How to Sell A House Without a Realtor: FSBO

Not everyone has the luxury of listing their house on the open market and waiting months to complete the transaction. The typical process when listing your house on the open market is:

  • Interview multiple real estate agents
  • Sign a listing agreement with one to list your house for a specific period of time (can be 3,6,or 12 months)
  • Hold multiple open houses
  • Wait for offers and negotiate with potential buyers
  • Wait for inspections, reports and other disclosures to be filled out
  • Complete a list of repairs/negotiate with the buyer based on inspection findings
  • Sign paperwork for close of escrow.

If you’re lucky, this process can take about 6 – 8 weeks. If an offer falls through or your home isn’t getting many offers, you may end up waiting 6 months or more.  Instead of all that hassle and paying 5% or more on commissions plus closing costs, let’s take a look at how to sell a house without a realtor.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

One common way to sell your house without a realtor is “For Sale By Owner” or FSBO (fiz-bo) for short. The typical way people attempt to sell their house this way is to place a few signs in the yard or in the local newspaper and then wait for people to trickle in. Instead of this passive, and usually unsuccessful method, let’s take a look at some other ways to market your property to get it sold quickly. It all starts with better marketing. Instead of doing the bare minimum, you need to do a lot to get your house to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Some things we would recommend are:

  • Tell all your neighbors you are selling your house and ask if they know of anyone looking. (BONUS: You can offer referral fees to entice your neighbors)
  • First impression is everything, so spruce up the front of your house. This is commonly referred to as “curb appeal”.  If it doesn’t look nice when potential buyers are driving by it, chances are people won’t want to enter the house to see what it has to offer
  • Getting high quality pictures taken can make a world of difference – hire or take them yourself, but make sure your house is staged attractively. This means no open toilet seats, no trash, beds made, chairs pushed in and everything and anything else that needs to be tidied up.
  • Put out sandwich board signs with balloons or other eye-catchers advertising your house on busy intersections in your neighborhood.

With a little bit of planning, a few dollars and some networking your FSBO house has a much better chance of selling.


Craigslist is an absolutely critical resource for anyone who will be selling their house without a realtor. Make sure to use descriptions of your property that make it sound as good as possible. Describe the neighborhood – are there any parks, community centers, school, churches or other amenities nearby? What about your particular subdivision/neighborhood – are the streets tree-lined, are there hills, any views? In addition, use those high quality photos as a way to attract potential buyers. A decision to view your house or not will be made almost entirely on your descriptions and photos of your house.

Open Houses

Open houses are a great way to attract potential buyers (just ask any real estate agent). You want to make buyers feel as at home as possible. You should definitely clean up any clutter, trash or toys. Some other ideas are to have the fireplace going if it’s cold outside, making some cookies to give your house a pleasant aroma, setting the dining room table and maybe turn on the game if the local sports team is on.  The key is getting people to envision themselves living there so consider removing any personal knickknacks and family photos. Be sure to market your open house early and often by utilizing signs around your neighborhood, Craigslist, telling your neighbors and anything else that will get people in your house. One final tip: buy booties that can go over people’s shoes so they don’t track dirt throughout your immaculately cleaned house!


The final, but definitely not last, place to look is at investors. If you need to sell your house quickly, have some defects that need to be fixed or you don’t want to deal with any of the above hassles give a local investor a call. These people specialize in buying houses without using a real estate agent. By clicking here you can get a cash offer in 24 hours or less.

More Resources

If you are still looking for information on how to sell a house without a realtor, we’ve complied a few additional resources to help you out. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at (510)343-9199 or email us today.