The go-to move for many home sellers is to seek out a real estate agent, but one look at commission fees and you may be turning the other direction. Working with a realtor can cost you well over $10,000. But when you’re back at square one, searching “how to sell my house” on Google for the fiftieth time, there’s no need to get discouraged. Selling a home quickly and independently is definitely in your skillset, as long as you know the steps you need to take.
This article provides a complete step-by-step guide on how to sell your own property fast.
Table of Contents
Should I Sell My House Without a Realtor?
With most real estate agents charging a non-negotiable 6% commission—that’s about $18,000 for a $300,000 sale price—selling your house on your own is clearly a financially rewarding path to take. It’s also a path that gives you total control over the entire selling process, so you’re never pushed toward rushed decisions you don’t want to make.
But here’s the truth: Taking the “for sale by owner” (FSBO) route does require dedication. If you want to sell—and sell fast—without a realtor, you need to be prepared to take on their responsibilities. These may include:
- Marketing your own home
- Leading tough negotiations
- Evaluating the value of your home
- Navigating current trends in the real estate market
The good news is: You don’t need to have years of experience to take on these home-selling requirements. If you’re willing to put in the effort and invest your free time into the process, you can secure a quick sale (without paying an agent’s commission), no matter how fast-moving your market is.
How To Sell My House Fast: 7 Essential Steps
Selling a house can be a time-consuming process, but if you make a big effort, your closing date could be sooner than you think—and you’ll save thousands of dollars on commission when the deal is actually sealed. Read through these eight steps, and you’ll know how to sell a house, no matter how fast your desired turnaround.
1. Set the Right Price
Real estate agents may be able to suggest a realistic asking price on the fly, but when you’re handling the sale on your own, the best thing you can do is perform some local market research.
Take a look at the current prices of comparable homes in your area. If there are any similarly sized houses on the market near you, how much are they selling for? Have you made any renovations that may make your home value higher or are there damages that make it lower?
Doing this market analysis can help you be real with yourself. Customers aren’t attached to your home like you may be, so the right sales price may be lower than what you personally think the house is worth. Of course, don’t forget that negotiations will still happen, so odds are, your asking price won’t be final. Set your price a little higher than what you want (and expect) to earn, so your desired selling price will seem like a compromise.
2. Prepare Your Home
Even before your buyer visits your house for the first time, it needs to be ready for you to sell the dream. This makes home staging and other preparations a must for making the best first impression. The attention to detail you put into this step can make or break your digital marketing, showings, and pre-closing inspection.
Here’s what you need to pay attention to so you can turn your home into a winning pick in your potential buyers’ eyes:
Your house doesn’t need to be perfect to sell, but making basic repairs and restorations can ensure your potential buyers leave happy after seeing your home. Some common issues you may need to address include:
- Leaky faucets
- Damaged flooring, walls, or countertops
- Issues with water, gas, or electricity
- Any structural damage
Adding a fresh coat of paint to your walls in neutral colors is also a good move when you want a quick home sale. Whereas white walls are pretty standard for any house, bright pink walls are definitely not appealing to a large audience.
Once you’ve shaped up your home, the next step is staging. Your property is already beautiful, but just like a little bit of makeup, a bit of staging can really make its beauty shine.
First thing’s first: Clean and declutter your home. If you don’t want to give potential home buyers a case of the cringes, this a must in the home prep process. You want them to imagine their ideal life in the house—and no matter how inevitable it is, they don’t want to imagine dirty laundry on the floor, junk drawers galore, or windows that don’t let in any natural light.
Clean and organize, donating or tossing unnecessary items as you go. If needed, put excess items in a storage unit to make your home look as polished as possible.
Once you finish decluttering, start rearranging your furniture in a way that shows off your home’s best features and makes it easy for people to walk through the house. Then, use decor that compliments your furniture and keeps a consistent color scheme for the most attractive look.
Don’t forget your home’s exterior, too—giving your plants a trim and cleaning up your driveway and porch can greatly increase its curb appeal.
In the case that you’re already fully moved out, you may consider hiring a stager instead. They can lend you furniture and bring in tasteful decor to make your house feel homey and livable. This can cost anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars for a whole month, depending on the size of your space and the level of furnishing needed. Empty houses can be difficult to sell, so getting help with staging can be a worthy investment if you want to sell fast.
3. Create Your Listing
Now that your home is photo-ready, the next thing you need to do is gather professional photos of each part of your house. Photos are perhaps the most important part of your listing. Just like we scroll past boring images on social media, potential buyers won’t reach out for more information if your home doesn’t seem like what they’re looking for.
We recommend working with professional photographers for best results. However, if you want to DIY, just make sure to use a high-quality camera and bring as much natural light in the room as possible when you’re taking pictures.
Once you’re done with photography, write out a compelling, concise description of your home. Using keywords can help you boost the search engine optimization of your listings, so it reaches more people.
Then, you can hop onto popular real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia to create your listings. Alternatively, you can invest about $400 to create a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listing. Properties listed on the MLS sell fast not only because they show up on real estate sites, but also because buyers’ agents directly use this database to find homes.
Note: If you do choose to use the MLS, the buyers’ agent will negotiate commission with you. However, this is typically half the cost of what you’d pay your own agent (sometimes less), so you’ll still be saving several thousand dollars. You can also choose to pass the commission onto your buyer, though this can slow down sales.
4. Promote Your Listing on Social Media
Home buyers aren’t shopping on real estate websites all day, every day. Selling houses fast requires you to reach them where they’re actually spending their time—and where there’s less competition than on a site full of homes. This makes social media marketing a great tactic.
On all platforms, but especially Facebook and YouTube, video can be an engaging way to show off your home. Film a video walkthrough of your property, then clip it together into one professional-looking piece of content using Spark’s online video editor. We’ve got the music for you and you don’t need any editing expertise.
For general social media posts and any ads you want to run, you can pair Spark’s real estate templates with your photographs from the last step to generate beautiful, eye-catching content that will get you closer to a sale.
Tap this design to start remixing it for your own property:
5. Manage Your Showings
Your open houses and private showings are your chance to drive home the value of your property and convince viewers to make an offer. Make a list of features you want to highlight when you’re showing visitors around your home, so they’re bound to be impressed.
We also recommend having printed brochures or flyers ready for potential buyers to take home, so they can further consider making a purchase (and have easy access to your contact info). Tap to customize this real estate flyer on Adobe Spark to design your take-home sheet in minutes:
6. Find an Escrow Agent
No matter how much you Google “how to sell my house,” you’re going to need an escrow agent by the time you close. It’s unavoidable—and making sure you know who you’re going to work with ahead of time can speed up your home-selling process immensely.
An escrow agent, who usually works as part of a title company, is an independent third party that manages all the funds and documents associated with a home sale. Hiring one is the safest way to handle all transactions in the closing process—for both you and the buyer—because you’ll have a neutral, licensed agent acting as a buffer in case anything falls through.
Start researching and reaching out to title companies in your area to find an agent who you trust and who will be available in the time frame when you plan to start accepting offers.
If you want extra help reviewing documents, you can also consider seeking out a real estate attorney, but this usually isn’t required unless a dispute occurs.
7. Start Negotiations and Open Escrow
When you get an offer you’re interested in, this is where the negotiations begin. Since you’re selling on your own, keep in mind that you’re under no pressure to sell at a price you’re not comfortable with. Feel free to push back if your potential buyer’s agent is trying to negotiate lower prices. However, be realistic if you want to sell your home fast.
Your escrow agent then comes in once you’ve come to an agreement about the terms of the sale. They’ll help manage your title and your buyer’s deposit, and help you both complete the right paperwork. After your buyer’s home inspection and final walkthrough are complete (and you complete any needed repairs), they’ll also guide you through any documentation you need to finally close the sale for good.
Keep in mind that this process can take about a month—though your escrow agent will do most of the work—so be patient.
Just by accurately calculating your home’s market value and making smart marketing choices—in part by using Adobe Spark templates to get more eyes on your listing—your home can sell fast. And by selling independently, you’ll keep 100% of the typical real estate commission in your pocket, so your effort will be worth it.