How to Sell a House by Owner in Maryland (Without Realtors)
Many sellers want to know how to sell a house by owner in Maryland without a realtor.
At Creo Home Buyers, we have years of experience buying, listing, and selling property in MD, both with and without agents.
In our guide we share tips on how to sell your own home, 8 steps to selling yourself, pros and cons, common mistakes, and alternative ways of selling your house in Maryland without an agent.
Disclaimer: This blog post provides general information on Maryland real estate and is not personalized advice. Maryland Estates, LLC, doing business as Creo Home Buyers, and its authors are not liable for the accuracy or use of this information; consult with a trusted real estate professional or attorney for personalized guidance regarding your unique situation.
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Should You Sell Your House FSBO?
Selling property by owner in Maryland, also referred to as “for sale by owner” or FSBO, is one the top ways homeowners avoid paying realtor fees.
But is it right for you?
Most sellers who choose to sell by owner do so because they’ve had a bad experience listing or want save money on realtor commissions.
Though, some homeowners ultimately give up trying to sell themselves because of how time consuming and difficult they find it to be.
How to Sell a House by Owner in Maryland: 8 Step Guide
Selling property requires quite a lot of research, marketing, negotiation, and legally binding paperwork.
When you decide to offer your property for sale without representation, the entire process is often more challenging.
Here are the most common steps on how to sell property by yourself to help you decide if it’s right for you:
Step 1: Determine Asking Price in MD
When selling your own house it’s important to accurately and competitively set the list price. Pricing too high or low could result in wasted time and money lost.
The two most common ways to set a price real estate:
1. Ask a Licensed Real Estate Agent
You may be surprised to learn that one of the best ways to determine the asking price for your home is to simply ask an agent that is familiar with the local real estate market.
Yes, even if you don’t want your house listed by an agent.
An agent can provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA).
A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a report that can help determine how much your house is worth by comparing your house to similar homes that have sold recently or are currently for sale near your property.
2. Determine an Asking Price on Your Own:
It is possible to determine how much your house is worth by checking prices on real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com. Just keep in mind that these sites may not always be accurate and it can be hard to find comparable listings.
Step 2: Prep House to Sell By Owner
After deciding on an asking price, you’ll need to prepare your home for sale by owner. Making your home appeal to the largest number of buyers can lead to more interest.
Whether you are selling during probate or your own personal residence, get your home ready to sell by completing necessary repairs. Consider staging your home to appeal to more buyers.
Step 3: Market “For Sale By Owner”
Once your home has been prepared, it’s time to focus on advertising and marketing your house to get the most offers.
In order to get as many offers as possible for your home, you’ll want to hire a professional photographer to take staged pictures and showcase your home in the “for sale by owner” listing.
Consider offering owner financing in your listing. Owner financing opens up your property to a larger pool of buyers.
When it comes to writing your property description, include square footage and other things that buyers are looking for. Just make sure your listing description complies with current fair housing laws.
Where to List
Most sellers choose to list their home on free online platforms such as Zillow, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist.
Even free online real estate listing platforms will help you reach more buyers than simply putting a “for sale by owner” sign in your front yard.
Though, to get the most home offers you’ll want to list your house on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a database of homes for sale that agents and buyers use to find properties for sale.
You can put your home on the MLS via online FSBO platforms with a flat-fee MLS listing option.
Some Maryland home sellers also choose to market their house offline by using flyers, newspapers, brochures, and word of mouth.
Step 4: Sign Maryland Disclosures
A real estate disclosure is a written statement that informs the buyer of any material facts or latent defects that may negatively affect the value or condition of the property.
Failing to accurately fill disclosure forms may expose you to legal and financial liability. Some sellers opt to hire an attorney just to review contracts and disclosures.
Common disclosures needed when selling in Maryland
- Maryland Seller Disclosure
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- Flood Risk Disclosure
- Radon disclosure
- Mold disclosure
- Septic system disclosure
- Well water disclosure
If you are selling land in Maryland, make sure you have any additional paperwork you might need.
Check with your real estate attorney or the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for more information on exactly which disclosures are required to sell your house.
Step 5: Showings to Sell on Your Own
As soon as your marketing is live, be prepared to show your house to interested buyers.
You can schedule an open house or offer individual showings.
With an open house you’ll invite potential buyers to come see your home during a set period of time on a specific day.
Open houses can help increate interest and make buyers offer more and faster if many other buyers are present.
TIP: To make your open house successful, pick a time when most future homeowners are free, like on weekends or in the evening.
An individual showing is a private appointment with a buyer or their agent where they come to view your home.
These showings take more time and flexibility on your part as the seller because you have to work with many different schedules.
TIP: If you leave a lockbox on your “for sale by owner” property, buyers represented by an agent can come through even when you aren’t at home.
Step 6: Negotiate Home Offers
When your home is for sale without a real estate agent you’ll be solely responsible to review, compare, and negotiate all offers.
This is one of the most challenging and stressful parts of learning how to sell real estate by yourself, especially if you are selling property during divorce.
You’ll need to read through and understand each buyer’s offer completely, including clauses and contingencies. Then decide which one is the best for you and your home selling goals.
Review: When you receive an offer from a buyer, review it thoroughly. Consider hiring an attorney to review purchase contracts before signing.
Compare: If you receive multiple property offers, congratulations! Compare them side by side. Consider not only the offer price but also contingencies, ability to buy, and closing date.
Once you have reviewed and compared the offers, it’s time to decide whether to accept, reject, or counter any of them.
Accept: If you are happy with an offer and want to accept it, sign it and send it back to the buyer or their agent as soon as possible!
Reject: If you are not satisfied with a particular offer then it is polite to inform the buyer, or their agent rather than simply ignore it.
Did you know? Just about every part of a home offer can be negotiated, including contingencies, closing date, and more.
Counter: If you are interested in an offer but want to change some things, you need to counter it with a new verbal or written offer that reflects your desired terms and conditions.
Step 7: Due Diligence When Selling
Once you’ve accepted an offer and signed the purchase contract, the clock starts on the buyer’s due diligence.
Due diligence is the process of verifying and inspecting the condition and value of a house before finalizing a home purchase.
Formal home inspections and appraisals are often completed during this time.
Be Prepared for More Negotiations!
More often than not, your buyer will often want to renegotiate aspects of the contract before closing.
This is normal, so don’t be alarmed when it happens.
For example, if the appraisal comes in low, you may need to reduce the selling price or ask the buyer to make up the difference in cash.
Be prepared to renegotiate aspects of the contract, such as:
- Change in Price or Closing Assistance
- Additional Repairs or Seller Credits
- Additional Contingencies
- Closing Date
Consider consulting with a real estate attorney or broker for guidance on handling negotiations and contracts during this time.
You May Need to Cancel the Sale
Unfortunately, if unable to reach an agreement with the buyer during due diligence you’ll need to cancel the contract.
Properly cancelling the contract ensures the buyer no longer has legal rights to purchase your home so you can find another buyer.
Step 8: Close on Your House
Next is to make preparations to move and change your utilities.
Plan ahead and start the process of moving when selling your home as early as possible, to make the transition easier once you sell.
Closing in Maryland
The final aspect of selling by owner is to close the sale and hand over the keys.
Closing is where you and the buyers sign all required documents and finalize the transfer of ownership. Closing usually takes place at a title company or an attorney’s office.
At closing, you will bring all the required documents or ensure the settle agent has them ahead of time, such as:
- Your photo ID
- A copy of the original signed contract
- All house keys and garage door openers
- Agreed upon warranties for appliances or systems
- Agreed receipts or invoices for repairs or improvements
- Any other documents requested by the title company or attorney
It’s a good idea to keep a copy of all the documents and receipts for your records and tax purposes.
Hand Over the Keys
After closing, be prepared to coordinate with the buyer and their agent on when and how you will hand over the keys to the house.
Most sellers elect to move out completely at least a few days before closing so they can hand the keys over to the buyer at closing.
Pros & Cons of Selling a Home by Owner in Maryland
While selling your home “for sale by owner” can be tempting, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before trying to sell real estate yourself.
4 Benefits of Selling a House FSBO
1. Save Thousands in Commissions
One of the main reasons homeowners decide to sell themselves is to save on agent commissions.
A typical listing agent in Maryland charges 5.5% to 6% of the final selling price. According to Redfin.com, the average home sells for over $400,000. So you could find yourself saving over $20,000 in real estate commissions selling without an agent.
2. Hit the Market Quickly & Sell Fast
Another benefit of selling on your own is that you can hit the market quickly and potentially sell faster. When you don’t sell with an agent you won’t have to wait for them to prepare to list your home or follow their schedule and availability.
List your home whenever you want and show it to buyers as your schedule permits. You also get to respond to home offers directly potentially close on your home sale sooner.
3. Have More Control Over the Process
A third pro of selling a home without a local agent is having more control over the process. You don’t have to rely on an agent to make decisions or act on your behalf.
Set your own price, choose your own marketing strategies, negotiate with buyers directly, and handle all the paperwork yourself.
4. Give Your Full and Undivided Attention
When you sell by yourself you don’t have to share your time or attention with an agent who may have other clients or priorities.
4 Drawbacks to Selling a Maryland Home FSBO
1. FSBO listings tend to sell for less
According to a 2019 report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price for FSBO homes was $200,000, compared to $280,000 for agent-assisted homes.
2. Marketing Can be Expesive and Time-Consuming
Marketing your home by owner can be difficult and expensive. As a FSBO seller, you have to do everything yourself. You may not have enough time or availability to sell your home by owner effectively and efficiently.
3. You might not be experienced
While you may be available to manage the sale of your home in Maryland on your own, real estate agents often work full-time on selling homes and have the experience and network to get it done.
4. Complicated Real Estate Documents
Understanding Maryland Real Estate Documents: When you sell your own house, you’ll need to understand all the paperwork.
Costs of Selling By Owner
It is rarely free or cheap to sell property successfully by yourself.
When you have a house for sale by owner, you’ll have to pay professional photography, marketing, listing, legal fees, etc.
Common FSBO home selling costs to budget for:
Determine Sales Price: $0 – $700+
The process of setting the sales price for your home typically ranges from $0 if you are doing it yourself to $700 or more if obtaining a formal appraisal.
Photography: $0 – $3,500+ ($250 avg)
Hiring a professional photographer to take high-quality photos and videos of your home can cost you anywhere from $100 to $500 or even more. It’s free to do it yourself, but they may be low quality.
Marketing: $0-$600 ($400 avg)
Marketing your home can cost you anywhere from $0 if using free advertising methods to thousands of dollars, depending on the methods and platforms you use.
Sales Contract: $0-$500 ($250 avg)
As most buyers will submit a written contract when they put an offer in on your home, this is something you most likely won’t have to pay for yourself.
Home Warranty: $0-$600 ($250 avg)
Some owners opt to offer a home warranty to the future homeowner. This is not a requirement but can make your home more appealing than a similar home for sale that doesn’t offer one.
Legal & Agent Fees: 0%-5.5% of sale price
Hiring a real estate attorney to help you draft a contract or provide legal advice can cost you anywhere from $200 to $500 per hour or more. Some attorneys may also charge a flat fee or a percentage of what your home sells for. If you are DIYing your Maryland home sale without assistance, you can save money here.
Flat Fee MLS Services Additional: $0-$2,500 ($150 avg)
Listing your home on the MLS can cost you a flat fee or a low commission, depending on the service or platform you use.
For example, some platforms charge a flat fee of $99 to $499 for listing your home on the MLS and providing some basic support. Some brokers charge a low commission of 1% to 2% for listing your home on the MLS and providing some additional services.
Professional Cleaning: $0-$500 ($350 avg)
Cleaning your house yourself won’t cost you more than supplies you may already have on hand. However, springing for a professional home cleaning will make your house stand out from the rest.
Closing Costs: 2%-5% of sale price
Paying all the closing costs associated with selling your own house yourself can cost you anywhere from 2% to 5% of your home’s final price or more, depending on your location and situation.
Hiring a settlement agent to handle the escrow process can cost you anywhere from $500 to $1500 or more.
The settlement agent will hold the earnest money deposit from the buyer and disburse it according to the contract terms. They also handle all the paperwork and documentation involved in the closing process.
ALL OF YOUR TIME!
When it comes to sell your house in Maryland without a listing agent, you will be spending A LOT OF TIME managing the entire sales process. Most home sellers do not have the time or energy to sell their own house so many opt to explore FSBO alternatives.
5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid
It can be rewarding to sell a house in Maryland “by owner” but isn’t without risks as there are many mistakes that you can make along the way that can cost you time, money, and opportunities.
- Not listing on the MLS: If you don’t list your home on the MLS, you’ll have fewer opportunities to sell for top dollar.
- No buyer agent commission: Refusing to offer a buyer’s agent commission will make fewer agents want to show your home.
- Incorrectly pricing your home: If you price your home too high, you’ll make your home difficult to sell. However, if you price your home too low you’ll leave a lot of money on the table.
- Letting house sit on the market too long: Buyers and agents may assume that there is something wrong with your home.
- Not consulting with professionals: This can result in legal or financial troubles when selling. This is especially true when selling tenant-occupied properties.
There are several alternative ways to sell apart from the traditional For Sale By Owner approach.
Here are a few options to explore:
Flat Fee MLS Listing + Add-ons
A Flat Fee MLS Listing is a service that allows you to list your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for a fixed fee, typically paid upfront. This can increase your property’s exposure to a wider audience of potential buyers.
A Discount Broker is a licensed real estate professional who offers reduced commission rates compared to traditional full-service agents. While they may provide fewer services, such as limited marketing or minimal assistance with negotiations, they can still help you with essential aspects of the selling process at a lower cost.
Full Service Agent
If you prefer a more comprehensive approach, working with a Full Service Agent might be the right choice for you. These agents provide a wide range of services, including marketing, showings, negotiations, and paperwork management. They can guide you through the entire selling process, ensuring a smooth transaction.
Another alternative is to sell your home to a Cash Buyer. Cash buyers are typically real estate investors or companies that purchase properties directly, often in their current condition. This option can provide a quick and hassle-free sale, bypassing the traditional listing and negotiation process.
Each alternative has its own advantages and negatives. Evaluate your specific needs, timeline, and budget to determine which option aligns best with your house selling goals.
Bottomline: Is Selling Your Own House Right for You?
Selling a house by owner in MD can be a great option for certain homeowners, but it can come with a lot of stress & risk.
If you have the time to handle all the aspects of the sale process yourself, then selling by yourself may be right for you.
However, if you don’t have the resources to successfully sell your home on your own you may consider hiring an agent or directly to a professional cash buyer in Maryland.
Sell Your Home Yourself to Creo Home Buyers Today!
When you want to sell your own house without having to deal with the costs, challenges, or risks typically involved with FSBO, there is another option to consider: selling your home to investors directly.
We buy houses in any condition, without financing contingencies or formal inspections. So you can sell a home needing repairs yourself fast for cash AS-IS.
A reliable cash home buyer can offer you a fair and fast cash offer for your home, usually within 1-3 days, and close the deal sometimes in as little as 7 days!
You get to keep 100% of the sale price of your home minus any liens or judgments placed against the house.
Selling a Maryland house FSBO for cash can be a great option for homeowners who want to sell their homes quickly and easily, without much stress or hassle.
Whether you are facing foreclosure, divorce, property inheritance, moving, bankruptcy, or any other reason, we handle the bulk of the paperwork, cover all closing costs, and there are no hidden fees.
Curious to see how much cash you can sell your home for?
Fill out the form below or call us at (410) 870-9228 today for your no-obligation all-cash offer for your home in Maryland!
FAQ about How to Sell FSBO in Maryland
Can I legally sell property without a realtor?
Yes, you can legally sell a house without an agent. However, selling without a realtor can sometimes lead to costly mistakes.
Is it cheaper to sell my home without an agent?
Selling a house by yourself can be cheaper than hiring a real estate agent, but only if you keep your FSBO selling costs low.
Will I need to hire a real estate attorney to sell my house by owner?
You do not need to hire an attorney in order to sell FSBO in Maryland. However, consulting with a lawyer can help ensure all necessary paperwork is completed accurately and that you are protected during the sale of your home.
Who writes the contract in a For Sale By Owner home purchase?
As the home seller you can absolutely write your own contract when selling your house yourself. However, most home buyers will provide a written purchase contract with their offer – saving you the trouble and expense of doing it yourself.
Do I have to pay state taxes when I sell my own house in Maryland?
You may be responsible for paying real estate transfer taxes at the state and county levels when you sell your property.
The state transfer tax is 0.5% of the sale price, while county transfer taxes can range from 0% to 1.5% depending on the county. However, if you’re exempt from paying capital gains taxes to the IRS, you’ll also likely be exempt from paying them to the State of Maryland.