How to Sell Your Home Without an Agent

From pricing to marketing, here are some tips for “for sale by owner” sellers.

Sold sign in front of house
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If you're unsure what price is reasonable for the market and your property, Tyner suggests paying a few hundred dollars to have an appraisal done. The mortgage company may send an appraiser, but your own appraisal can give you a starting point.

[See: 6 Tips for Boomers Leaving Big Homes Behind.]

Depending on your situation, you may also decide to hire a professional photographer or stager to make your home look as appealing as possible. And in some states, it may be appropriate to hire an attorney for the closing. "You can decide which parts of the process you're comfortable with and where you need to bring in someone to help you," Tyner says.

Once you've priced your home and uploaded your listing, you'll need to get ready for showings. "The most important part of showings is making sure you're really open on the times that you're willing to show it," Tyner says. "Buyers are going to want to see the house when they're not working, often on evenings or weekends." Stell says chatting with prospective buyers at the open house was the most awkward part of the process, "knowing they're probably not going to say what they're thinking." In Schnick's case, the buyers' agents handled showings. "I left the house, and they brought their clients through," she says.

If buyers use an agent, they'll typically expect the seller to pay the agent's commission. "If you're unwilling to do this, you may not find many buyers wandering through the door, so decide how much you'll pay, percentagewise or dollarwise, to the buyer's agent," Hodge says.

FSBO sales require more seller involvement, but Schnick and Stell say it was worth the extra effort. "I saved myself thousands of dollars," says Schnick, who coincidentally bought a FSBO property as her next home (although she used a buyer's agent). "I hope I don't have to move again for a long time, but if I did, I would do it again."