Why trust us: To create this guide, we surveyed and interviewed New Jersey real estate agents, studied New Jersey real estate law, and researched more than 20 FBSO companies and alternatives. Learn more about why you can trust our advice.
Deciding to sell your home without an agent in New Jersey means you won't have to pay the average New Jersey listing commissionof 2.63%. This works out to $11,876 on a typical New Jersey home.
However, selling your home on your own, also known as selling for sale by owner (FSBO), can be an overwhelming task. You'll be responsible for listing and marketing your home, scheduling showings, negotiating offers, and navigating all of the paperwork for closing. All of the extra work is why only 10% of home sales are by owner.
Additionally, there's a risk that you might end up selling your home for up to 35% less than you would with a real estate agent. Selling your home independently is only a viable option if you have the experience and confidence to take on the role of a real estate agent.
Our guide will help you determine whether selling your home without a realtor in New Jersey is the right decision for you.
Who should sell a house by owner?
Selling a home without the help of a real estate agent isn't the best idea for everyone. Before you make this major decision, review the pros and cons of FSBO.
Choosing to sell without a realtor could be right for you if:
You've sold a home before, with an agent or on your own. If so, you already have a good understanding of the selling process.
You have a friend or family member who is a real estate expert. Having someone to lean on for (free) advice is very valuable in case you have questions.
You have the time and energy to sell on your own. Taking on the tasks typically handled by a realtor is a lot of work. If you have a demanding job or a busy family, it may be challenging to find the time to market and close on the home.
You already know who you're selling to. If you already found a buyer, your job is mostly done. However, you'll still need to handle the closing process and complete all of the necessary paperwork.
You want more control over the sale of your home. Selling FSBO gives you the chance to make all of the decisions about pricing, marketing, and negotiating.
If more than a couple of the criteria above don't apply, consider hiring an agent instead.
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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey!
How to sell a house by owner in New Jersey
Here are 6 steps to sell a house by owner in New Jersey:
As a FSBO seller, you need to know and understand all your responsibilities, which include preparing your home for sale, pricing your home accurately, finding buyers, negotiating, and filing the necessary paperwork required by state law.
Real estate laws vary across the country. For example, some states don't allow sellers to put a for sale by owner sign in their yard if they list on the multiple listing service (MLS) using a flat fee MLS company.
Here's an overview of what laws you need to know in New Jersey:
New Jersey FSBO facts
Real estate attorney required?
FSBO yard sign allowed?
Required state disclosures?
Although selling your home without a realtor may seem like a great way to save on realtor fees, it’s trickier than many people expect. If it becomes overwhelming, you can hire an agent at any time.
Working with a low-commission real estate company may be a better option for those who don’t have time to handle the selling process as a FSBO. You'll avoid the hassle of a FSBO sale and walk away with the most money possible. Clever saves sellers thousands, and they get offers 2.8x faster than the national average.
Step 1: Prepare your home for sale
To prepare your home for sale, consider doing a "tank sweep" to check for any buried tanks. Millions of New Jersey homes have heating oil tanks buried underground. Many of these tanks are old and corroded, posing the risk of hazardous leaks.
You'll need a licensed contractor, usually oil tank removal companies, to perform a tank sweep. They usually charge a fee of around $250. Buyers are responsible for due diligence on the property, including checking for underground tanks.
If the buyer does find an underground tank, they may demand that you have it removed and perform any related clean-up, which could delay the transaction by months. For this reason, it might be a good idea to conduct the tank sweep yourself before listing the home.
Radon testing is also a common issue in New Jersey, even for homes that don't have basements, according to Gina Cristiano, a realtor with Shore Realty Exchange.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recommends that all homeowners hire a professional to test their houses for radon and perform mitigation if tests show levels of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or more.
🙋🏾 Ask a realtor: Cristiano notes that rain can cause foundation problems in New Jersey homes. "Sometimes in the basement, walls might collapse a little bit, or there's a foundation crack in between the cinder blocks," she says. "That's very noticeable and should be repaired."
» LEARN: Best Paint Colors to Sell a House
Stage and photograph your home
You'll need professional photos for your listing — photos taken with your iPhone are much less likely to impress — and you'll want to showcase a clean and furnished home for potential buyers to see.
A well-staged home can help you sell faster and for more money. Start by decluttering, deep cleaning, and sprucing up your home's curb appeal. Consider moving your personal belongings to a storage facility.
"Take every personal item that you may have and remove it from the home," including family photos, Cristiano advises. "Be almost a minimalist."
Cristiano offers the following additional pointers for staging:
Decorate the home properly.
If there's a smoker issue, paint and change the rugs.
Try to clean the vents.
Virtual staging is a good way to show buyers what the home could look like.
Professional staging — decorating and arranging a house for maximum visual appeal — positions the home to sell for more than its list price. Cristiano generally avoids professional staging, though.
"You have to deal with movers, furniture, trucks. It can be very expensive," she says.
Bonus tip: If you don't trust your staging skills and would like to give professional staging a shot, hire a stager who knows your local market and can ensure your home is ready to impress. In New Jersey, expect to pay $2,500–5,000 on average in staging costs. This will get you 60–90 days of a fully designed living room, kitchen, dining room, master bedroom, and bathrooms. Prices vary from city to city, so be sure to give local companies a call for specific estimates.
Step 2: Set a price
Pricing strategy can make or break a FSBO sale. 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.
🙋🏻♀️ Ask a realtor: Cristiano recommends pricing your home at fair market value. "It's going to get overbid regardless," she says. "But you don't want it to be so high that it's just nonsense."
The house should be appropriately priced to draw interested and willing buyers, Cristiano suggests. "You don't want a buyer that's going to have buyer's remorse. You want a buyer that wants it and wants to spend the extra money knowing the way the market is now."
To get an accurate idea of what's fair market value for your home, look at comparable listings online in your area. For example, if you think your house is worth about $300,000, search Zillow, Redfin, or other listing sites for properties that are about $50,000 more or less than that target. Analyze details about the homes and how they compare to yours.
A pre-sale appraisal gives you a more accurate starting point for pricing your home. In New Jersey, appraisals average $375 to $585 but help you walk away with thousands more once your home is sold.
Bonus tip: Ask an agent to perform a comparative market analysis examining comparable properties that have sold recently in your neighborhood. Many realtors will do this for free in the hopes of gaining your business if you decide to forego FSBO.
» LEARN: What is a Comparative Market Analysis?
State of the New Jersey real estate market
In New Jersey, the real estate market has slowed down significantly in the past year. From December 2021 to December 2022, home sales decreased by 34.5%. Properties are also taking slightly longer to sell, with the median days on market rising to 47 days compared to 42 days a year ago. This means that it may take longer for you to sell your home in 2023 compared to last year.
Median home value*
Median listing price+
Listing price per square foot+
Percent of homes with price reduction+
*Based on data from Zillow (March 2023)⁺Based on data from Realtor.com (March 2023)
However, home values vary from city to city within the same state, and determining the right price for your home will depend on your location. Here are the median home values for some of New Jersey's biggest cities:
Median home value
With fewer homes on the market, there is less competition for sellers, even if it takes a little longer to get an offer. Fortunately, home prices have not dropped significantly yet, although they have begun to level off from the high-demand market of the last two years. The median sale price is still up by 2.7% from a year ago.
While FSBO may seem like a good way to make up for lost home value in the current market, keep in mind that having a realtor on your side can lead to a higher sale price, particularly in a challenging market.
Enter your ZIP code to find a Clever partner agent in your area.
Step 3: List your New Jersey home
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. Here are some of the top buyer priorities in New Jersey, according to real estate professionals.
New Jersey buyer priorities
Advice for FSBO sellers
Many buyers in New Jersey are looking for homes that can accommodate remote work and learning. Popular amenities include extra space for private offices, as well as finished basements that family members can use for virtual work and schooling. Recreational spaces such as gyms, home theaters, and large living rooms are also in demand.
Backyards and privacy
Spacious, fenced yards are among the top priorities for buyers as privacy becomes a major concern. Smaller homes with downtown walkability have lost some of their appeal, and demand for riverfront and bayfront properties has soared, according to realtors. When it comes to backyards, flat land is always a plus.
Swimming pools are also extremely desirable in New Jersey as buyers target larger properties and more amenities. Realtors say that the prices on pool installations have doubled, and pool contractors are almost two years behind. The cost of a basic turn-key pool in New Jersey averages about $45,000–85,000.
Homes are scarce in New Jersey's hot market, but setting the right price will help you get the best possible offers. Do your research and look at recent sales data in your area for an accurate price point for homes of comparable size and condition. Be careful not to overprice your home, because if it sits on the market for a while, potential buyers may think there's a problem.
Where to list your home
The best place to market your home is on the MLS. MLS listings populate onto real estate websites like Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com, increasing your home's online presence. That's important because 51% of buyers found the homes they purchased via the internet.
However, agents are the only ones who can list on the MLS. You can work with an agent and still maintain control of your sale by using a flat fee MLS company that charges a one-time payment to list your home on the MLS.
A flat fee MLS company usually costs a few hundred dollars and includes a property description, up to 25 photos, and a listing lasting no more than 12 months. Additional services, such as a virtual tour, downloadable contracts, and free changes to your listing, are often bundled into more expensive packages — but they're still typically cheaper than paying a listing agent's 3% commission fee. Find the best flat fee MLS companies in New Jersey.
As a FSBO seller, you also have several free or low-cost options.
- Zillow: Listing on Zillow is free and takes just a few simple steps: create a profile, claim your home, navigate to the FSBO page, fill out your listing info, click publish, and wait for verification. Zillow listings also automatically appear on its sister site, Trulia. However, recent changes to Zillow keep FSBO listings separate from agent listings, meaning your home will be a lot less visible to buyers.
- ForSaleByOwner.com: This well-established and recognized for-sale-by-owner site caters specifically to people wanting to buy or sell FSBO homes. It's free to advertise, but your home won't show up on the MLS or syndicate to other real estate websites. That means your listing will only be viewable to buyers who go to ForSaleByOwner.com.
- For-sale-by-owner yard sign: You can buy a FSBO sign from most hardware stores or online for $20–50. Choose one that allows you to add your phone number 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 New Jersey page, find your city, and create a "real estate — by owner" listing.
» MORE INFO: Learn How to Sell a House on Craigslist
Step 4: Show your home
Organization is key when showing your home to potential buyers. You'll need a good scheduling system and a spreadsheet to save 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 with a vacuum after a buyer calls for a last-minute showing.
Step 5: Negotiate for the best possible price
Negotiations are about 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.
Knowing what's important to buyers in your area will help you strengthen your offer. A Clever survey of local real estate professionals found that in New Jersey, sellers often cover 0.90% to 1.50% of buyers' closing costs. On a home of median value, that will cost an additional $4,064 to $6,773.
You should also consider offering these popular seller concessions:
Benefits of offering concession
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 problems and is typically less expensive than paying for the repairs (or accepting a lower offer from a wary buyer).
You often have to share past tax information about the property before closing a sale. By covering some of those costs, you can offer buyers some financial relief and make them more inclined to close the sale.
Repair credits are a win-win for buyers and sellers. You'll credit the buyer a set amount to cover the cost of repairs. Once the deal closes, buyers can oversee the project to their liking, and you don't have to worry about repairs going over budget.
Step 6: Close
Closing is the final step in a real estate transaction. The title of the property is officially transferred from the seller to the buyer, and both parties pay their closing costs.
Use a title company to facilitate a smooth closing. Title companies collect and distribute closing costs, collect signatures, ensure sellers have the right documents, and file them with relevant agencies.
🤔 Do I need a real estate attorney to sell my house in New Jersey?
No, you're not legally required to use an attorney to sell a house in New Jersey. However, home buyers and sellers in the Garden State normally hire an attorney, and we recommend doing so, especially for FSBO sellers.
Unlike realtors, real estate attorneys don't have knowledge of the local market and can’t help you negotiate the price of your home, but they can write a purchase and sale agreement and other legal contracts. Hire one if you want a contract that's free of loopholes, ensures the best terms for you, and safeguards you against a breach of contract.
Real estate attorneys usually work for an upfront flat fee or an hourly rate costing a few hundred dollars. In New Jersey, flat legal fees are more common than hourly and average range from $1,000–1,500 on average. Find New Jersey lawyers near you by searching the state bar association, Avvo, or FindLaw.
» READ: How Much are Closing Costs for Sellers in New Jersey?
Paperwork to sell a house by owner in New Jersey
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.
❗ Keep in mind — New Jersey is a "buyer beware" state
New Jersey is one of several "buyer beware" states, meaning you don't have to disclose most problems with the house. It's up to the buyer to do their due diligence before purchasing your home.
That said, if you actively withhold information from the buyer about problems with the home, you could be committing fraud. Check with a realtor or attorney if in doubt about your obligations.
Here’s a quick breakdown of New Jersey's requirements. Want to save this list for later? Download our FSBO paperwork checklistto help you prepare for your sale.
Required for all New Jersey real estate sales
Two forms of ID
In most cases, a valid passport, driver's license, or other form of New Jersey-issued ID.
Copy of the original, signed sales agreement, as well as any agreed upon changes.
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.
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.
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.
A notarized document that states you own the home, that there are no liens on the property, and that you are not simultaneously selling the home to someone else.
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 covenants, codes, restrictions, financial history, required fees, and approval process.
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's 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 buyers 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 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)
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.
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
If 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.
New Jersey disclosure forms
While it's not legally required to fill out a disclosure form, the seller's disclosure statement can give the buyer peace of mind about issues with your home and its major appliances and systems.
With some federally backed mortgages, your buyer's lender might require information about the property's flood risk.
If your home was built before 1978, federal law requires that you disclose information about the dangers of lead-based paint.
New Jersey recommends that all homeowners test their houses for radon and perform mitigation if levels are at 4 pCi/L or more.
Where to find documents
Need a document that's not on the list? The New Jersey Realtors Association provides real estate forms on its website, but they're intended for real estate agents, and you must log in to access them.
However, real estate forms can be written in a variety of formats, and you can find downloadable forms online:
When you're looking for other documents, such as tax records, property surveys, and deeds, check state or local government offices, such as your tax assessor’s office or department of revenue.
Just remember, many closing documents are legally binding agreements. Errors can result in an unenforceable contract that could derail your sale and cost you thousands in fees. To avoid an expensive mistake, consider working with a low-commission realtor.
If saving money is your main reason for selling FSBO, there are alternatives.
Clever Real Estate
Clever is a nationwide real estate service that connects New Jersey home sellers with top, local agents. You pay Clever nothing. You'll only pay your full-service agent 1.5% of your home sale price, saving up to 50% on listing fees.
💲 Listing Fee
1.5% ($3,000 min.)
💰 Buyer Savings
Cash back after closing
⭐ Avg. Customer Rating
4.9/5 (1,995 reviews)
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.
- Clever is a free, nationwide agent matching service that partners with full-service local agents from conventional brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX.
- You get multiple agent matches so you can interview several, compare marketing plans, and choose the best fit.
- Clever 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.
Clever has pre-negotiated low commission rates with top agents in all 50 states and Washington, DC.
Discount real estate services in New Jersey
Discount real estate companies can help you sell your house for less than a traditional realtor, although pricing and services vary. 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
⭐ Avg. Customer Rating
3.7/5 (301 reviews)
Redfin offers real savings and is a proven brand. But sellers could compromise on service — especially agent experience and availability.
- 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.
Redfin is available in 80+ U.S. markets (see all locations).
💲 Listing Fee
1% (min. $2,500)
💰 Avg. Savings
⭐ Avg. Customer Rating
4.8/5 (1,400 reviews)
Houwzer has very low listing fees, but you may be frustrated working with a team instead of just your realtor.
- You’ll pay a 1% listing fee, which is one of the lowest rates in the industry.
- Houwzer’s maximum listing fee of $10,000 makes it a great deal for homes over $1 million.
- Houwzer has a small team, which limits your options if you don't hit it off with the first agent it sends you.
- The company uses a team-based approach, which increases the chances of miscommunication and mistakes.
Houwzer has a 4.8 out of 5 rating (1,400 reviews) across popular review sites like Google and Zillow.
Houwzer is available in the following locations: FL, MD, NJ, PA, VA, DC.
💲 Listing Fee
2.5% ($9,000 min.)
💰 Avg. Savings
⭐ Avg. Customer Rating
4.7/5 (1,041 reviews)
REX’s promise of huge savings is misleading. Its advertising misrepresents the significant risks of its pricing model and marketing approach. And its high minimum fees mean that many sellers won't save anything.
- REX's approach is incredibly risky — but if the gamble pays off, you could save about 50% on realtor fees
- Like other full-service brokerages, REX agents provide in-person services and support
- REX's 2.5% listing fee doesn't save you much — many full-price agents charge similar rates
- REX doesn't list your home on the MLS, so up to 90% of buyers may not even know it's for sale
- This risky marketing strategy seems likely to fail, so you may not save anything on commission
REX has a 4.7 out of 5 rating (1,041 reviews) across popular review sites like Google and Zillow.
REX is available in the following areas: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, MD, NV, NJ, OR, PA, TX, WA, DC.
» COMPARE: Discount Real Estate Brokers: Who's the BEST?
Flat fee MLS companies in New Jersey
A flat fee MLS company will post your listing on the local MLS, usually for a low, upfront fee. In New Jersey, this will typically cost you a couple hundred dollars.
Inexperienced sellers who want a little extra guidance from the listing broker
- The basic listing includes a for sale sign with a 1-888-number that forwards calls directly to your phone number. Many flat fee MLS companies charge extra for signs and automatic call forwarding.
- You can post as many open houses as you want on the MLS without paying extra.
- You can add a la carte options like professional photography and home staging if you don't want to upgrade to the agent-assisted flat fee MLS plan ($995).
- The money-back guarantee becomes void once your listing goes live on the MLS (usually within 48 hours after you turn in your listing forms).
Sellers looking for a lot of a-la-carte options
- You can choose from a lot of different a la carte options, like lockboxes, professional photography, and yard sign upgrades.
- If you decide to go with a full-service broker, you can get a full refund when you sign with someone Realmart referred you to.
- You'll have to pay extra if you want to change any photos after your listing is live on the MLS.
Sellers who are confident their property will sell quickly
- You can choose a timeframe that fits how quickly you think your property will sell. Packages include three month, six month, 12 month, and unlimited time listings.
- If you don't need a very in-depth listing, the bronze package is cheaper ($199) than most other New Jersey flat fee MLS companies. It comes with only six photos and a three month duration.
- You have to sign up for the Platinum plan ($999) if you want any extra guidance like contract reviews and negotiation advice from the listing broker.
- You have to pay extra to see nearby sales comps that could help you choose a listing price.
If you'd like some professional guidance with no strings attached, Clever can help. Fill out your info below to connect with a top, local realtor for a no-obligation consultation.
Additional resources for New Jersey home sellers
FAQs: How to sell your house without a realtor in New Jersey
A real estate attorney is not required to sell a house in New Jersey, but you should hire one if you're selling without an agent. Home buyers and sellers typically hire attorneys in New Jersey to review their contracts, safeguard their rights, and ensure that local laws are followed.
Yes, you can sell your home as is in New Jersey, even if it's in bad shape, provided you can find a buyer. We Buy Houses companies will buy homes in any condition, allowing you to sell your home quickly for cash — but you'll only get about 70% of the fair market value of your property. Consider fixing up your home to boost its value and then listing it on the market instead.
The best way to advertise your house is to list it on the MLS. Only real estate agents can list on the MLS, so you can either work with an agent or use a flat fee MLS company that charges a one-time fee for an MLS listing. Your listing will populate onto major real estate websites like Zillow, boosting your home's online presence.
Pricing your home wisely is key to a successful sale. Set a price that will attract buyers while reflecting what your home is actually worth. Look at comparable listings online in your area and analyze details about those homes to see how they compare to yours. Be careful not to overprice your home.