links to a simple blog I made. I have mulitple pictures and details on the blog. It offers more than a craigs list can and we can also give the blog address out for potential renters (or buyers in your case) here is the link if you want to see what it loos like…

    Some other places to advertise: any miltary bases, large companies that you know employees (my sister works at one and they have an online classfied page for their company), universities

  • Marie says:

    We just listed our home with a Realtor and in 48 hours we’ve had 6 showings and 2 offers so far (waiting for more in the morning!). We wanted our home sold quick so we could make a move on another one we like, and it looks like a quick sale is imminent. Totally worth the commision to us! I guess listing by owner depends on how much time you have to sell and how much of the details you have time to deal with.

  • Heather says:

    We sold our house using and saved a considerable amount of money. It only took us 3 months (the average is 6 months). I’m not even certain listing our house on that web site is what sold our house. I would suggest using good sturdy signage in front of your house to advertise, have an open house every other week, and make sure to stage your house well. Watching shows on TLC and HG-TV can give you an idea of how to do it if you are uncertain. Best of luck, and don’t give up! You CAN do it and avoid paying the realtor a 3-6% commission.

  • Tammy says:

    I heard that putting fresh flowers in vases, fresh fruit in bowls on tables, having the scent of homemade cookies baking in the oven all when people are viewing/walking through your house (these things help I am told). I hope that helps. God bless.

  • Ilene says:

    There is a distinct advantage in having that “disinterested third party” involved. A potential buyer may not be honest in telling you their objections, while they will talk to the realtor. The realtor is the mediator and can be the voice of reason to get things worked out.

    Safety issues: The realtor will be better able to get enough information on the buyers so no one will be at risk.

    Money: Regardless of your asking price, a buyer will still cut the price because “After all, you’re not paying a realtor’s fee”. You will still need an attorney to protect your rights and be sure your contract is legal.

    A realtor knows the best ways to market a house. Particularly if you’ve only had one showing, you may not be advertising properly (another out-of-your-pocket cost). A realtor has access to advertising that you don’t. If you can’t get the word out properly, you have a much smaller market to draw a buyer.

  • Gwen says:


    I haven’t read all of the other posts but I did want to offer one tip. When we sold our house by owner we spent very little. We decided to try FSBO first and then if it didn’t sell go with a realtor. We were on a street that was not busy but there were 6 houses for sale that had to go by us to get to them. We sold in less than a month.
    The best tip I was given was to save the attorney’s fees and have the Title Company write the contract. After we settled on a price with the buyer, the title company did the rest. This was a fee you have to pay anyway and it was not any extra for them to do the contract as well as the title.

  • Beth Zehner says:

    We have always used For Sale By Owner with a local realty group. Some will offer that option. Our local one is called HouseHunters. Our house was listed with the others, plus all the advertising (for a steal of what it would cost me for all of that). They also will assess and assist you with advise on improvements or things you can do to get a better sale. The one we have where I live, gets 1% of the sale. We have always felt it was the best bang for the buck. We’ve actually talked about selling (but are still unsure) and the Realtor came out to our home anyway to give us pointers of things we should invest in for a return and projects that wouldn’t be worth it. He was a huge help.

  • Linda says:

    It seems to me, that there are two major considerations: 1-What is the market like in your area? 2-How big of a hurry are you in? If the market is good in your area, and you have plenty of time, you may not need a realtor. If your market is poor or, you are in a hurry to sell, an agent is a big help.
    Another factor to think about is if you have previous experience selling a home (with or without an agent), you may be aware of the time and effort you will need to put into selling your home yourselves. If this is the first time you’ve ever sold a home, you will probably be in for a surprise at how much time effort you must spend to sell it yourself.
    We just sold a home in the Seattle area, which is supposed to be doing fairly well compared to the rest of the country. We were in a hurry to sell as we had already purchased our new home, and we sold in two weeks after listing. Even in this area we NEVER could have done that ourselves, even though I’ve sold 3 other homes in the past (all using agents).
    We had our agent go through our house months before listing to get an idea of all the things we needed to do, and those things we could leave alone, to prepare our 25 year old house for sale. Once we had completed those things, she helped us determine a fair market price. She is a certified stager, so she helped us stage the house as well. By this time, we were into our new house, and she handled all the correspondence and coordinating with other realters to get feed-back so we could address issues we may not have thought of before. We also didn’t have to worry about being there to let prospective buyers in. We asked about open-houses, and she said that in her 15 years as an agent, she only sold one house through an open house. She said that agent open houses were a good idea, and as it was, an agent that had previewed the house brought her client in later, and he gave us our offer.

  • Kimberli says:

    I wish you the best of luck with selling your home. Unfortunately I know a lot of people that have not had luck with selling their homes with a Realtor either. The economy is just that bad right now. In fact, my Grandma tried to sell her extra condo and couldn’t so my Uncle moved in and is paying her rent for it while they await the economy to recover. It sounds like this option won’t work for you because you want to take the money directly out of this house and put it directly into another. Renting out is the only thing I’ve been seeing people do, my mom barely sold her house in time. I guess if you just sit tight and wait long enough that luck will eventually turn in your favor. Good luck again.

  • Wendy says:

    As an agent, I can always see both sides of this issue. But let me say, PLEASE please please be careful when selling FSBO. There are a lot of crooked, underhanded, criminal folks out there just looking for an opportunity to get inside your home. You would not believe the kinds of calls we receive every day from unqualified or even pathologically nutty people. There are cases every year of agents being attacked or even murdered by so-called clients.

    On the business end, contracts vary widely from state to state, and there are vast considerations to be understood. There just aren’t “handshake” contracts anymore in this litigious society.

    To sell FSBO, be prepared to be an agent, a decorator or home stager, a landscaper, a title officer, an attorney, a mortgage lender, a sign maker, an internet expert, a photographer, a surveyor, a home inspector, a negotiator, a psychologist and a private investigator!

    No one really “wants” to pay agent commissions, but I’m betting when you are ready to purchase, you’ll want to have the guidance of an agent to help you negotiate and navigate your purchase!

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *