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How to List Your Home For Sale By Owner on Zillow

If you’re selling your home as a FSBO, you may not be able to get it on the local MLS, but you can list it on Zillow. Here’s how to do it and some tips for making it stand out to attract more buyers.
If you’re selling your home as a FSBO, you may not be able to get it on the local MLS, but you can list it on Zillow. Here’s how to do it and some tips for making it stand out to attract more buyers.

Listing your FSBO home on Zillow seems easy, but creating a killer post is harder than most homeowners know. Without professional help you have to get the perfect listing price, stunning photos, and specifics about all the rooms in your home, including square footage.

Marketing your home is much more complicated than simply creating a Zillow listing. This is why people hire a local real estate agent — they have the skills to successfully take on all the difficult and time-consuming parts of selling a home.

But working with an agent doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Compared to FSBO sales, agent-assisted sales net more money. Plus you can work with a top, full-service agent and save up to 50% in commissions.

Reach out to learn how you can benefit from the help of an agent and save money on listing commissions.

In the meantime, if you're planning on selling FSBO, here's how to list your home on Zillow.

What Is For Sale By Owner

When a home is for sale by owner (or FSBO), it's being sold without the help of a listing agent. Instead, the owner does all the work of selling the home themselves, including setting the listing price, staging, photographing, and marketing the home. They also negotiate directly with buyers, or through the buyer's agent.

In return, they avoid paying real estate commissions for a listing agent, which can typically be about 3% of the final selling price.

Why List Your FSBO Home on Zillow

Zillow is the #1 real estate website out there, so there's good reason to list your FSBO listing on it. Most home shoppers rely on an online search to find their new home in at least some capacity and Zillow is one of the first places they look.

While they may be able to find your FSBO home though another avenue, if your home isn't on Zillow, you're potentially missing out on a huge pool of buyers.

Does Zillow charge to list For Sale By Owner?

It's free to post a FSBO listing on Zillow, so you've really got nothing to lose. Zillow makes most of its money through ads, iBuying, and premier services for real estate agents. This allows them to let buyers and sellers use their site free of charge.

Here's the catch: in exchange for a free listing, Zillow passes along your info to agents paying for its premier services. This means you may get contacted by more than a few agents trying to convince you to switch from a FSBO to using (and paying for) the services of an agent — and time is money.

Should you use Zillow Make Me Move before going full FSBO?

Zillow's Make Me Move option allows home sellers to test their market's waters without officially listing their home as a FSBO. If you get a competitive offer, you can choose to sell directly, without an agent.

The drawback here is that you may not really know if the offer is competitive since you don't know what other buyers would have offered if your home was on the open market and properly advertised.

While it may be interesting to see which offers come forward, it's unlikely that Zillow's Make Me Move will produce any quality offers in a reasonable timeframe. Motivated buyers don't want to waste their time putting in an offer on a home that isn't a for-sure option. Plus, you're only reaching buyers on Zillow — potentially missing out on a larger pool of potential buyers.

If you do decide to post on Make Me Move, it's simple to change your listing to a FSBO listing or one with an agent. All the information you entered previously will be carried over to your new listing, including any photos you uploaded.

How to List on Zillow “For Sale By Owner”

  • Create your account and get started: After visiting Zillow's homepage, hover over the “Sell” subheader at the top of the page. Then, click on “Post For Sale By Owner.” Start your post by entering your home's address.
  • Research the market and set your listing price: On the next page, you'll have the opportunity to set your price. Take some time to consider a variety of data. Zillow will provide an estimate (a Zestimate), but also look at information from your local assessor's office, as well as comparable homes that have recently been sold in your area to determine your home's value. While you're not using an agent to sell your home, you may be able to convince them to do a comparative market analysis (CMA) for a small fee.
  • Prepare good marketing materials: When listing your home online, presentation is key. This includes stunning photos, an accurate and appealing description, and a well-produced video walkthrough. You'll upload these items just before posting your listing, so make sure to have them prepared beforehand. In your description, include major landmarks or points of interest nearby, any upgrades or renovations you've performed, and anything else that makes your home stand out.
  • Double-check the details: Zillow auto-enters details it thinks it knows about your home but always verify that the information is correct. Make sure to enter as many fields as possible about the specifics of your home and any open house dates you have planned.

Pros of FSBO Zillow Listings

  • Save money: As mentioned previously, it's free to post your FSBO on Zillow, so you can get your listing out there without having to pay a realtor, or even paying for a flat-fee MLS broker.
  • Be seen: Zillow is the place to be when selling your home. As of March 2019, 80% of homes sold were seen on Zillow. By posting your home on the site, you'll be in front of thousands of potential buyers in your area.
  • You're in control: With a FSBO, you control every aspect of the sale. You set your own selling price, make your own Zillow listing, and negotiate on your own behalf. This means you're in control and can move at whatever pace feels most comfortable.

Cons of FSBO Zillow Listings

  • A turn-off for buyer's agents: FSBO sellers can often be a red flag to buyer's agents. Often inexperienced home sellers are unrealistic or uninformed about real estate, meaning more work for the buyer's agent. Plus, a buyer's agent may assume that since you're selling your home FSBO, you're unwilling to offer a reasonable buyer's agent commission. For best results, cooperate with these agents and plan on paying the standard 3% buyer's agent commission — even though it might pain you a bit.
  • Tire-kickers: Let's be honest — we've all wasted a salesperson's time when we weren't quite ready to purchase. Such can be the case with buyers looking at FSBO homes on Zillow. Be ready to put up with people who ask millions of detailed questions and visit your open house for free cookies, but don't have any real intentions of buying your home.
  • Leaving money on the table: FSBO sales take longer and end with lower sales prices than agent-assisted sales. While you may be saving money by avoiding listing commissions, the resulting lower sales price might mean losing money overall.

Top Alternatives to FSBO Zillow Listings

Flat-Fee MLS Listings

By listing your home on a local MLS, your home will be widely seen by potential buyers and their agents. This is one of the main places agents go to find their clients homes to buy.

Since you must be a licensed real estate agent or broker to list a home on the local MLS, FSBO sellers can't put their homes on the MLS by themselves.

But, there's a work-around — you can hire a flat-fee MLS broker to do it on your behalf, but that's the only service the agent is provides. They won't be involved in the sale beyond the MLS listing unless you pay for additional services.

Flat-Fee MLS brokers charge in the range of $50 to $300, with most right around $100. By contrast, traditional listing agents cost about 3% of your homes selling price — but, they do provide end-to-end service during your home selling experience.

Clever Real Estate

If you want to save money, but aren't confident in your ability to sell your home alone, consider a full-service, low-commission agent.

Clever partners with top agents from major brands — like Century 21 or Keller Williams who are experts in their local markets and will list your home on both the local MLS and Zillow. Since they offer their full services, they streamline your selling process, meaning less headache and worry from beginning to end. Plus,

Partner Agents save you up to 50% on commission by working for a flat fee of $3,000, or 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.

Reach out to Clever for a free, no-obligations consultation and find out how you can save money without sacrificing service.

Top FAQs About For Sale By Owner Zillow Listings

Are all houses listed on Zillow?

Not all homes for sale are listed on Zillow, but a good portion are — it's estimated that around 80% of homes available for purchase have a Zillow listing. Most homes listed on local MLSs are listed on Zillow, but not always.

In order for FSBO homes to be listed on Zillow, the seller must create a listing themselves.

Does Zillow pull from the MLS?

Since Zillow is not a brokerage, it cannot pull data directly from the MLS. However, it does receive access to local MLSs by negotiating data sharing and syndication agreements. A broker can contact Zillow directly to send listings via an MLS or direct broker feed.

FSBO homes are not listed on an MLS and must be entered manually by the seller.

How do I list my home For Sale By Owner on MLS?

Only licensed rental estate brokers and their agents can post on MLSs and each area has its own listing service. As a FSBO seller, you don't have an agent representing you to get your home listed on your local MLS. But since buyers and their agents frequently scan MLSs for homes for sale, you may still wish to list your home there.

Flat-fee MLS brokers offer this service for a flat fee — typically anywhere from $50 to $300, but $100 on average.

When using an MLS broker, your home will no longer be considered a FSBO in the truest sense of the word. But, the MLS broker will provide only the service of listing your home on the MLS and nothing more. You'll still do all the work of selling your home yourself and pay the broker the fee for the MLS listing.

Will Zillow buy my house?

In 2018, Zillow entered the iBuyer market of buying and selling homes in select markets. The service — called Zillow Offers — presents potential sellers with a cash offer for their home (minus the amount for any repairs needed and a service fee).

Whether Zillow would be interested in purchasing your specific property depends on your location, your home's value, and other specifics. But, you can always use the Zillow Offers tool on the company's website to find out.

When using Zillow Offers, if you agree to the terms, Zillow takes ownership of the home when they close with you. They then make repairs, prepare it for showings, and then quickly list it for sale, hoping to sell in the next 90 days.


Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

See all Jamie's Posts

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