How to Sell Your House Without an Agent
Consider hiring a real estate attorney insteadBy Doug Mentes, Esq. | Last updated on January 27, 2023
Use these links to jump to different sections:
- Why Sell Your Home Yourself?
- It’s Not for Everyone
- Tasks the Seller Can Perform
- Work With an Attorney on the Legal Issues
- What To Do About Offers
Why Sell Your Home Yourself?Sellers can save up to 6 percent of the sale price. Even if a seller offers a 3 percent commission to the buyer’s agent, a seller still stands to save significant money.
- $300,000 home: A homeowner can save approximately $18,000—or $9,000 if offering a commission to the buyer’s agent
- $200,000 home: A for sale by owner (FSBO) seller can save approximately $12,000—or $6,000 if offering a commission to the buyer’s agent
It’s Not for EveryoneIt will be more work to sell your home on your own. However, it’s a lot of work for a FSBO home, regardless of whether or not they hire an agent. A seller’s agent can quickly draw on his or her experience to determine your options when various issues arise during the selling process or sale. If an owner is short on time, or feels unable to handle this very large transaction, then hiring an agent may be best.
Tasks the Seller Can PerformFirst, you must determine the home selling price—for which location is likely the most important factor. Find out what nearby properties have recently sold for, as well as the list prices for nearby active listings. Adjust your home value based on important details, including:
- Size of home and land
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Condition of the home and significant improvements that have been done
Work With an Attorney on the Legal IssuesMeet with an experienced Minnesota real estate attorney before listing. You can turn to the attorney as much or as little as you need during the sale process. He or she will be able to give advice regarding:
- Filling out the seller’s disclosure
- Reviewing and advising on purchase offers
- Obligations for the contingencies
- Reviewing or drafting documents for closing
- Title company work, closing costs and recording the sale
What To Do About OffersThe seller will likely want to review initial offers with the attorney. Buyers will use the Minnesota Standard Residential purchase agreement (or similar realtor form) when making an offer. The seller must understand their obligations under the various sale contingencies, especially in regards to financing and inspection. An attorney will be able to provide advice on the risks of the mandatory arbitration clause typically contained in purchase agreements. Many sellers don’t realize that it may be advisable to exclude mandatory arbitration at the sale because they can always agree to arbitrate in the future if a dispute arises. Sellers may only need between five and 10 hours of attorney time to negotiate and close their sale. Many attorneys provide this service for a flat fee. Attorneys can also provide legal advice while real estate agents cannot, and said advice should come at a cost much less than the agent’s commission. For more information on this area, check out our overview of real estate laws.
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