For Sale By Owner – Tips for Selling Your House Without a Realtor

June 17, 2008


A home for sale by owner can save you thousands of dollars in real estate commissions but it also gives you the job of unofficial realtor and requires you to learn many different selling skills if you want your house to sell for what it’s worth.

Our neighbors recently put their home up for sale by owner and have shared with us some of the tips and ideas they’ve learned in the process.  I’ve gathered these tips into a “for sale by owner” series that we’ll be covering over the next several days.

Why For Sale by Owner?
Are real estate agents worth the money you pay them in commission?  I asked this question last fall and it generated a heated discussion between realtors and home buyers, with both sides making good points.  I won’t go into the details here but you can read the comments here and judge for yourself.

One of the main reasons that people decide to sell their house without a realtor is to save on the commissions that real estate agents charge to list and sell a home.  Of course, if you don’t hire a realtor to do the work for you that means you’ll have to take on the task yourself.

Researching Real Estate
One of the benefits of hiring a realtor is that they’re familiar with your local market and how your home compares to the rest of the properties for sale in the area.

Despite what you paid for it, your home is only worth what someone else is willing to pay you to move out.  If the market is down or there are many other similar options available then house hunters may not be willing to spend as much on your home.

So how can you find out where your home fits into the local real estate market? The best place to start is to call up a couple of real estate agents and spend a few minutes with them on the phone.

Ask a Real Estate Agent
Call up a realtor and explain you’re trying to decide between selling your home by owner or hiring an agent and have a few questions.  Let them know that if you hire a realtor that you’ll take them into consideration.

Talk to at least six local real estate agents about your market.  Take notes during each conversation and compare their responses for trends and common topics when you’re finished.

Look at Homes for Sale
Keep an eye on houses for sale around your neighborhood, find out what they’re asking and how long they’ve been on the market.

You can easily keep tabs on prices in your area with websites like and  As you’re comparing real estate prices and features, not only should you keep a spreadsheet of all the information you collect, you should also study the real estate ads, notice which ones catch your eye.

When you go to market your own home it will be good to have an idea of which types of ads grab attention and what seems to matter most to home buyers.

Learn About Selling a Home
Buy or check out a book on how to sell your house yourself, a popular one lately is How to Sell Your Home in 5 Days by Bill Effros.  Real estate agents have tons of experience and knowledge on how to sell a house so you have some catching up to do.  You can also check out the home selling education section on ForSaleByOwner. They cover tips on the whole home selling process, including:

  • Pricing
  • Staging
  • Marketing
  • Disclosures
  • Negotiating
  • Closing
  • Repairs
  • Financing
  • Foreclosures
  • Real estate market

Next in the series we’ll take a look at getting your home ready for sale.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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11 Responses to For Sale By Owner – Tips for Selling Your House Without a Realtor

  • Stephanie

    Does the same apply when selling a lot where someone will have to build a home?

  • J. A. L.

    The whole Real Estate Agency world is filled with corruption, manipulation and control. They, brokers and agents, try to brainwash the buyers because they have been brainwashed. The propaganda floating around out there that says “you can’t sell your own home” is a scam. The whole system is in the process of collapsing and what will rise from the ashes? The reality check issuing forth the true value of land and homes based on honesty and truthfulness where selfishness and greed no longer exist. Sound impossible? What else is there? Why are we here on this planet? To “take” or to “give?”

  • Tommy

    Your post is good, I agree with you that real estate agents are outmode. It is easily to do it with help of the internet. There are many sites on the web that can help you with selling your house. One of this sites is Fizber. There are many helpful services at this website like drive score at It helps to know what good things are near your house if you will go by car.

  • Live TV

    A good tip would be placing an ad in newspapers and internet.


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