How To Sell A House Without A Realtor

Watson Buys is a Denver-based home buyer and we buy houses without an agent for every transaction. 

Don’t get me wrong though. Realtors provide homeowners a valuable service. It just costs a lot of money to sell a Denver house using an agent. 

It makes sense then that if you sell a house with a realtor you save money, right?

How To Sell a Property Without a Realtor [True Story]

This is a real true story. It is told through the eyes of a home-owner. This home-owner decided to sell his home the For Sale By Owner route.

“I wanted to save on the agent commissions. I’m a smart person. 16,000 homes are sold every day. How hard can selling my house fast really be?”

Today, I will tell you all about my experience as a For Sale By Owner, homeowner, or FSBOHO for short. It’s pronounced Fizz-bo-hoe– and I have trademarked it. You are welcome to use it, but please send me $12.75 to 17530 main….

Heck. I’m not giving you my address that easily. This article is cutting edge. It will definitely raise some eyebrows. If nothing else, I am a family man, and it’s my duty to protect my family. Rolling out the welcome mat to many crazies (i.e., you!) would not be doing my family or me any service— Gee whiz. Come on, people. Seriously?

Ok, so where was I?

Oh yes, I was getting to the cost of selling a house with a realtor.

My thoughts were that I could save a bunch of money.

Series Category: “Sell House”

Tags: selling without a realtor, selling without an agent, sell my house fast, how to sell my house fast in denver, colorado

Average Commission in Denver, CO

Do you know what average commissions and fees are?

If you sell a house for $300,000, expect to pay somewhere in the range of $25,000 – $30,000.

Now is that a lot of money to you?

It sure as heck is to me!

If you break out the commission cost it would be $18,000 of the 30K. 

Why did I write about selling my house FSBO?

I decided to put pen to paper because I sincerely hope that not just one person will read this and learn one thing. The best part?

That one thing could save them $25,000.

Not only that, but it could save them a lot of stress. Did you know selling a house is one of the most stressful things ever?

I experienced the stress we are talking about, and trust me; you don’t want it. The beauty of this?

You get to learn from my mistakes. Mistakes like:

$13,797.63 I spent fixing things I fixed that made zero difference.

$944.07 in property taxes that I unwittingly paid at closing.

Furthermore, a couple of things I would have done differently were:

  • More research on how to price my house.
  • Hire a real estate lawyer or attorney.
  • I stuck to my guns during the inspection period.

I will share these with you in more detail. And you know I have never shared this stuff before. Making mistakes is kind of embarrassing.

Lessons I feel I can teach you most about how to sell your house fast without a realtor are

Paperwork-to-sell-your-houseThe paperwork required for selling your house without a realtor (what documents do I need)
Must-fix-items-to-sell-house-fastThings you absolutely must fix to get your house sold.
Dont-repair-these-items-to-sellItems that you should not repair when preparing your house
house-sold-fast-3-key-items3 key items that houses which sell fast all have in common
sell-house-fasterIs selling your home by yourself faster than selling it with a real estate agent.

Knowing the answers to these questions will save you a lot of time, money, and stress. I know that for a fact. Remember, I have recently done this.

Saving time, money, and reducing stress sound like the perfect prescription to me. Do you agree?

So let’s not waste any more time. Let’s get your house sold.

Paperwork Required When Selling A House

This is a comprehensive review of the paperwork I had to do when I sold my home. The list may be different for you, but don’t worry. After this, you will be ready to go.

You will learn the following:

  • Documents I needed to sell my house without an agent.
  • Do you need a lawyer or attorney to fill in the documents?
  • The documents required to list your house for sale
  • How easy is the legal paperwork?
  • How do I transfer ownership of my house to the buyer, and how do I make sure I get paid?

What documents do I need to sign when selling my house without an agent?

The only paperwork that the buyer will absolutely 100% make you sign is the deed. The deed is the document that proves ownership of the house. Once the deed is signed and notarized, it is filed with the clerk, and the house now belongs to someone else. It is not unlike the title of your car.

Now that said – this would be extremely rare, if not unheard, that the only sign that occurred during the transaction was on the deed. It might happen if you sold your house to a real estate investor, a cash home buyer, if you will. But in the real world, most of us live in. There are many more documents involved.

List of documents required when selling your Denver house

The list below lists all the documents I had to review and sign when I sold my house. I am sure different states require different paperwork. The documents I ended up signing were(in this order, I believe):

  1. A contract with the Flat fee MLS website I chose to list my house with.
  2. Officially, this was called a professional services M LS agreement flat fee listing contract.
  3. A counteroffer to a purchase agreement.
  4. A second counteroffer to a purchase agreement.
    4. A purchase agreement.
  5. This signified that the seller (me) and the buyer had come to a meeting of the minds that were now bound by contract law. Very cool. Well sounds cool to me.
  6. A residential property disclosure form. Also seen is called a seller’s disclosure form.
  7. Lead paint addendum
  8. Warranty Deed
  9. Affidavit of no lease
  10. Settlement statement
  11. Insurance premium disclosure and settlement agent certification
  12. IRS form 1099-S
  13. Closing disclosure
  14. Certification for no information reporting on the sale or exchange of a principal residence.
  15. Tax preparation agreement
  16. IRS form 1099-S. A corrected version.
  17. Limited liability company affidavit.

Alright then. That is a lot of reading and a lot of signing. You have to understand that every time you sign your name, you are signing a legal document. I am trying to scare you a little bit. The reason why is because this is your home we are selling. Your castle. For me, my house is my biggest asset. If I made a mistake, the consequences could be very costly.

Title company and real estate attorney help you sell FSBO

Now on the brighter side, a great way to navigate all of this paperwork is to work with either:

  1. A title company you can trust.
  2. A real estate attorney you can trust.


  1. All of the above.

How title company helps you

The title company that took me through the selling process was amazing. They were patient, polite, and professional. They took care of everything as an independent third party processor should. They took great care to ensure the property transfer and funds were done timely, appropriately, and legally. I would definitely use the same title company again.

That said, the mistake that I made was I confused their kindness for a fiduciary responsibility T. By this, I mean the title company did have certain legal responsibilities. However, one of those responsibilities was not especially to look out for my interests.

How an attorney helps sell without a realtor

Enter the real estate attorney. I did not hire a real estate attorney. In the future, I will hire a real estate attorney, and here is why:

A real estate attorney, in my mind, becomes my employee, whose sole responsibility is to look out for me, and only me, during the process of selling my house.

The real estate attorney helps me understand all of the sales contracts and purchase agreements involved when selling.

More obviously, in this instance, if I had hired a real estate agent to help me sell my home, they would have picked up on the $944.07 in property taxes that I unwittingly agreed to pay at closing.

Avoid this mistake when you sell without an agent

About this Third Point, the $944.07 I paid in Property Taxes. There is no law as to who should pay what when it comes to property taxes. The Purchase Agreement or contract between the buyer and the seller is the document that determines this. Anything in this document can be negotiated. Once that document is signed, it is a legally binding agreement to pay what at closing.

It just so happens the purchase agreement that I agreed to and did sign had me paying property taxes for the entire year instead of a prorated amount. This was not a devastating mistake. This was a $944.07 mistake. If I took out a real estate attorney’s cost at $500, the actual saving would be $444.07.

However, if I had hired a real estate agent, I would have slept better during the entire selling process, particularly when all these sales documents and agreements were being signed. It took me a long time to read, and I’m not sure I ever fully understood what I was signing. I must admit to saying what I just said. I am rather embarrassed. Potentially signing away my house without fully understanding it’s kind of silly.

Therefore, please learn from this error I made when selling my house with an agent. When you decide to sell your house, I highly recommend that you find a good lawyer to be in your corner.

We buy houses in Denver, CO...?!?

In my quest to get my home sold I came across many companies advertising We Buy Houses in Denver. It created many questions for me. Who, why, where, when, what, and how these people or companies operate. 

Why would someone buy a house in Denver for cash? That was probably the question that most interested me. 

I found a legitimate company (you will learn more) that purchases houses in Denver CO with the goal of making selling your house easy which they do! Keep reading!

FAQ rapid answers

Just to be sure, I did 100% answer the questions I listed…

  1. What documents do I need to sell my house fast without an agent?

See the list of 16 or 17 selling docs that I had to sign when selling.

  1. Do I need a lawyer or attorney to complete the documents for me?

No – but it’s a perfect idea to do this. Selling your house can involve a lot of documents with a ton of legal jargon. if you hire an attorney, they’re there to help you understand it all. You will sleep better, I guarantee it.

  1. What documents do I need to list my house for sale?

The documents are hard to sign to list my house for sale was just one. It was a contract between me and the flat fee MLS listing service I chose to use. For the record, the cost to list my house on the MLS was $169.00.

  1. Is the legal paperwork easy to complete?

The legal paperwork to sell your home is simple to complete. It just involves filling in the blanks signing in dating many times. However, legal documents are much harder to comprehend. Please refer to the answer to whether I need a lawyer to complete the sale of my house.

  1. How do I transfer my house ownership to the buyer and make sure I get paid?

The answer to this question is to use a title company. The title company is a third party used throughout the selling process to ensure a legal transfer of both funds and property ownership between the seller and buyer. Whenever selling your house or buying one, as a matter of fact, always have a title company involved.

Should I fix anything when selling without a realtor

Regardless, if you list your house with or without a realtor, these are items that you definitely should fix before trying to sell.

An important step in getting your house so fast without using a realtor is to repair items that will absolutely turn away a potential buyer. When it comes to deciding if they absolutely must be fixed, I add the caveat of whether the buyer sees the issue in the first 3 minutes of arriving at my house to check it out.
Have you ever heard of the saying first impressions last? Well, it is absolutely 100% true. Just ask Science.
Did you know that when you meet another person, you decide 12 things about them within seconds? This is before they even get to impress you with the spoken word. Now just imagine the judgments a buyer will bring down on your house if they turn up to a messy yard and unkempt garden, trash flying around, and a broken-down car in the driveway.

So here is a list of items that you must absolutely fix if you want to sell your house, want to sell it fast, and you want to sell it for a good price. These items include:

Take care of the landscape and house exterior, including:
a. trim all shrubs and bushes neatly and so they are not on the house.
b. weed all the gardens.
c. Remove any trash that may have blown into the yard.
d. Brush off and spray down the front path and driveways.
e. Repair any siding, particularly on the front of the house.
f. Ideally, you should wash all the windows. However, definitely wash the front windows, so the house presents well.
g. repair any damaged guttering. it will come up for inspection, and if you leave that for later, it will just slow down the sale of your house.

Items that you absolutely must fix on the inside of the house include:
a. Leaky and broken faucets.
b. In fact, any leaky plumbing, including under the kitchen sink.
c. Broken electrical outlets, switches, and their covers.
d. Holes in the wall caused by door handles or any other unfortunate incident.
e. I highly recommend painting any obvious scuff marks. If you have the budget to paint the entire house, it can really transform a room, as they say on HG TV.
f. Cracked window panes.
g. Clean and treat any mold according to industry standards.
h. Replace any bulbs that are not working.
i. Replace any fire detectors that are not working.
j. Replace the light fixtures that are not working.

Remember, we’re trying to create a wonderful first impression here. My rule of thumb is that if it costs less than $100, you should probably fix it. I know many people will have many other ideas about what to fix and what not to fix. From my experience selling my house as an owner, I believe fixing all the little things will help you get your house sold.

That said, I am now a believer in this super-secret insider pro tip. And by a pro, I am loosely calling myself a pro because I did successfully sell my house by myself, so here it is.   

Super PRO TIP: leave one obvious item unfixed. 

Why? Leve it there for the inspector to see – make sure it is a cheap, easy fix. When it comes to inspection time, the buyer will ask you to fix this item. Most likely, there will be several items. 

The cheap item you can agree to fix giving the buyer a “win.” In return, you can take another item (maybe) off the list of items said buyer wants to be repaired. It could be something more expensive. Get it?

It’s all about psychology… 

Dont fix these things when selling without an agent

Pretty much the rest of the house.

Once you have repaired all the items on the checklist that you absolutely must repair, you cannot ignore all of the other parts of your house. You will be tempted to fix various items. However, I am here to tell you STOP NOW!

none of it matters. The rest of the items you think you need to fix to sell your house successfully are things you want to fix. They’re not items potential buyers are looking at. These things will not help you sell your house. They will absolutely not have you sell your home more quickly, and you will not get more money when it’s all said and done, and your home is sold. Let’s take a second to refocus again.

Remember you are trying to sell your house by yourself. The more people you involve, the harder it becomes. Have you ever heard of the saying, “Trying to herd cats?

If you have literally tried to do this, you will know it’s very challenging. Trying to organize lots of people to renovate your house is just like that.

Refocus point number 2. You are also trying to sell your house fast.

You want to sell your house really quickly. You don’t want to get bogged down here. If you fix more things before you know it, one more day, one more week, or even one more month will have gone by, and your home won’t even be listed.

Point number 3. When you sell your house, do you want to be paid the most cash possible?

Of course, you do. When I was selling my place, I was thinking about how to get the most money. I was definitely not thinking about how I could save the buyers some cash. As selfish as it may sound, I was selling my house for myself. Yes, I needed someone on the other side. Yes, I had to be fair to get my house sold, but I was number one at the end of the day.

Remember, I’m a family man, and I have to take care of myself first. After I have taken care of myself, then I can take care of my family. If I have anything left after that, then I will definitely share the wealth.

So please, don’t fall into this trap. Stay focused on your goals. Eye on the prize.

  1. Sell the house by yourself.
  2. Sell quickly.
  3. Sell your home for profit.

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE HERE: You do not have to fix any more than what I told you in the previous question. This is, of course, in my humble opinion. However, it is also from my first-hand experience.

Of course, this will differ slightly from market to market. When selling a house in Denver, the potential buyers may expect more or less than other markets like Indy.

Moving on…

Free advice from me to you. this is what a realtor would tell you

I want to introduce you to 3 key things that houses which sold quickly have in common. And you can absolutely control these three things.

  1. The first item that is common among homes that sell faster than average is the home is spotless.
  2. Item number two is a manicured or well-kept front and back yard.

1. A clean house sells faster than an unclean house.

Houses that sell more quickly are clean. Houses that sell that fastest are immaculate. Spik and span. They are white-glove clean. The person selling their house has put in the extra effort to give their house cleaning, shining, and buffing that even Martha Stewart would be proud of.

You definitely want to have the entire house dirt and dust-free throughout, but some items to pay particular attention to are:

  1. All countertops and flat surfaces.If they are a shiny surface such as a solid surface or quartz kitchen countertop when you have such a beautiful feature, why not literally make it shine.

Put the beautiful countertop’s front and center. I know they will absolutely help you sell your house. You can take that all the way to the bank.

  1. The bathrooms must smell great, feel fresh, and be clean. I have to say it. Can you imagine walking into a home that you are thinking about buying, lifting the toilet seat, and seeing a poop mark on the side of the bowl?

Yeah, I know we all do it. It’s normal to poop. Even the Queen has to use the facilities. But it’s just not one of those things anyone wants to see when they’re shopping for a new house. Do you disagree?

  1. All windows should be spotless.Clean windows will allow more light into the house giving it more of an inside-outside flow. The extra light will create a feeling of space and warmth within the home. search things will create emotions within a potential buyer. If you can have a potential buyer emotionally invested in your house, picturing themselves living and laughing in it, Then you absolutely have them on the hook.

2. To Sell Your House Fast, You Must Have a Tidy Yard.

Item number two is a manicured or well kept front and back yard. A lot of this comes back to first impressions. As we previously mentioned, when a potential buyer turns up at your house, you want to give a great first impression. You want the potential buyer to feel that the house is well taken care of. An easy way for you to do this is to ensure the yard is clean, clear, and looking fresh. Simple items that you can easily take care of yourself are:

  1. Mow the lawn.
    2. Trim back hedges.
    3. Remove all weeds and add some fresh mulch to the garden beds.
    4. Remove any trash.

As simple as this sounds, it is very effective.

3. Price your house to sell

Pricing your house right is really a topic that deserves more than a quick paragraph. In fact, if you search on Google how to sell my house fast, there are oodles of articles that talk about pricing it right.

Pricing your house to sell does not mean listing it for a meager price. Neither does it mean listing it high. Pricing the house correctly involves:

  1. Doing some research on what homes are selling for in your neighborhood.The real estate agents called this a CMA (comparative market analysis). If you are unsure of how to perform this, you could hire an appraiser. The small amount of money an appraiser costs compared to the price of your house might be well worth it. I did not use an appraiser, but if you choose to do so, you should expect to pay roughly $300 to $500.

This now brings me to the 5th and final question and answer. That I want to shed light on for you.

I put it last because I wanted you to read all the other stuff first. I figured this question about selling your house by yourself versus selling it with an agent is like the desert. Save the best for last, right?

When I was a kid growing up, I wanted you to eat your vegetables, at which point you could have the dessert.
Remember, as tasty as the dessert is. It’s the vegetables that give you the energy to make it all happen.

So not to keep you waiting any longer, here is the 5th and final question:

Which Is Faster: To Sell Your House FSBO or with a Real Estate Agent?

Is selling your home by yourself faster than selling it with a real estate agent? The answer is…

It depends. ARGH. You kidding me, you say. It depends? What the heck!

I say it depends because some people are just better adapted to doing things than others. Some people can hold their breath much longer than others. My brother Andrew can hold his breath for 2 minutes. Me about 20 seconds. But he has never sold a house by himself, and guess what? I have.

As I said, some people will be able to navigate the process of selling their house by themselves better than others. They will sit down, do the necessary research, make a plan, and execute it successfully. Other people, not so much.

The most transparent way to answer this question is to 1st look at how long it takes for a typical house to sell. Then I will tell you about how long it took me to sell my house.

So… How long does it typically take to sell a house?

According to large real estate, when selling a house quickly, it really depends on the market. Selling a house in less than 60 days in one market might be slow, while selling in another in 120 days could be considered fast.
Factors that can influence how fast the home will sell things like:
1. Interest rates
2. The job market
3. The general state of the economy
4. Public perception

We can breakdown the selling process into the following groups:

  1. Listing and showing(and of course, waiting for offers). research shows us that the average length of time the house sits on the USA market is 65 to 93 days.
  2. Offer negotiation and acceptance.When somebody decides that they want your house now, submit an offer to you. At this point, you have an opportunity to look over it and decide if it’s something you want to agree to or if you want to counter. typically when someone submits you an offer they will give you up to 72 hours to respond.
  3. Home inspection.The length of time allowed for the home inspection is decided upon in the contract to purchase your house. Oftentimes, the buyer and seller agree that somewhere between 5 and 10 days after the purchase agreement is signed, the house has to be inspected. The home inspection itself typically only takes a few hours. after which maybe a couple of days for them to write up and present a report.
  4. Counteroffers or renegotiation after the home inspection.When I first learned that people try to beat you down during the inspection, I was surprised. I thought we had agreed on a price.

Subsequently, it became quite a pet peeve of mine.

The person who wanted to buy my house looked at the inspection and nitpicked many items that were clearly visible when they walked the property.

My personal feeling was, as these were clearly visible to the potential buyer, I didn’t think they had a leg to stand on. These were things like the carpet was a bit stained. When they gave me their offer, they knew the carpet was a bit stained.

However, I must admit I was ready to sell by this point, and I agreed to fix the necessary items to keep the sale moving forward. In hindsight, it would have benefited me financially, and my mental well being to stand my ground. I have a few regrets throughout this part of the selling process and before you settle too quickly, I would pay close attention to what your gut is telling you.

Remember, just as much as you want your house sold by this time, the person buying your home has, in their mind, already closed, moved in, and is sipping pina coladas and grilling out in the backyard—just something to ponder.

  1. Closing.The closing is where you sit down to sign all the necessary documents to transfer the property ownership. It just takes an hour or so. In the current environment, it is increasingly popular to do this remotely.

Performing a remote closing is what my title company called it. A remote closing was very convenient. Several of the documents needed to be signed in front of a notary. My local bank is just a short walk, and therefore it was very convenient. After the documents were signed and notarized, I put them in the envelope and attached the FedEx label that the title company had supplied. I walked next door to the office supplies company and left the envelope there. I was done.

In my case, I completed these several days before the official closing day. This meant that as soon as the buyer wired the funds, I was paid.

Now I have jumped ahead slightly as I tried to calculate the average time to sell a home. After which, I want to compare it to my experience. Let’s add up all the days a traditional house sale takes, shall we?

93 days

Time a house typically sits on the market

72 hours

Offer negotiation and acceptance

10-15 days

Home inspection period

48-72 hours

Renegotiation after inspection

1 day

Closing day

Did I sell my house fast without a realtor?

Once we add all these days up, we reach well more than 100 days.

Let’s compare 100 days to how long it took me to sell.

Was it faster than 100 days?

What’s your best guess?

June 22nd was the day my listing officially went live on the MLS.

It was a Monday. This was actually a plan by me.

Part of my listing plan was to wait until the following Monday to accept any offers. I was confident that I was selling my house at a good price and doing all the necessary things to sell fast. It turned out I was right.

The following Monday, I had in my hand three different offers. One of the offers was, in fact, from a cash home buyer. This was really interesting to me because no bank was involved. They could close on the house really fast. Also, there was no potential for the deal to fall through for lack of funding.

After going back and forward in my mind between the three offers, even though the cash offer was a little bit lower, I ended up choosing this one. Seven days had elapsed by this time.

The cash home buyer had asked for a seven-day inspection period. However, one of the other benefits as they would purchase the property as-is. This meant I would not have to do any more repairs.

I was terribly excited as I was staring down the barrel of selling my house within 14 days. Now because this is not a Disney Channel, it didn’t quite go that smoothly.

At the last second, the cash buy decided to pull out of the deal. Their reasoning was they had found another house to buy that was more suited to them. I was disappointed, of course. However, not concerned. In fact, because of the contract, I got to keep the earnest money. In this case, it was $1500. And that’s not anything in my world.

As much as I wanted to sell my house fast, I was not in a financial bind of any kind. That meant, aside from the inconvenience, it did not cost me anything.

So what I proceeded to do next was reactivate my property on the flat fee buyers website. As soon as I had done this, I reached out to the other two buyers’ agents. Luckily for me, as the market was so tight and so favorable to people selling their house at that time, neither of the buyers had found another home that they wanted. They both resubmitted their offers, and I picked the one that best suited me. By this time, 17 days had elapsed.

The new contract was more traditional. A bank was involved. The buyer was putting down 25% toward the purchase of the property. This meant they did not have to pay for mortgage insurance. In my mind, it also suggested the buyer was legit. They were really interested in my house, and that the sale would go through. They did ask for 30 days to complete the transaction, which involved home inspection renegotiation and finalizing financing.

The closing date was officially set for Monday the 10th of August.  30 days after the signing of the purchase agreement was a Saturday. Therefore, we just shifted it to the next day of business.

From here, the sale of my property was smooth sailing. Everything was “textbook,” as they would say.

So is selling a house by yourself faster than selling with an agent?

Let’s review:

We concluded that selling a house with an agent typically takes more than 100 days. In my real-life experience, I listed my house on June 22nd and closed the sale on August 10th. From my calculations, this represents 49 days. To be safe, let’s round it up to 50 days to get my house sold.

So again, if the question is: Is it faster for me to use an agent or to sell my house by myself?

My answer would be 100% that it is faster to sell my house by myself. 50 days is half the time than 100 days, right?

Thanks for taking the time to muddle your way through my writing. Be sure to comment, and please tell me the answer to this…

Are you going to list your house for sale with an agent or FSBO

Please comment below.

Final Thought

I was asked who this information would be useful for.

The house I was selling was located in Denver, Colorado, on Denver’s west side in Lakewood. I believe this information is relevant for all Denver and Colorado areas like:

Westminster, Sunnyside, and Arvada to the North of Denver. Lakewood and Littleton on the westside. Centennial, Englewood, and highlands ranch to the south of Denver or Aurora on the east side.


I did not discuss or talk about cash investors in Denver. There are a lot of them, and in the right situation, they can be beneficial. Let’s save that for another time.

we buy houses for cash in denver, colorado

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