sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Did You Know You Can Sell Your Own House?

By Cindy Williams October 23, 2023 Lifestyle

My nephew recently called me and asked me to list his home for sale. I have been the “family” real estate go-to person for over 40 years, so it was not an unusual request. My answer to his request would be different this time.

I have just retired both my real estate brokerage and appraiser licenses. I asked my nephew why he couldn’t sell his own home. I got lots of excuses like I’m too busy, I don’t have the right forms, I don’t have a way to advertise it. I had answers for every question he asked and then some!

Selling Your Own Home Isn’t That Complicated

Have you thought about selling your own home or property? I think you may find it easier than you think and a choice that you may want to consider! I will attempt to simplify the process for you and I am betting you can do it!

Yes, we all hear commercials daily about how a third party agent can sell and market your home. The agents proclaim they can sell your home faster and for more money than you can. Hey, that’s advertising, I get it, I understand it. Third party agents are educated professionals and they do provide reliable services that are needed in many cases. But is it necessary or required to enlist a third party agent to sell your home? No, it is not.

You’re in Control

Think about it! Why not sell your home yourself and be in total control of your largest asset? You can do it! Believe it or not, there are buyers out there, including myself, that actually prefer to buy directly from an owner.

You Know Your Home

Here are some reasons why I enjoy buying directly from an owner. Who has lived in the home and knows the home better? Who is the most direct source to negotiate on the price and terms? Who has actually lived in the home area or neighborhood? Who will save on commission fees and pass the savings on to the purchaser? Who is focused on the home for sale? The owner is the answer to all five questions.

You Can Do the Marketing as Well

Have I got your attention! Don’t be afraid or intimidated to market your own home for sale. Like anything you have for sale, you may want to spruce it up a bit. Pretend you are the buyer, what would you think if you drove by your home or walked in your front door?

Take a look at some of the home improvement TV shows and see what buyers are looking for. I once had an agent that sprayed the front door with air freshener before any showings. She also brought over unbaked cookie dough and baked cookies before she showed a house just to give the home a nice aroma.

If you see need for improvement, now may be the time! Making any home more attractive can increase your home’s value and increase your number of buyers.

Where to Market? The Internet, of Course!

Today’s technology and internet services make marketing your home much easier than in the past. There are numerous internet sites that offer free advertising of your home all over the world. These free sites allow you to post dozens of photos, videos, maps, etc. of your home.

Do you need a professional photographer? Not really, but taking the best photos possible is a good idea and can be done with most any camera. Writing the ad is as simple as describing your home to others. Make your description flattering, but honest. Make it informational but interesting. Inviting, but not overdone. Just honestly describe what makes your house a home, and why any buyer should consider buying it.

The Important Steps

Just like you would do on a fishing trip, you throw out the fishing line with bait (aka your ad).

Next, you wait for a bite (someone answering your ad).

Start reeling in the fish (show them your property).

You’ve caught the fish (I mean you have a potential buyer).

To prepare, have all the information you can dig up about your property available (survey, legal description, tax card, subdivision docs, etc.) and offer to provide any additional information the potential buyer may ask for.

Once You Have a Buyer

Congratulations! The potential buyer likes your home and wants to make an offer! What’s next? You and the potential buyer should have a “meeting of the minds.” In other works, agree to a price and terms to purchase and put it in writing.

You can obtain a simple real estate contract online or at an office supply store, and you can fill it out together. Both buyer and seller can and should participate in filling in the contract form, looking over the contract and making sure both parties understand everything that they have agreed to.

The basics in every real estate contract should include date of contract, sales price, description of property (and any items included if not attached), contingencies (if any), closing date, who pays for any fees incurred in closing the transaction, who will close the transaction and signatures of buyer(s) and seller(s).

You can always add an addendum page to include any items that clarify the contract, such as inspection requests, etc. If you just don’t feel comfortable with filling out a contract, or you feel like your contract agreement may be too complicated, call a local real estate attorney and they can assist you if necessary.

Once you complete your contract it can be taken to a specified closing company(s) or closing attorney(s) to let them begin the closing process. A licensed title company/closing attorney can handle the transaction from that point and you will be contacted with details of when they are ready to close the transaction.

Selling your own home may not be the right choice for everyone, but it can be a very rewarding experience for both sellers and buyers!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Did you buy your house from the previous owner or did you use an agency? When selling, do you prefer to do a direct deal with a buyer, or do you use a third party to do to negotiations? Do you think there is benefit to selling your house yourself?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kathleen Wiktor

As a real estate agent in NY, I find this much too simplistic and misleading for people. First and foremost, there are many rules and regulations regarding selling properties, including discrimination laws they the regular public is not even aware of. Real Estate Agents also make sure their buyers are pre-qualified so as not to waste time with people who are just looking and not really able to make a purchase. And there is the safety factor, do you really want to have strangers come to your home and view everything you have inside, or knocking at your door at 10 PM’. An agent will have a preliminary interview with their buyer before having them come to their home. Most agents build their commission into the price of the home with selling. Selling your own home is really a big no-the average person is just not able to answer all the questions a buyer has.

Cindy Williams

Thank you for your great points, Kathleen! I totally agree that a real estate agent should be enlisted when a homeowner is unable to market their home for various reasons (distance, unfamiliarity with property, or just need or want assistance with selling a property). However, I have found that most homeowners I have worked with are more than capable of marketing their own properties and typically do a great job! Homeowners or agents can request a buyers for proof of funds or pre-qualification letter. Homeowners or agents can screen a buyer via phone or a personal interview. A buyer will be a stranger in your home regardless of whether the home is shown by an agent or a homeowner. Commissions are built into the sales price, yes, but look at the savings to both buyer and seller if the sales price contained no sales commission! Homeowners typically are the most qualified source I have found to answer questions I have about their own properties.

Due to today’s widespread access to technology and information, both agents and homeowners are capable of marketing real property!


Well yes, when you make a career out of selling homes it does seem simple….you have it down to a science. I live in California, the land of regulations and requirements. Having an agent who knows all the ins and outs and takes care of the paperwork seems like a no brainer and stress reducer to me. I suppose if you need to keep as much of the sale money to yourself such as the case if you don’t have much equity in the home, then it may be worth it to sell directly.

The Author

Cindy Williams, investor and recently retired 40-plus-year TN-licensed real estate broker/appraiser, enjoys empowering people. Cindy has written articles for local newspapers, co-hosted a radio talk show, owned/operated a dirt race track and looks forward to more adventures. Any questions are welcomed at

You Might Also Like