Interested in selling a house by owner in Maryland? We created this complete guide to cover everything from the pros and cons of selling a home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) to step-by-step instructions of exactly how to sell your own home in Maryland (including costs). Check out our full FSBO guide to learn the ins and outs of selling your house by owner!
- Selling by owner lets you have direct control over the home sale but will require more time and effort than working with an agent.
- There are several costs to sell FSBO from marketing to receiving legal advice from an attorney, which reduces the savings from agent’s commission.
- A successful FSBO sale requires leveraging your social network, negotiating with buyers, and communicating with a title company in Maryland.
Benefits of Selling Your House By Owner
Selling your house by owner in Maryland has several advantages including saving money on real estate agent commission, as well as having full control over the sales process.
This differs from selling with a realtor where you’re dealing with endless house showings, open houses, ugly “For Sale” signs, and achieving “market ready” standards that result in an overly expensive home sale. Naturally, these factors can turn off any homeowner.
There is a way to avoid these headaches and frustrations of the traditional selling process…
Let’s explore the benefits of selling for sale by owner in Maryland!
Save Money On Maryland Agent Commission
What is something that all homeowners looking to sell their house have in common?
Sellers want to keep as much cash in their pockets as possible.
The primary motivation to sell a house yourself in Maryland is to avoid paying the exorbitant realtor commission.
In Maryland, agent commission is five to six percent on average. This means on the average home sale of $310k, agents are walking away with $18,600.
…Get your checkbooks ready.
When selling on your own, you can save at least half of this (the seller’s agent portion). In addition, there is no pressure from an agent to compromise on sale price. This provides you with time to find the right offer during your home sale.
“If I sell my house myself, do I have to pay the buyer’s realtor?”
You can market your home by advertising you will not pay compensation to a buyer’s realtor.
However, this may limit the number of interested buyers in your home as most retail buyers use a real estate agent. Limiting your buyer pool to save 3% on commission could elongate the sale and end up costing you in terms of monthly costs (mortgage, insurance, taxes, utilities, and interest).
If you’re not interested in retail buyers (i.e. you’re selling to someone you know) then this is not an issue!
Control over your Home Sale
Selling a property in Maryland FSBO means that you get to be in charge of the sale from beginning to end.
Real estate agents were necessary before real estate marketplaces and social media. However, the increase in technology has enabled any homeowner to take on the classic realtor roles and sell a property by owner.
An agent’s primary job is to market a house on several channels including the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) so that prospective home buyers are lining up outside your door. They’re also in charge of hosting open houses and showings, scheduling an inspection and appraisal, and negotiating with buyers.
Take control of your home sale by leveraging your network and using resources that agents pay for such as MLS listing access.
We explore 5 benefits of having control of your own sale...
1. Leverage your Existing Social Network
Using your local network to look for referrals is a great place to start when marketing your house for sale by owner.
Sellers’ agents are in charge of connecting home buyers with their sellers. But now, online platforms such as Zillow, Craigslist, and Facebook allow sellers to find buyers themselves.
These public platforms are free for sellers to list a property by owner and reach many prospective home buyers. In your listing, include photos of your property with an engaging description.
Word of mouth (although this may seem old-school) is another effective strategy to gain buyer referrals. A family member or co-worker may be in the market for a new home or know someone who is looking to purchase real estate.
2. Take Professional Photos
Real estate agents typically handle hiring a photographer…
However, nothing is stopping a homeowner who wants to sell their own property from hiring a local photographer themselves.
Or better yet, take pictures on a smartphone (smartphone cameras have advanced exponentially in the past 10 years).
This can be a major cost saving opportunity for FSBO sellers.
3. Pay a Flat Fee for Listing on MLS
As technology has increased, selling a property without an agent has never been easier.
You can now pay to put your house directly on the MLS without using a full-service agent, which can come at much lower cost than commission.
The cost is a flat fee ranging from $89 to $1999 depending on which service you choose, how long you plan to list, and how many photos you need to upload.
Even if you decide to use a full-service agent, having the flat fee MLS option has put pressure on agents to be both more competitive with their service and their pricing.
A win for homeowners!
4. Negotiate with Potential Buyers
By the time you’re ready to negotiate with buyers, you will know the local Maryland housing prices, and understand what your house is worth.
So, does paying a realtor make sense to do this for you?
Selling a house on your own gives you control over the negotiations of the sale (not just on the sale price and closing costs) but with contingencies such as repairs and a home inspection, too.
An experienced realtor with strong negotiation skills can be beneficial to ensure you get top price for your house, but these negotiation skills can be learned and practiced.
5. Full and Undivided Attention
Your home sale deserves full attention to ensure it gets sold quickly for market value, which some agents can provide, but others will be busy with several homes at once in a hot market.
Agents are constantly answering phone calls and replying to emails from other clients, inspectors, attorneys, and so on…
Selling your own home enables you to manage your own property and put as much work into and attention on your property as you choose!
Drawbacks Of Selling Your Own House In Maryland
Selling your own house in Maryland doesn’t make sense for every home sale.
If you don’t have time to put into learning the FSBO process, hiring a real estate agent has 4 main advantages…
1) Real Estate Agents Work Full-Time
Many people think giving a realtor 6% commission for an “easy” job is a waste of money.
However, once you choose to sell your own home, you find out everything involved in an agent’s job…
In addition to the closing taxes and fees you would normally pay when selling your home with a real estate agent, you will also be responsible for:
- Paying a flat fee to list your home on the MLS
- Scheduling and leading showings
- Negotiating with interested buyers
- Coordinating appraisal and inspection (for a loan financed offer)
- Preparing legal documentation (e.g. purchase agreement, addendums, etc.)
- Communicating with a local title company for closing
After accounting for the added work and expenses, your home is still going to sell for market value at best meaning you can’t list your home higher to pay for your time or make up for unanticipated expenses such as lender required repairs.
2) Marketing Your Maryland Home
Expert real estate agents will have local marketing experience and the skills necessary to sell a property.
What takes you hours might take them minutes.
They have a larger network of buyers and access to many more marketing channels. They also understand the importance of high quality photographs and an engaging home sale description to captivate buyers.
An agent will already know a photographer who can get the job done right and will be able to quickly describe the home in a way that pulls buyers in…
These tasks will now be your job when you sell your own home and can make or break the amount of interested buyers you receive for your home.
3) Time Available To Sell Your Home
If this is your first time selling your own home in Maryland, be prepared to work quickly.
A local agent will be seasoned with the work involved including listing the home to find buyers, scheduling showings, negotiating with the buyer’s agent, and completing the sales contract.
If you have a busy schedule between your demanding job, family commitments, and your hobbies, hiring an agent might make more sense.
This will give you back your time while an agent deals with the sale of your home.
4) Understanding Maryland Real Estate Documents
Unlike when you sell your own home for the first time, a Maryland real estate agent will understand and have access to all necessary legal documents that are part of the home sale.
To avoid legal issues, it is in your best interest to use the standard Maryland real estate contract.
However, if you need to change the standard purchase agreement, a local attorney or a real estate expert who has experience should be involved to ensure you conform to Maryland state laws.
Another way around this is to work with a professional cash home buyer who will supply these legal documents when buying your Maryland home.
Is Selling Your House By Owner Worth It?
Selling your house by owner may be worth it depending on how you want to spend your time versus your money.
Think of yourself as the general contractor choosing to either hire out a piece of the job or perform the job yourself.
The decision boils down to whether you want to spend your time learning and performing the real estate agent roles or spend your money to hire the agent.
Costs To Sell For-Sale-By-Owner In Maryland
Like any cost minded individual you’re probably wondering, “How much does it cost to sell my home by owner?”
After all, selling a house isn’t free no matter how you choose to sell…
But what do real estate agents really provide for you that you can’t do yourself?
Let’s explore the money involved when selling for sale by owner in Maryland…
Determine Sales Price: $300-$400
When setting a sale price, an agent starts by creating a comparative market analysis (CMA) that breaks down the value of homes in your area.
Then you, the seller, and the agent can set a price point that will be competitive with these other homes.
However, when selling a home by owner, it’s on you to price your home effectively...
Start by looking at the pricing of comparable homes in the area using real estate marketplaces such as Zillow.
However, do not solely rely on real estate marketplaces to accurately predict the value of your home.
If you’re not confident in doing this analysis yourself, hiring an appraiser will cost $300 to $400 in Maryland. This will give you an accurate value of what your house is worth.
If your property is exceptionally unique (very few properties similar to it), then it could be worth hiring an experienced agent to give you a CMA more closely aligned to your home’s physical characteristics.
Hire A Professional Photographer: $200-$300
Typically, an agent would set up a professional photo shoot for your home to display its best qualities.
If you sell your property by owner, you’ll be responsible for the photography of both the inside of the home as well as the exterior (including your yard).
Hiring a professional real estate photographer will cost $200-$300 but will be worth it to attract potential buyers more quickly.
Trying to keep your up-front expenses as low as possible?
If you have a smartphone with an advanced camera and software to edit photographs, you can take photos of your house yourself to save a few hundred dollars.
Market Your House: $0-$450
Normally, an agent would list your house on the MLS…
When you sell your home by owner, you can do what you want!
Instead of paying to list your house on the MLS, you could market your house for free via Craigslist, Facebook, or Zillow.
If you choose to list your house on the MLS, expect to pay a minimum of $89– the flat fee is closer to $250-$450 in Maryland.
Depending on how many photos you’re planning to upload and how long you would like to have your house listed will determine the cost.
However, listing your property on the MLS will produce the highest amount of attractive offers (as most buyers use the MLS).
Not to mention the average flat fee to list is minimal relative to the commission you would be paying to an agent.
Create a Sales Contract: ~$250
Along with the standard Maryland contract, there are other variations of real estate contracts floating around on the internet.
It is important to use a contract that is legal, sound, and legitimate.
Hiring a local attorney to either draft a contract or provide legal advice on a purchase agreement received from a buyer is an FSBO cost worth paying. An attorney typically charges by the hour.
Purchase a Home Warranty: $400-$600/year
Most sellers include a one or two year home warranty on the home sale as a token of good faith (buyers appreciate this).
Home warranties cover larger items such as HVAC, sump pump, septic, and high-end appliances.
Purchasing a home warranty is not a required cost but should be considered.
Pay Buyer’s Agent Fees: 0%-3% Of Home Value
Many homeowners selling a home by owner want to lower their realtor costs to $0.
However, if you list your property on the MLS, you should be prepared to offer two to three percent to the buyer’s agent when selling your home by owner in Maryland.
Most buyers using the MLS have an agent, and a buyer’s agent typically won’t bring in a buyer without receiving a commission when the sale closes.
If the buyer is purchasing the house alone, you can avoid paying commission altogether. This is uncommon with retail buyers, but companies who buy houses for cash will enable you to save on commission.
Subtract Closing Costs: 2%-5% Of Home Value
Closing costs range between two and five percent of the purchase price for the home. The variation can depend on where the house is located in Maryland, as well as the type of home or if there are any outstanding liens.
Regardless of whether you sell your house without a realtor, closing costs are still required…
Fees include transfer taxes, recording fees, settlement fees, and title insurance. There are more fees for houses and condos with an HOA.
Value Your Time… Priceless
All in, selling your home by owner in Maryland can cost you a lot of time.
Between listing your home, showing your house, and working with an attorney, home sellers will need to quantify how much their time is worth before putting the house up for sale.
Working with a professional cash home buyer is another option…
The House Guys offer cash for houses in Maryland. There are no agents involved meaning you save on commission. We even pay the closing costs! We are happy to make you an offer. 🙂
How To Sell Your House By Owner In Maryland
If you are wondering, “How do I sell my house by owner in Maryland?” you are not alone.
Selling your house without an agent can be an appealing option for many reasons, but the first step is knowing how to do this.
Let’s break down how to sell your house by owner in Maryland into 5 key steps…
Step 1: Understand Pros And Cons Of Selling Your House FSBO
If you’re reading this, you’re probably trying to figure out if agent commission is worth paying or if you’re better off selling your house on your own.
However, if you haven’t read about the pros and cons of selling your own house, there are important benefits and drawbacks to understand when comparing FSBO to selling with an agent.
The pros of selling a house FSBO are the money saved on seller’s agent commission (and potentially buyer’s) and full control over the sale process (including setting timelines to accept an offer and close on the deal).
The cons are there is a large effort on your part to get your house sold not only with finding a buyer but when hiring contractors to make repairs, calculating expenses, and ensuring everything is legal.
Realistically analyze your situation to determine whether the pros outweigh the cons.
Step 2: Calculate A Realistic Asking Price
When selling a house by owner, ideally you want the highest value for your home as soon as possible.
However, it’s important to analyze the real estate market and calculate your expenses.
Research comparable properties to gain insight into the condition of other homes selling at various price points.
If you are hoping to list your home for X, research on Zillow or Redfin what the homes look like at X price.
Ask yourself a couple of questions when analyzing these properties such as…
- What year was the property built? Newer homes sell for higher prices.
- Have they remodeled the home since it was first built? A remodeled home will sell for more. Pay attention to the materials used in the remodel (granite vs. Corian, stainless steel appliances vs. white, black, or mismatched)– this will help you figure out if you need to upgrade your home and with what materials.
- How large is the home? Note the square footage as well as the bed to bath ratio. Bigger typically equates to a higher listing price (unless the layout is funky).
Once you find a few homes similar to your own home (and ideally sold in the past year), you can use the data to calculate a median asking price.
If you are struggling to find the right price, consider hiring an appraiser. For a few hundred dollars, you can get expert advice on the comps in your area and your home’s value.
Step 3: Prepare Your House For The Real Estate Market
After analyzing the comparable homes on the real estate market in your area, you will have a good idea as to whether you need to make repairs before selling your own home.
Repairs can cost thousands of dollars and delay the time to sell.
However, you will be able to list your home at a higher price.
There are also less expensive options to make your home more appealing to potential buyers…
Put a fresh coat of paint on the walls (choose a neutral color), power wash the roof and driveway, and hire a professional cleaning service.
If you are committed to selling your own home below market value to save yourself the cost of repairs and close more quickly, there is little preparation required.
Be prepared to disclose any major damage such as water, fire, or mold damage when selling your own home in as-is condition.
Step 4: Find A Buyer In Maryland
It’s time to find a buyer!
Whether your home is renovated beautifully or an as-is sale, there is a buyer for your house.
Normally a realtor would take care of all the marketing…
However, you don’t need to be a marketing expert to spread the word about your FSBO home sale!
Selling Your Renovated Home FSBO In Maryland…
Selling your home FSBO will be more successful the more you market on varying platforms.
An upgraded home should be put on display to reach buyers interested in a “ready to move in condition” house.
- List your house on the MLS: Many companies offer a flat listing fee.
- List on real estate marketplaces: Zillow, Trulia, and other sites have “For Sale By Owner” pages where sellers can list their own home free of charge.
- Post on social media: On Facebook, you can find local Maryland real estate groups to list your FSBO home to ensure you reach people looking to buy a home. Instagram is picture-forward, so create a multi-image Instagram post (make sure the first image is the most eye-catching) with your house’s engaging description as the caption.
- Craigslist: Many home buyers are looking on Craigslist, so don’t count this one out! Craigslist has a unique user base than Facebook and Instagram that will allow you to reach even more potential home buyers.
Don’t forget about the basic marketing strategies.
- Showings: Showings and open houses aren’t just for agents to host. Showcase your FSBO home to potential buyers, so they can see up-close exactly what they will be buying. Make sure to market your open house (include the date and time) on social media and with a big sign in your front yard.
- Word of mouth: This is a simple marketing solution– tell your friends and coworkers in the area that your home is for sale! They may not be in the market to buy, but they may know someone who is looking to buy a home.
Selling Your Home As-Is By Owner In Maryland…
When selling your home as-is by owner, paying for marketing is not necessary.
A unique option as-is home sellers have is cash home buyers…
If you search online for “cash home buyers in Maryland” or “we buy houses in Maryland,” you will come across several real estate investment companies who will offer cash for your Maryland house.
We here at The House Guys offer cash for homes as-is in Maryland.
Any cash home buyer you find should be scoped out to ensure they are a legit home buyer. Check their reviews on Google, and ask them questions that will provide you with the trust you are looking for in a buyer.
A cash home buyer will typically be the fastest solution to your as-is home sale. The House Guys can close within 7 days!
“Should I Put FSBO Signs In My Front Yard?”
Placing large FSBO signs in your front yard may sound like a great way to market your home, however, these signs attract inconveniences rather than potential buyers.
You will appeal to three types of people:
- Inexperienced realtors whose brokers have guided them to call FSBO sellers in an attempt to acquire more listings
- Strangers or nosy neighbors who are not interested in buying your home but want to see what’s inside
- Wannabe real estate investors who were advised in some seminar to reach out to FSBO sellers in order to catch their “big break”
If you choose to place an FSBO sign with your contact information in your front yard, you will need to put in extra effort to filter out the true potential buyers from the people who just want to take advantage.
Step 5: Close On The Deal
So you’ve found a buyer… Congrats!
A Maryland home sale requires a formal purchase agreement between the buyer and the seller.
This should list the purchase price and date of closing along with all other relevant information. A local attorney should be hired to make sure the contract is legally sound.
If you need to make changes or create addendums to the purchase agreement, an attorney can assist with the semantics and phrasing of the changes to ensure they would hold up in court (in case something went wrong with the sale).
To ensure a timely close, there are several key details that need to be taken care of in advance of closing at the title company:
- Buyer financing approved and accessible: As the seller, it’s important to communicate with your buyer to ensure they are on time with receiving the proper financing. Closing will be delayed or could fall through if the buyer cannot finance the home by the agreed closing date.
- Closing costs covered: Closing costs can be negotiated between the buyer and seller, so make sure both parties are aware of who is paying for what in terms of closing costs.
- Purchase agreement contingencies: Any contingencies made in the purchase agreement need to be resolved before closing day. If you agreed to dry out a closet and add pipes to direct water away from the house, this needs to be done as soon as possible to ensure there are no delays when closing.
- Legal documents need to be signed: There are several closing documents for both the buyer and seller to sign going into closing. This may be in-person at the title company or virtual with a notary. Failure to sign all required documents by either party could result in the deal falling through.
Once these details are accounted for and the money has been wired, you are ready to give the keys to the new buyer, and your house is good as sold all on your own!
Closing Thoughts: Sell Your House By Owner In Maryland
Selling a house by owner in Maryland is an appealing way to sell your home quickly, without paying commission to a realtor– you get to control the sale!
The main drawback of selling your home FSBO is the time required.
The tasks a realtor would normally take care of fall onto your plate.
When considering if you should sell your own home in Maryland, weigh these pros and cons to decide how much your time is worth.
If you decide you want to explore another home sale option, come check out our cash home buying method. 🙂
Get in touch with The House Guys by completing our short form– we are happy and ready to make you a fair cash offer! (571) 207-5171