Best way to sell house without realtor

msmagooFebruary 14, 2006

Can anyone out there give me some tips on how to sell without a realtor. My MIL recently had a nightmare experience with the "so-called" sale of her house, the seller backed out, his deposit check bounced, she is now out of her contract with that realtor, so she wants to try to sell it herself. I can help with posting on the internet or e-mailing pics, are there sites that list sale by owner. Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated!

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Here are a list of FSBO sites that will list for free on the internet.

There are others also, but this will get you started.

Also, make brochures adding the features of your home, pictures, room sizes, square footage...etc., and have them available at all times by your For Sale by Owner sign. has a feature where you can print brochures that includes the features you have entered on the website.

You also want to advertise in your local newspaper. It can become very expensive depending on your area.

Because you are not listing with a realtor, your home will not get the exposure you would get if you had listed with a realtor. Selling FSBO can take a little time or it can take a lot of time to sell, again depending on the market in your area. It also takes a lot of patience on your part.

I am sure some of the others on the forum will give other good tips.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 5:39PM
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I just ordered some FSBO supplies from the 'net, and Ebay. The Ebay site southernexposure75 has a FSBO sign where you can choose 2 descriptive lines, display your contact phone number, and can even change the "By Appointment Only" bottom line. The bottom line could be your web page, a statement about paying a fee to buyer's brokers, or whatever. These lines are made with stick-on letters, so I don't know how well they will work, I'll let you know. I chose "1437 square feet," "Big Custom Kitchen," and "Move Right In!" for the three lines. I seriously considered putting, "Buyer's Broker 2%" for the bottom line, but can envision a buyer getting and additional 2% discount on the home price by having a friend or relative with a Realtor's license jump in and "work" the deal. I guess I figure there is a lower chance of a real Realtor deciding to show my FSBO house to their buyers than there is a chance that any Joe or Jane Blow out there knows someone with a realty license!

Another source for supplies was chek168 for open house directional signs.

A website called sells all kinds of supplies, including nice flyer boxes, FSBO kits, and St. Joseph statues. I got the flyer box and a string of multicolored flags to put out on open house days.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 9:19PM
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If your house is Mid-Century Modern, try - they have a RE section where you can post for free, although most ads are for the California area.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 6:46AM
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I think the main thing is to be very well informed (and realistic) about the market conditions in your area. Do you see other successful FSBOs happening? Is the house in a hot area? If house is in a so-so area (market is mediocre, not fast-moving), FSBO may be a frustrating and ultimately fruitless endeavor. If the seller is patient and doesn't mind investing some amount of time and effort into trying FSBO, go ahead and try. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 9:09PM
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Another FSBO site that lists home for only $1 is

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 9:39PM
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My old neighbor in Denver listed her home a month ago by owner, but paid a fee of $500 to have a realtor list it in the MLS -- she would have had to pay a 3% commission if a realtor showed and sold the home, but if she sold it herself, she didn't have to pay a commission. She had about a dozen showings in 10 days and sold it to someone she showed the home to herself, so she didn't have to pay a commission. Do a google search of for sale by owner and you can search to see if a service like this is available in your state.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 11:09PM
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We used a limited service broker where we paid a one time fee ($400) for an MLS listing that also listed in our paper's web site and a couple of other widely used real estate sites. I think he also got a very small cut of the buyer's commission, which we did have to pay if there was a buyer's agent. Although we had some flexibility over how to structure it.

I was concerned about not having an agent to arrange appointments, show the house, and otherwise be first line of defense for the buyer's broker. But it really wasn't any more trouble with the exception of a weekend that we were out of town where a broker could have shown it.

Although the limited service broker did apparently offer the services of dealing with the contract negotiation process, as we had no relationship with him, we decided to go it alone. So we did have to deal with all the negotiating, inspections, etc. on our own without the expertise of a good broker. DH and I are both in sales, comfortable with contracts, have a good attorney, etc.. It was a pain, but the money saved (about $15,000) was well worth it!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 4:19PM
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I have had bad luck with realtors, I know there are some fantastic ones out there, I just pick the wrong ones. Because of this, I have sold the last two homes myself. The first home that had previously been listed with a realtor for six months sold in two weeks, the second sold in a few days. I didnÂt give them away either, the 2nd home sold for the next to the highest in the neighborhood. ItÂs all about creating urgency though if you are going to go this route. I also eliminated phone call burnout by getting a second phone line. When you list by owner, you get every one and their mother calling to find out what your house is up for. Have a nice recorded message describing your home and the asking price with instructions to leave name and phone number if they want to schedule an appointment. This process will help with no shows because you will call ahead of time to verify appointments and you also have a record of people coming into your home. You will also get millions of real estate agents wanting the listing. When you call them back, you will tell them that they are more than welcome to sell your home at an agreed % but you are not signing a contract. However, the very most important thing you do is to schedule your appointments fifteen minutes apart to create the urgency. I chose two days a week to do showings, Wednesday and Sundays. When I called people back I would just say something like is Sunday at 4:00 good for you if not I would ask if Wednesday at 6:00 was good. When people arrived for their appointments fifteen minutes apart there was always people coming and going. In a slow market, you may have to do showings once a week in order to create the urgency. Every one told me this way of scheduling would never work because you must be available at all times, but I say its all how you do it. I used a title company that has an attorney on hand if needed, (I didnÂt) and they even gave me some contracts. Another thing worth mentioning, donÂt talk too much while showing your home, itÂs a distraction. I also did all the usual stuff like renting storage to remove the extras, fixed the broken, painted, made flyers, had for sale signs with appointment only on them and advertised locally. ItÂs a lot of work but I find it less stressful selling your self because your house only needs to be spotless on Wednesdays and Sundays.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 9:54AM
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Be very careful when listing on those sites. Read this thread:

Here is a link that might be useful: FSBO Real Estate Scams

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 10:05AM
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2 years ago I sold my home FSBO in 30 days, we had someone who would have bought it the first day we put the ad in the paper, but she needed to sell her house first. There were several houses in our neighborhood that had either just recently sold (used those as comps) or that were up for sale, so we used that to our advantage. We had open houses same days as the others (I made cookies/brownies which made the house smell wonderful, and had lemonade if they wanted), put signs at all entrances to our neighborhood. We also had a box next to the sign in our front yard with pictures of the inside and backyard, room sizes and recent updates and also included tax information, etc. Our ad in the paper cost $60 for the month. I think a neat sign is very important (neat sign, tidy house??). I used those vinyl numbers for my phone number to make sure it was easy to read. I've seen signs with handwriting that you could barely make out (is that an 8 or a 0???). I also wanted to make people feel comfortable with just stopping in so I added call or stop by. It's extra work to keep your house picked up every moment, but worth it. My husband and I stopped by a home that was FSBO when the owner was outside and asked him some questions, not even if we could go in (though we thought he'd offer). He said rather snotty, "you know, there isn't an open house or anything, you need to call and set up a time to come through." We never called him...there were too many other houses available and his didn't end up selling for close to a year. It's FSBO, expect to be bothered (especially when your outside) that's what you've taken on as your job as realtor for your house. When we did that, people were so grateful that they didn't have to make another trip. Be friendly, be friendly, be friendly.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 2:30PM
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Believe it or not I nearly sold my home at a garage sale! We were getting ready to put the place up for sale. I had done a good cleaning out of the closets and storage areas and decided that I wanted to have garage sale to get rid of stuff.
I had taken interior pics of the house put them on poster board, made up some sheets with the important info and put them by my "checkout" area.
I had several people take sheets. One called and asked for an appointment. They did a walk thru, called again the next day asked if they could see it again. The guy was here on an a job interview. If he got the job this was the house he wanted. Seems his wife's sister lived two streets over and they wanted to be close to her,she was the one that picked up the flyer and passed it on to them. House had everything he wanted. Unfortunately he didn't get the job.
Point of the story being don't overlook any chance even if it seems a little remote.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 6:40PM
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Carol, that's a great idea.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 12:06PM
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carol_from_ny wrote: "Believe it or not I nearly sold my home at a garage sale! "

Like roslvr said, that IS a great idea.

I like to go to garage sales in the spring. Many times people will mention they are preparing to move. Some have allowed me to come into the house to see larger furniture. Good way to check out the house/yard without having to call an agent first.

Seems like buyer's would find more possibilities by checking the classifieds for garage sales as well as real estate.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 2:59PM
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I agree with carol_from_ny --- you never know where your buyer will come from. On our last house sale, we had already bought our next house & were just starting to get the current house in shape to list. We were moving some furniture out on the front porch to paint the dining room & our normal yard service arrived. One of them asked what we were up to & we told her we'd bought a new house & were going to sell. She asked if she could see it & we let her in to look around - even though it was in a super pre-painting state of mess. That was a Friday, she called Saturday & asked if she could being her finance & father to look on Sunday and we had a contract the following Tuesday.

So - you just never know. I think word of mouth is great & LOVE the idea of a pre-listing garage sale with flyers!! I'm going to remember that tactic!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 9:02AM
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