Selling Your Home Without A Realtor: Pros And Cons Of FSBO

Jul 25, 2023 | Real Estate Law

Selling a house is a significant financial decision that requires careful consideration. One major choice homeowners face is whether to sell their property with or without the assistance of a realtor. Opting to sell a house without a realtor, also known as the for sale by owner (FSBO) method, has become increasingly popular in recent years. This approach allows homeowners to take control of the selling process and potentially save on realtor commissions. However, it is essential to understand the pros and cons associated with selling a house without a realtor before making a decision.

Advantages of selling your home without a realtor

One of the primary advantages of selling a house without a realtor is the potential cost savings. Realtor commissions typically range from 5% to 6% of the sale price, which can amount to a significant sum of money. By eliminating the need for a realtor, homeowners can save money and keep more of the sale proceeds for themselves. Additionally, selling a house without a realtor provides homeowners with complete control over the entire selling process. They can set their own listing price, negotiate directly with buyers, and make decisions without relying on a third party. 

As an example, if you were to list your home for $600,000, you would save $36,000 (6%) in realtor commission fees, minus any expenses incurred from marketing and other costs. During a good seller’s market, you should be able to sell your house without a lot of marketing effort or investment, which will mean less money in the agent’s pocket and more money in yours!

Disadvantages of selling your home without a realtor

While there are several advantages to selling a house without a realtor, it is crucial to consider the underlying disadvantages as well. Homeowners may face challenges due to a lack of knowledge and experience in the industry that realtors otherwise bring. Realtors possess valuable insight in pricing, marketing, negotiating, and navigating the intricate legal processes involved in selling a property. Without their guidance, homeowners may find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to these aspects of the selling process.

Another disadvantage of selling a house without a realtor is the chance for a longer selling timeline. Realtors have access to vast networks of buyers and other real estate professionals, which can expedite the sale. When selling without a realtor, homeowners will need to invest more time and effort in marketing their property and connecting with prospective buyers. This increased responsibility can be demanding, especially for individuals with limited availability or expertise in the real estate market.

Additionally, selling a house without a realtor can sometimes lead to emotional challenges. Realtors often act as intermediaries, handling negotiations and communicating difficult messages to buyers. Without a realtor, homeowners may find themselves directly involved in negotiations, which can be emotionally draining and even strain relationships with prospective buyers. It is essential to consider these emotional aspects and be prepared for the potential stress that may arise during the selling process.

Is FSBO a good idea?

The decision to sell a house without a realtor ultimately depends on the homeowner’s unique circumstances and preferences. For some, the FSBO method can be an excellent idea, offering cost savings, control, and a personalized selling experience. However, it is crucial to consider the pitfalls, and challenges associated with selling without a realtor. Homeowners should assess their level of industry knowledge, availability, and comfort with taking on the responsibilities typically handled by a realtor.

Before deciding to sell a house without a realtor, homeowners should thoroughly research the local real estate market, familiarize themselves with the necessary legal requirements, and consider their ability to effectively market and negotiate the sale. It may also be beneficial to consult with other homeowners who have successfully sold their properties without a realtor. By gathering as much information as possible, homeowners can make an informed decision about whether the FSBO method is the right choice for them.

Tips for successfully selling your home without a realtor

Selling a home without a realtor can be a rewarding experience if approached strategically and with careful planning. Here are some tips to help homeowners successfully navigate the FSBO method:

  • Educate yourself: Take the time to research and familiarize yourself with the local real estate market, pricing trends, and legal requirements. 
  • Set the right price: Determine an appropriate listing price for your property by considering factors such as comparable sales in the area, market conditions, and the unique features of your home. Use websites like or to help you determine the price of  current listings in your area, giving you confidence your home is listed at a competitive price.  
  • Invest in marketing: Marketing your property online, through social media, and through professional photography is an effective way to attract buyers. Write compelling descriptions to highlight its key features and attract them. To generate interest and enable buyers to experience the property firsthand, consider hosting open houses or virtual tours.
  • Prepare you home: Make sure your home is in good condition before listing. Make sure your home looks inviting and appealing by cleaning, decluttering, and staging. If necessary, make repairs or improvements to increase its value and attract potential buyers.
  • Be professional: Answer buyers’ questions promptly, schedule showings, and provide accurate and detailed information about your property. Build trust and transparency with your buyers by presenting yourself professionally.
  • Negotiate wisely: Get to know negotiation strategies and techniques so that you can achieve the best result. Be willing to compromise while also advocating for your interests. Consult a real estate professional or lawyer if needed.
  • Understand the legal requirements: Get familiar with the laws in your area before you sell a property. Make sure you have all the necessary documents and disclosures ready, and follow all the rules and regulations. If you want a smooth and legally compliant transaction, you may want to hire a real estate attorney or other professional.

What are the  benefits of using a real estate transaction attorney?

Many individuals try to sell their homes by using standardized real estate forms or working with a real estate agent. Unfortunately, these forms do not always meet the legal requirements of your jurisdiction, and don’t address the many specific issues related to your home or specific circumstances. It’s advisable to weigh the benefits and costs before entering into a legally binding contract with such substantial financial implications. If you are not 100% confident that the contract meets all legal standards, covers all legal aspects, and fully protects your financial interests against any future buyer actions, you should hire a real estate transaction attorney to ensure everything is handled correctly.

A person doing FSBO (For Sale By Owner) may choose to use an attorney for several reasons:

  1. Legal Expertise: Real estate transactions involve complex legal processes and documentation. An attorney can provide valuable expertise and guidance to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the transaction is conducted properly.
  2. Contract Preparation and Review: An attorney can help draft or review the purchase agreement and other legal documents involved in the transaction. They can ensure that the terms and conditions are fair and protect the seller’s interests.
  3. Compliance with Laws and Regulations: Real estate transactions are subject to various laws and regulations that vary by jurisdiction. An attorney can help ensure that the seller complies with all applicable laws, such as disclosure requirements, zoning regulations, and fair housing laws.
  4. Mitigating Risks and Liabilities: Selling a property without professional representation can expose the seller to a variety of risks and liabilities. An attorney can help identify and address possible legal issues, minimizing the risk of future disputes or legal complications.
  5. Negotiation and Dispute Resolution: If any disputes or issues arise during the transaction, an attorney can provide negotiation support and help resolve conflicts in a fair and legal manner.

What does it cost to hire a real estate transaction attorney?

The cost of hiring an attorney to draw up real estate contracts when selling your home on your own can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the transaction, the attorney’s experience and expertise, and the region where you live. It can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, while the commission fees of a real estate agent can range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some attorneys may charge an hourly rate, while others may offer a flat fee for specific services. It’s important to discuss the scope of work and fees with the attorney upfront to have a clear understanding of the costs involved.

Employing the services of an experienced real estate attorney can provide peace of mind and help ensure a smooth and legally compliant transaction. It’s important to call Patel and Cardenas real estate transaction lawyers to discuss your specific situation and determine if their services are right for your FSBO transaction.

Making an informed decision about selling your house without a realtor

Selling a house without a realtor can be an attractive option for homeowners looking to reduce or save on realtor commissions. However, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons associated with the for sale by owner (FSBO) method. By weighing the advantages of cost savings, control, and a personalized selling experience against the underlying challenges of limited industry knowledge, increased responsibilities, and increased emotional stress, homeowners can make an informed decision about whether selling without a realtor is the right choice for them.

The selling process should be approached strategically and with careful planning regardless of what decision you choose. Educating yourself about the local real estate market, setting an appropriate listing price, investing in marketing efforts, preparing the home for sale, and effectively negotiating with potential buyers are key factors in achieving a successful sale. By following these tips and seeking professional advice when necessary, you can navigate the selling process with confidence and achieve the desired outcome.

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