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Your home is your biggest asset. When looking to sell it’s common to ask the question, “can I do this on my own?” The commission savings make the prospect seem like a no-brainer.

Traditionally, home sellers are responsible for both the listing agent (seller’s agent) and buyer’s agent commission. With the national average commission rate hovering around 3% per agent, it’s no surprise home sellers are looking to avoid paying 6% of their investment.

Let’s look at what it takes to sell a home without a realtor.

What does a realtor or real estate agent do?

Let’s start with all the things you hire a realtor to take care of when listing and selling your house.

A realtor is responsible for the following:

  1. Listing your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)
  2. Marketing your home: Web presence, Yard Signs, Fliers, Etc.
  3. Showings and Open Houses
  4. Negotiations between potential homebuyers
  5. Contracts & Paperwork

The Process of Selling Your Home Without a Realtor

Prepare the Home for Sale

The first thing you want to do is get your home ready for the sale. This means more than doing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom.

This is the time to patch holes and complete any repairs that are needed to list your home for sale. You also really want every inch of your home spotless or as close as you can get to spotless.

Declutter garages, closets, cupboards, and shelves. Get rid of or store most of your stuff. Deep clean like your life depends on it, and make sure the exterior of the house is in pristine shape as well. Trim the bushes, mow the lawn, and sweep the front porch.

Once you’ve got the house clean, it’s time to take photos. If you know you are going to sell your home in the winter, it is a good idea to take the photos while the weather is nice. It is recommended that you get a professional photographer to take the pictures of the house. They’ll know how to capture the best angles and lighting in the house.

Best Equipment For High-Quality Staging Photos

Price Your Home to Sell

Once you’ve got your home ready to sell, you need to price it. Complete a Comparative Market Analysis by researching homes in your area. It’s also a good idea to get your home appraised by an appraisal company. Having an appraised value in hand will help immensely when it comes to the negotiation process.

Understanding A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

How Do I Determine the Fair Market Value of My Home?

Listing Your Home

The next step is listing your home on the MLS or Multiple Listing Service. Because the MLS is limited to licensed realtors and real estate agents, you will need to use a flat fee MLS listing service to list your home on the market.

Better Alternatives To A Flat Fee MLS Listing Service

The Pros and Cons of a Multiple Listing Service in Real Estate

Marketing Your Home

Next, you will need to market your home. Stick a sign up in your yard, but it’s not likely to sell if you just do that. Use the professional photos you have and write a solid description of the house. You really want to accent the parts of the home that people will be interested in buying. Market on sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Craigslist.

7 Tips To Successfully Sell Your Own Home

Showing Your Home

Next, you will need to show your home. Make sure to turn all the lights on in the house and clean out every corner before each potential buyer walks through. Now’s the time to show off your knowledge of the house! Explain the updates you have done (such as the kitchen or adding a pool), what features of your home have been your favorite and a bit about the area the home is in. Potential buyers will love hearing your positive experience living in the home.

Lots of Showings but No Offers? Here’s What You Need to Do to Sell Your Home


If all your hard work has paid off, then you will start receiving offers from potential buyers, which means negotiation. Because you are listing as FSBO it’s common to receive offers below asking, because the other party knows you won’t be paying a listing commission. If you’ve priced your home to sell, be patient, and keep an open dialogue between you and the buyer’s agent.

Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette for Buyers and Sellers

How To Negotiate Multiple Real Estate Offers

Paperwork for Closing

Once you have accepted an offer on the house, it’s time for the paperwork. The buyer’s agent should largely help with the paperwork. There will be inspections done by the buyer and addendums to complete if the home comes back in need of some repairs.

Once both parties are satisfied, you will need to choose your title company. Your title company will check to make sure there are no liens on the property and the title is free and clear to transfer ownership. The buyer’s loan company will then send out an appraiser to make sure the house is worth the agreed price. As the seller representing yourself, you are able to attend that meeting and make sure the appraiser knows the updates and work you put into the house.

The Real Estate Closing Process for Sellers

What is a Real Estate Purchase Agreement? (In-Depth Guide)

Realtor Fees

Even though you didn’t work with a realtor, chances are good that the buyer did. While the commission for the buyer’s agent is usually anywhere from 2%-3%, you may be able to negotiate a bit on the price.

After that, you pay closing costs and both parties sign the papers and the home is sold!

Do Sellers Pay Buyer’s Agent Commission?

Final Words

The difficulty of selling your home is greater if you do it yourself, however, if you are willing to put in the time and sweat equity you will save thousands.

At Clever, we know that selling a home on your own is difficult -- but it doesn’t have to be. We believe that you can have a great real estate agent for a fraction of the price, making selling your home even easier. Call us today at  1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.



Luke Babich

Luke Babich is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top agents to save money on commission. He's an active real estate investor and licensed agent in St. Louis, with 22 units currently. Luke graduated from Stanford University and subsequently ran a historic data-driven campaign for University City City Council. Luke's writing has been featured in Homeland Security Today, Mashvisor, Payments Journal, and Bigger Pockets.

See all Luke's Posts

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