Sell A House By Owner In Virginia
It can save you thousands in real estate commissions while being faster and giving you control of the sale.
However, it’s not an easy process.
That’s why we’re here to help you prepare for selling your own house in Virginia.
In fact, being prepared to sell your home by owner will make it much more likely you’ll secure a buyer— the more knowledgeable you are, the more comfortable a buyer will be when dealing with a for-sale-by-owner property.
Virginia has its own unique laws when it comes to buying and selling houses. Understanding and following these laws will be vital to guarantee a safe and legal home sale.
Selling your house without an agent may save you money, but their efforts are beneficial for some home sales.
This guide walks through the pros and cons of for-sale-by-owner from our experience at The House Guys. We provide each step (in detail) on how to sell your house by owner in Virginia.
Benefits Of Selling Your House By Owner In Virginia
Selling your house by owner in Virginia has several advantages whereas selling your house with an agent can take you down a long and windy road resulting in an expensive home sale.
The endless house showings, continual open houses, ugly realtor “For Sale” signs, and “market ready” standards to achieve can turn off any homeowner.
There is a way to avoid these headaches and frustrations of the traditional selling process…
Save Money On Virginia Agent Commission
What is something that all homeowners looking to sell their house have in common?
Homeowners selling property want to keep as much cash in their pockets as possible.
The primary motivation to sell a house yourself in Virginia is to avoid paying the exorbitant real estate agent commission.
In Virginia, agents charge between 5%-6% on average. This means on the average home sale of $300k, agents are walking away with $18,000.
…Get your checkbooks ready.
Many sellers’ agents push home sellers to take the first offer they get, even if it’s low.
An advantage of selling your house yourself is the removal of pressure from an agent to compromise on sales price. This provides you with time to find the right offer during the home sale process.
“If I sell my house by owner, do I have to pay the buyer’s realtor?”
You can market your home by declaring you will not pay compensation to a buyer’s realtor.
This may limit the number of interested buyers in your home as most buyers use a real estate agent.
However, there are multiple websites where you can list your property FSBO to attract buyers who are not using a realtor:
If you’re not interested in retail buyers (i.e. you’re selling to someone you know), then this is not an issue!
You Control The Sales Process
Selling a Virginia house by owner means that you are in charge of the process from beginning to end.
An agent’s primary job is to list a house on the MLS so that prospective home buyers are lining up outside your door. They’re also in charge of hosting open houses, scheduling inspections, and presenting house showings.
If you’re ready and able to take on selling your home FSBO, you may be able to save some money and speed up the home sale process!
Put Your Network To Use
Using your local network to look for referrals is a great place to start when selling your house by owner.
Social media is your best bet as you can reach tens of thousands of people in an instant.
Word of mouth (although this may seem old-school) is an effective strategy to gain referrals. A family member or co-worker may be in the market for a new home or know someone who is looking to purchase a home.
Flat Fee 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.
This cost is minimal.
Even if you decide to use a full-service agent, having the option has put pressure on agents to be both more competitive with their service and their prices.
A win for homeowners!
Does it seem odd trusting a stranger to negotiate the sale of your house for you?
By this point in the for-sale-by-owner process, you know the local Virginia home prices, and you understand what your house is worth.
So, why would you let a stranger do the negotiations for you?
Selling a house on your own gives you control over the negotiations of the sale not just on the purchase price but with contingencies such as repairs and a home inspection, too.
Your home sale deserves full attention to ensure it gets sold quickly for market value, which some agents can provide, but great agents will be busy with several homes at once.
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!
Everything An Agent Can Do, You Can Do, Too!
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.
1) Connect With Buyers
Previously, agents would connect home buyers with sellers, but now, online platforms such as Zillow, Craigslist, and Facebook can do this (and more effectively).
These public platforms are free for sellers to list a property by owner and reach many prospective home buyers.
The marketing side of selling FSBO has never been easier due to advancements in technology.
2) Understand The Local Virginia Market
Real estate agents specialize in having a well-rounded, in-depth knowledge of the local market.
Nowadays, it is simple to find a local appraiser online who can estimate the value of your property.
3) Take Professional Looking Photographs
Realtors typically handle hiring a photographer…
However, nothing is stopping a homeowner who wants to sell their property by owner from hiring a local photographer themselves.
Or better yet, taking 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.
Drawbacks Of Selling Your Own House In Virginia
Selling your own house in Virginia 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 3 main advantages.
1) Marketing Your Virginia 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.
High quality photographs and an engaging home sale description is key to captivating 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 interest you receive in your home.
2) Time Available To Sell Your Home
If this is your first time selling your own home in Virginia prepare to work quickly.
An agent will be seasoned with the home sale process of listing the home to find buyers, hosting open houses, negotiating with the buyer’s agent, and filling in 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.
3) Understanding Legal Documents
Unlike when you sell your own home for the first time in Virginia, a Virginia real estate agent will understand and have access to all necessary legal documents that are part of the home sale process.
To avoid legal issues, it is in your best interest to use the standard Virginia contract.
However, if you need to change the standard documents, an attorney or a real estate expert who has been through this process should be involved to ensure you conform to Virginia state laws.
Law is not an easy subject to learn quickly.
This is an area that will probably cost you some money if you choose to sell your home FSBO in Virginia.
Another way around this is to work with a professional cash home buyer who will supply these formal documents when buying your Virginia home.
Costs To Sell A Home By Owner In Virginia
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 can be expensive…
And what does an agent really provide for you that you can’t do yourself?
Let’s explore the costs to sell a home by owner in Virginia…
Determine Sales Price: $200-$400
When setting a listing price, a real estate agent starts by creating a comparative market analysis (CMA) that breaks down the costs of homes in your area.
Then you, the seller, and the real estate 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 sales prices of similar 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 $400. This will give you a very 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 real estate agent to give you a CMA more closely aligned to your home’s physical characteristics (~$200).
Hire A Professional Photographer: $200-$300
Typically, a realtor 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 photographer will cost $200-$300 but will be worth it to attract better potential buyers.
Strapped for cash?
If you have a smartphone with an advanced camera and software to edit photographs, you can take photos of your home yourself to save a few hundred dollars.
Market Your Home: $150-$750
Normally, a real estate agent would list your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)…
When you sell your home by owner, you can do what you want!
Instead of paying to list your home on the MLS, you could market your home for free via Craigslist, Facebook, or Zillow.
If you choose to list your home on the MLS, it will cost you ~$150.
Depending on how many photos you’re planning to upload and days you’d like to list, the cost will increase…
If your house sits on the market for 5 months, you could be paying $750.
However, listing your property on the MLS will produce the highest amount of attractive offers (as most buyers use the MLS).
Not to mention this cost is minimal relative to the commission you would be paying to an agent.
Sales Contract: ~$250
Along with the standard Virginia contract, there are also variations of real estate contracts floating around on the internet.
It is important to use a contract that is sound and legitimate.
We’ve listened to stories from many FSBO home sellers who used these non-standard “contracts” and ended up getting sued after the fact for a variety of reasons.
Hiring an attorney to either draft a contract or provide legal advice about an existing contract is an FSBO cost worth paying.
Home Warranty: $400-$600
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.
This is not a must but should be considered when selling a home by owner.
Realtor 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 2%-3% to the buyer’s agent when selling your home by owner.
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.
Closing Costs: 2%-4% Of Home Value
Closing costs can vary depending on where your house is located in Virginia.
When selling your house without a real estate agent, closing costs remain the same…
Charges include transfer taxes, recording fees, settlement fees, owner title insurance, lenders title insurance. There are also congestion fees in the following Virginia counties: Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun.
Your Time… Priceless
All in, selling your home by owner in Virginia 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 selling a home by owner.
Working with a professional cash home buyer is another option…
Should You Sell A Home In VA Without A Realtor?
The question of “Should I sell my home in Virginia without a realtor?” can feel overwhelming…
But once you ask yourself a couple of key questions, the answer will become overwhelmingly clear.
The House Guys have bought and sold many houses over the years with and without real estate agents.
There are two essential questions focused on speed and price to think about when deciding whether to sell your home without a realtor .
“Do I need to sell my house in Virginia fast?”
If the answer is yes, selling your home without a realtor might make sense.
You have control of the process; therefore, you set the pace of your home sale.
A real estate agent will follow a traditional process that cannot be fast forwarded.
Selling your home in as-is condition will make the FSBO process even faster.
You could even sell to a cash home buyer like The House Guys in a matter of days!
“Do I want to sell my own house in Virginia for the maximum price?”
If you could get as much money selling your home without an agent as you would selling with an agent, everyone would do it!
We have to be realistic here.
Everyone wants the convenience of a fast home sale without paying commission to an agent, but you have probably never sold a home without a realtor and don’t have the certified training of a professional realtor.
This is going to be reflected in the amount you receive for your home…
If you want the maximum price for your home, selling your home without an agent is going to be more of a challenge unless you have home selling experience.
When evaluating whether you should sell your home without a realtor in Virginia, be honest with yourself.
You will need to have the time and energy to put into the sale along with the skills and resources to analyze the local market and find comparable homes in your area.
Selling your home without a realtor in Virginia is no small task…
But, if you have accounted for the work involved and weighed the pros and cons, selling your home FSBO may be worth it for you.
If you’re having second thoughts, consider selling your home to a cash home buyer such as The House Guys. We buy houses in Northern Virginia to homeowners who want a fast sale for a fair price and timely closing!
How To Sell A House By Owner In Virginia
If you are wondering, “How do I sell my house by owner in Virginia?” you are not alone.
Selling your house without a real estate 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 a house by owner in Virginia into 5 key steps…
Step 1: Understand Pros And Cons Of Selling Your Home FSBO
If you’re reading this, you probably already decided you want to sell your house FSBO.
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 this process to selling your house with an agent.
The major pros of selling a house FSBO are the money saved on realtor commission and full control of 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 preparing your home, calculating expenses, and ensuring everything is kosher legally.
Determining whether the pros outweigh the cons is your decision.
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 market and calculate your expenses.
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 taxes and fees you would normally pay when selling your home with a real estate agent, you will also be responsible for:
- Paying advertising on your property
- Holding open houses and walkthroughs
- Listing your home either on the MLS or real estate marketplaces
After accounting for these added expenses, your home is still going to sell for market value at best meaning you can’t list your home higher to make up for these additional expenses.
This will give you insight into the condition of other homes selling at certain 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 asking 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 find 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 Market
After analyzing the comparable homes on the market in your area, you will have a good idea as to whether you need to make repairs before selling your own home.
Renovations 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 repair costs and close more quickly, there is little preparation required.
However, you should still make sure to take high quality photographs (no blurry or dark photos).
Also, prepare 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 Virginia
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 real estate agent 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 Virginia…
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 at a flat fee (~$150).
- List on real estate marketplaces: Zillow and Trulia 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 Virginia home sale 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.
- Open houses: 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 Virginia…
When selling your home as-is by owner, marketing that costs money is not worth it.
A unique option as-is home sellers have is cash home buyers…
If you search online for “cash home buyers in Virginia” or “we buy houses in Virginia,” you will come across several real estate investment companies who will offer cash for your Virginia house.
We here at The House Guys offer cash for homes as-is in Northern Virginia.
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 guarantee an on-time closing!
“Should I Use 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 make some money.
Step 5: Close On The Deal
A Virginia home sale requires a formal contract between the buyer and the seller.
This should list the purchase price and date of closing along with all other relevant information.
A standard Virginia contract can be found online for free.
However, an attorney should be hired to make sure the contract is legit.
If you need to make changes or create addendums, 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).
This is a job an agent would normally take care of, but with an FSBO home sale, you will have to take this on before closing the deal.
To ensure a timely close, there are several key details that need to be taken care of in advance:
- Communicate with your buyer to ensure they are on time with receiving the proper finances. Closing will be delayed or potentially fall through if the buyer cannot finance the home by the closing date.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Failure to sign all required documents by either party could result in the deal falling through.
“Do I Need A Lawyer To Sell My House By Owner?”
You might be wondering if you need a lawyer to sell your house by owner in Virginia…
In Virginia you are required to use a real estate attorney to sell a house by owner (or any house, even with an agent).
However, an attorney cannot help you find a buyer or negotiate a deal.
Why are you required to use an attorney to sell your house by owner?
In Virginia you need an attorney to close the transaction and record deed conveyance, however, you’re not required to hire them for anything else.
Each state, Virginia included, has their own unique laws when it comes to buying and selling houses.
Understanding and following these laws will be vital to guarantee a safe and legal home sale.
If you’re involved in a more complicated transaction, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to help you sell your home by owner (unless you’re working with a professional house buying company).
This is not required but could be beneficial if your home sale involves any of the following: Inherited property, mortgage assumption, or code violations.
The costs to hire a lawyer when selling your house FSBO can be expensive — market rates are between $150 and $450 per hour.
It’s possible to negotiate a flat rate or a cap on hours, however, the cost will be substantial.
The goal of using a lawyer when selling FSBO is to protect against future liability…
When you sell a home FSBO using a purchase agreement, you’ve signed a legal contract to make sure you’re receiving all the protections and assurances allowed.
Using a purchase agreement you found on reddit or from your Uncle Joe will not pass in a court of law and will leave you vulnerable after the sale.
Forms For Selling A Home By Owner In Virginia
If you’re wondering what forms you need to sell your home by owner in Virginia, you’ve come to the right place.
Before you start showing your house to home buyers, you should prepare all the necessary paperwork for selling your home.
Each state has its own unique legal forms for selling a house…
In Virginia, you should check with your county government’s website for more specific rules and regulations.
If you cannot find the information you need, check online for local real estate agent associations or land title associations.
If you’re still in need of assistance, a real estate attorney will be helpful in getting the proper paperwork, so you can sell your house without a realtor in Virginia.
- Purchase and Sale Agreement – This is the agreement between buyer and seller that primarily indicates price and terms of the sale.
- Loan Payoff Information – This is from the seller’s mortgage company indicating the amount left to pay on the mortgage for the home being sold FSBO.
- HOA Forms and Guidelines – If the FSBO property is in an HOA community, this is required in Virginia.
- Home Inspection Results – If the purchase and sale agreement indicates a home inspection will occur, this document will be required.
- Proof of Repairs or Renovations -If the contract includes any required repairs or renovations to the FSBO home, proof will be required.
- Virginia Required Disclosures
- Residential Property Disclosure
- Flood Zone Statement
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosures
- Septic System Disclosure
- Military Air Installation Disclosure
- Defective Drywall Disclosure
- Property Previously Used For Methamphetamine Manufacture Disclosure
- Building Code or Zoning Ordinance Violations Disclosure
- New Dwellings Disclosure
- Planning District Disclosure
- Privately Owned Stormwater Management Facility Disclosure Form
If you are looking more information on the forms needed to sell a house privately, reach out to an attorney as we are not able to provide legal advice.
Selling a house by owner in Virginia is an appealing way to sell your home quickly, without paying commission to an agent– you get to control the process!
The drawback of selling your home FSBO is the time required.
The tasks a real estate agent would normally take care of fall onto your plate.
When considering if you should sell your own home in Virginia, weigh these pros and cons to decide how much your time is worth.
If you’re interested in checking out another home sale option, come check out our home buying process. 🙂
Connect with us by filling out the form below– we are happy to make you an offer! (571) 207-5171