How to Sell a House Yourself, without a Realtor

Most home sellers work with a real estate agent to find a buyer for their home, and they pay the agent a 5–6% commission after the sale.

The average home value in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is currently around $238,000. If you sell your house for that amount, the real estate agent will receive $14,280 in commission ($238,000 multiplied by 6%).

In most cases, the commission is split 50/50 between your agent and the buyer’s realtor, so in this case, each will receive $7,140.

That’s a lot of money, and it’s probably the biggest fee you’ll have to pay to sell your house.

You, like many other home sellers, may be considering listing your home as for sale by owner (FSBO) to avoid paying realtor fees.

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According to the National Association of Realtors, 7% of homes sold in 2020 were FSBO sales, and if you decide to sell your home yourself, you’ll be acting as a real estate agent and must do the following to successfully sell it:

1. Determine the Right Price for Your Home Based on Market Conditions

Pricing your home correctly is critical because a high asking price may turn off potential buyers and keep you stuck with it for months. If you underprice it, you’ll be losing money.

There are several approaches you can take to determine the right price for your property:

  • Request a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent. Most agents will gladly prepare this report, which uses real estate market trends and prices that properties similar to yours have recently sold for to arrive at the recommended listing price, for you for free.

It will almost certainly include a sales pitch from the realtor about why you should hire them to sell your home. So, be prepared for that.

  • Conduct your own market research. You can estimate your home’s value by looking at how much comparable properties in your area sold for in the last 3-6 months. This is essentially what realtors do to generate a CMA.

You can also look at current listing prices for homes that are selling, but you should not use them to determine the value of your home. Asking prices frequently reflect what a home seller believes their home is worth and can be significantly higher than the market value.

Going to open houses before listing your home for sale can also help you correctly price it.

  • Perform a home appraisal. This is the best way to get a highly accurate price for your home. It’s, however, expensive, as hiring a professional appraiser will cost you between $300 and $500. On the plus side, the appraisal will put you in a better position to negotiate with buyers who offer less than the listing price.

2. Get Your House Ready for Sale

Don’t rush to put your house on the market once you’ve established its value.

I recommend that you spend some time determining whether there are any improvements you can make to increase its worth and appeal to buyers.

You don’t need to make major changes. A simple $100 investment in repainting your front door, for example, can help you sell your home for $6000+ more.

You can read this article I did a while back to learn about other home improvements that can help you get the most money for your home.

3. Promote, Promote, Promote!

To attract a large number of buyers, you must aggressively market your home. Among the methods you can employ to accomplish this are:

  • Place a bright home for sale yard sign, which anyone passing your house will see.
  • Create online listings on social media platforms, online classified ads, FSBO websites, and multiple listing services (MLS), a comprehensive database of houses for sale that many real estate agents use to find properties to show buyers.

More than 50% of all home buyers find potential properties on the internet. Make sure your listings have a catchy house description and excellent photos that will pique the interest of potential buyers.

  • Hold open houses. Opening your home to prospective buyers so they can get a feel for it is a great way to market it. Weekends are ideal for holding such events, and you may want to stage your home while you’re at it.

Home staging can help you get offers that are 1-5% higher than the asking price and sell your home 50% faster.

4. Negotiate with Buyers

When you list your home for sale, you may begin to receive offers within a few days or weeks.

It is critical that you inform prospective buyers that you expect all offers to include a proof of funds document if they’re paying cash or a pre-approval letter for a mortgage if they’re being financed. This will assist you in determining whether or not a buyer is qualified to purchase your home.

Once you receive an offer, try to respond within 24 to 48 hours because this is the standard time frame followed by most real estate professionals.

You could accept the offer as is, make a counteroffer, or reject it in your response.

If you haven’t negotiated in a while, start practicing your skills to prepare yourself to negotiate a good price and sale terms for your home if you plan to counter any offers.

You could negotiate by giving the prospective home buyer something they want, and then asking them to do something you want.

When you and a buyer agree on an offer, the next step is to close the home sale.

5. Close the Home Sale

Closing is the final step, and it can be time-consuming.

A home sale in Pittsburgh, PA, takes an average of 35 days to close. If you’re curious, the entire process from listing to closing takes about 84 days.

Here are some of the things that will happen at this point:

  • Signing of a purchase agreement, which is a legal document outlining the terms and conditions of the property sale, including the purchase price, financing terms, who pays closing costs such as title fees, and a home inspection clause.

You could hire an attorney to assist you in drafting this document, or the buyer’s agent could provide you with one.

You could also obtain a purchase agreement template from the website of your local realtor’s association.

  • Choosing a title company. When you sign a purchase agreement, the buyer will deposit earnest money with the title company of your choice to demonstrate their seriousness about purchasing your home.
  • Home examination. Your buyer may wish to have a home inspection performed to ensure that they’ll not incur any major costs as a result of defects in the house after purchasing it.

If they take out a mortgage, their lender will also require a home inspection.

You should be open and honest with your buyer about any home defects because if an inspector discovers that the house is in poor condition, the sale may fall through.

  • Obtain a title report. This is another legal document that proves, among other things, that you are the rightful owner of the house and that there are no liens on it. The title company that you’re working with can assist you with this report.
  • Sign sale closure documents. If the buyer is satisfied up to this point, you’ll sign a home transfer document making them the owner of your home, and they’ll pay the full asking price. Again, the title company can help with this, and once the sale is completed, they’ll record it with the county.

As you can see from the preceding steps, selling your home without the assistance of a real estate agent can be a lengthy, complex, and stressful process.

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid all of this and sell your home within days of deciding to sell.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Selling Your Home without a Real Estate Agent

Before I tell you how to quickly sell your home for cash, consider the following reasons why you should or shouldn’t sell your home yourself.


You save money on real estate agents’ commissions. Note, however, that you must still pay the buyer’s real estate agent commission. Because you’re not using a realtor, you’ll pay 2.5 to 3% commission instead of 5 to 6%.

You’ve full control of the sale process, meaning you won’t have to worry about real estate agents scheduling viewings when you’re busy or being rushed to accept an offer.

You could sell your home faster. According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey, 77% of FSBO sales were completed in two weeks or less.


You get less money for your home. The NAR also discovered that individual sellers received 26% less for their homes than sellers who used a realtor.

You could make costly errors. Due to your lack of real estate experience, you may make mistakes such as overpricing your home, which will keep it on the market for a longer period.

It’s time-consuming. There is a lot to do, from answering buyer calls to entertaining them at open houses. This can be exhausting, especially if you have a day job.

HomeBuyers of Pittsburgh: The #1 Professional Home Buyer

HomeBuyers of Pittsburgh is the best way to sell your house in the greater Pittsburgh area.

When you decide to sell your home, contact us, and we’ll use a simple three-step process to make you a fair cash offer within hours of initial contact. If you accept the offer, we can close within days and assist you in making a smooth transition to your new home.

You won’t have to do any repairs, pay any real estate agent fees, do any home staging, or go through any other home selling process when you work with us.

All you have to do is call us today at 412-444-8914 or [email protected].

We have helped hundreds of home sellers sell their homes quickly and stress-free, and we’re looking forward to doing the same for you!