For sale by Owner on Zillow

39 Replies

Hey Guys!! I was wondering if anyone has tried

Zillow’s for sale by owner?

I’m wrapping up My flip and I’m thinking about

Listing it sale by owner. Paying a 2.5%-3%

To buyers agent. Only because the inventory

Is low and People in the DMV area (D.C. Maryland, Va)

Are buying Real estate like crazy.

Hey @Randy Galliani , congratulations on the upcoming finish-line for your flip!  In a hot hot market it may be totally feasible to sell through this mode, but I'd HIGHLY recommend treating it the same way that you'd expect an excellent agent to treat it.  Don't skimp on the media (photos, virtual tour, video, etc), price it on the money, and present your house excellently overall.

The best book for this would be Mindy Jensen's How To Sell Your Home -

@Randy Galliani

I use a flat rate listing agent on my flips. Cost $750 includes photographer, contract docs, and I pay 2%-2.5% buyers commission. Professional photos and gets all the MLS exposure. I take care of all the negotiations and questions are handled by me.

@Randy Galliani

I found a local flat fee listing agent.  I’ve had some flips sell in 4 days and others a few weeks.  I found it works really well.  Google flat rate brokers in your area.

Hi Randy,

I second or third that flat rate realtor idea. Mostly just to avoid all the realtors that will blow up your phone the second you put up a FSBO on Zillow. No matter what you write in the description about NO AGENT CALLS you will get them by the dozen's! The flat rate listing will get you on the MLS and you'll only get buyers agents sending people your way.


The Orange Box Project

@Randy Galliani

I’ve used fsbo on Zillow to sell in the past, just be sure to write a professional description and good pictures. I also make sure to include “3% commission payed to buyers agent” so agents aren’t afraid to show it

@Randy Galliani

Congrats on wrapping up that flip, exciting stuff and a great time to sell.

- You’re going to pay out 3% to a buyer agent

- You’re looking to do the work to sell your house, without an agent, to avoid 3% additional commission...

- 90% of the time, a good agent, will be able to advise and sell the home for well over 4%+ more than what a FSBO can. It's just a statistic. Very likely you could be the 10% and do very well. But even at the 10% and you do sell it's a job. You're a flipper, and possibly have another job, and now would be taking on the job of being an agent, to pay yourself a few dollars.

There is the marketing, selecting a price, title commitment, obtaining clear title, NEGOTIATING (a good agent has sooo much insight here), doing all the paperwork, etc. A lot of stuff that takes a lot of time. Is this the best use of your time? Or are you better suited to working on the next step towards your next flip? Did you do all of the rehabbing on your flip? Or did you hire contractors to do the work?

If it’s a hobby, or you just would love to try it yourself, go for it! If you’re strictly analyzing it as a business decision , more likely it will make better business sense to outsource the sale.

Just some thoughts! Good Luck!

I think there has been some great advice on mindset when choosing not to work with a listing agent. I'm an agent that has bought all of my investment properties off-market and in doing so I expected to be buying at a discount well below the 3% it would have cost to have an agent, I think it is typical for someone to try to get a discount on FSBO properties.

Also, even if you are THE BEST, most organized FSBO seller, as buying agents, we don't typically have a positive experience when working with most FSBO sellers. My personal common advice is to steer away from FSBO unless the property checks ALL boxes for my clients. TOOOO many times have my buyers had their hopes upon a propertied and come to find out something fell through.

Best of luck!

Congrats on the flip!! I sold two through flat fee services. Just google (your state or county) flat fee mls and a bunch should come up anywhere from $99-1000 depending on what you want them to do. I paid $300 and gave a 3% commission and the buyers agent did most of the work. First one I listed for sale by owner on Zillow and it sat for a while, maybe 1-2 showings a week, even when I said I'd give commission to agents. As soon as I went through flat fee service and it hit, 5-10 showings a week! Second flip was sold in a week using flat fee, great option if you know how to price and take photos

Congrats on the Flip/Rehab and congrats on leaving the W2 to make your dream come true!  @Randy Galliani

There are a couple of investors that I work with monthly that flip & develop. They are both 20 years older than me and have been within real estate well before I got out of high school. They have a lot more experience than me, and one of them used to be licensed a long time ago. That investor dropped his license because their attorney informed them it would be best, due to how they were acquiring off market deals, and listing them after they rehabbed the houses. Even for the development side they got a house to develop (that was on market) it was reduced 10% off the list price including more within escrow through myself/team representing them.

All that experience and even being licensed before put them into a "mindset," you could say that they do not want to step over a dollar to pickup a penny. They utilize my services as a licensed real estate agent each listing, build the numbers into the return to make sure it works. They buy the house, remodel it and have me list it (and I also find off market dealss for then too and sell those to them). This reduces the workload, time consumption of coordination on everything from disclosures to negations and even pictures. 

It's more of a way to scale for them and not to be bogged down by 2, 3, 4 jobs while only wanting to flip/develop. If you are looking to do 3-8 flips a year it might be perfect for you to FSBO the listing, or use a flat rate broker. These two investors want to do more, scale more and increase flipping to increase their net income. They don't want to do more work to net more income and be even busier. They also want a life after the current day job (flipping/development), not have to call 20 realtors back, setup one showing within a week for all the realtors to show, handle all the paperwork, and get the house into escrow. It's a balance, and they just calculate that into the numbers to be more productive to ultimately make more money.

If you decide to go the FSBO route and do not go with a flat fee broker (which is a no brainer IMO) make sure you explicitly say in your listing that you are willing to work with buyers agents. That will make a big difference.

I may try a flat fee listing if I new exactly how to price it. In general trying to 'save' the 1 or 2% isn't worth it for what you're giving up not being represented by a quality agent.

I always sell my rentals FSBO, but they are mid-grade, not retail. Most FSBO sellers have no clue and should list IMO.

How do i price it and what contracts and disclosures do I need are common FSBO questions. How confident are you regarding these 3 key items? Most are clueless to all but there are exceptions.

@Randy Galliani

We just used a flat fee MLS broker to sell our personal residence, but only because there had been several recent sales in our neighborhood of nearly identical houses so we knew exactly what the price should be. We had also done enough deals to know the process and the forms.

We also recently sold a fourplex which we listed with an agent. We weren't nearly as familiar with the nuances of fourplexes. It was well worth it to have an agent in that instance if only to coordinate showings and handle negotiations. @Boone Tyson was well worth the money and likely made us more money than his commission. If it makes you money, it doesn't cost you anything.

One word of warning with flat fee brokers: they will likely outsource everything to a VA who is working for next to nothing. Check their work very carefully! Especially your contact information. The broker will ignore any inquiries sent to their office about your home.

@Darson Grantham

I'm the same way. An agent who isn't afraid of off-market. And has done a lot of it. I'm not anti-FSBO. I'm sure NAR is already sending men in suits and black SUV's to knock on my door with a cease and desist. Lol. (Or maybe I just watched too much Ozark season 3....)

But the conversation is funny, no one tries to DIY a title companies job, an attorney’s job, etc (unless they are one) but the conversation around agents seems to attract it.

I guess, moreso observation than opinion. Agents certainly don’t have a corner on the market for knowledge anymore that has been increasingly democratized. However IMO, service can validate the value provided in the RIGHT agent.

@Randy Galliani in Ontario, Canada as a Realtor we are not allowed to ignore for sale by owners properties, nor do I. A lot of agents do, it seems or they just don't show well so clients are not as interested. Certainly hiring the pro for media and the likes is worth it. If you can get a vurtual tour done as well that certainly helps cut down on showings that amount of nothing because they didn't know how the floorplan looked.

Offer out the prevailing rate to cooperating brokerages. And let agents know that it is on the market.

Best of luck to you.

@Randy Galliani I concur with @Darson Grantham and @Nate Sanow - the fact that you're seeking advice here tells me you're not experienced at selling homes. You may get lucky and sell with no problem, how there are many problems thycan arise and you need to know how to handle them. And, buyers will always expect a discounted price when buying FSBO as there's greater risk. You'll either lose 3% off the sale price or pay for the cost of a professional who does this full time as a living. And to answer your question, yes, agents prefer to not work directly with FSBOs as it can be very challenging! My advice would be do your job and bring on an agent as part of your team to do his/her job. You will benefit in the long run!

If you go it alone, best of luck!

@Mario Garcia

I totally agree about staying off listing on zillow. I tried this route a couple years ago and was bombarded non-stop by agents. I even had agents coming to my house for a "pre showing" for their clients that might be interested and then actually just try to get me to list with them. Personally I would recommend negotiating you are a with a quality agent and not dealing with it. In my situation I actually just sold that house by putting a for sale by owner sign down at the road and that ended up finding the buyer as opposed to Zillow.

In my opinion all Zillow is good for just getting people excited that their houses are worth a lot more than they actually are LOL.

Having sold only 2 houses FSBO - I am by no means 'experienced'.  The first time I listed on Zillow - and the second I listed Zillow and flat-fee just to get it in the MLS.  pick your flat-fee company carefully!

About selling FSBO - just some thoughts:

The first time I left alot of $$ on the table - but I learned alot also.  The second time I more than held my ground and did just fine!  I did my own homework:  thoroughly researched recent sales in my area; went to a couple open houses just to chat w/ agents about what buyers were looking for; designed very professional-looking for sale signs - complete with the little "take-one" flyers - and had them printed by a nearby print shop (very inexpensive).  I didn't post on Zillow until I was ready for my first open-house.  I made it clear that I Welcomed buyer's agents and offered 2.5%.  I listed my house $20+k above the 'average' for the local market; but I knew a had a 'premium' property.  Any agent that asked if I would consider a lower price - I politely smiled and said I would review any offer; I didn't want to give them a flat out "no"; let them think you'll negotiate - even if you hold steadfast in your price.  In just under 2 weeks I had a few offers (all low-balled) and I either ignored them till the agent came back with a better offer, or I countered with my original asking - or maybe a little higher.  The trick to FSBO - I think - is KNOWING what you have and what it's worth - that and Negotiation skills.  Don't be afraid to decline an offer.  And don't (necessarily) take the first offer.  I was selling in southern California (deserts) but the market was still pretty hot.  I ended up a bit above my asking price - including some 'cash-back' to the first-time home buyer who was looking for 'help' with closing costs - just roll that into the initial price.  In both instances (FSBO) - I found that the Buyer's agent did most/all of the work ensuring that the 'right' paperwork was completed - because they wanted the sale to go through for their buyer.  

As for that 3% 'listing commission':  Several agents tried to negotiate a lower price by 'pointing out' how much I was 'saving' by not paying a listing agent.  I chuckled inside and politely said:  "I think my time is worth just as much as their's - so why shouldn't I pay myself for my time and effort?" - most simply grinned - sheepishly.  I think I spent maybe 20-25 hours on the second sale (prepping flyer info, sign design, open house time, showing time, negotiating time, reviewing offers etc etc etc) - that 3% commission (not having a listing agent) paid me >$250/hour!  Not bad money!

Good Luck

@Randy Galliani

I am a real estate agent in Connecticut , not the most experienced one, but I could tell you for sure that agents avoid FSBO.

Partly because they feel like every house should be listed with an agent so they don't show it out of spite ( whether it's good or bad is a different story but that's just how it is)

Also because there could be difficulties colleting your commission .

They will basically show your house if it's perfect for the buyer or if they run out of other options, which is kind of the case right now with inventory shortage.

So, if you are ever gonna have a great chance of selling your house yourself , it's definitely now

Randy I just completed a flip in KY and listed it on zillow as a home for sale by owner with a 2.5% offer for realtors. Sold it in one week and paid 2.5% without a problem. If you have updated your flip like i did mine it should not be hard to sell in this market.