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

By 

Clever Real Estate

Updated 

March 8th, 2021

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Selling a house For Sale by Owner (FSBO) in Pennsylvania can save you 2.6% to 5.7% 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 Pennsylvania, the average commission rate is 4.9% to 5.7%. If you sell a house worth $211,000 — the median home value in Pennsylvania — that’s up to $12,000, 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 2.8%, based on the Pennsylvania average.
  • FSBO sellers who find a buyer without an agent, save an additional 2.5%, the average buyer's agent commission rate in Pennsylvania.

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 Pennsylvania realtor fees, paperwork, and tips to walk away with more from your sale.

What FSBO Sellers in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, but here's an overview of the state's laws and regulations.

Pennsylvania FSBO Overview

Real estate attorney required?
Yes
Required state disclosures? (learn more)
  • Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement
  • Flood Zone Statement
  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
FSBO yard sign allowed?
Yes
Competitive Buyer's Agent Commission (learn more)
2.3% to 2.7%

How to List Your Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Buyer Priorities
Advice for FSBO Sellers
1. School Districts
Include appealing information about school districts in your listing description, such as its Greatschools rating, graduation rates, parental reviews, or state accolades.
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. 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.
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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania, this typically ranges from 2.6% to 3.0% 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 2.3% to 2.7%.


Average Range in Pennsylvania*
Average Amount⁺
Listing Commission
2.6% to 3.0%
$5,486 to $6,330
Buyer Agent's Commission
2.3% to 2.7%
$4,853 to $5,697
*Based on the average commission rates from a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents
⁺Based on typical home value in Pennsylvania (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 Pennsylvania


FSBO w/ a Represented Buyer
FSBO w/ an Unrepresented Buyer
Listing w/ an Agent
Listing w/ a Discount Agent
Sale Price*
$198,340
$198,340
$244,000
$244,000
Listing Commission⁺
$0
$0
$5,908
$3,000
Buyer Commission⁺ 
$4,959
$0
$5,275
$5,275
Total Profit
$193,382
$198,340
$199,817
$202,725
*Based on median home value in Pennsylvania  (Zillow Data Center, October 2020) and that FSBO homes sell for 6% less (Collateral Analytics, 2017)
Based on the average commission rates in Pennsylvania (2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents)

Paperwork to Sell a House by Owner In Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania’s requirements.

Required for All Pennsylvania Real Estate Sales

2 Forms of ID
In most cases, a valid passport, driver's license, or other form of Pennsylvania-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.

Pennsylvania Disclosure Forms

Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement
The seller disclosure statement details any known issues with 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.

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 Pennsylvania's average commission rates, that could leave 2.6% to 5.7% of your sale price in your pocket. Even if your buyer has an agent, you'll still avoid paying 2.6% to 3.0% 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.

»FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania

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

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

XFlatFeeMLS

XFlatFeeMLS

Price Range

$69-189+

Number of Photos

Listing Term

1 month up to until house sells

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • XFlatFeeMLS is a flat-fee MLS service operated by XRealty.NET LLC, a licensed real estate brokerage in Washington D.C., Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Virginia
  • You set the buyer’s agent commission
  • Listings are processed in 24 hours or your listing is free
  • Free status updates (Under contract, sold, etc.)
  • Wide variety of a-la-carte services
  • Money-back guarantee if you decide to sell with a full-service realtor XFlatFeeMLS refers you to


$69
  • 1-month listing on MLS
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and more
  • 6 photos
  • Federal and state disclosure forms
  • Automated phone system that gives buyers and agents your contact information




$99
  • Same as $69 package, plus:
  • 6-month listing on MLS
$139 
  • Same as other packages, plus:
  • 12-month listing on MLS
$19 (+$380 at closing) - Deferred Payment Plan
  • Same as other packages, plus:
  • 12-month listing on MLS ($249 termination fee to cancel before contract ends)


Also offers a-la-carte services like: additional photos, unlimited text changes and open house announcements, listing on a secondary MLS, call forwarding service, centralized showing service, photography,  contract prep and review, electronic lockbox rental, and more

Pros

  • Work directly with the broker, not a referral service
  • Buyer inquiries are forwarded directly to you — no dual agency
  • Money-back guarantee if you decide to list with a full-service realtor XFlatFeeMLS refers you to
  • Listings are processed within 24 hours or your listing is free

Cons

  • Free status updates do not include changes to the text of the listing or photos
  • Only 6 photos included in all packages
  • No pricing or home valuation assistance

As of August 8, 2020, XRealty does not have any third party customer reviews, though agent Norman Domingo has a 3.2/5 rating on Zillow.com. Additionally, it has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. 

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Simple Choice Realty

Simple Choice Realty

Price Range

$399-$1,399

Number of Photos

50

Listing Term

6 months

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Simple Choice Realty is a licensed real estate brokerage that specializes in flat-fee MLS services, operating throughout most of Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania
  • Listings typically go live on MLS within one business day
  • Cancel anytime with no fee
  • Required state disclosures included
  • Free listing changes
  • Requires buyer’s agent commission of at least 2% (but no commission if you find an unrepresented buyer)
  • Additional agent assistance included in premium packages
$399 - MLS Listing Only
  • 6-month listing on MLS
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and more
  • Up to 50 photos
  • Required disclosures included
  • Free listing changes
  • All buyer leads forwarded to you
  • 24/7 live receptionist
  • Open house ads on the MLS
  • For Sale sign ($10 shipping)
  • Paperless Listing Process with eSignatures








$699 - Contract Review
  • Same as MLS Listing Only package, plus:
  • 1 contract review with a Simple Choice agent to go over the pros and cons of an offer (each additional review is $100)
$1,999 - Negotiation Assistance
  • Same as Contract Review package, plus:
  • Unlimited contract reviews with a Simple Choice agent
  • Negotiation assistance (including after inspections)
  • A Simple Choice agent will communicate with buyer’s agents on your behalf
  • Review of the final settlement sheet prior to closing


Additional, a-la-carte options include: 12-month listing on MLS, customized sign, combination lockboxes, adding of your contact info on Zillow, Realtor.com Weekly Report, expedited listing (entered on the MLS same business day), listing on multiple MLSs

Pros

  • Work directly with the broker, not a referral service
  • Free MLS listing changes
  • No buyer’s agent commission if you find an unrepresented buyer
  • Additional assistance from a licensed agent (in premium packages)

Cons

  • Minimum 2% buyer’s agent commission required
  • Does not cover all of Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania

As of August 11, 2020, Simple Choice Realty has an average rating of 5/5 based on 29 reviews on Zillow, as well as an A rating on Angie's List.


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Flat Fee Group

Flat Fee Group

Price Range

$399-1,999

Number of Photos

25-50

Listing Term

12 months up to until sold

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Flat Fee Group is a national network of independent brokers that offer flat-fee MLS services in Pennsylvania
  • Pay no buyer’s agent commission if you find an unrepresented buyer
  • Buyer and agent inquiries forwarded to you
  • Contracts, disclosures, and addendums included
$399 - Premium
  • 25-50 photos
  • 12-month listing on MLS
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and more
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you
  • Contracts, addendums, and disclosures
  • Phone/Email support
  • Printable color MLS sheet
$699 - Contract Review
  • Same as Premium package, plus:
  • Contract review
$1,999 - Full Service
  • Same as Contract Review package, plus:
  • Lockbox, showing scheduling, and comparative market analysis (upon request)
  • Negotiation assistance


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 (except Full Service package)

As of August 10, 2020, Christopher Carr, the Pennsylvania Flat Fee Group broker, has a 5-out-of-5-star rating on Zillow (24 reviews).

SHOW MORE

>> LEARN about flat-fee MLS services in Pennsylvania

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)

Clever Cash Back

0.5% on homes over $150,000

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 0.5% back after 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 0.5% in Clever Cash Back
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.

SHOW MORE

>> LEARN more about Clever Real Estate

Discount Real Estate Services in Pennsylvania

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.

Houwzer Real Estate

Houwzer Real Estate

Listing Fee

$5,000

Buyer Rebate

N/A

Avg. Customer Rating

4.9/5 (897 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Houwzer is a real estate brokerage operating in select markets in and around Philadelphia, South Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.
  • If you're selling, get full service and support from Houwzer's in-house team of agents for a flat $5,000 listing fee.
  • You should also expect to pay a buyer's agent commission. Rates vary, but 2.5-3% is typical nationwide.
  • If you buy and sell with Houwzer, the $5,000 listing fee is cut in half.
  • Buyers get full service and support; however, unlike some other discount services, Houwzer doesn't offer built-in commission rebates.
  • Houwzer also offers mortgage broker services in Philadelphia and South Jersey.
  • Houwzer agents don't work on commission — they're salaried, which could have negative implications for sellers.

Philadelphia*

City of PhiladelphiaDelaware County
Bucks CountyMontgomery County
Chester County


South Jersey*

Burlington County (most)Gloucester County (parts)
Camden County (most)


Washington, D.C. / Virginia

ArlingtonLoudoun
AlexandriaManassas
FairfaxManassas Park
Fairfax CityMontgomery
Falls ChurchPrince William


Baltimore

City of BaltimoreAnne Arundel
Howard


*Mortgage services available

Pros
  • Full service for a flat $5,000 listing fee
  • Additional savings if you also buy with Houwzer
  • Online listing dashboard for sellers
  • Mortgage broker services available in select markets
Cons
  • $5,000 listing fee is relatively high at low to mid-range price points
  • Salaried agents could be less motivated to sell your home for top dollar
  • Your choice of agents is limited to Houwzer's in-house team
  • No built-in home buyer savings

As of May 20, 2020, Houwzer has an average rating of 4.9/5 across Zillow, Google, and Facebook. See the breakdown below.


*These reviews are for Houwzer's main Philadelphia, PA office. If you're looking to sell or buy in one of Houwzer's other markets, we recommend conducting research and finding reviews specific to your location.

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Prevu Real Estate

Prevu Real Estate

Listing Fee

1.5%

Buyer Rebate

Up to 2%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.9/5 (53 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Prevu is a real estate broker offering commission savings in New York City, Philadelphia, and Fairfield County, CT
  • If you're selling, get full service for a reduced 1.5% listing fee, vs the 2.5-3% rate typically charged by traditional, full-service agents
  • Expect to pay a buyer's agent commission as well — rates vary, but 2.5-3% is typical nationwide
  • Prevu agents don't work on commission, they're salaried. This has some implications buyers and sellers should be aware of
  • Qualifying buyers can get a commission rebate of up to 2% back at closing

New York

BronxManhattanStaten Island
BrooklynQueens


Connecticut

Fairfield County


Pennsylvania

Philadelphia
Pros
  • Sellers get full service for reduced 1.5% listing fee
  • Buyers can get up to a 2% commission rebate, which is substantial
  • 3D Virtual Tours included as a built-in service
Cons
  • Some companies offer comparable services for a lower listing fee
  • Limited availability/market coverage

As of May 20, 2020, Prevu's average customer rating is 4.9/5 based on 53 reviews across Google and Yelp. See the breakdown below.

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Redfin

Redfin

Listing Fee

1-1.5% (min. fees apply)

Buyer Rebate

Avg. $1,500 (where availabe)

Avg. Customer Rating

3.2/5 (243 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Redfin is an online listing portal and multi-state real estate brokerage operating in 80+ markets across the United States
  • Sellers get full service and support from a Redfin agent for a reduced listing fee (rates and minimums vary by location)
  • Redfin agents are salaried. Since they do not work on commission, there is no incentive to get sellers the highest sale price — learn more
  • RedfinNow — Redfin's iBuyer program — makes all-cash offers on qualifying homes in 10 markets for a 7% service fee (but no additional commission)
  • Buyers in select markets might be eligible for a home buyer rebate — learn more
AshevilleHouston*
Orlando
AlbanyIndianapolis
Palm Beach
AtlantaInland Empire*
Palm Springs
Austin*Jacksonville
Philadelphia
Birmingham^Kansas City^
Phoenix
BoiseKnoxville^
Pittsburgh
Boston
Lake Tahoe
Portland, OR^
BuffaloLas Vegas*Raleigh
CharlotteLittle Rock^Rhode Island
ChicagoLos Angeles*Richmond
CincinnatiLouisiana^Sacramento
Cleveland^Louisville^Salt Lake City
ColumbusMarylandSan Antonio*^
ConnecticutMemphis^San Diego*
Dallas*MiamiSan Francisco
DelawareMinneapolisSavannah
Denver*Nashville^Seattle
Des Moines^Nebraska^South Carolina
DetroitNew JerseySouth Texas^
El Paso^New MexicoSpokane
FlagstaffNew York CitySt. Louis^
Fort MyersNortheast VirginiaTampa
Grand RapidsNorthern New EnglandTucson^
Hampton RoadsOklahoma^Washington, D.C.
HawaiiOrange County, CA*Wisconsin^

*Also a RedfinNow location

^No home buyer rebate available

Pros
  • Sellers get full service and support for a discounted rate of 1.5%
  • Rate drops to 1% when you sell and buy with Redfin
  • Access to a variety of online tools and services, including virtual showings, paperwork, closing, and more
  • Commission rebate offered to eligible buyers in select markets
Cons
  • Only available in ~80 U.S. markets
  • Minimum listing fees can result in paying more than advertised 1-1.5% rate
  • Choice of agents is limited to Redfin's in-house team or local partners
  • Local partners don't necessarily adhere to Redfin's discount pricing model

As of May 20, 2020, Redfin's average customer rating is 3.2/5 based on 235 reviews across Yelp, Google, and Consumer Affairs.

*These reviews are for Redfin's Seattle, WA office. Reviews may vary by location.

SHOW MORE

>> 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 Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania

Top Upgrades
Avg. Repair Cost
Avg. Resale Value
Cost Recouped
Garage Door Replacement
$3,791
$4,031
106%
Manufactured Stone Veneer
$9,589
$8,607
90%
Siding Replacement (Fiber-Cement)
$17,497
$14,966
86%
Based on regional data from Remodeling (2020)

2. Price Your Pennsylvania Home Competitively

Knowing how to price your home can make a huge difference in how many buyer offers you receive and ultimately the price that your home sells for. Pricing your home too high can deter buyers while pricing too low makes buyers believe something is wrong to be so affordable.

This is why understanding the Pennsylvania housing market from top to bottom is so important. You want to know the state's housing trends and average home prices near you so you can price your home competitively and appropriately drawing in more potential buyers.

Also, remember that your listing price is just a starting point. It shouldn't be what you actually hope to get from your home. You want a competitive price to draw in buyers and then negotiate the price up or down depending on the trends in your local market.

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

Based on our research, in Pennsylvania, 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

One powerful technique to draw in multiple potential buyers is staging your home. This includes decluttering, removing and rearranging furniture, deep cleaning, and sprucing up your home's curb appeal. Staging can help buyers more easily imagine themselves living in the home.

Additionally, you'll want to market your newly staged home by posting online professional photos as well as a great description that showcases the best features of your home that will be sure to intrigue buyers.

Most people start their home search online so it's imperative that your home makes an amazing first impression through the photos. Indeed, great online marketing will get buyers to come to your open house and showings.

>> LEARN how much it costs 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 2020 Clever survey of over 500 real estate professionals found that in Pennsylvania, sellers often cover 1.9% to 2.6% of buyers' closing costs. On a home of median value, that equates to $4,009 to $5,486, 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 Pennsylvania

Concession
Benefits of Offering Concession
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
In Pennsylvania, an attorney must assist with real estate transactions. By offering to pay the buyer's legal fees, you can sweeten the deal.
Appraisal Costs
Most mortgage lenders require an appraisal before finalizing a buyer's financing. This can be a costly, upfront cost for the buyer, so offering a credit for the appraisal gives the buyer funds to cover other buying costs.

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 Pennsylvania Home Sellers