Josh Jennette, Principal Broker
A home for sale by owner can save you thousands of dollars in real estate commissions but it also gives you the job of unofficial realtor and requires you to learn many different selling skills if you want your house to sell for what it’s worth.

Why For Sale by Owner?
Are real estate agents worth the money you pay them in commission?  Get ready for a heated discussion between realtors and home sellers, both sides make good points. 

One of the main reasons that people decide to sell their house without a realtor is to save on the commissions that real estate agents charge to list and sell a home.  Of course, if you don’t hire a realtor to do the work for you that means you’ll have to take on the listing, marketing, and legality of a contract yourself.

Researching Real Estate
One of the benefits of hiring a realtor is that they’re familiar with your local market and how your home compares to the rest of the properties for sale in the area.
Despite what you paid for it, your home is only worth what someone else is willing to pay you to move out.  If the market is down or there are many other similar options available then house hunters may not be willing to spend as much on your home.

So how can you find out where your home fits into the local real estate market? The best place to start is to call up a couple of real estate agents and spend a few minutes with them on the phone.

Ask a Real Estate Agent
Call an agent and explain you’re trying to decide between selling your home by owner or hiring an agent and you have a few questions.  Agents want your business and most will gladly provide you with the information that you are looking for. 

Talk to multiple local agents about your market.  Take notes during each conversation and compare their responses for trends and common topics when you’re finished.

Look at Homes for Sale
Keep an eye on houses for sale around your neighborhood, find out what they’re asking and how long they’ve been on the market.

You can easily keep tabs on prices in your area with websites like and  As you’re comparing real estate prices and features, not only should you keep a spreadsheet of all the information you collect, you should also study the real estate ads, notice which ones catch your eye.
When you go to market your own home it will be good to have an idea of which types of ads grab attention and what seems to matter most to home buyers.

Learn About Selling a Home
Buy or check out a book on how to sell a house yourself.  Real estate agents have tons of experience and knowledge on how to sell a house so you have some catching up to do.  You can also check out the home selling education section on ForSaleByOwner. They cover tips on the whole home selling process, including:

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