Top Tools for FSBO Sellers

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By Steve Nicastro Updated April 11, 2024


The vast majority of American homes are sold with the assistance of a real estate agent, but some home sellers choose to go it alone. This approach is known as for sale by owner (FSBO).

Selling your house without a realtor can save you money on real estate agent commissions, which average close to 6% nationwide. But you’ll face a slew of challenges. The home selling process is highly complex, involving everything from preparing, listing, and marketing your home, to handling the contacts and closing.

Fortunately, there’s an ever-growing array of services, platforms, and resources to help you manage virtually every step of the transaction. Read on to learn more about the FSBO tools at your disposal!

And if you find this listing of FSBO tools overwhelming, there are other ways to save money on realtor fees without putting in so much effort. Clever Real Estate connects you with top full-service agents in your area. But, instead of paying the standard 3% commission, you'll pay just $3,500 or 1.5%.

» SAVE: Sell with a top local realtor for a 1.5% listing fee

Overview of FSBO tools

Step Tasks
Presale improvements Make minor repairs to houseFind a trusted local contractor
Pricing your home Use online tools for home value estimatesReceive a CMA from a realtor

Use Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA)’s home price index (HPI) calculator

Listing your home Sign up with a flat fee MLS companyList your home using a free FSBO website

Consider a discount brokerage/flat-fee real estate agent

Marketing your home Make a custom FSBO signTake great photos or hire a professional photographer

Use virtual staging software and apps

Upload a video walkthrough or a 3D tour

Showcase your house with drone photography

Use social media to advertise

Contracts & paperwork Have an attorney review your paperwork
Closing Find a title insurance company
Show more

Tools for presale improvements

Presale improvements will enhance your home’s desirability and boost the price it can command. You can increase your home’s curb appeal with improvements large and small, such as:

  • Minor repairs (fresh coat of paint, new cabinets, garage door replacement, etc.)
  • Landscaping improvements
  • Kitchen remodeling

Tool How it can help
HomeAdvisor Find top-rated contractors to bid on your next project
Thumbtack Search for a local contractor in all 50 states
Show more

»MORE: Best Home Improvements for Resale

Tools for pricing your home

Figuring out your home’s value and, therefore, an appropriate asking price is a crucial step in the FSBO process. Many sellers botch this, asking for a price that’s too high (deterring potential buyers and delaying the sale) or too low (leaving money on the table).

Online valuation tools

As a starting point, you can try using popular online tools to get a rough estimate of your home’s value.

Tool How it works
Redfin Shows home estimates in 80+ markets
Zillow Zestimate Uses a proprietary formula to calculate home values with a median error rate of 1.9%
Trulia Estimate Available for more than 65 million properties Draws on data from 3 valuation providers
Real Estate ABC Analyzes roughly 60 million records to estimate home value Uses a proprietary formula and up to 20 properties to calculate a value range Gives an estimate based on local property values, prices, and recent nearby sales
Chase Mortgage Services Harnesses millions of home records in Chase’s database
RE/MAX Uses automated computer modeling from public records to generate estimated value Offers a ballpark estimate of your home’s value
FHFA’s House Price Calculator Shows current worth of house if it appreciated at average appreciation rate of all homes in area
BiggerPockets forum Lets you ask the real estate community for help
Show more

»MORE: 5 Home Pricing Strategies That Work Wonders for Sellers

Online valuation tools can be very useful, but you shouldn’t rely on them for accurate insight into your home’s value. Websites like Zillow and draw on available data and make assumptions, meaning their estimates aren't always correct.

You can use these sites to research comparable properties and come up with your own estimated home value. However, you should work with a professional realtor or appraiser for the most accurate pricing of your home.

Professional valuation tools

One of the most important services a realtor can provide is a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA evaluates comparable properties that have sold in your area to estimate your home’s market.

You can also hire a licensed appraiser to provide a pre-sale appraisal, which gives you another starting point for pricing your house. Whereas a CMA represents the price you can reasonably expect to procure for your home, the appraisal value is whatever the appraiser decides your home is worth. Appraisals cost about $350, depending on the property’s location.

»MORE: Appraisal Value vs Market Value: What's the Difference?

Tools for listing your home

Unless you have a specific buyer in mind, you’re going to need to list your home (that is, put it on the market) as a FSBO seller. Your options include using a flat-fee MLS listing service to list your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS); listing your home using a free FSBO website; or hiring a realtor to manage your listing from start to finish.

MLS listing tools

For the best marketing results, you should create a listing on the local MLS. MLSs are private databases that realtors use to help their clients buy and sell homes. Homes on the MLS are syndicated to all the major real estate websites, such as Redfin and Zillow.

Only licensed realtors can access the MLS, but FSBO sellers can have their listing put on their local MLS by a flat fee MLS company. You can search for a flat fee MLS company in your state, or go with one of the top nationwide flat fee MLS companies.

Nationwide flat fee MLS company Who it’s best for
Houzeo Sellers looking for a lot of à-la-carte options
Flat Fee Group Sellers who want to work with a local broker with a national reputation
Fizber Sellers who want to attract people looking for a FSBO property Sellers looking for a listing they can manage entirely online Sellers who also want to list on a large FSBO marketplace
Show more

FSBO website listing tools

You can also list your home using a free FSBO website. While this approach is cheap and easy, it has serious disadvantages. When you sign up with a flat fee MLS company, your home will be syndicated to every major real estate platform, but if you sign up with a FSBO website, your home will only appear on that site.

Also, remember that you'll be competing with many other sellers in your area, most of whom have hired professional agents. Those agents will be aggressively marketing their clients’ homes across hundreds of websites, not just one free FSBO platform.

Tool How it can help
Zillow FSBO listing List your home on a popular free FSBO website Claims to have 7x more traffic than any other FSBO site Basic package includes a 6-month listing on and a listing
Show more

»MORE: How to List a House on Zillow: An In-Depth Guide

Traditional realtor tools

As an alternative to FSBO, consider a full-service discount real estate brokerage. You’ll get the services of a professional realtor, including having your home listed on the MLS, while saving potentially thousands on commission.

The downside of a discount broker is that you’ll often compromise on some aspect of the transaction, such as reduced services or less dedicated support.

The companies marked with a star (⭐) below deliver the best savings with service and support comparable to that of a traditional realtor charging standard rates.

Discount brokerage Features
Clever Real Estate Free nationwide agent matching platform with full service and support
Redfin Proven nationwide brand with real savings, but falls short on service
SimpleShowing Available to home sellers in Florida, Georgia, and Texas
Houwzer Operates in select markets on the East Coast
Reali Available in select markets throughout California
Prevu Operates in select East Coast markets and Los Angeles
Trelora Available in select markets in 5 U.S. states
Redefy Operates in select markets across 9 U.S. states
Assist-2-sell Has about 130 offices nationwide but rates and service quality may vary by location
Show more

Tools for marketing your home

In addition to listing your home, you should develop a marketing strategy to boost your home’s appeal and command higher offers. Reaching interested buyers and making your home stand out should be a top priority.

FSBO sign

A "For Sale By Owner" sign is a cheap and easy way to let passersby know your home is for sale. In addition, it can provide information about the property, such as how to schedule a showing and where to find the listing.

On the other hand, the internet has made yard signs less effective. Although a significant percentage of FSBO sellers use yard signs to market their homes, only about 7% of buyers find their home through a yard sign, according to the National Association of Realtors. Also, your sign may invite annoying calls from real estate agents trying to get you to use their services.

If you decide signage is right for you, avoid DIY signs. Instead, order a custom FSBO sign from a reputable custom sign company.

FSBO sign company Pricing
eSigns $16.79 for an 18" x 24" sign
Build A Sign $19.52 for an 18" x 24" sign $52.81 for 18" x 24" sign w/ 24" x 47" frame
Vistaprint $11.86 for an 18" x 24" sign
Fast Real Estate Signs $24.12 for a typical 18" x 24" FSBO sign
Custom Real Estate Signs $14.57 for an 18" x 24" sign
Show more

Great photography

Posting attractive pictures of your home is one of the most important steps in marketing your property. The best approach is to hire a professional photographer who will know how to take high-quality pictures that make your home look desirable.

If you decide to take photos yourself, use a good camera and other equipment for the best results. Shooting with ambient light is generally ok, so you don’t need external lights, but you’ll want a tripod to stabilize the camera and a wide-angle lens to capture entire rooms in one shot.

Tool How it can help
ZillowPorch Hire a good professional photographer in your town
Best BuyTarget



Buy useful equipment for DIY photography, such as:

  • High-quality DSLR camera
  • Wide-angle lens
  • Tripod


Use photo editing software to retouch the photos and enhance their aesthetic appeal (crop, adjust the lighting and color balance, etc.)
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Virtual staging software and apps

Virtual staging is an increasingly popular real estate technology that enables potential buyers to see what your home could look like with different accessories, decor, and furniture.

The software digitally places these elements in the interior spaces to showcase your home in a variety of ways. Agents usually handle virtual staging, but there are many platforms and apps that allow you to do it yourself.

Virtual staging company Pricing and features
BoxBrownie Offers virtual staging for $24/image with 48-hour turnaround and 24/7 customer support
Homestyler Provides a free basic plan with unlimited 1K renders. Buy 4K renders for $9.99/10 renders and 12K panoramas for $19.99/10 renders
Housecraft Allows you to place fully rendered 3D furniture in images captured with your iPhone or iPad for free
iStaging Offers easy virtual staging with a smartphone or 360 camera. Use the company’s capturing app and online editing platform for $5/month
PadStyler Offers live chat support, unlimited free revisions, and a money-back guarantee. Special offer of $49 for 1 photo and $29/photo for 8+ photos
Real Tour Vision Offers virtual staging for $15/photo for still photos and $25/photo for 360 photos. Custom style and instructions offered for $5/photo
RoOomy Offers virtual staging for $69, including 1 round of rework
Spotless Agency Provides plans ranging from $79 to $199 per image. Turnaround ranges from next day to up to 4 days
Virtual Staging Solutions Furnishes and remodels your house photos and offers physical prints. Prices range from $300 for 4 photos to $525 for 7 photos
VisualStager Offers pay-as-you-go pricing from $6.99 to $15 per photo. Geared toward photographers, agents, and brokers
VRX Staging Adds trendy furniture and home decor for $29/photo with next business day delivery and a money-back guarantee
Virtually Staging Properties Custom designs virtual staging for $60 per photo
Virtual Staging Lab Offers vacant room staging for $40 and room remodeling for $60
Show more

Video walkthrough

A video walkthrough, unlike a 3D walkthrough or virtual staging, shows potential buyers what your home looks like now. As the name implies, it’s a video shot by someone walking through your house.

Zillow allows you to create and upload video walkthroughs, but you might also consider posting a video walkthrough on YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing site. A report by the NAR Research Group found that 37% of home buyers use online video sites to search for a home.

Video walkthrough tool How it works
Zillow video walkthrough Create and upload a video walkthrough of your home using any Android or iOS smartphone or tablet
HomeVisit Company sends a professional videographer to your house
YouTube Post a video walkthrough to the world’s largest video-sharing site
Show more

3D walkthrough / 3D tour

You can also showcase your home to potential buyers with an interactive 3D walkthrough or 3D tour (sometimes called a virtual tour).

3D walkthroughs allow users to navigate a virtual representation of your home. They can also click and rotate the image to view the space from different angles. 3D walkthroughs are often clunky to use, and a video tour may be preferable.

3D walkthrough tool How it can help
Matterport Use an iPhone to create your own 3D walkthrough (or have a professional scan your house)
iStaging Upload panoramas or 3D renders of your home using the company’s smartphone capturing kit or a 360 camera
EyeSpyPLAY Use any 360 camera or DSLR to create pre-recorded, narrated virtual tour of your house
Zillow 3D Home app Use an iOS or Android device or 360 camera to capture panoramas and upload a 3D tour to your home listing
Show more

Drone photography

Drone photography shows the exterior of your house in all its glory, as well as some of the surrounding neighborhood. You probably want to hire a professional for drone shots unless you're an experienced pilot.

If you buy a drone, you’ll need to register it with the Federal Aviation Authority and abide by all relevant regulations. Also, you’ll probably want insurance to cover any potential damages or injuries caused by the drone.

Drones can be pricey (up to $10,000), but there are some entry-level models you can buy if you choose the DIY option.

Tool How it can help
DJI Mavic Mini drone Buy a good entry-level drone for less than $400
ThumbtackYelp Hire a drone photographer to capture aerial video of your house
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Social media

Apart from the major real estate platforms like Zillow and Trulia, you can also reach a potentially large audience with social media.

While social media is not the standard way to market real estate, you may be able to find interested buyers on the major platforms. All of these sites are completely DIY, so you’ll need to do the marketing legwork yourself.

Platform What it’s best for
Craigslist Posting your home on the best-known classified ads site
Facebook Marketplace Listing your home on a major e-commerce platform
Instagram Showcasing photos of your home to a millennial-heavy user base
Pinterest Posting pictures of your home and sparking conversation
Show more

These platforms are geared towards different user bases and each has its own quirks.


Craigslist is one of the most visited listing sites on the web, with about 478 million visits each month. Generally, it’s not an ideal place to market your house because of the difficulty of finding qualified buyers and the risk of scams.

But Craigslist attracts lots of investors who are looking for distressed properties to flip, so it can be a good option for houses that are tough to sell to a standard buyer — for instance, those that are condemned or in disrepair. The site has basic features, meaning you need to do all the work of writing a description, pricing the house, uploading photos, and so on.

Read Clever’s how-to guide to selling a house on Craigslist for more.

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is a free e-commerce platform with more than 1 billion users each month. Although it’s not the most popular place to hawk real estate, the site allows you to create a home listing, so it may be a good option for boosting exposure to your property.

Similar to Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace is completely DIY and lacks FSBO-specific tools, so you get no help with marketing, photography, closing, etc. On the plus side, the site is easy to use and allows you to target interested buyers with mobile-friendly listings.


With about 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is a potentially effective way to get the word out about your home. The giant photo- and video-sharing network is popular with millennials and gives you the chance to feature visually compelling photos.

You can use Instagram ads (which allow you to turn any post into an ad) with location targeting to boost the visibility of your home.


Pinterest is an image-sharing site with 454 million monthly active users that allows you to create an account and post pictures of your house. It’s better for posting house images than for listing or open house information.

Realtors are better positioned to get value from Pinterest than individual sellers because they can post lots of houses, create "boards" around specific topics, and drive conversation and engagement. But enterprising sellers can try their hand at Pinterest marketing if they’re up for the challenge.

Tools for contracts and paperwork

The average property sale requires some 180 sheets of contracts, forms, and other documents. Many companies will provide the documents you need as a FSBO seller, but you should still have your paperwork reviewed by a professional.

Legal resources

If you don’t plan on hiring a real estate agent, you should at least have an attorney review your paperwork. Many U.S. states require an attorney to be involved in the home sale process. Even if it’s not legally required in your state, running your documents by a lawyer is always a good idea.

Tool How it can help
AvvoThumbtack Find a real estate attorney to review your paperwork Get information about local real estate laws and required documents in your state
FSBO Documents Learn how to create a FSBO real estate purchase agreement and contract
Flat fee MLS companies Some companies offer the required legal documents and disclosures for an additional fee
Show more

»MORE: How much does a real estate lawyer cost?

Real estate forms providers

Some companies provide real estate contracts and other legal documents for DIY transactions.

Real estate forms provider Pricing and features
RealtyPact Provides complete set of documents for FSBO home sales and other transactions for $129
Standard Legal Allows you to create legal documents and customize a real estate purchase agreement according to your state laws/specific transaction for $19.95
U.S. Legal Forms Provides unlimited access to state-specific legal forms for $8/month. Upgrade to document management and e-signatures for $15/month
Find Legal Forms Has a large library of legal forms but does not offer a specific FSBO sale package
Show more

Tools for closing

Ordering a title search and purchasing title insurance is a key component of most closings, when the seller transfers ownership of the house to the buyer.

Most home sellers cover the cost of the buyer’s title insurance policy. Generally, the buyer's agent uses his or her connections to recommend a title company for the buyer (in many cases, the seller isn’t involved in this process at all).

However, a FSBO seller may want to research a title company if the buyer doesn’t have an agent to recommend one. Also, some FSBO sellers prefer to choose their own title company for the buyer to work with, often to ensure that the company is affordable.

Four title companies account for 80.5% of all title transactions nationwide, so going with one of them is probably a safe bet.

Tool How it can help
Major title insurance firms:

Use a title insurance company to conduct the title search and issue title insurance
American Land Title Association (ATLA) Search for a title insurance companies nationwide by city and county
Show more

»MORE: Real Estate Closing Costs: Find ALL the Fees You'll Pay

Overwhelmed? Hire a realtor instead

FSBO sales represented a significant 8% of all home sales in America in 2020. Going FSBO is a great option to consider if you know the prospective buyer and you’re experienced with real estate deals.

For everyone else, the process of selling a house is usually too complex, risky, and time-intensive to go it alone — even with access to online resources and cutting-edge tools. FSBO homes also reap about 26% less on average than agented properties, which may negate any savings from forgoing an agent.

If you’re a less experienced seller or a FSBO sale seems like too much risk for too little reward, consider finding a real estate professional to help you out. A free agent matching service is the fastest and easiest way to find a great local agent.

Unlike other agent matching services, Clever Real Estate offers a discounted commission of 1% or $3,000 and can match you with top-rated full-service agents at a fraction of the price of a traditional agent.

👋 Next Steps: Talk to an expert

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Can I sell my house without a realtor?

Yes, you can — this is known as for sale by owner (FSBO), and it is legal in all 50 states. While FSBO may make sense for home sellers who already know the buyer and are experienced in real estate sales, the vast majority of Americans (88%) prefer to hire a licensed realtor to assist them with the process. For those willing to take on the complexities of a FSBO sale, there are a number of tools and resources that can help.

Can I use online platforms like Zillow to list my house?

Yes, but make sure you understand what these sites are offering. You can post your house using a free FSBO website such as,, or Zillow’s FSBO listing feature, but then your home will only appear on that site. A better approach is usually to pay a flat-fee MLS service to list your home on the local MLS. Your listing will then get posted to every major real estate website, including Zillow, Trulia, and others.

How do I determine my home’s listing price?

As a starting point, consider using an online valuation tool offered by sites such as,, Redfin, and Zillow to get a rough estimate of your property’s value. For more accurate insight, a professional realtor can provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) to estimate the price your house will fetch on the market. A professional appraiser can also provide a pre-sale appraisal for another measure of your home’s worth.

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