Selling a house can get expensive once you factor in real estate agent commission fees, staging costs, potential renovations, and advertising costs. So, what’s the cheapest way to sell a house? Keep reading to find out.
What Is the Absolute Cheapest Way to Sell a House?
The cheapest way to sell a house is to sell your house “for sale by owner”. That is, sell your house yourself without the help of a real estate agent.
This means that instead of paying a real estate agent 3% of your sales price to sell your house, you get to keep that 3%.
To put it another way, if you sell a house for $300,000, normally you’d pay a 3% seller’s agent fee of $9,000 and a 3% buyers agent fee of $9,000. When you sell a house yourself, you only have to pay 3% to the buyer’s agent. You get to keep the seller’s agent fee for yourself.
How to Sell Your House For Sale By Owner
When you sell your house yourself, you essentially become your own real estate agent. That means you must complete a few tasks that you’d traditionally leave to your agent. Here is a list of some of the tasks you’ll need to do.
Price your house
If you sell your house for sale by owner you will be responsible for pricing your own home. That means you will have do your own research on recently sold houses in the area. Using your research, it will be up to you to decide the price to list your house.
Stage your house
Real estate agents often give tips to their clients that can help them sell their home faster. They might advise a seller to re-paint, remove furniture that’s bulky, or complete a much needed repair. When you stage your home yourself, you will have to rely on your own expertise when it comes to preparing your house for sale.
Listing your home on MLS
MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. Usually, listing your house on this service enables other real estate agents to see your house for sale. But, it also usually requires a real estate agent’s license to list. So, when you have a real estate agent, it will be their responsibility to list your home on MLS.
If you are selling your home for sale by owner, it’s up to you to ensure your home gets listed on MLS. To do this, you will likely have to pay a fee to a service that will allow you to list it for you. If you do this, try to ensure you are only paying a one-time fee to list. rather than a percentage of the sale of your home if it sells.
Listing your home on Zillow
Listing your home on Zillow is a bit more straightforward than listing it on the MLS, and the best news is that it’s free. If you’re selling your home for sale by owner, you can always start with a free Zillow listing and see if you get any traction before moving on to listing it on the MLS.
Showing your home
When you sell your house for sale by owner you’re responsible for showing your home to potential buyers. That means you’ll have to schedule appointments with them, give them a tour of your home, and point out the areas you’ve improved.
If you have a family, choose one member of the household to be responsible for giving the tours to potential buyers. If you have children, encourage the whole family to work together to keep the house tidy so you can give showings on short notice.
Hiring an attorney, title company, etc.
When you’re selling your home, you’ll also be responsible for hiring the team that will help you actually facilitate the sale of your home. That means you’ll need to work with a title company, bank, and an attorney to look over your contracts and ensure a smooth sale takes place.
Usually, when you have a real estate agent, they provide recommendations on people to work with. They also help facilitate the sale of a home and help keep the process moving along until closing.
Is It Worth it to Sell Your House For Sale By Owner?
Depending on the value of your house and the value of your time, it could be well worth it to sell your house yourself. Usually, when you sell a house, the buyer’s agent gets 3% of the sale and the seller’s agent gets 3% of the sale.
When you sell the house yourself, you get to keep the 3% that usually goes to the seller’s agent. You will still have to pay the buyer’s agent 3% though.
For many people, getting to keep 3% of their home sale price could mean keeping tens of thousands of dollars that would have gone to an agent. For many, that amount of money is worth all the time required to sell a house for sale by owner.
Is Selling a House Traditionally Really That Expensive?
After reading this, you might be considering selling your home by owner but you also might be wondering if selling a house traditionally is really that expensive. Selling a house using a real estate agent is definitely more effective in terms of your time, but it’s also the more expensive route.
Not only that, but selling a house has other costs beyond a real estate agent’s commission. You’ll likely spend money freshening up your house. You could easily spend thousands of dollars on new paint, new landscaping, and small repairs. Then, you’ll have title fees and attorney fees whether or not you sell your home with a real estate agent.
Additionally, those who want to buy your home will often make requests for concessions. They might want you to repair certain problems in your house. Or, they might ask for money back at closing. This will also cut into your profits, even if you are selling your home for sale by owner.
Because of that, another way to save money on repairs or concessions is to sell to a buyer who waives an inspection. Buyers typically only waive inspections if they’re in a very hot real estate market and want to make their offer stand out.
It’s appealing for sellers because they know they won’t have to pay for any issues that the inspection report might show. However, it’s not a wise move on the buyer’s side because they could be missing potentially costly repairs that could come up at a later time.
The Cheapest Way to Sell a House
Ultimately, the cheapest way to sell a house in a financial sense is to sell your house for sale by owner. List it on Zillow for free, and complete every step of the selling process yourself. However, be aware that although it’s cheaper to do this financially, it’s also very time consuming.
So, you have to be willing to put in the time and the effort to sell a home yourself. If you do, it could save you thousands of dollars and help you get into your next home with more cash in the bank.