FSBO? How To Sell a Home Without a Real Estate Agent

What Does it Take to Sell a Home Without a Real Estate Agent?

It’s a big temptation for sellers: should we sell a home without a real estate agent? In today’s real estate market sellers are considering FSBO (For Sale By Owner) more and more as a means to cut cost and increase their bottomline. But the risks are high, and it may end up costing you more in the end when you sell a home without a real estate agent. It’s not a decision to take lightly, so before you decide to sell a home without a real estate agent consider these questions.

Do I know How to Price My Home to Sell?

Seems like an easy question. But, in today’s market setting the right listing price can mean the difference between selling a home or being left with an expired listing. Even worse, setting the wrong listing price can lead to selling the house for less than you could have.

To sell a home without a real estate agent, sellers must research data and reports of recent sales in the area to determine how much comparable homes, or “comps,” are selling for. This requires analysis of market conditions, timing, days on market, listing price versus selling price, and a load of other factors. Deciding to sell a home without a real estate agent is a huge time investment. And unfortunately FSBO time spent doesn’t always equate into dollars.

When you sell a home without a real estate agent you run the risk of listing the home too high, leading to little interest, or an interested buyer who can’t secure a loan. Prospective buyers using a bank loan rely on bank appraisers to assess the home’s worth, and if this comes in less than you’ve asked for it’s likely you won’t be able to sell at that price. This is where the right realtor makes a difference. For example, in addition to synthesizing local real estate market reports daily to know the selling trends in Norwell, Hingham, Hanover and other South Shore communities, Capital Residential provides a third-party appraisal as part of our value-added service to clients. It gives our clients a sense of security knowing that the listing price matches the home’s true worth, and is the first step in securing solid offers

Am I Prepared To Take on the Role of Realtor?

When you sell a home without a real estate agent you are, in essence, taking on two roles: home seller and realtor. Before you decide to sell a home without a real estate agent ask yourself if you’re prepared and willing to perform the following tasks as a FSBO:


  • prepare and provide documents, forms, and disclosure packets to interested buyers and their agents
  • answer questions about documents

Show the House:

  • arrange individual walk-throughs of the property
  • provide a lockbox
  • take interested buyers with no real estate representative on tours of the home
  • coordinate open houses including weekday open houses for real estate brokers and weekend open houses for the buyers
  • order and arrange exterior signs, set the home for the tour

Screen Buyers:

  • check that interested buyers are pre-approved to purchase the home (this is extremely important. Banks are requiring proof of higher salaries and sizeable down payments before giving pre-approval on mortgages). Even if it’s uncomfortable, when you sell a home without a real estate agent, you must be willing to ask interested buyers for proof (a reputable pre-approval letter) of their ability to buy the home


  • review offers on the house from interested buyers
  • evaluate offers for acceptance, rejection, counteroffer
  • actively secure backup offers
  • negotiate with the buyer’s agent until the purchase contract is complete
  • coordinate with the buyer’s agent throughout the escrow period, making the house available for inspections and appraisals
  • consider reductions in purchase price due to repair issues revealed during inspection
  • work with buyer’s agent to determine the percentage of the home sale the agent will receive (buyer’s agents expect a percentage even though you’ve decided to sell a home without a real estate agent)
  • attend the closing

There’s a lot of leg work, paperwork, running around, and details that have to be managed when you sell a home without a real estate agent. And with so many factors at play and people involved, issues pop up that need to be addressed. The advantage for seller’s to work with a qualified realtor is that the seller doesn’t have to worry about any of these details or how to work through issues when the arise. At Capital Residential we’ve been through the process countless times, we know what to expect, and when issues come up we are prepared to deal with them professionally and always in you, the seller’s, best interest. There’s no second-guessing along the way because this is what we do. We have years of experience working with sellers, buyers, agents and attorneys, and will guide you through the process, start to finish. We’ll take care of the details, so you can concentrate on the move.

Do I Know How to Market a House When I Sell a Home Without a Real Estate Agent?

Part of a realtor’s job is marketing, and when you sell a home without a real estate agent all of the selling strategy falls on the FSBO. Direct mail, newspaper advertisements, MLS listings, web listings on the major online home search sites are just a few of the facets of marketing that realtors use when listing a house for sale. It requires home staging, taking quality photos of the interior and exterior of house, submitting the home and its details to MLS (which costs a fee,) working with the newspaper to produce and run ads, and more. Today’s buyers expect to find out a lot about a home for sale right at their fingertips so if your home has little marketing prominence chances are you’ll get zero interest. There’s a lot of competition among sellers and a weak marketing plan really lowers your shot at a sale.

Often when sellers work with realtors some of these marketing aspects are part of the service. At Capital Residential we customize a complete marketing strategy for selling your home. It’s a robust campaign that combines traditional advertising and the latest social media platforms so that your home has a prominent and strong presence with potential buyers. We stage and design your home, we take professional photos of your property, we shoot video of your home to upload as virtual tours online, we submit MLS listing, we feature your property on all the major home search sites, we run ads in papers, we network with buyer agents and encourage tours with well-matched buyers, we promote your listing on our capitalresidential.com web site, our facebook page, and twitter, and more. There’s no end to the marketing we do for our clients.

So Should I Sell a Home Without a Real Estate Agent?

The process to sell a home withouth a real estate agent is an extremely time-intensive undertaking, and there’s no guarantee the house will sell. And even if it does sell, there are many instances in the process where the seller can lose out on money if the deal is not negotiated well. It’s risky to sell a home without a real estate agent, and in this real estate market it doesn’t make a lot of sense to take that chance. Selling a home with a qualified real estate firm such as Capital Residential provides security that your home will be listed at the right price and promoted actively and professionally to buyers. And when qualified buyers make solid offers, you can be confident that we’ll manage and negotiate the closing process.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, contact me, George Jamieson at Capital Residential in Norwell, MA. I can be reached by email at George@capitalresidential.com or call/text me at 617.877.4839. I am happy to answer your questions and work with you to set a real estate strategy for selling your home in today’s South Shore market.

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