Why trust us: To create this guide, we surveyed and interviewed Virginia real estate agents, studied Virginia real estate law, and researched more than 20 FBSO companies and alternatives. Learn more about why you can trust our advice.
Selling your home without a realtor in Virginia means you won't need to pay the average Virginia listing commissionof 2.56% of your home's sale price. That adds up to a savings of $9,238 based on the average home price in Virginia.
But selling on your own — also known as for sale by owner, or FSBO for short — is a lot of hard work, which is why only 10% of home sales are by owner. You'll need to determine the correct price, schedule showings, negotiate with buyers, and handle all of the paperwork on your own.
Plus, you might even end up selling your home for up to 35% less, canceling out any savings you made on commission.
For all of these reasons, going the FSBO route is only recommended if you're an experienced seller who's confident about the process.
This guide will give you the information you need to decide if FSBO makes sense and explain how to sell without a realtor in Virginia.
Who should sell a house by owner?
Selling without a realtor isn't the best choice for everyone. You have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of FSBO before you decide. Selling on your own means you need to do all of the work of a real estate agent, which will take up a lot of your time and energy.
Selling without a realtor in Virginia could be the right choice for you if:
You've already sold more than one property, with a realtor or on your own. You already know what to expect from the selling process. If you were once a licensed real estate agent, even better.
You have a real estate expert to rely on for advice. Even if you don't have a realtor working for you, maybe you have a friend or family member who can answer the occasional question.
You have time in your schedule to put in the work. If you have a demanding job or a family that keeps you busy, it could be difficult to find time to market and close on the home.
You already have a buyer lined up. If you know who you're going to sell your home to, much of the work of selling has already been done. But you'll still need to tackle closing and all of the paperwork that comes with it.
You're looking for more control over your home sale. You'd rather handle all of the details yourself — including pricing, marketing, and negotiating — instead of trusting a realtor.
If you don’t meet at least a few of these criteria, selling without a realtor in Virginia may not be right for you.
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 Virginia 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 Virginia!
How to sell a house by owner in Virginia
Here are 6 steps to sell a house by owner in Virginia:
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 FSBO 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 company.
Here's an overview of what laws you need to know in Virginia:
Virginia FSBO facts
Real estate attorney required?
FSBO yard sign allowed?
Not if your home is on the MLS
Required state disclosures?
Although selling your home without a real estate agent 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 sell FSBO. You'll avoid the hassle of handling the selling process on your own 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
Small repairs and upgrades can make a big difference in boosting your home's appeal and swaying potential buyers. The key is knowing how to spend your money wisely 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 building a new bedroom may not. The most important thing is knowing what's necessary and what's over the top.
Also, consider how valuable specific repairs are to buyers in your area. According to Jon Granlund, a realtor with Real Broker, LLC primarily covering Northern Virginia, regrouting the bathrooms and replacing old-fashioned light fixtures are among the top repairs that local sellers make.
» 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 home and furnished for potential buyers to see.
Start by decluttering, deep cleaning, and sprucing up your home's curb appeal. Consider moving your personal belongings to a storage unit. Clear your yard of leaves if you're selling in autumn.
"Get everything off the counters," says Granlund. "The less you have in there the better."
As for paint, natural colors are popular for interiors. "Agreeable Gray is kind of the go-to around here," he adds, referring to the Sherwin Williams paint color.
Granlund tends to avoid virtual staging, as he doesn't like how the results look, but he adds there are some virtual staging companies that do a reasonable job.
Bonus tip: Hire a professional stager who knows your local market and can ensure your home is ready to impress, giving you one less thing to worry about. In Virginia, expect to pay $773 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: Granlund suggests pricing your home at fair market value. That way, you have a reasonable chance of getting multiple offers and thereby securing more than what you asked for.
"If you price it lower, and you only get one offer, then what do you do? Take the lower offer?" he says. "If you price it too high and you sit, then you're just going to hurt yourself."
To get an accurate idea of what your house is worth, 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 sense of your home's fair market value, which is a more accurate starting point for pricing your home. In Virginia, appraisals average $300 to $365 but help you walk away with thousands more once your home is sold.
Bonus tip: Ask a real estate 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 Virginia real estate market
Pricing your home correctly is key to generating interest, and it will depend upon the trends in the local market. As of late 2022, home prices in Virginia were up 1.7% compared to the same time in 2021. The number of days on the market has remained steady at 32, compared to 31 in 2021.
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 Virginia's biggest cities:
Median home value
Experts predict the housing market in Virginia will continue to shrink as home sales decline. The Virginia Realtors organization said the housing market "is on track to have the sharpest annual drop in sales activity in more than a decade."
Stats support this. There were 39.2% fewer houses sold in late 2022 than in late 2021.
This means you might not have as much competition. But due to higher mortgage rates and two years of record-high prices, fewer people are buying, as well. Expect to sell your Virginia home more slowly and for less than you would have a year ago.
In a cooling market like this one, it might sound good to save on commission fees and boost your overall profit by selling without a realtor. However, as the market changes, having the local expertise of an agent on your side can be helpful when determining a pricing and marketing strategy.
Enter your ZIP code to find a Clever partner agent in your area.
Step 3: List your Virginia 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 Virginia, according to real estate professionals.
Virginia buyer priorities
Advice for FSBO sellers
Colonial homes and modern townhouses are in high demand in Virginia. Older homes are popular as long as they have high-end interior finishes. Condos, however, may sit on the market for a while unless they are in perfect, move-in ready condition.
Home office spaces are popular with many people working from home, especially in Northern Virginia's tech-heavy economy. In Virginia's competitive market, though, it's common for buyers to compromise on space or the number of bedrooms, according to a 2021 survey by the Virginia REALTORS association.
Granlund points out that most lots in the market are a quarter or a third of an acre, so larger, one- or two-acre yards are desirable. "The more yard they can get, the better."
"Pools are super in demand," says Granlund, noting that in some areas, there's a waitlist of two years or more to get a pool installed. The long wait might make installing a pool impractical if you're trying to sell in the near future.
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.
It 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 Virginia.
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 Virginia 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 Virginia, sellers often cover 1.30% to 2.10% of buyers' closing costs. On a home of median value, that will cost an additional $4,691 to $7,578.
You should also consider offering these popular seller concessions:
Benefits of offering concession
A home warranty can give buyers peace of mind if your home has major appliances or systems that are on their last leg. 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 Virginia?
No, you don't need a real estate attorney to sell a house in Virginia. State law allows non-lawyers to close real estate transactions, and title companies typically handle closings. But it's in your best interests to use an attorney for the complex and stressful process of selling a home. A good real estate lawyer can give you peace of mind by reviewing your contract, being present during the closing, and advising on any legal issues that may arise.
» READ: How Much are Closing Costs for Sellers in Virginia?
Paperwork to sell a house by owner in Virginia
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 — Virginia is a "buyer beware" state
Virginia 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.
Even without needing to fill out a long disclosure form, you'll still have a lot of paperwork to complete. Here’s a quick breakdown of Virginia's requirements. Want to save this list for later? Download our FSBO paperwork checklist to help you prepare for your sale.
Required for all Virginia real estate sales
Two forms of ID
In most cases, a valid passport, driver's license, or other form of Virginia-issued ID.
Copy of the original, signed purchase and sale 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.
Virginia disclosure forms
You must fill out this form to notify the buyer of disclosures required by Virginia law.
This statement notifies the buyer to exercise due diligence regarding the condition of the property and other issues.
Virginia has a new affirmative seller disclosure regarding flood risk that took effect on January 1, 2022.
If your home was built before 1978, federal law requires that you disclose information about the dangers of lead-based paint.
Your real estate sales contract may include a radon test or mitigation contingency clause, according to the Virginia Dept. of Health.
» LEARN: Disclosure Requirements for Selling Virginia Real Estate
Where to find documents
You can find the required disclosure forms and other forms you may need on the website of Virginia's Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
The Virginia REALTORS association also provides a library of standard forms on its website, but they're intended for realtors and you need to log in to access them.
Looking for other documents? 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 Virginia 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 Virginia
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
$3,500 (1% above $1M)
💰 Avg. Savings
⭐ Avg. Customer Rating
4.6/5 (300 reviews)
Redefy’s flat fee could offer big savings. But hands-off service and non-refundable upfront fees make it a hard sell over other, less risky options.
- Flat $3,500 listing fee is an excellent value for higher-priced homes
- Agents provide more in-person services than some similarly-priced low commission brands
- Redefy charges an upfront, non-refundable $500 fee (most companies don't make you pay anything until your house sells)
- Your agent will not host an open house for you
Redefy has a 4.6 out of 5 rating (300 reviews) across popular review sites like Google and Zillow.
Redefy is available in the following areas: CO, FL, GA, IL, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA.
» COMPARE: Discount Real Estate Brokers: Who's the BEST?
Flat fee MLS companies in Virginia
A flat fee MLS company will post your listing on the local MLS, usually for a low, upfront fee. In Virginia, this will typically cost you a couple hundred dollars.
Inexperienced sellers who want extra guidance from their listing broker
- The basic package includes the maximum number of photos allowed by your local MLS while many flat fee MLS companies limit you to six or fewer photos.
- The premium and supreme packages get the broker more involved in your listing with things like contract reviews and market analysis.
- You have to sign up for the Premium package ($799) before you can e-sign contracts.
- The basic listing doesn't include any kind of pricing assistance.
Sellers who may need longer than the typical six-month listing to sell their property
- You'll get quite a bit of broker assistance for things like offer consultations, contract reviews, and marketing assistance (beyond just the MLS listing).
- You can fill out and sign your forms completely online instead of having to either mail, fax, or drop them off in person.
- It’s not clear if you can change your listing, what changes you can make or how much it costs to make them.
Experienced sellers who only need a basic listing
- The basic listing package includes comparable sales info for similar properties in your area, giving you a better idea of how to price your house.
- For an extra fee, you can access Showingtime, a software Realtors use to coordinate property showings.
- You don't have many options if you need more than the basic listing but don't want to pay for the full support listing package ($1,299).
» FIND: 6 Best Virginia Flat-Fee MLS Companies
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 Virginia home sellers
FAQs: How to sell your house without a realtor in Virginia
No, only real estate agents can list on the multiple listing service (MLS). The good news is that if you want to market your house without hiring a full-service agent, you can use a flat fee company that charges a one-time payment for an MLS listing. This usually costs a few hundred dollars and will populate your listing onto websites like Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com.
Yes, you can sell your home as is in Virginia, 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.
Paperwork you'll need to provide as a FSBO seller includes a copy of the purchase agreement and addendums, closing statement, signed deed, bill of sale, and affidavit of title. Required disclosures include the residential property disclosure statement and flood risk information form, and there are additional documents you may need to provide.