How to Sell Your Home without a Real Estate Agent

Thomas Short
Military VA Loan contributor

When buying a home, there’s no reason to avoid hiring a real estate agent, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. The cost of the agent is usually covered by the seller, so the buyer has nothing to lose.

Home sellers, on the other hand, have a bigger decision to make. Hiring a real estate agent is a smart decision for first-time home sellers because of their experience. But some homeowners would prefer to try and avoid spending the commission and want to try and sell the home themselves.

Prior to thinking about selling your home, keep this in mind: agents can help your sell your home faster and for the right price, so if selling the home is urgent, an agent might be best. Also, not everyone is comfortable with marketing their home and negotiating a price. An agent will do this for you.

If these aren’t issues, then there aren’t too many drawbacks to selling a home on your own. You can take your time making sure everything is done right, and, if it proves to be too much to handle, you can always end up hiring an agent.

Homeowners that plan on going ahead on their own should know what to look out for, though.

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Don’t get emotions involved

Before anything else, you should look at your home as an asset, not something that holds sentimental value.

Home sellers without an agent can easily price their home incorrectly, often skewing above the actual value of the home. Remember when you were buying a home and thought that too many homes were overvalued? You don’t want to become another home that people pass over because of the price.

Take some time to research comparable homes and figure out what gives your home value. Yes, a view is nice, but how much is that view worth to buyers? Your home may be near a busy street, but that can mean both an easier commute and a louder and potentially less safe neighborhood.

Once you’ve come up with a price range for the house, you should start to get serious about selling.

Market your home

Nobody will buy your home if they don’t know it’s there.

The easiest way to market a home is to put a “for sale” sign out front. Yes, this helps home buyers find the home, but they should know to look out for the sign.

List your home with the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. This is a collection of homes that home buyers and buying agents use to find suitable houses. The MLS is going to be the most important place where you market your home.

Aside from the MLS, think about where people might be looking when conducting their home search. Craigslist is always popular, and you can always put up flyers around the neighborhood to try and catch buyers’ attention.

Keep in mind that marketing your home will cost money, something that is included in the cost of the real estate agent.

Prepare and show your home

Once you’ve started to get some attention, you need to show your home off to potential buyers. Consider hiring a home stager, someone who understands what home buyers are looking for and will reconfigure and redecorate your home accordingly.

Whether or not you hire a stager, you need to clean your home. A home with clutter will send a subconscious message to buyers that the house isn’t large enough to live in comfortably. You should also hide valuables, WiFi passwords, and any personal information that’s lying around.

After you’ve prepared your home, show it off to buyers with an open house. This is an excellent time to point out the selling points of your home, potentially swaying a window shopper into a serious buyer.

Check your VA mortgage rates. Start here (May 29th, 2024)

Be prepared to negotiate

You’ve shown your house off, someone is interested and they make an offer. What happens when the offer comes in lower than your asking price, or if the buyer is expecting seller comps? That’s when you negotiate.

Negotiating is no easy task, and a real estate agent can perform this for you. However, some people are gifted negotiators, so this step could be relatively easy.

Close the deal

After some negotiation, you and the buyer agree on terms. Now all you need to do is close the deal, make sure you’re ready to move out, and hand over the keys.

Sellers agents will charge a percentage of the home price, and by negotiating the deal yourself, you can avoid paying it. Acting as your own agent isn’t easy, but for some sellers, the savings are worth it.

Check your VA mortgage rates. Start here (May 29th, 2024)