How to sell Real Estate Easily Without the Fees

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and House.

When it comes time to sell, the average homeowner in Virginia will spend $23,147 in real estate commission fees for a $385,780 home and $14,163 on repairs and improvements for a combined total of $37,310 based on the local average. That is almost the price of a brand new 2024 BMW 230i taken out of your pocket. There must be a better way to keep this money while selling your most valuable asset for top dollar. You are here because the time to sell is coming near and you are looking for the best way to sell your home while maximizing returns. The good news is you have several options to consider, and this article will lay those out for you to make the best decision for your family.


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The Traditional Way

The traditional way to sell real estate starts with choosing an agent based on their experience, market knowledge, and compatibility with your goals. From there, the agent negotiates their commission with you, typically 6% of the home selling price, and then moves on to evaluate your home. They will offer their advice and recommend repairs and improvements to make the home more attractive for buyers to set a competitive price that considers the current market, your home’s characteristics, and of course, the location. The agent will coordinate photographing your property, hosting open houses and private showings, and creating promotional materials. Your property will also be posted in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) making information such as number of rooms, square footage, tax ID, buyer’s agent commission rate, and other valuable information available to other agents and interested buyers through listing site such as Zillow and Redfin.

In Virginia, on average it may take up to 42 days to receive an offer on your property depending on market conditions. As your home receives offers, the agent will present those to you and negotiate on your behalf to get the best possible terms and price. This process might involve multiple rounds of negotiations and lead to contingencies for the sale; potentially costing you more time and money. When you accept an offer, the agent will assist in managing the paperwork and ensure all conditions of the sale are met. Typically, the buyer’s lender requires inspections and appraisals, and the agent will coordinate these processes and assist with any resulting issues or contingencies and create a PICRA (Property Inspection Contingency Removal Addendum). These PICRA issues will be negotiated one by one and could require additional repairs or price adjustments. The agent will coordinate quotes from contractors, arrange for repairs, and confirm those repairs are completed properly before moving forward.

After all contingencies are addressed, the agent will coordinate with the buyer’s agent, lenders, and attorneys to finalize the closing process. The closing process typically takes 30 days to complete, bringing the average time from start to finish to 72 days, about two and a half months.

Agents are an invaluable resource for the home selling process. By retaining an agent to sell your home, you are gaining access to their expertise and guidance. You are hiring your own personal real estate expert specializing in market dynamics, legal requirements, and negotiation tactics. They will manage the legwork for you, including marketing your property and communicating with potential buyers and other agents, which is a full-time job in and of itself.


Close up of professional business man putting for sale box panel

For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

While “For Sale by Owner” can save you money, it is important to assess whether you have the time, skills, and resources to effectively market and sell your home on your own. Those homeowners that choose to sell their home themselves save on the typical agent commission but take on all the responsibilities and risks themselves. Sellers who use this method have greater control over the promotion, showing, and pricing of their home. However, sellers must also manage all legal paperwork, ensure compliance with real estate laws and regulations, and negotiate directly with buyers. If you decide to sell by owner, you may not have access to the MLS and find it challenging to reach potential buyers and earn top market value.

Typical marketing channels for FSBO properties include yard signs, FSBO listings, online classified ads, and posting from personal social media accounts which may not garner the same results as partnering with a real estate professional. Selling a home requires a significant amount of time and effort. You may have to take photographs, schedule showings, and coordinate repairs or improvements all on your own. Pricing the property may also prove to be a challenge. Without the knowledge of a real estate professional, you risk over and under pricing your home. Overpricing may result in a stale listing while underpricing could result in a monetary loss. If you have a buyer lined up before you decide to sell your home, there is a good chance the sale will be complete within one to two weeks. But if you do not have a buyer in mind, it could take significantly longer than it would with help from a real estate professional.

When considering the FSBO approach be sure to ask yourself; “Do I have the time and knowledge to take on this extensive amount of work?” If you choose to sell your property yourself, you will put the typical agent commission of $23,146 back in your pocket but you may still be responsible for repairs and improvements while going through the trial-and-error phase of promoting your property and setting an appropriate selling price- often leaving money on the table.


Concept of public sale, auction, top view

Auction Method

Selling real estate by auction gives you all the support of an experienced real estate professional with little to no commission while protecting your monetary interests with a minimum purchase price. This method gives you the freedom to sell with no contingencies and decide whether you wish to make repairs or improvements to your home in advance.

Despite associations with foreclosures, most real estate auctions do not stem from these distressed scenarios but are a deliberate choice by sellers looking for an efficient and speedy way to sell their property.

You have a choice in the type of auction you would like for your home whether it be an absolute auction (an auction without a set minimum selling to the highest bidder regardless of price), an auction with a reserve (a minimum price that is set and not disclosed to bidders, protecting the property from sale until bidding reaches this price), or a minimum bid auction (the auction starts at a minimum price ensuring it cannot sell for less).

The auction team will be able to assess your property and situation and guide you to the best choice of auction type for your home. Real estate auction firms manage all the marketing and promotion of your home and often can reach more interested buyers than a typical real estate agent. At closing, the auction team will oversee all the paperwork and legal requirements. In Virginia, state law requires auctioneers to pay out their client within 30 days of the conclusion of a successful auction.

To sell your home by auction you would start off by reaching out to the SellWithZero team, either through an online form or a simple phone call to schedule a meeting. At that meeting, our auctioneer will discuss your needs, goals, and selling deadlines.

When you and our auctioneer agree an auction is the best choice for your property, a contract is signed giving SellWithZero the right to sell the property. From there, we take care of all the legwork, ensuring photographs are taken, marketing materials are created, and showings are scheduled. Your home will be included in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), ensuring real estate agents are aware of the auction. You can expect your home to be seen by hundreds of thousands to millions of people interested in your home through various marketing channels.

Though it is not needed, you are invited to join in on the excitement on auction day. After a successful auction you will be needed to sign the final paperwork and, after closing, you will receive payment for your property.

SellWithZero will sell your home for zero seller commission, meaning the highest bid is the amount paid to you, less any existing obligations, such as a mortgage. Any commission paid to the buyer’s agent is paid out of pocket by SellWithZero, typically from the buyer’s premium. A Buyer’s premium is the fee charged to the buyer of the property by the auction firm and pays for expenses incurred from the auction and the professional services conducted on your behalf.

Auctions bring confidence and certainty to home sellers. With auctions, you know the day when your home is going to sell. The traditional route may receive several offers for your property over the course of days or weeks, but auctions often receive more offers in minutes through the competitive bidding process. You can choose how involved in the process you wish to be, but often it is best to trust the experts. Your expected workload would consist of signing documents and depositing a check, it really is that simple.

When it is time to sell, remember the three zeros; Zero Seller Commission, Zero Repairs Necessary, and Zero Contingencies. SellWithZero puts the $37,309.80 you would typically spend in a traditional sale back in your pocket where it belongs. If you are wondering if your property is suitable for an auction, start by taking our 5-minute quiz or reach out to your SellWithZero team, we are always happy to help.