The Cheapest Ways to Sell a House


|10 min read

Let’s be honest – the thought of selling your home can be downright stressful. You’ve likely put years of love and labor into making it your own. But now, things are changing. Maybe you got a new job in another state, or your family is expanding, and you need more space. Whatever the reason, it’s time for a change, and you want to know the cheapest ways to sell your house.

The prospect of paying thousands in realtor fees and dealing with open houses feels overwhelming. You’ve worked so hard to build equity in your home. The last thing you want is to see a huge chunk of it swallowed up in commissions and closing costs. Many homeowners find themselves asking, “Is there a way to sell my house without emptying my wallet in the process?” The answer is, yes!

You don’t have to drain your savings just to sell your house. There are more affordable ways to get it done, but they can come at the cost of a higher selling price and customer service. However, with the right approach, you can minimize expenses and attract serious buyers without compromising on a successful sale.

Whether you’re a first-time seller looking to minimize expenses or an experienced homeowner seeking to maximize your profits, we’ve got you covered.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

If you are thinking about selling your home without a real estate agent, FSBO might sound like a tempting option. FSBO stands for “For Sale By Owner,” and it basically means you’re taking on the job of selling your house all by yourself. No real estate agent, no commission fees, just you and your home and your own marketing attempts.

List your home on a few FSBO websites, wait for the offers to roll in, and then eventually sell your house and save yourself the listing agent’s commission, which is typically around 2.5-3% of the sale price.

So, if FSBO is such a great deal, why isn’t everyone doing it?

Selling a home is not as easy as many think it is. It’s a complex process that requires a lot of time, effort, and know-how. Buyers want to be confident in the “product” they are buying, and a real estate agent’s involvement can help give them that confidence.

Additionally, FSBO sellers often overlook the legal requirements, paperwork, and negotiations involved, which can quickly become overwhelming for the average homeowner. Furthermore, what many sellers forget is that even if you skip the listing agent, you might still need to pay a buyer’s agent commission if the buyer has representation. So, your savings might not be as big as you think.

Pros of FSBO Home Sales

A “For Sale By Owner” has several potential advantages when you’re selling your house, especially for knowledgeable sellers who are comfortable handling the process on their own. The primary benefits include:

  • Cost Savings
    Avoid paying the listing agent’s 2.5-3% commission simply by not employing a listing agent. While you can save on the listing agent’s commission, FSBO sellers often end up paying the buyer’s agent commission to attract more buyers and complete the sale.
  • Full Control
    As the seller, you have complete control over the listing price, how you market the property, and the terms of the sale. You can schedule showings and open houses on your own time.
  • Direct Communication
    FSBO allows you to deal directly with potential buyers, which some sellers prefer to communicate their home’s unique features and benefits more personally.
  • Flexibility
    If you already have a buyer lined up, such as a friend, family member, or neighbor, FSBO can be a more straightforward process while still allowing you to use a real estate attorney or title company for legal paperwork.
  • Preferred Timeline
    Selling FSBO may be a good option if you’re not in a rush to sell and prefer to wait for the right buyer willing to meet your price.

Cons of FSBO Home Sales

Before you jump on the FSBO bandwagon, it’s important to understand the potential drawbacks:

  • Homes are usually sold for less.
    FSBO homes often sell for less, even accounting for commission savings. According to the National Association of Realtors, FSBO homes typically sell for less than those listed by agents.
  • FSBO listings may attract less serious buyers and curious neighbors.
    FSBO homes may draw less qualified buyers and more ambitious investors – this means the seller has to do more screening and may miss out on great opportunities.
  • Selling a home is a full-time job.
    The seller is responsible for the entire process – pricing, listing, showing the home, handling paperwork, etc. which is time-consuming and demands a lot of knowledge, patience, and time.
  • Paperwork pitfalls can lead to legal nightmares.
    Mistakes in contracts, disclosures, or the closing process can have serious legal and financial consequences for an FSBO seller. Familiarize yourself with all the relevant legalities and adhere to your state’s seller disclosure laws. Consulting a real estate attorney is highly recommended.
  • Real estate rules vary by state.
    Real estate customs, required paperwork, and regulations vary by state. FSBO sellers their state’s regulations regarding title insurance, deed types, transfer taxes, recording fees, attorney requirements, and more.

This guide published by Republic Title is a great place to start understanding what is required to sell a property without an agent in your state.

At the end of the day, while FSBO might seem like a great way to save some cash, it’s important to consider the bigger picture. Selling a home is a major undertaking, and having a professional real estate agent by your side can make all the difference in terms of time, stress, and, ultimately, the success of your sale.

Online Platforms

Nowadays, selling your place through an online platform can be a smart and affordable option compared to old-school realtor routes.

These sites provide tools to list your home, market it to buyers, and handle the sales process from start to finish. Some even connect you to local agents for limited à la carte services if you need support.

The biggest of selling through an online platform is major savings on agent commissions.

Many platforms offer flat-fee MLS listings, which get your property in front of buyers for just a fraction of what a typical agent charges.

So, if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and handle some of the process yourself, selling online can be a great fit. We’ll explore some of the top platforms and how they can streamline selling while lightening the hit to your wallet. Knowledge is power – let’s get you up to speed on the options.

Opendoor – iBuyer

Opendoor is an iBuyer that provides cash offers for qualifying properties. With Opendoor, you can receive a competitive cash offer within 24 hours and close on your timeline, reducing the uncertainty and time commitment associated with traditional home sales. While Opendoor does charge a service fee, it can be a convenient and cost-effective option for sellers who prioritize a quick and hassle-free sale.

Zillow – Best for FSBO

Zillow is often considered the best choice for FSBO sellers. Zillow’s “Make Me Move” feature allows homeowners to list their property for free, and the platform’s vast user base provides significant exposure to potential buyers. Zillow also offers tools for managing your listing, communicating with buyers, and comparing your home’s value to similar properties in your area.


Houzeo is a tech-enabled real estate company that offers a comprehensive set of tools for homeowners looking to sell their property themselves. Houzeo’s user-friendly interface guides sellers through the entire process, from listing their home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to managing showings, fielding offers, and navigating the closing process.

FSBO sellers can take control of the selling process by leveraging the power of online platforms, potentially saving a significant amount on agent commissions while still benefiting from marketing and transaction management tools. As technology continues to transform the real estate industry, online platforms are making it easier and more cost-effective than ever for homeowners to sell their properties without the need for a traditional agent.

Flat Fee MLS Listings

If you’re considering selling your home without a traditional real estate agent, you may have come across the term “flat fee MLS listing.” This option allows FSBO sellers to gain exposure on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) without paying the full commission typically associated with a listing agent.

By paying a one-time, flat fee to an MLS listing service, you can tap into the powerful marketing potential of the MLS while maintaining control over your home sale.

Pros of Flat Fee MLS Companies

A flat fee MLS company offers several compelling advantages for FSBO sellers, making this option an attractive choice for those looking to save money on commission costs while still benefiting from the exposure provided by the MLS to sell a house. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Cost savings – Employing flat fee agents rather than percentage-based commission agents can potentially save thousands of dollars on the sale of your home.
  • Increased exposure – Listing your property on the MLS exposes it to real estate agents and potential buyers, increasing your chances to sell quickly.
  • Control over the sale process – With a flat fee MLS listing, you maintain control over pricing, showings, and negotiations, allowing you to make decisions that best align with your goals.
  • Access to online tools – Many flat-fee MLS companies provide sellers with access to online tools for managing their listings, scheduling showings, and communicating with buyers.

Cons of Flat Fee MLS Companies

While discounted MLS listings come with some great perks, there are a few drawbacks to note to have the full picture.

Some of the key downsides include:

  • You’re mostly on your own. The flat fee company will get your listing up but will provide minimal help with stuff like marketing, pricing, negotiations, and navigating the sales process.
  • Could sell for less – Without a talented agent guiding you, you might not price or negotiate as optimally. This could lead to leaving money on the table. Homes sold without an agent sell for an average of 6% less than those with an agent.
  • Might attract fewer serious buyers – Casual home shoppers or investors browsing the MLS may know you don’t have full agent representation and make lowball offers.
  • Requires major time/effort on your part – You’ll have to handle showings, open houses, paperwork, and other heavy lifting agents usually take care of.

Carefully think through your needs and comfort level before choosing this route. While discounted MLS listings provide great exposure, you take on much of the sales process yourself. Make sure you’re ready for that responsibility before diving in.

Smart Negotiation to Keep Costs Down

According to CNBC, 36% of homebuyers and sellers don’t know they can negotiate real estate agent fees, so be strategic in your negotiations to minimize unnecessary expenses and maximize your profits.

If you want full representation but want to minimize costs, negotiate terms with your real estate agent.

Negotiating Commissions

Commission rates are almost always negotiable, and you don’t necessarily need to hunt for a low commission agent. Don’t be afraid to negotiate lower commission rates with your agent and ask for a lower percentage. Especially in competitive markets, such as the seller’s market, hungry agents are often willing to shave down their percentage to win your business.

Have a transparent discussion about reducing commissions with your agent. Beforehand,  research industry average rates in your area and average listing times so you can make fair counteroffers backed by data.

Now, keep expectations reasonable. Good agents earn their keep. One strategy is to offer a tiered commission where they get a higher split if the sale price hits certain benchmarks – this lights a fire under them to get top dollar.

An alternative to negotiating with a traditional agent is to work with a low commission or 1% real estate agent. These agents charge a lower commission rate, typically around 1-1.5%, compared to the standard 3% for traditional agents.

However, these lower rates often come with a more limited scope of services. Low-commission agents may offer fewer marketing and staging services, leaving more of the work to you as the seller.

Repair and Staging Costs

To make your home more attractive to potential buyers and sell for a higher market value, consider upgrading and staging your home on a budget.

Instead of extensive renovations, focus on cost-effective improvements like fresh paint, decluttering, and minor repairs. These small changes can make a significant impact on how buyers perceive your home.

When staging your home, consider renting furniture and decor instead of purchasing new items. This can help create an inviting atmosphere without breaking the bank. You can also work with your agent to prioritize which areas of your home to focus on for the most significant impact.

Closing Costs

Closing costs can add up quickly, but they are also negotiable. If your home receives multiple offers, you can ask the buyer to cover a larger portion of the closing costs during negotiations, which can include items such as legal fees, escrow fees, title insurance, and property taxes.

Additionally, when reviewing offers, consider the overall package, including the purchase price and the amount of closing costs the buyer is willing to cover. An offer with a slightly lower purchase price but higher closing cost coverage may be more advantageous than a higher-priced offer where you are responsible for all the closing costs.

The Cheapest Ways to Sell Your House Can Include a Real Estate Agent

While some sellers may believe that working with a real estate agent is an unnecessary expense, the truth is that partnering with a knowledgeable professional can be one of the most affordable ways to sell your house quickly in your local market for a good price.

An experienced agent can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the selling process, helping you make informed decisions that align with your budget and goals.

Browse FastExpert’s network of top-rated professionals to find the right agent for your property and budget. With FastExpert, finding the perfect agent to guide you through the home selling process has never been easier. Explore the profiles of trusted professionals in your area, compare their expertise and services, and select the one that best aligns with your unique needs and goals.

Selling solo may seem cheaper on the surface, but you risk losing money and equity without a professional to help. Partnering with the right agent is one of the most cost-effective ways to sell your home successfully. Let FastExpert match you to pros who can guide you through this process while respecting your budget.

Kelsey Heath

Kelsey Heath is a real estate content specialist with an extensive background in residential, industrial, and commercial property. She has been involved in the industry for a decade as a professional and personal investor, gaining a deep understanding of the market and trends. With a passion for written communication, Kelsey loves helping people understand the sometimes-complicated concepts behind real estate and is now a sought-out guest and ghostwriter.

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