How To Sell A Home Without A Realtor

By Emilio DiSpirito, Realtor, DiSpirito Team of HomeSmart Professionals

So, you want to sell your home? You will be doing a lot of things that real estate agents normally do; we accounted 185 steps on the listing end and 175 steps on buyer end that a Realtor takes for homeowners. The homeowner will be relying on their limited experience when tackling this. Although putting your house on the market and making a big “FOR SALE” sign may not be that difficult, the biggest challenge is finding buyers. Here is a step-by-step guide to putting yourself on the right track when selling your home.

  1. Pre-List Inspect and Appraise

One of the biggest mistakes FSBO’s make is overpricing their home. Why is this an issue? Buyer’s interest. The home selling market dictates the price (not what you think it should be worth). The easiest way to accurately price your home is to contact your local home appraiser. This way, you know what you’re getting yourself into price, repairs, and market wise. This will allow you to already be one step ahead of buyers, their agents, and any road blocks that come in your way when it comes to the condition of your home.


In Rhode Island, buyers have 10 business days to do an inspection.  All standard real estate contracts are going to give the prospective home buyer the right to inspect your property – so be prepared. Under a general inspection you are obligated to make major repairs to appliances, plumbing, septic, electrical and heating systems – or the buyer may cancel the offer.

Make sure you fix any health or safety issues during this time.

What Should Be Fixed?

  • Termites or other wood destroying insects.
  • Wildlife infestation like bats or squirrels in the attic.
  • Major drainage or on going water problems.
  • Mold.
  • Septic
  • Elevated Radon levels above EPA suggested levels.
  • Major electrical defects that cause safety issues.
  • Significant plumbing problems that interfere with the use of the home.
  • Lead paint. It should be noted that it is a federal requirement for sellers to disclose the known presence of lead paint in a property.
  • Well water problems, such as a lack of pressure or volume of water.
  • Major structural issues such as a leaking roof or substandard building violations.
  • Etc.
  • Don’t Overlook Preparation

Presentation is everything. Home buyers are lured by clean, spacious and attractive houses. Don’t get discouraged, we aren’t saying your home isn’t good enough – ENHANCE its features. Treat your home well making it showroom ready by decluttering, depersonalizing, and brightening up the home with fresh-clean carpets, lighting, and those tired walls. Simple aesthetic improvements such as trimming trees, planting flowers, fixing squeaking steps, and broken tiles will greatly enhance the appeal of your house.

TIP: Have someone you know whether it be family or a friend to walk through your home and get their opinion.

  • Marketing and the MLS

When putting up a “For Sale” sign, you are only hitting a small percentage of buyers. Imagine a lemonade stand, you only attract those who pass by it. Don’t be just a sign – make your audience broader by using the same tools realtors use. The MLS or Multiple Listing Service can also help market your home, particularly to real estate agents who may know of buyers seeking a property like yours. The MLS is a directory used by real estate agents to announce to other agents that they have a home for sale.


Access realtor MLS by “entry only listing”

DON’T be misleading

DON’T limit your photos

DO put a description of the property, using your words to walk the buyers through the house just by reading your remarks.

DO compensate buyer’s agents. If a real estate agent finds you a buyer after seeing your home on the MLS, you SHOULD pay that agent a 2.5% to 3% commission (the law states that all commissions are negotiable, however).

DO make sure to make yourself readily available to show your property. You are your home’s salesperson.

  • Get a Real Estate Attorney

Even though it’s an additional expense, it may be wise to hire a lawyer who will protect your interests throughout the entire transaction. An experienced real estate lawyer can help you evaluate complicated offers (those with a variety of conditions), act as an escrow agent to hold the down payment, evaluate complex mortgages and/or leases with options to buy, review contracts and handle your home’s closing process. They can also tell you what things, by law, you must disclose to buyers prior to a sale and can also help you avoid inadvertently discriminating against any potential buyers.

  • Are they Qualified?

Is the buyer pre-approved? How much of a loan is the buyer seeking? Unless you are in an active market, lenders tend to shy away from underwriting a deal in which the purchase price is higher than the nearest comparable sale and the buyer is putting less than 10% down. If this is the case, your buyer may not be able to obtain financing.

The Bottom Line: Do your research. This is the deciding factor whether or not your transaction becomes a profit or a loss. When you’re FSBO-ing, you’re doing everything, handling the open house, taking calls from buyers and brokers and negotiating. Selling your home without a real estate professional is not impossible, however, you have to be your own advocate and your homes BEST salesperson. It can get scary, have bumps in the road, you’ll get bad offers, and unfit buyers – but you don’t have to throw in the towel. Selling a home yourself requires due diligence, patience and detachment.

If you would have asked me what I wanted to be growing up, little Emilio would have told you “an archeologist” or “an architect” despite the fact that at age 8 I had my first lemonade stand, landscaping business and was recording my first “news show” on my boombox!  Well, I never was much good at trigonometry and did could not see myself traveling for months and possibly years at a time, so becoming an architect or archaeologist clearly did not happen!

Fast forward 26 years later and I’m running a team of the finest residential real estate professionals, own a media company and host my very own radio news show about real estate!

In September of 2017, I married my best friend, Jaclynn, and we have two wonderful children, Destinee and Emilio, V.  We have 3 dogs, one of which is a rescue and live in lovely Rhode Island. Jaclynn owns a high-end hair salon in addition to an on-location hair and makeup business!

For 7 years straight it seemed that I had put in more hours than the day had to give on my real estate business. 7 days a week, 14 to 16 hour days, without a break! Why? My friends and family did not understand the sheer magnitude of moving parts and services we offer to our clients during a transaction! One slip up or one missed call could mean make or break for someone’s dream home or even a lost deposit!

Running a team of like-minded, highly qualified and capable professionals has allowed me to offer a very streamlined, simplified and efficient approach to the sales process for our clients and allowed me to earn personal time again with my family while not missing a beat for my clients!

When I’m not working, I’m with my family, riding my mountain bike, eating at a number of local restaurants, enjoying live entertainment, hiking, skiing or reading!