How to Sell a House By Owner in North Dakota (2021 Update)

By 

Clever Real Estate

Updated 

December 29th, 2020

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Selling a house For Sale by Owner (FSBO) in North Dakota can save you 2.7% to 6.0% in realtor commissions. But prepare for a lot of work, including filing the required paperwork and learning about your local market to make the most from your sale.

In North Dakota, the average commission rate is 5.2% to 6.0%. If you sell a house worth $238,000 — the median home value in North Dakota — that’s up to $14,200, 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.

Key Benefits of Selling FSBO
  • Direct control over how your home is sold, including the pricing strategy, showing schedule, and negotiation process.
  • No listing commission, which could save you 2.9%, based on the North Dakota average.
  • FSBO sellers who find a buyer without an agent, save an additional 2.7%, the average buyer's agent commission rate in North Dakota.

However, selling FSBO has risks. Research shows that FSBO homes typically sell for about 6% less than those listed with agents. In addition, FSBO homes often take longer to sell, and are more likely to fall out of contract after accepting an offer — unless the homeowner is experienced and knowledgeable about the process.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know to successfully sell your house without a realtor: the ins and outs of North Dakota realtor fees, paperwork, and tips to walk away with more from your sale.

What FSBO Sellers in North Dakota Need to Know

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 North Dakota, but here's an overview of the state's laws and regulations.

North Dakota FSBO Overview

Real estate attorney required?
Yes
Required state disclosures? (learn more)
Federal disclosures about lead-based paint apply, but otherwise, North Dakota is a "buyer beware" state.
FSBO yard sign allowed?
Yes
Competitive Buyer's Agent Commission (learn more)
2.5% to 2.9%

How to List Your North Dakota 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 North Dakota

North Dakota 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. 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.
3. Acreage
It’s important to be exact about the acreage of your home in your listing description. Note the acreage in the listing description if adds significant value to the property or is more than comparable homes. You can also add appeal by noting any special features of the landscape such as lakes, ponds, woods, etc.
Based on a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents

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 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 North Dakota 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.

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 $3,000 or 1%.

Sell your home for top dollar and save on commission.

How Realtor Commissions Work In North Dakota

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 North Dakota, this typically ranges from 2.7% to 3.1% 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 2.5% to 2.9%.


Average Range in North Dakota*
Average Amount⁺
Listing Commission
2.7% to 3.1%
$6,426 to $7,378
Buyer Agent's Commission
2.5% to 2.9%
$5,950 to $6,902
*Based on the average commission rates from a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents
⁺Based on typical home value in North Dakota (Zillow Data Center, October 2020)

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.

>> LEARN how real estate commissions work

How Commission Costs Break Down in North Dakota


FSBO w/ a Represented Buyer
FSBO w/ an Unrepresented Buyer
Listing w/ an Agent
Listing w/ a Discount Agent
Sale Price*
$223,720
$223,720
$222,300
$222,300
Listing Commission⁺
$0
$0
$6,902
$3,000
Buyer Commission⁺ 
$6,040
$0
$6,426
$6,426
Total Profit
$217,680
$223,720
$224,672
$228,574
*Based on median home value in North Dakota  (Zillow Data Center, October 2020) and that FSBO homes sell for 6% less (Collateral Analytics, 2017)
Based on the average commission rates in North Dakota (2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents)

Paperwork to Sell a House by Owner In North Dakota

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 North Dakota’s requirements.

Required for All North Dakota Real Estate Sales

2 Forms of ID
In most cases, a valid passport, driver's license, or other form of North Dakota-issued ID.
Copy of Purchase 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.

North Dakota Disclosure Forms

Residential Property Disclosure Statement
While optional, the seller disclosure statement details the condition and known issues of your home and its major appliances and systems.
Flood Zone Statement
With some mortgages (like federally backed ones), your buyer's lender might require information of the property's flood risk.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Federal law requires that if your home was built before 1978, you disclose information about the dangers of lead-based paint to your buyer.

Note: North Dakota is a "buyer beware" state and, in most situations, sellers are not legally required to make disclosures (except those required by federal law). However, to give buyers peace of mind, many homeowners still provide a disclosure statement.

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 hiring a real estate attorney. While this can cost $500-$5,000, an experienced lawyer can answer any questions you have along the way.

FSBO Pros and Cons

Before deciding to sell your home by owner, weigh all the pros and cons to make the right choice for your situation.

Pros

  • More control: As a FSBO seller, you can decide the price, listing timeframe, showing schedule, marketing strategy, negotiation tactics, and more.
  • No competition with other clients: Some agents take on more clients than they can handle, which could mean not getting the attention you need to meet your home-selling goals.
  • Lower commission: As a FSBO seller, you could sell your home without paying any commissions. Based on North Dakota's average commission rates, that could leave 2.7% to 6.0% of your sale price in your pocket. Even if your buyer has an agent, you'll still avoid paying 2.7% to 3.1% in listing commissions.

Cons

  • No MLS access: Unless you pay for a flat-fee MLS service, your home won't be on the local MLS. Most agents use MLSes (not Zillow and Trulia) to find properties for their clients and most buyers work with a realtor. So if you're not on the MLS, fewer buyers will see your listing.
  • Risks of inaccurate pricing: Many FSBO sellers find it difficult to be objective when pricing their house and list for too much. If you make this mistake, you won't attract buyers and the listing will become stale. Eventually, you could be forced to accept a low offer or take your home off the market and relist with an agent.
  • Safety issues: As a FSBO seller, it will be your responsibility to show your home to prospective buyers. Not everyone is comfortable being alone with strangers in their homes since incidents such as theft or harassment can occur. Make sure to gauge your own comfort levels before deciding to sell FSBO.
  • More work and stress: Selling a home is a full-time job. Trying to cram all the steps and responsibilities into your schedule is a hassle many FSBO sellers aren't prepared for.

FSBO Alternatives to Consider

If saving money is your main reason for selling your home by owner, there are alternatives. Consider the following lower-cost options (listed from least expensive to most):

Flat-Fee MLS Services in North Dakota

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

Here are some North Dakota flat-fee MLS companies to compare:

ISoldMyHouse.com

iSoldMyHouse.com

Price Range

$299-399

Number of Photos

6-25

Listing Term

6-12 months

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • ISoldMyHouse.com is a nationwide flat-fee MLS referral service, operated by Get Listed Realty, that connects you with local brokers and agents who will list your home on the MLS for a pre-negotiated rate
  • You set buyer’s agent commission (recommend 2%-3%)
  • Listing is live within 24 hours
  • No cancellation fee
  • Unlimited listing changes
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you
  • $299 - Get LISTED
    • 6-month listing on MLS
    • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and more
    • 6 or 10 Photos
    • Unlimited listing changes
    • Buyer leads forwarded to you
    • Contracts, disclosures, and other forms
    • Seller-managed ISoldMyHouse.com listing


  • $399 - Get SOLD
    • Same as Get LISTED package, plus:
    • 25 photos
    • 12-month listing on MLS (in some states)


A-la-carte services include signs, lockboxes, and more



Additional fees may apply or services may differ if you live in a state with laws about minimum brokerage service requirements.

Pros

  • Unlimited listing changes
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you
  • No cancellation fee
  • Free online guides and articles for selling a home without a realtor
  • Easy social media sharing on all the major platforms

Cons

  • The network of affiliate brokers doesn’t cover every county in the country
  • Only 6-10 photos in base package
  • No built-in home valuation or market analysis

As of August 11, 2020, iSoldMyHouse.com has an average rating of 4.1/5 based on 8 reviews on BirdEye and has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau.

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Flat Fee Group

Flat Fee Group

Price Range

$425-849

Number of Photos

25-50

Listing Term

1 year

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Flat Fee Group is a national network of independent brokers that offer flat-fee MLS services in North Dakota
  • Pay no buyer’s agent commission if you find an unrepresented buyer
  • Buyer and agent inquiries forwarded to you
$425 - Ltd. Service
  • 1-year listing on MLS
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and more
  • Up to 25 photos
  • Phone/Email support
  • Printable color flyer
  • Sign
  • Combo lockbox
$549 + 0.5% at closing or $849 - Full Service
  • Same as Ltd. Service package, plus:
  • Up to 50 photos
  • Contracts, addendums, and disclosures
  • Negotiation assistance
  • Contract review and offer advice


Pros

  • Work directly with the broker, not a referral service
  • Buyer inquiries forwarded directly to you
  • Pay no commission if you find an unrepresented buyer

Cons

  • No home valuation included

As of August 10, 2020, Jory Baumbach, the North Dakota Flat Fee Group broker, has a 5-out-of-5-star rating on Zillow (1 review).

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Flat Fee Realty

Flat Fee Realty

Price Range

$199 (+0.5% at closing)

Number of Photos

Listing Term

Listed until sold

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Flat Fee Realty is a nationwide flat-fee MLS referral service, licensed in Connecticut, that connects you with North Dakota brokers and agents who will list your home on the MLS for a pre-negotiated rate
  • You set buyer’s agent commission
  • MLS photo upgrade available for $50
  • State disclosures and forms available
  • Unlimited listing changes
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you
  • Refund available within 30 days of purchase

$199 + 0.5% at closing - MLS Listing package

  • 1% commission if there’s no buyer’s agent
  • Listed on MLS until sold
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and more
  • 6 Photos
  • Free state disclosures
  • Unlimited listing changes
  • No cancellation fee
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you
  • Broker assistance
  • Transaction guidance


MLS photo upgrade available for $50

Pros

  • Unlimited listing changes
  • No cancellation fee
  • Free state disclosures
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you
  • Refund available within 30 days of purchase

Cons

  • No built-in home valuation or market analysis
  • Limited coverage in rural areas

As of August 11, 2020, no third-party reviews exist for Flat Fee Realty. We will update when this information becomes available.

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>> LEARN about flat-fee MLS services in North Dakota

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 $3,000 (or 1% on homes over $350,000) if and when your home sells.

Listing Fee

1% (minimum $3,000)

Buyer Rebate

Up to 1%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.8/5 (386 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Clever Real Estate is a nationwide, online concierge and agent matching service for sellers and buyers — learn more
  • Buyers and sellers are matched with multiple highly rated agents from major brands, such as Keller Williams, Century 21, Compass, RE/MAX, and more
  • Sellers choose a full-service agent and pay a flat, $3,000 fee — or just 1% for homes more than $350,000
  • Buyers may be eligible for up to 1% back at closing (in qualifying locations)

Clever has pre-negotiated lower commission rates with top agents in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico

Pros
  • Listing fee of $3,000 (or 1% on homes >$350K) for a full-service agent
  • Sellers only pay once their home is sold
  • Partner Agents are top, local realtors with at least 5 years experience
  • Agent matches are customized and based on your specific situation
  • Eligible buyers receive a home buyer rebate of up to 1%
Cons
  • Sellers may not be matched with an agent from their preferred brokerage
  • While homes are listed on the MLS, there's no independent Clever listing site.







As of May 20, 2020, Clever's average customer rating is 4.8/5 based on 386 reviews on Trustpilot.

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>> LEARN more about Clever Real Estate

Discount Real Estate Services in North Dakota

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.

>> LEARN about discount real estate services

iBuyers

iBuyers will buy qualifying homes for cash, meaning you avoid realtor fees — and the stress of listing on the open market entirely. While these companies make fair-market offers, they will deduct any required repairs after an on-site visit. They also charge a service fee typically ranging between 6-14%.

>> LEARN about iBuyers

5 Tips for Selling Your Home Without a Realtor in North Dakota

Pulling off a FSBO sale successfully is a difficult feat to accomplish. Here are some helpful tips from Clever CEO and real estate investor Ben Mizes, who has experience listing homes without an agent.

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 North Dakota

Top Upgrades
Avg. Repair Cost
Avg. Resale Value
Cost Recouped
Minor Kitchen Remodel
$23,016
$17,002
74%
Manufactured Stone Veneer
$9,333
$5,662
61%
Entry Door Replacement
$1,841
$1,086
59%
Based on regional data from Remodeling (2020)

2. Price Your North Dakota Home Competitively

Pricing your home right is vital to quickly getting the best offer. Before setting a price, you must consider your market conditions.

While the median home value for North Dakota is $234,957, values vary across the state's markets. You'll need to do research about your specific area to start narrowing down the best listing price for your home. List too high and you'll scare off buyers, too low and you'll leave money on the table.

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

Based on our research, in North Dakota, appraisals average a couple hundred dollars, but help you walk away with thousands more once your home is sold.

3. Stage and Market Your Home

While the right pricing will bring more buyers to your door, you must prepare your home for showings. The best way to attract qualified buyers is by staging and marketing your home. When you stage a home, you arrange and set your home in a way that encourages buyers to picture themselves in the house.

Take professional photos of your home and write custom, attention-grabbing home descriptions for your listing. Make sure to highlight home features such as open concept kitchen, wood-burning fireplace, big backyard, among other in-demand characteristics for North Dakota buyers.

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 2020 Clever survey of over 500 real estate professionals found that in North Dakota, sellers often cover 1.6% to 2.5% of buyers' closing costs. On a home of median value, that equates to $3,808 to $5,950, 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 North Dakota

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.
Property Taxes
Often, you have to share past tax information about the property before closing a sale and many first-time home buyers are shocked by how much property taxes actually are. By covering some of those costs, you can offer these buyers some financial relief and make them more inclined to close on the sale.

Conclusion: Is FSBO Right for You?

FSBO isn't a perfect fit for everyone. But now that you know what awaits, if you're feeling confident about all the steps and possible challenges, you might be ready to sell without a realtor.

Remember, to succeed at selling a house by owner you'll need to:

  • Make a plan: From getting photos of your property to lining up the correct paperwork, there’ll be a lot on your FSBO to-do list. Work out a schedule for when you need to accomplish everything so you can find a buyer and close in a timeframe that works for you.
  • Get ready to hustle: Attracting qualified buyers is hard work. You'll need a great listing description and a killer marketing strategy to generate interest. Also, prepare to spend a considerable amount of your time fielding calls from prospective buyers, handling showings, hosting open houses, and more.
  • Make smart investments: Even though your main goal as a FSBO seller is saving money, spending some money on small upgrades or repairs can lead to higher offers and a faster sale. Also, consider paying for a flat-fee MLS service to list your home on the local MLS to reach more buyers.
  • Seek some professional advice: You don't have to sign a listing contract to talk to a realtor. Professional agents understand that smart sellers weigh their options; they'll be willing to meet for a free consultation. After seeing your home and looking at comps, they might notice issues or advantages you overlooked. Once you've heard their advice, if you still want to sell by owner, you can do so confidently because you thoroughly explored all your choices.

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 North Dakota Home Sellers