For Sale by Owner: Tips for Selling Your Home Without an Agent

If you’re considering listing your home without the help of a professional, these are the steps you’ll want to take.

For those looking to sell their homes, the first step of the process typically involves enlisting the help of a real estate agent. However, there are some people who decide to opt out of working with a professional in the industry to instead sell their houses themselves. If you’re one of those homeowners who’s choosing to forgo working with a realtor, there are a few tips to keep in mind. The first of those tips is to ensure that you’re making the right choice to put your house on the market by yourself.

Alex Staff, a showing specialist with MKT Properties said, “Selling your home without a real estate agent will cause you to miss out on our expertise and guidance. As real estate professionals, we seek to provide value in any way that we can. Listing your home without an agent will most likely result in tricky negotiations, minimal showing requests due to lack of exposure, and potentially longer market time. Selling your home will be one of the biggest transactions of your life. You can choose to go at it alone, or have an agent guide you through the entire process to sell your home and negotiate a better deal.”

If you’re confident that you can handle the work that comes with a for sale by owner situation, then the next step is to ensure that you know what potential buyers are looking for. Real estate is a fast-paced industry, and if you want to close a deal, then you need to stay on top of your communications.

Keep in mind that potential buyers are likely to move on if you tend to be busy or don't respond quickly enough. Alternatively, you may find yourself making an appointment and rushing home, only to find that no one shows up,” said Nadine Shehaiber, a real estate broker and designer with @properties.

In addition to keeping up with timely responses and ongoing communication efforts, it’s essential for those listing their homes to understand all that comes with the territory of acting as a real estate agent. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that makes this process work beyond showings, so it’s important for sellers to be prepared on all fronts.

Sheheiber said, “Be prepared to do a lot of jobs! You’ll do the comparable pricing analysis and determine selling value, prep your home, stage it appropriately, pre-market it before it goes on market, market it across various mediums like print, online and advertisements, hold open houses, solicit all the calls from interested parties, arrange and do all the showings, screen potential buyers, negotiate the deal with either the buyer themselves or their agent, write the contract, attend the inspections, attend the appraisal, manage the transaction and on and on and on. There is a lot that a realtor brings to the table, not only from an expertise perspective but from the perspective of quarterbacking the entire transaction.”

For those quarterbacking the entire transaction, another thing to keep in mind is that exposure is key when it comes to getting your listing out there. Your home can only sell if people know that it’s on the market in the first place, which means that sellers need to be prepared to reach out directly to potentially interested parties to ensure that they’re considering your space.

According to Staff, that’s where sellers will struggle the most without the help of a real estate agent.

She said, “It is a no-brainer to sell your home with an agent for many reasons, including rapid response time, a personalized marketing plan and increased exposure. My team works directly with sellers; we pride ourselves on our quickness in all aspects of the transaction. We also, market your home to potential buyers on over 400 websites and price your home with web searches in mind.”

Another difficult aspect of the selling process is the emotional connection that sellers bring to the table. While you’re selling a home that means a lot to you, sellers need to remove themselves from the personal side of the interaction to maintain the professional, business-minded nature of the deal intact.

Shehaiber said, “Selling a home is a major financial—and emotional—undertaking. If you plan to sell and negotiate your own deal, make sure you disconnect completely from it and remember it’s a transaction. Comments about finishes, value and other things along those lines can be ‘hurtful’ if you are emotionally attached to your home. So, ask yourself if you can bear the criticism of your home and home value before selling.”