How to sell your home without a real estate agent

There is a reason why only 6.2% of home sales are FSBO (For Sale By Owner). It’s the only option we do not recommend, but it is absolutely doable and done every day across the country. 

What to be prepared for

After selling a property with a real estate agent, some homeowners feel like they know the process or think it’s just a matter of having the time. The truth is that realtors are real professionals that provide real expertise. Nonetheless, it's something you're able to do yourself if you're hard bent on it. Here we’ll walk you through what to expect so that you can decide if it’s really worth "saving money" on avoiding a realtor.

The 8 crucial things homeowners do incorrectly

Make the Appropriate Repairs/Upgrades

Homeowners are notorious for investing into repairs/upgrades that fail to improve home value

Price Your House Correctly

FSBO homes are almost always priced too high and take nearly 40% longer to sell

Clean and Stage the House

Homes that aren't properly staged sell for one to five percent lower

Professional Photography

The more people that decide to come to your open house, the more offers you'll receive.

Pay Agent to List on MLS

20% of FSBO have to be re-listed because they aren't marketed properly

Seller Disclosure

Failure to comply with "North Carolina G.S. 47E" can result in lawsuits

Negotiating with the Buyer’s Agent

Most FSBO sales fail to bargain for non-monetary concessions

Attorney Closing

It's important to act quickly when unexpected discoveries occur during your Title Search

Bad news... you still need to pay a 3% real estate commission.

I wish we were joking. This is the EXACT reason you were hoping to sell through FSBO. The reason you still have to pay a real estate agent is because nearly all buyers are represented by an agent (of course they would since it’s free to them).

So a buyer’s agent will still need their 3% commission from the home sale for their services to the buyer. So the question naturally would be, “How many home-buyers get represented by a real estate agent?” The answer is 89%. Yup. 89% of home purchases are purchased through a buying agent. So if you’re doing FSBO and would like to avoid paying the buyer’s agent fees, then for every ten offers you would have otherwise received, expect to only get one.

The ways out of this are to (1) unethically ask your buyer to shaft their agent, or (2) do not sell to any buyers who are being represented by an agent. If you weren’t already convinced to use a real estate agent, perhaps this put the nail in the metaphorical coffin.

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How Long It Takes To Sell Your Home

  • One of the most important things to consider when considering selling

Let's breakdown your FSBO checklist.

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The appropriate ones

Home Repairs/Improvements

When you make repairs or upgrades to maximize the price of your house, FSBO sellers rarely focus on the correct upgrades to maximize value to the home so make sure you consult with someone on which items to focus on to maximize the value of your house proportionate to the cost. In the best case scenario, you’re statistically unlikely to creating a worthy return for you improvement dollars, and in the worst case scenario owner improvements can even decrease the value of their home by DIY solutions that are apparent to potential buyers. This is where it's a good idea to grab some advise before you start drilling holes.
Consider consulting with a real estate agent even in just a limited role to aid with how to improve home value by tens of thousands of dollars.
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Correctly

Price Your House

When a real estate agent values a home, they do a comparative market analysis which relies on data only licensed real estate agents can access. So if you’re doing this yourself, make sure you not only look at comparative prices in your area, but take a look at prices over time, calculate the local supply, consider your home improvements and have an inspection to be aware of what buyers are going to be discounting your house for.
FSBO homes are usually listed above their market rate (an average of 2% higher), but they statistically sell for less money and tend to stay on the market much longer.
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Quickest way to increase home value

Clean and Stage the House

It’s vital to deep clean the entire house and consider spending the money to get it professionally staged as well. As you’ll see in "How Much it Costs to Sell Your Home" Page, staging your home statistically increases the value of your home. 22 percent of sellers' agents reported an increase of one to five percent of the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes. Seventeen percent of respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between six and 10 percent.
This is a quick task to have professionally done, but it is expensive. Nonetheless, it will generate the highest return for your money.
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And likely, videographer

Professional Photographer

It’s 100% worth the cost of spending $500-$1500 to have a professional photographer come through to show the best version of your home. The goal is to have the largest amount of people viewing your listing, coming to your open house and ultimately, receiving a larger amount of offer. Is this something you can ask your nephew to do? Absolutely. But unless they specialize in spacial photography, understand that it could be the difference between crickets and a bidding war. Especially post-covid, most showings need to be done through video today as well. So the best realtors we know have all been getting very friendly with videographers. Definitely consider a short video tour through the home as opposed to a pixelated upload from your iPhone.
Correct photography means more people viewing on the MLS. The more viewing on the MLS, the more that come to your open house. The more that come to your open house, the more offers you will receive.
We Buy Houses Charlotte North Carolina
Do NOT skip this one

Pay Agent to List on MLS

It's super simple: if you do not post your home on the MLS then your home will not be viewed by 9 out of 10 buyers. Another downside to selling your ownhome is that only real estate agents can put homes on the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. When a home is posted to the MLS, it is automatically listed on online real estate sites you see like Zillow, but goes out to data bases that only realtors have access to. This really just means that you’re going to have this in the hands of tens of thousands less people. If you choose to list your home FSBO, we recommend at least contacting an agent to have them list your property on the MLS for you (should only cost a few hundred dollars if you’ve prepared all the information already). Nonetheless, it’s important to know that 20% of FSBO listings have to be re-listed because they failed to be marketed properly or sold by the time the listing expired. Think through a marketing plan that not only gets your home sold, but also furnished the largest amount of offers.
Get your property in front of thousands more people and real estate agents.
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Stay out of legal trouble

Seller Disclosure

Without a real estate agent, you will be required to properly fill out a series of disclosure requirements for North Carolina (known as The Residential Property Disclosure Act, codified as North Carolina G.S. 47E) and, according to North Carolina G.S. § 47E-5, you must give the disclosure “no later than the time the purchaser makes an offer to purchase, exchange, or option the property.” This may seem like a lengthy burden but is very important for buyer confidence and even preventing a lawsuit for fraud, misrepresentation or breach of contract. These lawsuits can occur MONTHS after your home is sold so do not think you’re off the hook as soon as the dotted line is signed.
Consider hiring your attorney (or a limited role with a real estate agent) before the listing process begins so that you can avoid future lawsuits)
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Deal mechanics

Negotiating with the Buyer’s Agent

Since it is you communicating with the buyer’s agent, keep in mind that they are a pro at this and take time to consider every communication before responding. You’re likely attached to your home and there’s undoubtedly going to be some emotion at play; something a buying agent does not have. But beyond this, it is well worth your time to know the dozens of ways to structure a deal, handle a counter offer and bargain for non-monetary concessions when an inspection contingency threatens to blow up your best offer.
Do your research to fully understand all of the creative ways to structure a deal and produce deal-sealing counteroffers.
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And likely, videographer

Attorney Closing

Unlike most states, North Carolina requires the buyer and seller to hire attorneys to serve as intermediaries and supervise the closing process (title searches, acquire title insurance for buyers, and handle the closing transaction). See this North Carolina State Bar ethics opinion for more information. If you don’t have a real estate agent to work directly with them, you will have to do this yourself. During the title search there may also be some surprises that arise. This could include liens, default on a loan, faulty title, or any memorandums that need to be resolved before selling your home. At this point, there is a high chance that you will need either get a real estate agent or retain an attorney to resolve these items.
It's imperative that you do not blow up a closing as a result of slow action from an problems that arise during your title search.
North Carolina G.S. § 47E

More on The Residential Property Disclosure Act

As discussed above, since you are not using a real estate agent, you are responsible for taking care of the disclosure requirements for North Carolina. (North Carolina G.S. 47E). Let’s unpack what’s within this disclosure and the addition of a Title X Disclosure if your home was built before 1978.

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Property Disclosure

The disclosure form details the following about your property:

    • issues with the plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, and other mechanical systems
    • water source and sewage system
    • issues regarding the roof, chimney, floor, foundation, and other structural components
    • environmental conditions such as pest infestation, or the presence of asbestos, radon, methane, or other hazardous materials
    • legal issues, such as zoning violations, homeowner’s association involvement, building codes, and
    • other specified details of the property.
    • sellers must also disclose separately whether the property comes with mineral, oil, or gas rights (see North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 47E-4.1).

Title X Disclosures

In addition, if your house was built before 1978, you must comply with federal Title X disclosures regarding lead-based paint and hazards. See the lead disclosure section of the EPA’s website for details.

After the disclosure is provided, if during the inspection of the homelead-based paint is discovered, you will need to have this resolved with the seller.

Cash Offer, Terms or List It?

Ready to take the next step?

It’s 100% doable to list your own property, but definitely consider the lost profit/time before deciding to circumvent a realtor.

Reach out to us if you’d like us to put you in touch with the agents we highly recommend.

If you’re fixated on putting the most amount of money in your pocket, the best way to go about that is by selling to us on terms. But if you still prefer to list your home, then the way to generate the greatest return is working with a great real estate agent. 

Still in “learning mode?” Let’s walk through the time and money involved in selling your home to decide if that’s the right move for you.

How much does it costs to sell my home?

We'll break down how to get the highest price for your Carolina house

How long does it take to sell my home?

Not suprising but many homeowners are shocked at the statistics. Here, we'll walk you through the process, soup to nuts.
Sell on Terms or consider a cash offer.
Want to skip the listing process altogether?

Whether you’re looking to move, have bad tenants, getting foreclosed on or are a happy home-owner looking for the next home, fill out this short form so we can figure whether your home is what we’re looking for. 

We don’t make offers based on how desperate you are or aren’t, we follow transparent calculations. In fact, if your home is in great condition, we can buy it for full market value.

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