Should You Sell Your Own Home? Here Are the Pros and Cons of Skipping the Real Estate Agent

Real estate experts share what the process of selling a home by owner really looks like.

Exterior of beautiful home

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Are you planning to put your house on the market? While it's common to work with a real estate agent during this process, you can actually list, market, and sell your home yourself; this is called selling a house by owner. This route gives you more control over when and how you sell your home—and you can even save money along the way by avoiding hidden costs, including real estate commissions. 

It is important to note that selling your own home takes more work, says Scott Bergmann, an agent with Realty ONE Group in Omaha, Neb. "You'll have to take care of everything yourself, from deciding on a price to advertising the property and showing it to potential buyers," he says. "And if you're not familiar with contracts and contingencies, things can get pretty tricky.”

 Unsure whether you should hire a professional or tackle this process yourself? We've shared the pros and cons of selling a home by owner, according to real estate experts.

Selling a Home by Owner vs. Using a Real Estate Agent

Selling your own home means you won't have a real estate agent to help guide you through the process. "Real estate agents are experienced in pricing homes correctly, creating effective marketing plans, and navigating legal and financial requirements," says GP Theriot, a real estate expert. "Additionally, real estate agents have access to a network of potential buyers and can negotiate on behalf of the seller."

It also means that you will have to come up with your own marketing strategy to attract as many qualified buyers as possible, says Kristina ODonnell, an agent with Realty ONE Group. From there, you will need to verify the buyer's qualifications, complete inspections, finalize negotiations, and more yourself, she says. 

Pros of Selling a Home by Owner

While it can take more effort, there are several perks to selling your own home, according to our experts. 

Save on Commission Fees

If you sell your own home, you'll avoid having to pay commission fees to your real estate agent. "The commission fees are typically 5 to 6 percent of the sale price, so selling a house by owner can potentially save the homeowner thousands of dollars," says Theriot.

Control Over the Sale

You'll also get the first and final say on pricing, marketing, and showing the property, says Bergmann. "This can be particularly appealing to homeowners who have a strong emotional attachment to their property and want to have a more hands-on role in the sale," says Theriot.

Cons of Selling a Home by Owner

These are some of the downsides that come with selling your own property, the experts say.

Lack of Exposure

It can be difficult to access essential professional resources (think: appraisers, inspectors, and attorneys) and connect with potential buyers without the support of a real estate agent. "Real estate agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database, which is a powerful tool for reaching a large audience of potential buyers," says Theriot. "Homeowners who sell by owner may struggle to get the same level of exposure without the help of an agent."

More Commitment

Another downside is the time commitment and effort required. Since the homeowner is responsible for tackling every part of the sale, the process can quickly become confusing and tiring. "Homeowners who do not have experience in real estate may struggle to navigate the complex legal and financial aspects of the sale," says Theriot. 

Should You Really Sell Your Own Home?

In the end, choosing to sell a house by owner comes down to personal preference. "[It] may be the best option for homeowners who have experience with the real estate market, are comfortable with the selling process, and have the time and resources to dedicate to selling their home," says Bergmann. Plus, demand plays a huge role. "In a hot seller's market where properties are in high demand, homeowners may be able to sell their property quickly and for a high price without the assistance of a real estate agent," he says. 

While it may be tempting, experts still recommend assessing any potential drawbacks and working with an agent if necessary. "Real estate agents bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, and they can help ensure a smooth and successful sale while minimizing the risks of costly mistakes," says Theriot.

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