How to Sell a House By Owner in Washington DC

Home Selling

How to Sell a House By Owner in Washington DC

May 04, 2019 | by Jamie Ayers

At A Glance

As a home seller, you may think that selling your house on your own is the best option. However, it may not be as cheap as you think. Want to learn how the sell by owner approach works in Washington D.C.? Read our article for your A to Z guide to FSBO home selling in the State Capitol.

How to Sell a House By Owner in Washington DC

Some home sellers consider selling their home by themselves to avoid paying realtor fees. You may think taking the for sale by owner (FSBO) approach will boost your home selling profits and bring more motivated buyers to your door.

The reality is that real estate agents wouldn’t help so many home sellers sell their homes at the best price if it was that easy. Selling a Washington D.C. home is a long and complicated process that’s tough to navigate on your own. Experts found that only a small percentage of FSBO sellers close on their home.

The point is that the FSBO route isn’t cost-effective for all buyers. Instead, sellers who want to get the most out of selling their home should consider working with a realtor such as a Clever Partner Agent.

Clever can help you sell your Washington D.C. home while paying a fraction of the standard realtor fees. We can connect you with top performers in your market who will help you sell your home faster and obtain the best outcome in your home selling process.

Are you considering the FSBO home selling route? Successful FSBO selling depends on having the right plan. Don’t know where to start?

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about Washington D.C. FSBO home selling. Read on for your personal guide to a do-it-yourself home selling approach in the State Capitol.

How Real Estate Agent Commissions Work in Washington D.C.

The standard real estate commissions rate charged on Washington D.C. home sales is 6% of the final sale price. These commissions are split according to the agreement between realtors. Generally, the buyer’s and seller’s agents each receive about 50% of the realtor fees.

When you choose to sell your home FSBO, you still have to pay ~3% in realtor fees to the buyer’s realtor. Don’t forget that besides paying half the realtor’s commissions, you will have to invest in preparing, listing, and marketing your home. Are the potential cost-savings worth it?

When you hire a real estate agent, they’ll handle everything from listing to showing your home to potential buyers while boosting your profits and ensuring a flawless home selling process. While you may pay less than the average cost of selling a home in Washington D.C., it may end up costing you more in the long run.

4 Tips for Selling Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent in Washington D.C.

Successful FSBO selling comes down to developing the right strategy to sell your home. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula to boosting your profits and selling your Washington D.C. home faster.

Don’t know how to get the best deal out of FSBO home selling? Here are four tips to point you in the right direction.

1. Price Your Washington D.C. Home Competitively

Obtaining the best outcome when selling your Washington D.C. home begins with setting the right pricing according to market conditions. Right now, the D.C. market leans more toward the buyer’s side, which might make it tough for sellers to obtain great offers on their listings. However, D.C. homes only stay in the market about 83 days on average.

The median home value in this housing market is $580,100, while the median listing price is $589,900. In contrast, the median sale price for D.C. homes is $548,100. Last year, the Washington D.C. market experienced a 3.2% appreciation rate while experts forecast a 2.2% rise in value within the next year.

The National Association of Realtors found that sellers who work with realtors earn 33% more than FSBO sellers. Let’s say that you sell your Washington D.C. home for the median sale price of $548,100 with the help of a realtor. You could sell your home for $728,973 boosting your home selling profits by as much as $180,873.

If you choose the FSBO way, you would be leaving a lot more money on the table than your potential realtor fee cost-savings. An experienced local realtor understands the D.C. real estate market trends ensuring you’ll price your home competitively and sell your home faster than you expect.

2. Stage, Market, and List Your Home to Attract Qualified Buyers

Setting the right pricing on your listing is half the game when it comes to home selling. You must stage, market, and list your home to bring the right buyers to your doorstep. When you stage your home, you prepare the property to show it to potential buyers.

The main goal is to arrange the house in a way that potential buyers can picture themselves living in the home. Staging it will motivate buyers to place better offers on your listing.

If you choose the FSBO way, you’ll have to stage your home, take professional photos of the property, prepare home descriptions, and even advertise your listing. When you work with a realtor, they’ll take care of everything from marketing your home to drafting listing descriptions highlighting features such as open floor plan, off-street parking, and deck which are a must for D.C. buyers. They may also offer staging tips or offer an estimate of the cost of staging your home.

3. Negotiate With Buyers to Get the Best Possible Price

After listing your home, you may receive several offers from motivated buyers. You can accept, counter, or let the offers expire. You may think the last is your only option when you receive a less than perfect offer.

However, you can negotiate with buyers to agree on the best offer for both parties. Negotiating counter offers is a complicated dance with buyers where an agent can help you obtain the best outcome.

Sometimes buyers may ask sellers to cover certain home buying costs in full or in part such as closing costs, home inspections, among others which can put a dent in your profits. A local agent understands the seller’s counter offer etiquette and can help you minimize your home selling costs while ensuring a flawless closing.

4. Understand Washington D.C.’s Legal Requirements and Paperwork Involved

You may think listing and accepting the best offer on your home is your only job when you sell your house FSBO. However, you must cover your bases and protect yourself from liability by observing all the required Washington D.C. disclosures and paperwork. The District of Columbia requires sellers to disclose any known property defects.

State regulation requires you to disclose defects relating to everything about the property from known pests to details about the home appliances. The Realtors Association of the State Capitol offers a standard form you may fill out to make any necessary disclosures. However, you may consider consulting a real estate agent to obtain a complete picture of what you should disclose to your potential buyers.

Besides disclosures, you must take care of preparing all documentation from pre-listing to closing the sale. HOA statements, maintenance records, pre-inspection reports, sales and purchase agreements are only some of the necessary documents to close your deal.

Preparing all the legal documents and disclosures needed to sell a home is a technical process that can expose you to long term liability if not done right. When you work with an experienced local realtor, you ensure all the paperwork needed to sell your home is in order while protecting yourself from potential lawsuits.

The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Washington D.C. Home Without a Realtor

Calculating a hard number of the potential cost savings of working with a realtor may be difficult. However, working with an agent may be your best bet unless you are a real estate expert who fully understands D.C. market trends, home valuation, tax implications, legal documentation, and negotiations. Choosing to work with a local expert will take the pressure off your shoulders while helping you obtain the best offer on your home within an ideal timeframe.

Cost-Saving Alternative for Washington D.C. Sellers

Believe it or not, you can work with an experienced local real estate agent while saving in realtor fees. Our Clever Partner Agents have agreed to offer full agency services and charge you only a $3,000 flat fee or 1% of the final sale price if your home is sold for $350,000 or more. When you choose to work with a Partner Agent, you’ll pay about 4% in realtor fees instead of the standard 6% commission.

Let’s say that you sell your Dupont Circle, D.C. home for the median listing price of $459,000. When you choose a Partner Agent, you would only pay $18,360 instead of the typical $27,540 in realtor fees.

Why pay more and endure all the FSBO home selling pains? Consider working with a Clever Partner Agent to obtain the best offer on your home while saving on realtor fees and ensuring a flawless home selling process.

What's Next

Sell Your Home with a Top Agent and Save Thousands

Learn how you could save thousands when you sell with Clever!

Learn More

Top Real Estate Agents - Lower Fees

Enter your zip code to see if Clever has a partner agent in your area.


If you don’t love your Clever partner agent, you can request to meet  with another, or shake hands and go a different direction.  We offer this because we’re confident you’re  going to love working with a Clever Partner agent.

Find the Perfect Listing Agent

List your home for a flat fee of $3,000 or 1%