Selling your home yourself versus selling with a realtor

With advancements in technology in the real estate industry, selling your house without a realtor has never been easier.  However not everyone is able to sell their home themselves, also known as a For Sale By Owner or FSBO for short.  Lets compare what a home seller is responsible for when selling without a realtor, and selling with a realtor.

Getting you and your home ready to sell.

Here I am referring to having all the ownership documents such as a deed to prove you are the owner. If you have any open permits find out what needs to be done to close them.  If you have a mortgage, judgments, or other liens, get payoff letters so that you can properly calculate your net income.  Here a realtor may play a very small if any role in helping you.

In terms of preparing the home to be sold, unless you have a keen eye and a good sense of what looks nice, a realtor can play a vital role. Normally home owners will contact one or more realtors to come by look at the home and tell them anything that can be done to make the home look nicer.   If a simple repair can be done.  A good frank opinion of easy decluttering things that can be done to make the home look more attractive.  This does not apply to everyone.  Some homes are being sold as is.  I speaking of homes that could be made to look showroom ready with simply cheap inexpensive fixes.  There are so many resources from DIY TV and Youtube channels, to tons of Instagram and Tik tok vides of how to make your home like beautiful.

State Required forms.

When selling with a realtor, they will help you with the state required disclosures that must be provided to buyers, as well as the listing agreement and other forms realtors need you to sign that are required by  them, their company, state and local law.  When selling without a realtor you will be responsible for the state required disclosures.  However most title companies can give you the same paperwork a realtor could provide so that you have the documents necessary to sell your home. Normally these would include a property condition disclosure, a lead based paint disclosure, and if state and local law require something to be signed.  It is certainly a big help to have a realtor whom presumably has experience completing these documents, but not needed.

It is important to note that most states prohibit a realtor from helping a homeowner fill out a property condition disclosure.  The truth is you really don’t need them to help with this form because it is specific to your home and being the homeowner you will have this information not the realtor.

Pricing your home.

This is the number one reason most home owners will engage a realtor to help them sell their home.  A realtor is generally a professional in your area and knows what factors to consider when deciding the value of your home.

However for those sellers whom have a grasp on what homes are selling for in the area, they do not need a realtor to tell them what their home is worth.  In fact most realtors will tell you that 7 out of 10 sellers dictate the price the home is going on the market versus taking the realtors advice.  There are also resources at page that provide insight into ways in which a home owner can determine the value of their home.

It is worth noting that there are also many automated sites.  I am against recommending them because the information used to make the valuation is unknown, the valuations are often wrong, and each home has a unique feature or features that make it worth less, more, or the same as the neighbors home.


Nowadays it is very important to provide as many high quality pictures of the your home.  Most realtors hire a professional photographer to take the photos for the listing. These same photographers are available to you. They may charge a consumer more than a realtor because they see a realtor as a source of business and want to offer them a special deal.  So you do not need a realtor to have a beautiful pics of your home.

Writing a description.

If you sell your home without a realtor you will be responsible for writing a creative description. For those not very good at writing this can be a challenge. However, with services like or you can hire a professional writer for under $100 to write a beautiful description for your home.  Further there are resources like that provide a step by step instructions on how to write a creative description.


If you are selling your home you want maximum exposure.  You want everyone that is looking for a home in your area to be able to find your home, and be able to see the pictures, asking price, description, and all the things buyers want to see.  More than 90% of home buyers will start their search for a property on Google or some where on the internet.  Most realtors belong to a multiple listing service where they enter a listing and it will be broadcast (IT word for sending.) to all the websites such as Zillow and Trulia and many other websites that get a lot of traffic.  However you too can be on most of these websites as well and it is free.  Zillow is free you can enter your for sale by owner listing and you will be on the number one most popular website for real estate. You cannot get posted as a FSBO seller on because that is just for realtors.

There are also newer ways to market your home, such as social media websites like Facebook, in a local community group.

You do not need to list your home on an MLS in order to sell your home. When a FSBO lists their home on an MLS the realtors information will appear to the other realtor members of the MLS and to any website it is broadcast to.  This means if you list your FSBO on an MLS when it gets sent to Zillow the realtors information appears not yours.

Showing your home to potential buyers

When selling your home with a realtor, the realtor will take care of any showings that they may have. If another realtor wants to show your home to their buyer clients, they will bring their buyer and show your home. This is great for those whom have very busy schedules, have children and obligations after school, or the seller lives far from the home being sold.

However, if you are able to show your home to potential buyers, then you do not need to list with a realtor.  Often times a seller even when a realtor is with a buyer client has to tour the home with them.  And in fact it is great when the seller is there because they can often point out things that a realtor whom is not the listing agent may not know about the home.  A home owner is often more passionate about the positives of a home, simply from living there, and thus can be the best one to sell the home.

Accepting, vetting, and responding to offers

If your sell your home with the help of a realtor you can count on them to accept all offers on your home, vet them by determining which ones are of higher quality (Not the highest offer, but the ones most likely to close.) and will reply to all those that made offers, as well as pitting the offers against each other to get the highest and best offer.  However the ultimate decision is up to the homeowner.

An offer is not someone making a verbal offer to buy your home. There are several components to an offer.  I discuss in detail what makes up an offer in my article

You do not need to be the most savvy person to negotiate the price of your home.  However you do have to feel comfortable discussing your price and why you think it is worth that much to potential buyers.  You also want to be able to leave the doors open to offers you did not accept, incase you change your mind.  Not everyone can do this.  So consider this very crucial step when determining if you want to sell for sale by owner.  Yet keep in mind even when listing with an agent the home seller is the ultimate decider of which offer is going to be accepted.

As a side note at we vet every offer and are available to help a homeowner decide which offer is the one to accept and move forward with.

Getting into contract.

Honestly this is the easiest part of the selling process. Once you have determined the price and if the home is being sold as is, or are you taking a few things with you? Getting the buyer to sign the contract of sale is the easy part. If listed with a realtor they can take care of making sure all parties sign the contract of sale. However a local title company can do the same thing. They will even hold the down payment in escrow.

Staying on top of the transaction.

One of the most important roles a realtor plays in a transaction is keeping in touch with all parties and making sure they are doing their part to close, ie applying for a mortgage, ordering title, getting payoffs for a mortgage the seller has.  By doing this a seller will be made aware of any problems in the deal.  A homeowner selling a home without a realtor can achieve the same thing.  It simply requires an agreement between the buyer and seller that the seller can follow up to see the progress the buyer is making towards closing. Therefore you don’t need a realtor to help you with this.


Once the buyer is ready to close the buyer will visit the home looking at each room and the exterior of the home before signing the closing documents.  If your selling your home without a realtor, this is as easy as making a time the day of the closing for the buyer to come and see the home is in similar condition as it was when the buyer signed the contract of sale.  You do not need a realtor to help with this. However should an issue arise, it is important to remember that the buyer and seller need to come to an agreement on the issue.  Sometimes but not always it is good to have someone between the two parties helping to negotiate this, and realtors are equipped for such a situation.  However in the end it will be the actual buyers and sellers that make the ultimate decision on what to do.  Therefore a home owner may be savvy enough to deal with this on their own.

There are many steps to selling your home without a realtor. Not everyone or every circumstances allow for someone to sell their home without a realtor.  And it is safe to say realtors can play a vital role in the sale of a home. However for those savvy enough to be able to:

  1. Prepare their home for sale
  2. Price their home.
  3. Show it
  4. Accept and reply to offers
  5. Understands the sale of a home process,

Then you can sell your home yourself and save thousands of dollars.