Selling your home requires significant time and money no matter what marketing approach you choose. Most people sell their properties with the help of a real estate agent, but doing so still necessitates that you take an active role in almost every step of the process. Real estate agents are also subject to regulations that restrict the degree to which they can act in your interests. Worst of all, the law requires you to pay real estate agents a flat commission of up to 8 percent regardless of their performance. With the Internet making it easier for buyers and sellers to connect without expensive intermediaries, a growing number of homeowners are choosing to list their properties on their own.

What Are for Sale by Owner Homes?

Homes listed for sale by owner are marketed by a property owner without formally retaining a real estate agent. In some cases, owners will choose to work with real estate agents for certain tasks associated with marketing a property, such as communicating with other real estate agents or showing a property to prospective buyers. A property owner who chooses to use FSBO, however, retains full control over every aspect of the selling process.

In some cases, a property owner will decline to work with any licensed agent at any point throughout the selling process, and this is completely legal in all 50 states. Your home is your own property, and you have the full legal right to dispose of it as you wish. In fact, many buyers are attracted by the prospect of getting to work with property owners directly without the communication barriers associated with working with intermediaries.

What Are Closing Costs When Selling for Sale by Owner?

There is no way around most of the closing costs associated with selling your property. When you choose to sell your own property, however, you retain full control over the cost of the services you agree to cover for a buyer. You also retain the power to negotiate whether the buyer will cover part of the closing costs. In most cases, buyers will expect you to cover many of the ordinary costs associated with selling a property, including:

A real estate agent’s commission ordinarily covers closing costs, but the total cost of closing a transaction tends to be dramatically lower when doing FSBO compared to working with a real estate agent. It is important to remember that you can negotiate with buyers to ask them to absorb a portion of the closing costs. Additionally, many of the services associated with closing a deal are beneficial to you since these services ensure clear title and protect you from legal liabilities.

Can You List for Sale by Owner Homes on MLS?

There are no restrictions preventing property owners from listing their own homes on the MLS database. You can choose from a broad range of services for listing your property. Some homeowners hire a professional real estate agent to handle the listing, but doing so is not necessary in today’s world. Online platforms let you list a property in your local area so that people searching for a new home in your community can find information about your home.

The MLS database tells buyers when you are doing FSBO, and this is beneficial because many buyers seek out these types of transactions. Buyers who desire maximum flexibility during the buying process often do searches for properties sold without a real estate agent on a regular basis. Depending on how you choose to list your home on the MLS database, the cost associated with creating a listing can vary widely. Some services charge as much as $500 to list a property, but there are also online platforms that let you list a home in the MLS database for free. Conduct thorough research before creating a listing to save money when marketing your home.

Can You List for Sale by Owner Homes on Zillow?

Zillow supports for sale by owner listings in all 50 states. You can list your property on Zillow by making an account, then posting a new listing. Zillow has a dedicated page designed for creating your own property listing without the assistance of a real estate agent. Once you create your listing, it can take up to 72 hours for your advertisement to get through Zillow’s verification process. The entire process of creating a listing on Zillow is free, and there are no hidden costs.

Can You List for Sale by Owner Homes on does not directly support FSBO sellers creating their own listings, but there are ways of getting around the website’s restrictions. In order to list on, you have to use an FSBO company that lists your home across all of the major U.S. residential property websites. FSBO listing companies charge a moderate fee for their services, but they do not require that you retain a real estate agent.

Can You List for Sale by Owner Homes on Trulia?

Trulia offers full support for homeowners marketing their own properties. After creating an account on Trulia, the website redirects you to Zillow for creating a listing. Once your listing has been made, it will appear on both Zillow and Trulia.

Can You Discriminate When Selling for Sale by Owner?

Real estate agents are subject to a broad range of regulations, including the Fair Housing Act. When selling your own property without retaining a real estate agent, you are also required to comply with FHA regulations. Under FHA rules, sellers are forbidden to discriminate against buyers in several ways, including:

Although FHA regulations prevent you from discriminating against certain types of buyers, it is important to remember that you are not required to make special accommodations for people who are members of protected groups. If, for example, a buyer who follows a religion other than your own submits an offer for a lower price than you expect, there is nothing in the FHA that forbids you from rejecting the offer. You should, however, keep FHA regulations mind when creating your listings or interacting with prospective buyers to avoid incurring legal liabilities.

Do Real Estate Agents Show for Sale by Owner Homes?

Highly motivated buyer’s agents are usually happy to show homes listed without an agent. There are some agents who refuse to show properties listed by a homeowner, but there are few agents with these aversions. Likewise, there are agents who prefer to show properties listed by a homeowner. In some cases, agents believe they can negotiate a better deal when they work directly with a seller. When buyer’s agents get better prices for their clients by avoiding the selling agent’s fee, all parties win.

Steps to Do for Sale by Owner

The process of selling your own home is feasible for anyone in today’s world. The general steps associated with listing a home for sale by owner include:

Research the selling process: FSBO sellers should always start by conducting thorough research to recognize how to overcome common hurdles and market their property effectively.

Set a listing price: Price is the most crucial factor when selling a home, so you will need to set a selling price using a proven methodology. Many homeowners choose to start by working with a professional appraiser to set their initial listing price.

Create an MLS listing: Listing your property in the MLS database alerts real estate agents in your area about your property while generating dozens of listings online. To create an effective listing, you will need high-quality images of your home and descriptions that showcase your home’s best features.

Work with interested buyers: Buyers who see your listing will expect to view your property before submitting an offer. You will need to make yourself available to interested buyers to answer their questions and concerns.

Negotiate the final sale: Homes are the largest purchases that many people make in their entire lives, so negotiation is naturally associated with the selling process. You will need to be open to certain concessions that will make a sale feasible, but it is important to know how much you are willing to give up before negotiating with a prospective buyer.

Close the deal: Once a buyer has agreed to purchase your home, you will need to do all the work necessary to finalize the purchase. You will need to have a licensed attorney draft a formal agreement for the buyer to sign, and you will need to complete all the ordinary closing procedures that a real estate agent would otherwise manage for you.

Does for Sale by Owner Work?

Millions of people have succeeded at selling their own home. Real estate agents often try to convince a seller that they face insurmountable hurdles when listing their own property, but the reality is that FSBO can work in most cases. Your decisions are the main factor determining whether your property will sell. People who invest little effort into the selling process often report poor results, but informed homeowners often find a buyer as quickly as a real estate agent.

Homeowners who report poor results when selling their own property often try to cut corners that lead to losses in the long run. Some sellers try to avoid paying money to list their property in the proper databases, but failing to invest in high-quality local listings is a serious mistake. FSBO sellers in southwestern Michigan, for example, need to be listed in the SWMRIC database for local buyers to find their listing. Neglecting to get your property listed in relevant local databases can lead to an extended selling process that eventually results in failure.

Does for Sale by Owner Mean Rent to Own?

You do not have to finance buyers under a rent-to-own agreement when selling your property without a real estate agent. Buyers tend to enter the purchasing process with a preapproval letter from a bank that can be used to fund the purchase of FSBO properties. If a buyer relies on bank financing to purchase your property, you will simply receive a check from a bank instead of the owner.

As with owner financing, FSBO tends to be the best approach to selling your home when you intend to offer rent-to-own terms. Real estate agents prefer to work with homeowners who conform to the norms of selling a property since unique terms can entail extra time and costs. When real estate agents agree to offer rent-to-own terms, they often require that you agree to also accept ordinary purchases with cash and bank financing.

How to Do for Sale by Owner Paperwork

The paperwork associated with FSBO sales is complex. Unless you have professional experience finalizing residential real estate contracts, working with an attorney usually adds value. Ordinary buyers expect you to provide the paperwork for them to sign, and it is critical that this paperwork is legally sound. Paperwork drafted by a professional attorney is also more likely to be upheld in court. Attorneys who specialize in residential home sales can help you to manage all paperwork requirements at minimal cost when you are ready to move forward with a sale.

How to Do for Sale by Owner in Florida

FSBO sales are common in Florida because of the high number of people who own investment properties in the state. Florida has more disclosure requirements than most states. You have to tell interested buyers about any property boundary disputes and any sinkholes that have formed on your property. In Florida, buyers can make disclosures in writing or verbally. In most cases, it is best to make disclosures in writing so that your efforts to meet the disclosure requirements can be easily demonstrated in court. Homeowners in Florida should consider hiring a real estate agent as a consultant on an hourly basis to learn about strategies that work well in their local market.

How to Do for Sale by Owner in Michigan

Michigan offers favorable laws for homeowners seeking to sell properties without using a professional real estate agent. When selling a home on your own in Michigan, one of the most important actions to take is to get a listing in the SWMRIC database. Real estate agents often check the SWMRIC database on a regular basis, and most of the popular real estate websites generate new listings using information available from SWMRIC. In the aftermath of the Flint water crisis, home buyers in Michigan are especially sensitive about compliance with federal lead disclosure laws. Homeowners who can demonstrate that their property is free of lead contamination have a strong advantage in the market.

What Does for Sale by Owner Mean?

For sale by owner is a term used to describe properties that are marketed without the assistance of a licensed real estate agent. In former times, real estate agents were essential partners in the selling process since buyers had trouble finding properties on their own. In the Internet age, however, FSBO has become feasible in many cases because buyers almost always find the properties they want to consider online. There are no legal requirements that prevent homeowners from listing their properties in major databases, such as MLS or SWMRIC. In fact, buyers often prefer to start by looking at properties that are not marketed by a real estate agent since working directly with a seller maximizes flexibility.

What Is the for Sale by Owner Process?

The process of using FSBO to sell a property is more straightforward than with a real estate agent. Sellers can choose to list their home at any time in one of the leading property databases. Once a property has been listed, interested buyers are free to reach out to consider a purchase. However, sellers have to put in extra effort to ensure success when selling a property on their own. Many FSBO sellers reach out to major real estate agencies in their area to ensure that their property is given the consideration that it deserves. Upon finding a buyer, sellers can work with bankers and attorneys to finalize a legally binding purchase agreement.

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