Do You Need to Hire a Realtor?

Many people embarking on the journey of selling their home, wonder: “Can I sell my house without a realtor?” The answer to that very common question is a decided YES. There are a couple of ways you can save the exorbitant realtor fees that are necessary to hire a real estate expert to list, market and manage your home. First, you could list your home as a for sale by owner and put the work required in to make that process successful. The other option available to homeowners who are curious if they can avoid the cost of hiring a realtor is to simply sell their house for cash quickly to a local real estate investor.

Selling your house for sale by owner to avoid realtor fees is definitely something to consider for many homeowners in San Diego.
Selling your house For Sale By Owner is definitely possible, but may be extremely complicated and time consuming.

Pros and Cons of Selling FSBO (For Sale By Owner)

There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to selling a home yourself through the for sale by owner process. Taking into consideration the process is the first step in deciding whether or not you are willing to undertake the responsibility of selling your home without any representation.


  • The most obvious advantage of selling a home without an agent is that you would not have to pay the realtor’s commission. Most real estate agents in the San Diego area charge a three percent commission in exchange for the work they do listing the house, marketing the property, and completing all the necessary paperwork that is required to complete the sale. Depending on the value of your home, that can be a considerable amount of money that can certainly cut into any profit margin that may exist. Keep in mind though, that just because you are not represented by an agent, the buyer of your home may be and as the seller you would still be responsible for the commission of your buyer’s representation, likely an ADDITIONAL three percent.
  • Generally speaking, FSBO sellers can have more control over the situation than sellers who work with a realtor. Oftentimes when selling a home with a realtor, property owners have to abide by the opinion of their agent when it comes to decisions like repairs that need to be made, or changes in aesthetics that should happen prior to sale. In addition, they may be pressured into accepting a deal or lowering their sales price based on the agent’s opinion. By contrast, when selling on your own, the only opinion that matters is yours.
  • According to The National Association of REALTORS, in 2019 58% of homes sold FSBO closed escrow in only a couple of weeks because they were sold to individuals that the sellers already knew. This process is known as a non-arm’s length transaction and it can be one way to sell quickly, but keep in mind that in order for this process to go smoothly you first need to know a buyer who may be interested in your home. In addition, some disagreement on transaction details can cause stress and arguments between family and friends.


  • As mentioned above, though a FSBO seller won’t have to pay their own agent, if they are dealing with a buyer who is employing the services of a realtor they would be responsible for paying that commission. In 2019, according to the National Association of REALTORS, 89% of home buyers used an agent to complete the transaction. If that were the case in the sale of your home, you would have to pay the 3% generally commanded by agents in the San Diego area, and as a result you may be the only party not represented by a professional throughout the complicated process. Some Agents don’t even show their buying clients a FSBO because they prefer to have a professional counterpart on the other side of their client’s transaction.
  • Statistics show that homeowners who sell their property by owner are much more likely to either over or under price the home than homeowners who employ the expertise of a real estate professional. The inability to properly price is completely understandable, as it is often difficult for laypeople to understand the nuance of the market and properly consider variables like comparable property and fair market value. Either of these situations can hinder an advantageous sale as pricing too high can lead to a home that lingers on the market while underpricing and limiting profits.
  • Whether or not the house is priced correctly, statistics show that FSBO homes tend to sell for considerably less than those represented by a realtor. In the last year, homes sold by an agent sold for an average of $80,000 more than those who were sold by the owners. This means that even accounting for commission, sellers who used a realtor still made considerably more profit than those who sold on their own.
  • Finally, the amount of time and energy required to sell a home without the tools and expertise of a real estate agent is extensive. First, you need to do necessary research on market conditions as well as comparable properties which may not be readily accessible to the general public. Then, once you have decided on a fair market price for your home, you then need to make it ready for sale. Sometimes, in order to sell a home, major improvements are necessary like new flooring, a new roof, or even cosmetic changes. In the event that you do not have professional input on exactly what needs to be done to get top dollar, you may do too many or too few repairs and cost yourself money one way or another. Once your have listed your house FSBO, without the aid of a realtor, you then have to market the home by placing it on different websites, but as you don’t have nearly the resources a professional would it may be difficult and extremely time consuming to make buyers aware of your home’s existence. Another responsibility associated with selling your home that you may not have considered is the need to facilitate all open houses and showings yourself. Finally, if and when you do receive and offer on the home, you will have to prepare and review all documentation required to close the deal, and if there is a mistake in this process because you did not have the expertise of a professional, you may run into even bigger financial or legal problems down the line if there are mistakes made.
The amount of time and energy required to sell a home without the help of a realtor can be extensive.
Marketing the home yourself can be extremely time consuming and confusing.

A Better Alternative

While there are certainly pros and cons to selling your home FSBO without the expense of hiring a realtor, there is an alternative that dispenses with the need of a real estate agent and doesn’t require any extra work on your part. Instead of listing a property the conventional way, you may consider contacting a reputable local real estate investor to buy your home. By working with an investor, you can reap many of the benefits of the FSBO process without any of the disadvantages. Homeowners we have worked with at Trusted House Buyers have commented that they appreciate the ease of the process and the speed at which they can be relieved of their responsibilities in the home. Most importantly though, a local investor can buy a home quick for cash, so not only do you not have to pay commission and retain control of the process, you also complete the entire transaction within a matter of days or weeks instead of months.

There are many options to consider when selling your home, not the least of which is whether or not to list with an agent or pursue an alternative solution. If you are deciding whether or not to use an agent, the best course of action is certainly to weigh your options and determine whether listing the property yourself or selling to a local investor is the best choice for you.

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