Thinking about selling a house by owner in Georgia?
Don’t want dozens of strangers walking through your house? Don’t want to lose thousands to Realtor fees? Don’t want to deal with having to move everything out of your house to please potential buyers?
No matter what the reason is, selling your own house is an attractive option. It’s faster, you’re in control, and you can save potentially tens of thousands in Atlanta Realtor fees.
In this article, we are going to give you an FSBO checklist so that you can sell your house for top dollar at your own convenience.
We also will go over the pros and cons of selling your house on your own so that you can make an educated decision that’s the safest route for your family.
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Pros of Selling A House By Owner in Georgia
Now – we’re all used to the traditional route of selling our home. We call Aunt Sally who hasn’t sold a home in 3 years but would be pissed at you and create family drama if you didn’t list with her.
You’re sitting on the market for months to get the most money. Maybe you’re getting showings randomly so you have to leave work early to clean the house. Maybe you’re leaving your house for 5 hours on a Sunday so Aunt Sally can hold an open house that no one shows up to. You get the point.
Open houses, online photos, nosy neighbors, Aunt Sally’s face plastered on a sign in your yard, cleaning up for showings, removing all of your “junk,” and losing thousands in commissions to Aunt Sally when technically you marketed the property on your own and found a buyer.
As you can imagine, thousands of people in Georgia sell their house on their own via FSBO.
Let’s dig into some reasons we would sell a house on our own in Georgia.
You Don’t Pay Thousands In Agent Fees
I get it. You want to pocket all of that extra cash that your Realtor wasn’t really going to even going to EARN anyways. They were just going to list your house on the MLS, coordinate a showing where they don’t even show up, and maybe ignore some calls from potential buyers too. Really earning that 6%.
The primary motivator when going the For Sale By Owner route and selling your house on your own is that you can NOT pay Atlanta Realtor fees. Aunt Sally gonna be pissed.
Let’s look at how much you’re saving by not paying Realtor fees if you sell a house for $200,000.
$200,000 * 6% = $12,000
That’s $12,000 you’re saving! That’s a good, used car. That’s a fancy vacation to Savannah. That’s a nice shopping spree for your wife. Now I’m just kidding.
The primary motivation to sell “for sale by owner” is to avoid paying real estate agents. Sellers that hired an agent pay on average 5 to 6% commission. In other words, realtors take a hefty cut of the sale proceeds before you pocket anything.
STOP: Don’t Negotiate Down The Agent Fee!
Look – I know what you’re thinking. “I’m not listing it. I’m doing all of the work. If a buyer is using an agent, I’m not paying for it.” Just stop.
Trust me here – don’t renegotiate or try to NOT pay Realtor fees on the buyer’s side if an agent brings you a buyer. They are doing their job, searching the MLS, and quite frankly, providing a service to you by bringing you a buyer.
If you cut them out of commissions, they are going to persuade your would-be buyer to go into another neighborhood instead of buying your house.
You KEEP Control
Do you fit any of these situations?
|Sell When You Want To||Don’t Pay Realtor Fees|
|Maintain Privacy – No Listing||Pick Your Own Upgrades|
|No Open Houses & Showings||Pick Your Closing Date|
|You Make The Decisions||Work Around YOUR Schedule|
When you hire a Realtor, you’re NOT in control. You have to leave work early to clean the house for a random showing. You aren’t making the negotiations – you’re making requests. You don’t vet who walks through your house. You have to leave on weekends for open houses. All of the old birds in your neighborhood will come snooping through your house just so that they can go back to gossip with the Golden Girls.
Selling a Georgia house by owner means you control of the ENTIRE process.
When you hire an agent, the agent controls the process. (But for most people, that’s perfectly okay. A Realtor can be an expert that can guide you through the process of selling your home.)
Real estate agents will set-up open houses, showings, inspections at times that are convenient for everyone, and will not keep the sale of your home private (part of the reason you hire an agent is to list it online or the MLS).
Agents also take a measured approach to timing. Selling quickly at a reduced price means less commission in their pocket, but holding out for too long also doesn’t work for them (if their exclusive listing agreement expires they are paid nothing).
Losing control, however, isn’t always a bad thing. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable managing the marketing of your house, coordinating showings, negotiating with buyers, and figuring out the contracts to protect you and your family from lawsuits.
“Listing Means You’ll Making More Money.”
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) produces tons of reports showing data which would indicate that selling your house with a Realtor will mean you’ll sell faster and for more money.
Buuutttt it’s pretty obvious that they have an agenda here. They are going to produce content that pushes the general public towards using Realtors more. They are not going to produce data and reports proving their services are not that great.
They even claim that Realtors sell your house faster. But if you sold your house by owner in Georgia, then how would the NAR even know ANYTHING about how long it took to sell your house by owner? The owner of the house could have sold within 3 days or 3 years at their own choice and NAR wouldn’t know.
They will even tell you that hiring a Realtor means that you’ll make more money. Not only do you have 6% commissions that you are forking out, but you also have to pay holding costs (mortgage, utilities, taxes) while it’s listed, and for improvements your Realtor asks you to make. Not to mention renegotiation from the buyers based on the inspection report.
You Aren’t Lost In The Weeds
“I have lots of MLS listing in the area with a large amount of clients. My phone is ringing constantly between marketing, incoming offers, and buyers that are just looking. I also am attending showings, open houses, and inspections on a daily basis.”
How much attention do you think you’re going to get when your Realtor’s life looks like this? (Unless it’s Aunt Sally, of course.)
Agents are juggling literally everything. It’s pure chaos. They have listings to create, photos to take, marketing to manage, client meetings, offers to negotiate, showings to coordinate, and open houses.
Again, how much attention is your house sale getting? Are potential buyers slipping through the cracks? Is your agent forgetting to send the counter offers? Do they even remember that you’re a client?
But when you sell your house on your own, you’re able to give the sale of your house 100% of your attention. You get to talk to every potential buyer, consider every offer, and make the choices that are in your best interest.
You Have Access To FSBO Tools
Remember the ‘good ole days’ when you had to go buy a tiny booklet from the local grocery store to see what houses were on the market? THAT’S when Realtors were necessary to sell your house quickly.
They were the only group of people who had access to the mass marketing needed to sell your house on your own.
But that was 25 years ago. And today?
You have that technology available to you. You can find your own comps. You can see what condition other homes in your area are so that you know how much to fix your house up to sell. You can post your house for sale on monster sites like Zillow, Redfin, Facebook Marketplace, etc.
- Need a good inspector or appraiser? Hop on Yelp.
- Want the public exposure of the MLS? Flat-fee list for a few hundred.
- Find a local attorney or appraiser? Just Google your city name.
- Connect with a buyer for a cash offer? Our company is a cash buyer and will gladly make an offer. Click here to visit our “Get A Cash Offer Today!” page 💰 to find out what we can pay.
- Market with professional photos? Whip out your smartphone.
Cons of Selling Your Own House in Georgia
Do you know the downfalls of selling your house on your own versus listing it with a Realtor in Atlanta? Let’s dig into the pitfalls of selling your house without a Realtor in Georgia.
You Don’t Have Marketing Experience
Realtors (the good ones) don’t just list the house on Zillow and wait for potential buyers to contact them.
They have built out their marketing platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. They can market your property and hundreds of thousands of people interested in buying will see your property.
They have built out their networks. They can send an email to their marketing lists with thousands of people on the list and find buyers for your house.
Where just putting your house on Zillow means your house will just get lost and never found, listing your house with a well-established Realtor who has a network and a social media audience can get your house sold quickly for top dollar.
If Aunt Sally hasn’t sold a house in two years, but claims she’s “got the sauce” when it comes to marketing properties, you should probably avoid family gatherings for awhile. Newbie Realtors or ones that only sell 2-4 properties a year just ain’t got what it takes.
To make spending thousands on Realtor fees worth it, your Realtor actually has to EARN their 3% commissions.
Before signing a listing agreement, have the potential Realtor show you PROOF that they can sell your property. How many properties have they listed and sold this year? What was the listing price versus the SOLD price? What’s their social media presence like? What’s their online authority like? What’s their strategy for selling your house?
All of these things are things that they can show you before they list your house. If they can’t tell you anything, then you probably don’t want to list with them just to figure out 3 months down the road that you aren’t going to be selling your house.
Your Listing Agreement Options
Before you sign the dotted line, know what your signing, but more importantly, know what your options are.
Listing agents are going to want you to sign into an iron clad contract that gives them full contract and rights.
You can negotiate what you sign up for. But be reasonable here or agents will be thrilled that you won’t sign up with them. There’s nothing worse than a demanding, hard-to-work with seller.
You can negotiate total commissions and fees, the length of the listing agreement, marketing exclusivity, and whether you can bring your own buyer without paying commissions.
Commissions and fees can be reduced, especially when services like Redfin have 1% commission listings. Most agents will lock you into an agreement for 3 months up to a year. Marketing exclusivity means that ONLY a single agent can sell the property. And if your neighbor sees that you’re selling and puts you in contact with one of his friends who wants to live in the neighborhood, then you have to pay your agent the commissions regardless.
Time Available To Sell
Selling a Georgia home without a realtor can sometimes take a bit of work on your end.
Where will you find buyers? How will you determine which offer is best? How will you negotiate? Will you be answering ALL of the calls? Will you be showing the house to potential buyers? Will you make a list of repairs that need to be made? Will you pull comps and price your home accordingly?
These things take time. And, quite frankly, you’ll be slower at it compared to a Realtor when selling your house on your own without a Realtor.
If you’re up against the clock, going the FSBO route may not be the best option. If you’re facing a Georgia Foreclosure, unemployment in Georgia, going through a divorce, or you have Georgia property tax liens, then selling to an Atlanta house buyer may be the best option for speed and convenience.
Are you going to spend nights and weekends marketing, showing the home, taking calls, answering emails, and answering texts? You’re trading your time that you may not even have to depend on how busy you are with work and family obligations.
Should You Sell a Home On Your Own in Georgia? [FSBO Checklist]
At Breyer Home Buyers, we’ve done everything from selling a house on our own, to listing with an agent, to buying from agents, and buying directly from homeowners. We’ve made all of the house selling mistakes in the books.
This simple FSBO Checklist will help you navigate the FSBO process when selling your house in Georgia. The full list is located here, but we are going to summarize the list below.
1. Preparing to Sell Your House By Owner
The first impression that the market gets of your home is critical. DO NOT skimp out on this part. Put all of your ‘extra’ belongings into storage.
Cleaning Your House
You’re selling your house. Move out everything that you aren’t going to be using. This reduces clutter and makes your home feel more open when people see it.
Hire a cleaning company to do a deep clean. Spend $150-$300 on this. Also, have your carpets cleaned. These two tasks will drastically improve the initial overall impression of your home. A clutter-free and very clean house sells faster than one that’s dingy and ‘lived in.’
The Photos (Yes, They Matter)
You may think that spending $500 on professional photos is pointless. I mean, you have an iPhone that takes perfectly good photos. But, I gotta be honest here. Your photos will suck compared to ones that are professionally done.
A professional photographer will get everything right from the angles, to the lighting, to showcasing the best features, to make the house look spacious and not cramped.
Good photos are the first thing that people will see when you list your home. If they click on your listing on Zillow and the photos are trash, then they will instantly click back off of your listing and never consider your home again. If you get your photos done correctly, you’ll be flooded with calls from potential buyers.
2. Price Your House Correctly
When selling your house on your own without a Realtor, you aren’t able to get a Certified Market Analysis (CMA), which tells you how much your house is worth based on how much similar homes are selling for in your area.
BUT, you can run these numbers on your own. The trick here is to BE REALISTIC. If your house is a 3 bed / 2 bath that has not been updated in 12 years, then the house across the street that’s fully renovated and flipped by an investor that sold for $600,000 DOES NOT mean that your house is worth $600,000.
Let’s assume that your address is 123 Main St., Atlanta, GA 30349. Go to Redfin.com and type in “Main St., Atlanta, GA 30349.” (I left off the street numbers.) This will pull up your local neighborhood.
If your house is a 3 bedroom / 2 bath at 1,500 square feet, we are going to input the following search filters:
- Beds: Min = 3 / Max = 3
- Baths: 2+
- Square Feet: Min = 1,250 / Max = 1,750
For the bedroom count, we ONLY want to show houses with the same number of bedrooms. If you have a 3 bedroom house, looking at the price of 4 bedrooms is NOT going to give you an accurate value for your home (maybe just a wishful one).
The bathroom count is not as important, which is why you’ll see that there’s no option for ‘Bathroom Max Count.’
The Square Footage is important. If your house is 3 bedrooms with 1,500 square feet and you’re comparing your house to another 3 bedrooms, but they finished their basement, putting them at 2,400 square feet, then these are not similar properties.
A good rule of thumb for square footage is that you should select a range that’s 250 +/- the square footage of your home.
Meaning if your home is 1,500 square feet, then you would select a range from 1,250 sf as a minimum and 1,750 as a maximum.
If your home is 2,100 square feet, then you would select a range from 1,750 sf as a minimum and 2,500 as a maximum. (I know this is more than 250 +/-, but it’s not a perfect rule of thumb with the way the filters are set up in Redfin.)
3. Inspections and Re-Negotiations
Just get ready for it. EVERY Realtor renegotiates based on the inspection report. So, if the buyer is using a Realtor, then be prepared to discuss a price reduction or making repairs on your property.
And no matter how well maintained your property is, there will be issues. It’s an inspector’s job to find problems. AND if they don’t find issues and they surface later, they can be legally liable, so they will make damn sure they point out everything they can.
The Realtor will probably want to use “their inspector.” But reconsider going this route. If it’s “their preferred inspector,” then that means that the Realtor is feeding the inspector work, which is supporting his family. He’s going to operate the inspections exactly how the Realtor wants him to.
Maybe he REALLY focuses on that roof that COULD be replaced, which means you’re going to take an $8,000 reduction in price.
The best (and easiest) route is to just go onto Google and search for “Home Inspectors Near Me,” and pick the highest rated one. But the buyer is paying for the inspection, so you don’t have a ton of control over this.
4. FSBO Real Estate Contracts
Know that book of paperwork your Realtor gave you to sign when you bought the house? That’s what I’m talking about here. There are disclaimers and verbiage in those contracts that protect both parties from a lawsuit.
The easiest (and cheapest) way to get your hands on a set of contracts is to ask the buyer’s Realtor to provide the contracts. Then, you can just read through them all and make sure that you agree with everything.
If you want to produce your own set of contracts, the safest route to take is to ask your local Real Estate Attorney in Atlanta to give you a set of documents that you need for closing a real estate transaction. You can expect for fork out several hundred dollars for this though.
Remember, do not skimp on the contracts. You’ll be inclined to just Google “Real Estate Closing Documents Free Download,” and print those off. The problem is that you may not be legally covered, which can lead to a lawsuit later on. Would you rather pay $400 now or $40,000 later?
5. Title Company & Closing
Believe it or not, picking the right title company is going to make your closing a seamless transaction or a nightmare where you have to do all of the work yourself. (We’ve done both routes.)
When we first started our company, we used a different title company every single time we did a closing because we wanted to find the best (and worst) ones in Atlanta. We found that McMichael & Gray are the best, easiest ones to work with. They have offices all over Atlanta. Literally, you can sign documents in College Park while the person buying your house signs documents in Kennesaw. It’s super convenient.
They are also really good at handling transactions. They communicate very well. And they handle everything. You will get a dedicated person to set up and work your file and they are really on top of things.