Master the Subtle Art of Selling Your Home by Owner at a Mind-Blowing Price in California

Subtle Art

To sell my home fast without the help of a realtor is possible in California, and it can save you a lot of money in commission fees. 

In California, the typical realtor commission rate ranges from 3.00% to 7.00%. You’d pay more than $21,800 to real estate brokers if you sold a house valued at $727,400, the median home value in California. That’s a significant portion of your prospective earnings.

You’ll save money on commissions and have greater influence over the transaction if you don’t use a listing agent. However, due to the additional duties of selecting a listing price and negotiating with buyer’s agents, selling without an agent, also known as for sale by owner (FSBO), is usually only a realistic option for experienced house sellers who are ready to put in the time and effort. Furthermore, selling FSBO entails risks. 

According to research, FSBO properties sell for roughly 6% less than those listed with agents. 

You’ll also have to pay a competitive buyer’s agent commission, which in California is normally 2.40% of the sale price. 

While you’ll be responsible for all of the work that a skilled realtor would do, are you ready to face all the challenges that come with it and still manage to get a good price?


Don’t worry; this article will take you through everything you need to know when Selling a House in California by owner.

Buckle up and read on!

How much does it really cost when selling a house in California by owner?

Repairs, realtor charges, closing costs, moving fees, and other expenditures can easily consume 8.8% or more of the ultimate sale price of your home.

While you may not be able to avoid all of the fees of selling your property in California, there is one option to save a lot of money.

If you want to attract mind-blowing offers from buyers, your best bet is to make your house ready to move in. 

We’ve broken down the costs for you to get a better understanding…

Getting your home market-ready

Tasks such as house upgrades, cleaning, landscaping, and home staging often make up the fees connected with preparing your property for sale. Cleaning the carpets, adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls, having a handyman repair little objects, applying a fresh layer of mulch to the garden beds, and other high-impact items should be prioritized.

These prices can vary significantly depending on how old or neglected your home is prior to sale. If your property requires more than the projected costs of 2-3 %, you may wish to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of an as-is sale and decide not to make any repairs or freshening up at all.

Agent commission fees

The expense of hiring a California real estate agent is by far the most expensive part of selling your home. In California, their commissions are normally 5-6%, though there is no set charge and they are negotiable. The advantages of having a real estate agent handle the selling of your house are that they will provide white-glove concierge service and will have a marketing plan in place to earn you the most money possible. That is if you hire someone who has a track record of achieving similar results.

Negotiations and buyer incentives

When it comes to selling your home, a skilled negotiator will be able to obtain favorable conditions. As a result, it’s a good idea to include money in your selling cost estimates for bargaining with the buyer, which is different from the buying price.

A buyer who does not have a lot of money for closing costs, for example, may usually ask the seller to cover some of these charges. This is also known as seller concessions, and most mortgage schemes allow it, up to a certain point. We propose setting aside 1-2% of your annual income as a reserve for this expense.

Also, if you’ve reached an agreement with a buyer, they’ll almost certainly have a home inspection, and there will almost always be items they want you to repair or credit back at closing. It’s a good idea to set aside roughly 1% of the selling price for this.

Finally, offering a house warranty to a buyer can provide them peace of mind that the home’s appliances and mechanicals will be protected for the first year of ownership. Most customers are unaware that these products are not covered by homeowner’s insurance therefore the $400-$600 warranty is a worthwhile investment.

Closing costs

Closing costs are the fees and charges paid by purchasers and sellers at the end of a Real Estate Transaction. Closing costs are removed from the overall profit of the sale in California since they are unique and typical to their local county. A California seller should anticipate paying roughly 3% in closing costs on the things listed below during a typical house transaction.

Attorney Fees: While an attorney is not required for the closing in California, if you choose to employ one, you will be charged fees for drafting the closing documents and representing you during the process. In California, you should anticipate paying between $600-$1,000 for an attorney.

Transfer Tax: The seller pays the California Documentary and Property Transfer Tax, which is normally $1.10 per $1,000 of the total transaction price. Higher rates will apply in other localities, and the tax will be shared between the county and the city.

Property Tax: Property taxes are paid in arrears (1 year behind), pro-rated to the day of closing, and vary depending on the property assessment.

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Pest Assessment: You may be obligated to pay for a pest inspection if your buyer is applying for a VA loan.

Title Search: This cost is levied to investigate the property’s ownership history as well as liens. It will verify that the title is clear and that there are no existing liens or encumbrances.

Courier Fee: Only if you have a mortgage will you be charged a courier cost to transfer the payoff amounts to the existing lender.

Estoppel Cost: This modest fee will be collected to determine payback if you own a condo or belong to a homeowners association that charges dues.

Title Insurance: The cost of title insurance is also negotiable. A lender’s policy is required if the buyer is acquiring a mortgage, but there is also an owner’s title policy.

Moving expenses

The first impression is the last impression

As much as you would hate to spend extra to make your house look presentable, you need to understand that the first impression is the last impression.

The house has to be spic and span and be transformed into a high-quality, appealing product by rearranging specific furnishings, adding decorative accents, fixing the cabinets, grooming your lawn and touching upon the paint. 

Remember, the more attractive and fresh a vibe your house gives, the higher the prices the buyer will be willing to spend.

You might employ a professional stager to make the residence attractively inviting and welcome or you could Check out these quick fixes that will help you make your house go from “meh” to “wow” and attract more buyers.

A fresh coat for a fresh start

Avoid taste-specific colors that people either love or despise, but don’t go overboard with boring neutrals either. Instead, bring what you’ve learned to the table and spruce up key areas with a fresh coat of contemporary paint. You’d be shocked how much a brilliantly colored accent wall can transform a room!

Shinier the floor, happier the customer

If you have an old carpet, you should get rid of it as soon as possible. If your hardwood floors require refinishing, staining, or other similar services, get to work or contact someone who can do it for you.

If you don’t have any other choice but to replace the floors, try laminated floors, which are less expensive than real wood. Laminate flooring, when properly chosen, may make your home look like a million dollars and increase its worth.

Don’t forget the cabinets

The kitchen is often referred to as the “heart of the home” by real estate brokers. When you’re placing your house on the market, don’t underestimate how important it is.

If your kitchen is still in good shape but could use some reparation, painting the cabinet doors and replacing the old, worn-out handles with new and elegant hardware is a simple and inexpensive method to give it a new look. Examine the present market for new kitchens and model yours after them.

Does timing matter when selling your house?

When it comes to selling a home in California, it’s all about the timing. However, it’s not simply the month or season that needs to be considered. Certain property types sell better at different times of the year, and homes may sell faster or slower (on average) or even at a higher closing rate during specific months.

While you may not be able to time the stock market, taking advantage of California’s competitive real estate market is not as challenging. According to Zillow data, the greatest time to put a house on the market in the United States is on the second Saturday in May.

More so, selling your home during the winter months, as well as during the holidays, is a horrible idea. The majority of people are preoccupied with social gatherings and engagements. Furthermore, the chilly weather encourages people to stay at home rather than attend showings or meetings in person. You can, however, take advantage of the low level of competition. As a result, consider the possibilities and develop reasonable strategies accordingly.

What are the Pros and cons of selling your home by owner in California?

On one hand, you have the control and power to sway the market in your favor, and on the other hand, it is a daunting task with a plethora of obstacles coming your way.

Figures aside, these are some of the pros and cons you should be aware of when selling your home by FSBO in California…


There’s more for you to keep.

You won’t have to pay for the services of a real estate agent if you sell your home yourself.

Because real estate brokers can charge a portion of the sale price, doing it yourself might save you thousands of dollars — possibly tens of thousands, depending on the value of your home. The primary motivation for homeowners to sell for sale by owner is to avoid paying a commission.

The difficulty, of course, is to make the sale happen without using a real estate agent. It’s a lot simpler to say than it is to do. According to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of all for-sale-by-owner listings fail, forcing the seller to hire a real estate agent.

Everything is under your control

You have complete control over the sales process when you do it yourself. You are not obligated to listen to others’ opinions about how you will market the home, price it, negotiate, prepare it for sale, or make any other decisions. It’s all up to you. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to this.

While you’re working for yourself, you’re foregoing crucial advice and knowledge from a potential professional. You’re on your own when you buy a house for sale by owner.

Devote full attention

A Real Estate agent will have other clients besides you if he or she is worth engaging. This means that you will not be the agent’s main worry.

When you sell your own property, you have complete control over your time and efforts. You should have plenty of free time to market the house extensively, show it at any time of day or night, and be accessible to chat to potential buyers whenever they call.

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In retrospect, if you work throughout the day or evening when potential buyers want to see the house and you’re not available, completing a house sale by the owner will be much more challenging.

Better the location, luckier you get

When you are either located on a popular road or in an area where a real estate agent advertises other homes, you can greatly boost your chances of selling a home for sale by owner. Because you’re on the major road, a lot of people will notice you’re selling your house as long as you have prominent advertising.

If a property is located in a community or subdivision where other properties listed for sale by a Realtor generate a lot of traffic, a for-sale-by-owner can benefit as well. You’ll essentially be benefiting from the ability of real estate businesses to attract buyers to the neighborhood through other houses they’ve advertised.

When prospective buyers arrive in the neighborhood, they will almost certainly question your home. You’re piggy-backing on the footfalls that the real estate agent is bringing into the area at no cost. That’s one way of attracting buyers at no cost advertising cost. 


It’s an arduous and time-consuming process

You will need to invest a significant amount of time in the sale if you want to do a good job selling your home. Your home must be inspected, fixed as needed (but only to improve the sale), photographed, filmed, listed, and displayed, among other things.

When interested buyers contact you, you must be ready to answer their calls, show the home when they are available, and negotiate a fair price. Many people sell their homes on their own. Because few of them do it well, you must be willing to put in the effort.

Cut-throat competition

You, like everyone else, may easily list your home on the internet. Good marketing guarantees that consumers who are a good fit for what you have to offer will see your listing. Yes, your home will be listed on the internet by a real estate agent. However, he or she will also spread the news to a network of buyers’ brokers in your area.

The multiple listing service (MLS) and well-established online real estate sites like and play a role in this. Your agent can contact people who your internet listing could never reach, and in a far more appealing way than one of the thousands of listings on a website. The most successful real estate brokers have their own websites that serve as lead generators.

You lack the skillset that an experienced estate agent has

It’s not easy to sell a house without the help of a real estate professional. You may have all of your free time on your hands and be ready to give your entire attention to selling your property on your own.

Unfortunately, you will still be unable to perform many tasks at the same degree of expertise as a seasoned real estate agent.

As the real estate agent is efficient, practiced, and able to choose what to do and when with accuracy, a great real estate agent does not need to spend every hour of the day selling your home.

You will be new to selling a home, which means that every step will be a learning experience for you, and you will not have the opportunity to practice – to fail and grow – in order to attain professional status.

Dig into legal matters

Each community has its own set of rules and restrictions when it comes to selling a home. You should familiarize yourself with what will be expected of you as a seller and prepare all of the appropriate documents for a real estate transaction. This is essential information, so take your time and make sure you understand everything before moving forward.

Is it necessary to have a septic system check or a smoke/carbon monoxide detector examination before closing in your state, for example? There could be a slew of other seller restrictions, which differ by state.

One of the most common causes of lawsuits is a lack of knowledge of your state’s disclosure requirements. Unfortunately, many for-sale-by-owners believe they can sell their home as-is and without disclosing any flaws. In most countries, this is not the case, and you may quickly find yourself in the heart of nasty litigation.

Is there an escape route to cut corners?

In California, your highest selling expense will be realtor fees, which will account for 56 % of your entire selling costs! The best approach to save money while selling your property is to pay less in realtor commissions. You may try to sell your property without the help of a realtor, but you’ll be taking a lot of chances. Working with a low commission realtor who will provide you with the same level of service as a typical agent at a fraction of the cost is your best alternative.

Is FSBO for you?

For some people, FSBO is not the best option. However, if you’re comfortable with the stages and are aware of the hurdles, you might be able to sell your home in California without the help of a realtor. To be successful, you must do the following:


There will be a lot on your FSBO to-do list, from taking images of your property to completing the required paperwork. Set completion goals and a timeline so you can locate a buyer and close in a reasonable amount of time.

Mentally prepare to hustle

It takes a lot of effort to attract suitable buyers. To increase interest, you’ll need a strong listing description and a killer marketing approach. Prepare to spend a significant amount of time answering phone calls from potential buyers, scheduling showings, hosting open houses, and other activities.If you need to sell your home quickly, a We Buy Houses for Cash company in California could be the best solution for you.

Consult a professional

To speak with a realtor, you do not need to sign a listing contract. Professional agents recognize that savvy sellers consider all of their choices before making a decision. They’ll be happy to meet for a complimentary consultation. They may find flaws or advantages you ignored after seeing your house and looking at what other houses in the market have done better. If you still want to sell by the owner after hearing their counsel, you can do so with confidence because you’ve thoroughly investigated your options.

Invest smartly

Even if your primary goal as an FSBO seller is to save money, investing in minor modifications or repairs can result in greater bids and a speedier sale. Also, to reach more buyers, consider paying a flat fee business to list your home on the local MLS.


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