How to Sell a House By Owner in Delaware (2023 Update)

Jamie Ayers

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Jamie Ayers

January 25th, 2023
Updated January 25th, 2023

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Why trust us: To create this guide, we surveyed and interviewed Delaware real estate agents, studied Delaware real estate law, and researched more than 20 FBSO companies and alternatives. Learn more about why you can trust our advice.

In Delaware, the average realtor commission rate is 4.71% to 6.17%. If you sell a house worth $361,700 — the median home value in Delaware — that’s over $11,100, which is a huge chunk of your potential profits.

Selling without a real estate agent, known as listing For Sale By Owner (FSBO), is a viable option for experienced home sellers who are willing to put in the time and effort.

However, selling FSBO has risks. Research shows that FSBO homes typically sell for about 6% less than those listed with agents AND you'll still usually be on the hook for offering a competitive buyer's agent commission. FSBO homes also often take longer to sell and are more likely to fall out of contract after accepting an offer.

If saving money on realtor commission is what you’re after, it’s worth looking into real estate agents who’ll work at a lower-than-typical commission. Clever Real Estate matches sellers in Delaware with experienced, local agents who offer traditional service for just 1.5%. You can save money and the headache of doing it all on your own.

In addition to looking into FSBO, reach out to Clever to connect with multiple agents in your area. You can interview agents and get a free home valuation so you’ll know you’ve explored all of your options.

Connect with top, local agents in Delaware!

What FSBO sellers in Delaware need to know

🔑 Key benefits of selling FSBO

  • Direct control over the sales process, including the pricing strategy, showing schedule, and negotiation process.
  • No listing commission, which could save you 2.72%, based on the Delaware average.
  • FSBO sellers who find a buyer without an agent, save an additional 2.72%, the average buyer's agent commission rate in Delaware.

Real estate laws, processes, and trends vary greatly across the country. Understanding the details of your market and getting accurate information can make a FSBO sale complicated.

We'll go into more details about what you need to do in Delaware, but here's an overview of the state's laws and regulations.

Delaware FSBO overview

Real estate attorney required?
Yes
Required state disclosures? (learn more)
  • Seller's Disclosure of Real Property Condition Report
  • Flood Zone Statement
  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
FSBO yard sign allowed?
Yes
Competitive Buyer's Agent Commission (learn more)
2.36% to 3.09%

Additionally, you'll need to know and understand all of your responsibilities as a FSBO seller, which include:

  • Preparing your home by making necessary repairs, cleaning, and staging your home.
  • Accurately and competitively pricing your home.
  • Marketing your home by writing a listing description, taking high-quality photos, posting the listing on different sites (free and/or paid), and promoting your home on social media, in print ads, and via word of mouth.
  • Vetting buyers to ensure they're qualified, from a financial perspective. Accepting an offer from an unqualified buyer will cause your sale to fall through.
  • Negotiating the final price, contingencies, repair concessions, and other aspects of the purchase and sale agreement.
  • Properly filling out all necessary paperwork for a real estate transaction in Delaware.

Note: Delaware is one of several states that require sellers to hire a real estate attorney. While they will assist you with the paperwork and legal aspects of the transaction, they will not help you find a buyer or negotiate a great deal.

Clever gives you the savings of FSBO without the added stress!

If you're thinking about listing your home for sale by owner, you probably don't want to pay high real estate fees. We get it. That's why we started Clever.

Clever connects you with a top agent that will provide a full-service listing for a 1.5% fee — half the typical rate!

Listing with Clever gets you the benefits of a top agent and maximizes your sales price while saving you thousands in commission.

It's free to meet with an agent, and if you decide FSBO's a better fit, you can still use the professional price analysis the agent provides.

How to price your home

Pricing strategy is often make-or-break for FSBO sellers. List your home for too little and you leave money on the table. Price it too high and the listing goes stale, forcing a price drop that could make buyers wary of the home.

To get an accurate idea of the fair market value of your home, look at comparable listings in your area.

For example, if you live in Dover and think your house is worth about $330,000, search Zillow for active listings that are about $50,000 more and less than that. Analyze details about the houses and how they compare to yours. Ask yourself:

  • Is the school district better or worse?
  • Does it have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Has the house been renovated more recently than yours?
  • How do the neighborhoods and nearby amenities compare?

Answering these questions honestly will help you see if your price is in the right ballpark.

From there, be realistic about what pricing strategy will lead to higher offers. Here are some key pricing metrics that will help you decide the best listing price for your home and market:

State of the Delaware real estate market

Median Home Value*

$361,656

Median Listing Price⁺

$465,000

Listing Price per sqft⁺

$215

% of Homes with Price Reduction⁺

18.0%

Pricing Advice: Homeowners are over estimating how much their houses will sell for. Even if buyer demand is high in your area, by setting your initial price a little lower, you'll attract more buyers and hopefully receive multiple offers.
*Based on data from Zillow (August 2022)
⁺Based on data from Realtor.com (August 2022)

How to list your Delaware home for sale by owner

Once you've decided on a price, it's time to write a listing description that speaks to local buyers. Understanding their priorities will help you identify what features of your property to highlight in your listing and attract more interest.

Top buyer priorities in Delaware

Delaware Buyer Priorities
Advice for FSBO Sellers
1. Listing Price
Be honest about your list price. Look at recent sales data in your area on Zillow or other real estate sites to find an accurate price point for homes of comparable size and condition to yours. Many real estate companies will also conduct an analysis for little to no charge.
2. Recent Renovations
Be specific about large updates you’ve made in the last 5 years, such as rewiring electric, putting in a new roof, or installing a new furnace. List exactly when the renovation was done, roughly how much it cost, and what its current condition is today. This will give buyers peace of mind that they won't have to worry about big issues any time soon
3. Architectural Style of Home
In your listing description, talk about any unique architectural features that could set your home apart. If your home was built by a known architect, has original flooring or doors, or has any historical value, be sure to mention it. Also, point out what takes your house to the next level. For example, older homes can be beautiful, but energy inefficient. Highlight upgrades you made like new windows that will save buyers hundreds in heating costs.
Based on a 2022 Clever survey

When it comes to advertising and posting your listing, you have several options as a FSBO seller. Each choice has its own pros and cons as well as costs:

  • For Sale By Owner yard sign: You can buy a FSBO sign from most hardware stores or online for $20-$50. Be sure to choose one that allows you to add your phone numbers so interested buyers can contact you for property information and showings.
  • Craigslist: Posting your home on Craigslist is free and simple. Just go to the Delaware page, find your city, and create a "real estate — by owner" listing.
  • FSBO websites: There are multiple FSBO listing websites that allow you to post your home for free or a few hundred dollars. But each differs in how many photos you can include, how long the listing is live, and the changes you can make — do your research before choosing a for sale by owner site.
  • Flat-Fee MLS companies: Flat-fee MLS services will list your house on your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for significantly less than a realtor. However, they provide few additional services unless you opt for their most expensive packages, which often cost more than using a discount brokerage.

How buyers find homes

If you choose to use a flat-fee MLS company, you'll have to offer a buyer's agent commission. The MLS is how real estate agents find homes for their clients, and typically a buyer's agent commission is included to incentivize these realtors to show the house to their clients.

List with a top agent for just 1.5%.

Sell your home for top dollar and save on commission.

How realtor commissions work in Delaware

Traditionally, both the buyer's agent and the listing agent are paid a commission by the homeowner. When sellers work with a realtor, they negotiate a commission as part of the listing agreement.

Based on the average commission rates in Delaware, this typically ranges from 2.35% to 3.08% of the sale price.

In a typical sale, the seller also agrees to a commission rate for the realtor who brings the buyer to the table, which runs between 2.36% to 3.09%.


Average Range in Delaware*
Average Amount⁺
Listing Commission
2.35% to 3.08%
$8,499 to $11,139
Buyer Agent's Commission
2.36% to 3.09%
$8,535 to $11,175
*Based on the average commission rates from a 2022 Clever survey of 630 real estate agents
⁺Based on the median home value in Delaware (Zillow.com, August 2022)

As a FSBO seller, you automatically avoid paying a listing commission. However, there is a solid argument for offering a buyer's agent commission.

A buyer’s agent's commission is an incentive for realtors to show your house to their clients. If you don't offer a commission that is competitive compared to similar homes in your area, then your home could be shown less. Agents may prioritize taking buyers to homes with a commission.

The best way to avoid paying any commission fees is to sell to an unrepresented buyer. However, know that nearly 87% of buyers work with a realtor. If you decide not to offer a buyer's agent commission, you may severely restrict your pool of buyers.

Further, if you list FSBO, you'll likely receive multiple calls from agents offering to connect you with their buyers...if you pay them a competitive buyer's agent commission (typically 2.72% in Delaware).

» LEARN: How real estate commissions work

How commission costs break down in Delaware

When you sell your home, there are four common scenarios when it comes to commissions:

  • List FSBO and sell to a buyer without an agent: Pay no commission
  • List FSBO and sell to a represented buyer: Cover the buyer's agent commission
  • List with a traditional agent and sell to a represented buyer: Cover both agents' commissions
  • List with a discount agent and sell to a represented buyer: Cover the buyer's agent commission, but save on the listing commission.

The table below shows how this could break down in Delaware:


Represented Buyer
Unrepresented Buyer
Listing Agent
Clever Agent
Sale Price*
$339,957
$339,957
$361,656
$361,656
Listing Commission⁺
$0
$0
$9,837
$3,617
Buyer Commission⁺
$9,247
$0
$9,837
$9,837
Total Profit
$330,710
$339,957
$341,982
$348,202
*Based on the median home vallue in Delaware (Zillow.com, August 2022) and that FSBO homes sell for 6% less (Collateral Analytics, 2017)
+Based on the average commission rates from a 2022 Clever survey of 630 real estate agents


Paperwork to sell a house by owner in Delaware

Once you find a buyer for your house, it's time to start the closing process. In a typical real estate transaction, your agent will make sure you fill out all the necessary documents and forms. As a FSBO seller, you'll have to navigate the paperwork by yourself.

This process varies by state — here’s a quick breakdown of Delaware’s requirements.

Required for all Delaware real estate sales

2 Forms of ID
In most cases, a valid passport, driver's license, or other form of Delaware-issued ID.
Copy of Purchase and Sale Agreement and Any Addendums
Copy of the original, signed sales agreement as well as any agreed upon changes.
Closing Statement
A detailed list of all the costs associated with the sale and who pays them. This is often prepared by your escrow agent or title company.
Signed Deed
To legally transfer your property, you'll need the deed that proves you're the rightful owner. At closing, you'll sign the deed over to the buyer.
Bill of Sale
This is basically a receipt that includes both your information and the buyer's. It will also list the final price of the home and what was included in the sale.
Affidavit of Title
A notarized document that states you own the home, that there are no liens on the property, that you are not simultaneously selling the home to someone else, etc.

Possible additional documents

Loan Payoff Information
If you have a mortgage on your home, you'll need documentation of exactly how much you still owe and any payoff fees. If you've already paid your mortgage in full, you'll need documentation proving that.
HOA Forms and Guidelines
If your home is part of an HOA, you'll need to give the buyer documentation on the HOA's Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions, financial history, required fees, approval process, etc.
Survey Results or Survey Affidavits
A survey (or an affidavit verifying a previous survey) proves exactly where the property lines are.
Home Inspection Results
If you had a pre-sale inspection, you'll want the results to compare to the buyer's inspection. If having a buyer inspection was part of the sales agreement, you should receive a copy of the results before closing.
Proof of Repairs or Renovations
Documentation proving any major repairs or changes to the house help verify its value. These receipts also provide the buyer with information about who to contact if they discover issues with the repairs in the future.
Home Warranty Information
The home warranty service agreement will explain what is covered, for how long, and any costs associated with the policy.
Copies of Relevant Wills, Trusts, or Power of Attorney Letters
If you are selling an inherited property, you'll need copies of all legal documents that passed ownership to you.
Relevant Affidavits (Name Affidavits, Non-Foreign Affidavit Under IRC 1445, etc.)
You may need additional affidavits like a name affidavit (which lists all of your or the buyer's previous names) or an affidavit proving you are not a foreign citizen and therefore exempt from certain property sales taxes.
Closing Disclosure
If your buyer is taking out a mortgage and you agreed to certain seller's concessions, you may need a copy of their closing disclosure to verify the lender approved your concessions.
Correction Statement and Agreement
In the event forms are lost or errors are discovered in the future, a correction statement and agreement requires you, the buyer, or their lender, to replace or fix those documents if need be.

Delaware disclosure forms

The seller disclosure statement details any known issues with your home and its major appliances and systems.
With some mortgages (like federally backed ones), your buyer's lender might require information of the property's flood risk.
Federal law requires that if your home was built before 1978, you disclose information about the dangers of lead-based paint to your buyer.

Many closing documents are legally binding agreements. Any errors can derail your sale and cost you thousands in fees or in costs to re-list your house.

To avoid an expensive mistake, consider working with a low commission realtor instead.

💰 Incredible savings, none of the DIY

Selling your home is time-consuming, and fraught with potential legal issues.

There's a better option. Clever pre-negotiates lower listing fees with top agents in your area. You still save on commission, while getting the support of a full-service agent.

  • Clever partner agents offer full-service support for half the typical cost: a pre-negotiated 1.5% listing fee
  • Clever sellers save an average of $7,000 on commission AND they get offers 2.8x faster than the national average

Ready to find real estate agents who can help you save thousands on your sale? Enter your zip code below to get started!

FSBO alternatives to consider

If saving money is your main reason for selling your home by owner, there are alternatives.

Clever Real Estate

Clever is a nationwide real estate service that connects sellers with top, local agents. You pay Clever nothing and only pay your full-service agent 1.5% if and when your home sells.

Clever Real Estate

Clever Real Estate

Get Started

💲 Listing Fee

1.5% ($3,000 min.)

💰 Buyer Savings

Cash back after closing

⭐ Avg. Customer Rating

4.9/5 (1,995 reviews)

✍️ Editor's Take
Pros
Cons
Reviews
Locations

Clever is a quick, easy, and free way to find a top-rated local agent. And, unlike many similar companies, Clever pre-negotiates big discounts on your behalf, so you can save thousands without sacrificing on service.


Try Clever for free — save thousands on commission

  • Free, nationwide agent-matching service that partners with full-service local agents from conventional brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX
  • Provides multiple agent matches so you can interview, compare marketing plans, and choose the best fit
  • Pre-negotiates low rates on your behalf — you get full service for just a 1.5% listing fee ($3,000 minimum)
  • If you buy with Clever, you can get cash back to help pay for your move
  • You may not get matched with an agent from your preferred real estate brokerage.
  • Agents may not provide premium services like drone photography and professional home staging.

As of 10/21/2022, Clever has a 4.9 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, based on 1,844 reviews.


Read reviews from real Clever customers here.

Clever has pre-negotiated low commission rates with top agents in all 50 states and Washington, DC.

SHOW MORE

Discount real estate services in Delaware

While pricing and services vary, discount real estate companies will help you sell your house for less than a traditional realtor. In most cases, you'll still need to offer a competitive buyer's agent commission, but you'll save on listing fees.

💲 Listing Fee

1.5% (min. fees vary)

💰 Avg. Savings

$5,550

⭐ Avg. Customer Rating

3.7/5 (301 reviews)

✍️ Editor's Take
Pros
Cons
Reviews
Locations

Redfin offers real savings and is a proven brand. But sellers could compromise on service — especially agent experience and availability.


Read the full Redfin review.

  • If you buy and sell with Redfin, you'll get a 0.5% listing fee discount.
  • Redfin gives its listings premium placement in its popular home search app.
  • If finding the right agent is a top priority, you'll have limited options Redfin only has a few agents in each of its markets.
  • Redfin agents handle more customers at once than the average realtor, so they may not be able to provide as much personalized service.

Redfin has a 3.7 out of 5 rating (301 reviews) across popular review sites like Google and Yelp.


Read reviews from real Redfin customers here.

Redfin is available in 80+ U.S. markets (see all locations).

SHOW MORE

» LEARN: About discount real estate services

Flat-fee MLS services in Delaware

As mentioned before, a flat-fee MLS service will post your listing on the local MLS, usually for a low, upfront fee. In Delaware, this will typically cost you a couple hundred dollars.

Here are some Delaware flat-fee MLS companies to compare:

Houzeo

Houzeo

Houzeo

Best For

Sellers looking for a lot of a-la-carte options

Price Range

$199-999+

Overview
Pros & Cons
Contact

Houzeo is a nationwide service that offers four plans, all with MLS access. While Houzeo’s cheaper plans look affordable, they come with a lot less than what other flat-fee MLS companies offer.


And watch out for surprise fees. Simple things that are free with other companies — like changing your listing — will incur charges that can quickly add up on Houzeo. Those charges tend to make Houzeo poor value for money.

Pros:

  • You can fill out, sign, and submit all your seller's paperwork on the Houzeo app.
  • When you enter your address, Houzeo auto-fills publicly available data about your property.
  • Houzeo lets you buy additional services like contract reviews, agent showings, and professional showings a la carte.
  • Your Houzeo listing gets syndicated to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Redfin.

Cons:

  • You have to pay extra for pricing assistance — several local competitors offer this for free.
  • You're limited to 10 free changes for price, status, and description in their two most popular packages. Most competitors offer unlimited free changes.

(844) 448-0110

houzeo.com

SHOW MORE
Flat Fee Group

Flat Fee Group

Read Our Full Review

Best For

Sellers who want to work with a local broker with a national reputation

Price Range

$499

Overview
Pros & Cons
Contact

Flat Fee Group is a nationwide network of brokers offering flat-fee MLS listings. Each state is covered by a different broker, which means that your experience will vary depending on where you live.


Prices and services change a lot from state to state. Flat Fee Group can be a good deal in some states, but a bad deal in others. Before using them, you should compare other flat-fee MLS companies near you.

Pros:

  • You can set up a free FSBO web page along with your MLS listing
  • In most states it's easy to switch to a full-service agent if you decide FSBO isn't for you

Cons:

  • Your package options and quality of service will vary based on the listing broker in your state
  • As of January 6, 2021, Flat Fee Group does not have brokers in Montana, West Virginia, and Wyoming
SHOW MORE

Best For

Sellers who also want to list on a large FSBO marketplace

Price Range

$400

Overview
Pros & Cons
Contact

FSBO.com is a well-known FSBO website and one of the few that will also get you listed on Redfin.


But watch out: only its most expensive plan will actually get you an MLS listing. Chances are you can find a cheaper option with MLS access elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Your home will appear in your local MLS and on FSBO.com. A lot of people shop directly for FSBO properties on their site.

Cons:

  • FSBO.com refers you to a broker in your area instead of listing your property itself. Your experience could vary greatly dependin on the broker you're matched with.
  • You have to pay for seller disclosures, for sale signs, and lock boxes separately.

1 (800) 690-5802

fsbo.com

SHOW MORE

» LEARN: About flat-fee MLS services in Delaware

Tips to sell FSBO

1. Make minor repairs

Small upgrades and repairs can do a lot to sway potential buyers. The key is knowing how and where to spend your money to get higher offers. Simple DIY projects like a fresh coat of paint or new cabinet pulls have a high return on investment, whereas pricier improvements like adding a new bedroom may not.

Overall, the most important factor is knowing where the line is between necessary and over-the-top. You want your house to meet buyers' expectations.

"If your kitchen is a disaster, spending more money on a remodel to get it in solid condition will pay off in the end," said Mizes. "But spending money on high-end features to take it from good to extravagant will be a waste."

Also, consider how valuable specific repairs are to buyers in your area. Focus on upgrades that have a higher cost recuperation in your region.

Home repairs with highest resale value in Delaware

Top Upgrades
Avg. Repair Cost
Avg. Resale Value
Cost Recouped
Manufactured Stone Veneer
$10,648
$9,845
92.5%
Garage Door Replacement
$3,962
$3,649
92.1%
Minor Kitchen Remodel | Midrange
$26,921
$18,481
68.6%
Based on regional data from Remodeling

Note: A resale value of more than 100% indicates a profitable repair.

2. Price your Delaware home competitively

It's important for homeowners to look at recent trends in order to price their home competitively. If home prices have gone up recently, you don't want to miss out on that bump in what you could be making.

Pricing competitively in the Delaware market means not pricing too low either. When you price a home too low, you put doubt in the minds of potential buyers, making them skeptical of the quality of the home you have on the market.

>> LEARN: How to sell a house fast in Delaware

Bonus tip: A pre-sale appraisal house gives you a more accurate starting point for pricing your home.

Based on our research, in Delaware, appraisals average $320 to $385, but help you walk away with thousands more once your home is sold.

3. Stage and market your home

The quality of your listing is going to go a long way in determining the kind of attention that your home gets when you sell it. If you take a bunch of poorly lit photos with your phone and write some unenthusiastic description of your home, you won't attract many viewers.

By staging your home, you get to furnish it in a way that gives potential buyers a view into what it could look like filled with their things. Staging can cost a few hundred dollars per room every month, meaning that homes sitting around collecting dust on the market can be a drain on your budget.

When selling in Delaware, make sure you talk about views if you have them and how well insulated the home is from cold weather. Show off how bright and airy it is in photos to ensure you build excitement before potential buyers even see it.

>> LEARN: How much does it cost to stage a home?

Bonus tip: Hiring a professional stager can help alleviate some of the stress FSBO sellers go through. They know your local market and ensure your home is ready to impress, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Shop around to find out which local stagers offer reasonable rates and have a proven record of getting homes ready for sale.

4. Prepare for showings

Organization is key when showing your home to potential buyers. You'll need a good system for scheduling showings and saving buyers' and agents’ contact information. You'll want to be flexible and try to show your house at buyers’ convenience.

Keep the home clean and decluttered at all times. The last thing you want is to scramble around with a vacuum after a buyer calls for a last-minute showing.

Also, focus on creating a homey atmosphere for buyers. You want to make a great first impression on as many buyers as possible, so add little touches that speak to most people.

"Bake cookies or light scented candles before a showing," advises Mizes. "Smell plays a huge part in how buyers will perceive and remember your house. Use comforting scents to your advantage so they feel at home the moment they walk through the door."

5. Negotiate for the best possible price

Negotiations are about deciding more than the final sale price. You and the buyer (or their agent) will also have to agree upon contract contingencies, how closing costs are divided, the timeline, and more.

To gain the upper hand, get creative with the seller concessions you offer a buyer. While they might cost you a little more at closing, concessions sweeten the deal for buyers and could lead to a higher final sale price.

The most popular concessions vary from market to market. Knowing what works with buyers in your area will help you strengthen your offer.

For example, a Clever survey of local real estate professionals found that in Delaware, sellers often cover 5.10% to 6.00% of buyers' closing costs. On a home of median value, that equates to $18,444 to $21,699, but can help you close the deal sooner and for more money.

You should also consider offering these popular seller concessions:

Most common seller concessions in Delaware

Concession
Benefits of Offering Concession
Home Warranty
If your home has major appliances or systems that are on their last leg, a home warranty can give buyers peace of mind. A warranty will cover possible issues and is typically less expensive than paying for the repairs (or accepting a lower offer from a wary buyer).
Repair Credits
Repair credits are win-wins for buyers and sellers. You'll credit the buyer a set amount to cover the cost of repairs. Once the deal closes, the buyer can personally oversee the project to their liking and you don't have to worry about repairs going over budget.
Attorney Fees
Some buyers want an attorney to help them review the contracts — especially if they don't have a realtor. By offering to pay for the attorney’s fee, you can sweeten the deal for your buyer because a professional will be looking out for their interests.

If you'd like some professional guidance with no strings attached, Clever can help. Fill out your basic info below to connect with a top, local realtor for a no-obligation consultation.

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Additional resources for Delaware home sellers

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