6 Steps to Sell Your House Without a Realtor

Photo of a home sale listed for sale by owner.
Photo of a home sale listed for sale by owner.

When Lake Grove, N.Y. residents Jim and Rose Maguire decided to sell their vacation home in Vero Beach, Fla. they decided to try the home sale themselves.

With limited knowledge of home sales (they'd purchased three homes but never sold any), Jim went online, searched "for sale by owner" and came across www.ForSaleByOwner.com.

Following the site's instructions, the couple took pictures of their home, listed it and waited for buyers to come.

They spent their winter holiday hosting open houses and corresponding with potential buyers to no avail. So when it came time to return home to Long Island, they handed the listing to a Realtor with a caveat -- that it exclude a couple they'd met through ForSaleByOwner.com who needed to sell their own home first.

Weeks after the Maguires returned to Long Island, the couple called.

"I knew the market was tough, but "I figured 'what do I have to lose?,' " Jim Maguire said. "I knew what I had to gain – saving $15,000 on a real estate commission."

The Maguires successfully maneuvered the For Sale By Owner process, or FSBO (pronounced "fizz-bo") in real estate lingo – not an easy task in a down market. In 2009, 11 percent of home sales were FSBOs, according to the National Association of Realtors. And just over half of these, 6 percent, actually sold on the open market. (The remaining 5 percent were private transactions among family, friends or neighbors, according to the NAR).