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How to sell your house without a real estate agent

Not all home sales need an agent. In some cases, home sales are agreed upon in advance, others take place between family members. You can probably do okay on your own if this is your situation.

Why sell on your own?

The most commonly cited reason for selling your home yourself — often called "for sale by owner" (FSBO) — is that you can save money in real estate commissions. This can preserve some of the equity you have built up, which can be very important when the market is down. You can also put that money toward a down payment on another home.

There's a lot to learn first

In return for saving this money, you must educate yourself on how to make your home presentable, how to set a price that is fair to you and that attracts buyers, the paperwork involved, laws to abide by, how to prescreen buyers, how to list and market the home, how to negotiate, and how to generate interest — the things that a good agent would do. Some sellers find they thrive when learning and doing all this. Others find it a hassle, and some just give up.

Those interested in FSBO selling need to educate themselves on all parts of the process — practical, legal, financial, and marketing — and allocate time and energy to it. The time includes being available nights and weekends for showings. FSBO sellers can list their homes on FSBO sites such as owners.com, fsbo.com, forsalebyowner.com, and others. They can also list them in their local newspapers or on sites like Craigslist.

Getting some outside help

Some people hire agents to do limited tasks for them such as advertising the home in the MLS, handling the paperwork, or doing some marketing tasks, while a small percentage use discount brokers, who also perform limited tasks. The commission for these services may be smaller than the traditional 5–6%, or it may be an hourly fee.

Dive deeper: How to sell your house: The full breakdown

This content was created in partnership with the Financial Fitness Group, a leading e-learning provider of FINRA compliant financial wellness solutions that help improve financial literacy.

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