A real estate agent is not required to sell your home. Every year, more and more homeowners are choosing to sell their homes themselves. They choose to do it themselves to save a few percentage of the value of their home from the standard 6% commission charged by real estate agents. On a $100,000 house that savings will equal a few thousand dollars, but the savings on a $400,000 or $500,000 home can be five, ten or even twenty thousand dollars. Some owners also appreciate the greater sense of control that they have when selling their own homes. It is a major financial transaction, and some homeowners feel better having detailed knowledge and control over how the deal is conducted.

It is also getting easier to sell your home with out a real estate agent due to the wide spread use of the Internet. The Internet helps FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sellers have ready access to the information that they need to sell their home like services that provide marketing tools, legal help and general how-to information. The Internet has also enabled more and more buyers to search for homes on their own where they find houses offered by real estate agents and directly by owners equally appealing.

If you already have a buyer for your house, selling it yourself with some legal help from a real estate attorney is a practical way to save money. If you don’t have a buyer, then consider carefully before attempting selling the home yourself. The process has several pitfalls including marketing your home, negotiating with potential buyers, and ensuring all the legal aspects are completed.


Determine the Price for Your Home

Whether you sell your home with a real estate agent or on your own, you will need to set the asking price. A good goal that most of us share is to sell our home for as much as possible. But how much can you get? The sale price of your home depends on several factors including interest rates, the neighborhood, the overall economy, and the size and condition of your house. The simple way to evaluate all of these influences is to look at recent sales of comparable houses in a market analysis report. There are many excellent sources on the Internet that provide price estimates for your home. See the appendix for a list. If you live in a neighborhood with only one or two floor plans and a few homes have sold in recent months, then determining the value of your home is straightforward. You need to look at the sale prices of the equivalent houses sold.

If your neighborhood is full of unique houses of varying sizes, then the job of determining the right sales price is more difficult. Successful real estate agents have a lot of experience setting selling prices and some are skilled at it. However, don’t assume that an agent has a secret for setting the price. It is an art and no matter how much experience anyone has, mistakes are made.


Once you determine what you think you can sell your home for, you have three options for setting the asking price. First, set it at the price you think it’s worth. This is a safe, sane, and the least stressful way to approach the pricing decision. Another option, which is sometimes popular in hot markets, is to price the home low hoping to spark a bidding war. The idea is that once a buyer makes an offer they have emotionally invested themselves in your home. Essentially they feel like they already bought it. When another buyer offers a higher price, the multiple bidders keep bidding on the price up to a higher price than would have been paid if the asking price had been set higher. Many real estate agents like this approach too because the seller tends to think that getting any price higher than the initial asking price, which was set low to start a bidding war, is a good deal, so the agent can sell the house faster.

Offering your home for less than the maximum price gives you a better chance of selling quickly and painlessly. If it is a good deal, buyers will have fewer contingencies and may overlook small issues. Setting the price too high can damage your home’s sale ability. If the price is too high, your house stays on the market longer and buyers and their real estate agents may assume that something is wrong with it and not even consider making an offer.