Selling a House By Owner in Illinois [Complete Guide]

for sale by owner sign
Selling For Sale By
Owner can save
you as much as 5-6% in
real estate commissions

Selling your home directly to a buyer can sound very appealing. Usually, Illinois homeowners are looking to save on commissions and not being tied to a listing agreement for months and months when selling their house FSBO. They want to control the sale. 

But is that the best option? Not always!

This blog post walks you through the pros and cons of “selling a house by owner” in Illinois and helps you decide if selling FSBO is right for you.


Intro

So you’ve decided to sell your house in Illinois, but now you’re faced with the decision to sell it yourself or hire a real estate agent to do it. The “traditional way” (i.e. listing on the Multiple Listing Service with a realtor) involves a lot of showings, staging, photos, online listings, and draws a lot of attention to your property. It’s no walk in the park.

Illinois homeowners often choose to sell their house themselves to avoid the hassles of an MLS listing. Read on to find out the biggest pros and cons of “selling my house by owner in Illinois!”


Pros of Selling a House By Owner in Illinois

Saving Thousands on Commissions

The primary reason owners want to sell their house off-market is to save on those pesky fees – commissions and closing costs. While you can certainly negotiate for the buyer to pay all closing costs, there’s no running away from paying 6% to the listing agent.

Selling for $100k? Expect to pay out a hefty $6,000 to your realtor.

Want to keep all the proceeds of the sale? Selling a house yourself is your best option!

Pro Tip: Don’t negotiate down your listing fee!

Sellers in Illinois are usually tempted to try to negotiate an agent’s commission percentage. Sometimes they want to pay a 2-3% fee instead of 6%. We would advise against that. Agents that are not compensated at market value are less prone to “go the extra mile” when working to sell your property. You get what you pay for!


Control the Sale Process

Selling an Illinois property by owner means you control the entire process. When agents are hired to sell your house, they control the process. If you fit any of the following situations, selling by owner might be your best bet.

  • Don’t pay any realtor commissions
  • Negotiate a longer (or shorter) timeframe to close
  • Keep the sales private
  • Inspections scheduled by you
  • No open houses or showings
  • Sell as-is or make minor upgrades

A Real Estate Agent will not keep the sale private (that’s what you’re hiring them for – a widely exposed MLS Listing). Showings, open houses, and inspections will all be scheduled by your realtor at a time that is convenient for all parties.

Again, the upside here is you’re in the driver’s seat. Keeping control of the sale might be appealing, but sometimes outsourcing it to a third party is less time-consuming.


Online Tools Available to Everyone

Historically, agents were needed to sell your house – that is, 25 years ago.

Finding buyers and having accurate data about your property and neighborhood were not easily available. With the advance of technology, you can now find all the data you need regarding selling your property.

  • Wanna know what properties around yours are selling? Or average days on market? Zillow is a good resource.
  • Need an appraiser or inspectorYelp is your best bet.
  • Marketing photos? Take out your smartphone.
  • Looking for a cash buyer? We are Cash Home Buyers and will make you an offer regardless of the condition.

Cons of Selling Your Own House in Illinois

Marketing Experience

Don’t be tempted to sign a listing agreement
until you’ve vetted your agent!

Agents have experience with marketing your property in a way that’s attractive to buyers and know how to appeal to buyers’ desires.

They also know the market inside and out and should know how to price your home competitively.

Obviously, we are talking about experienced and skilled agents. Anyone can get a real estate agent license in a few months, but that alone would not make that person an expert. These skills take years to build.

A good way to size up a potential listing agent is taking a look at past sold properties for how good were the pictures, how long did it take to sell and how many offers were made to previous owners. More offers usually mean the house was desirable and compellingly marketed. Also, if the sales price wasn’t much lower than the listing price, means the agent was a good consultant (i.e. honest) about market price.


Time Available to Sell

You’ve put your house up for sale. You have people interested in it. Great! Now you have to arrange for inspections, negotiations, and picking out an offer. Sounds time-consuming? That’s because it is! Although you’re saving on commissions and you control the process from A-Z, the extra legwork might not be exactly what you can handle right now.

Taking care of your kids or parents (or both!)? Working 40+ hours a week? Finding free time might not be a piece of cake. Hiring a third party to handle your sale might be just what you need.


Inspections and Repairs

When you sell your house with a real estate agent, make sure you budget for inspections, which oftentimes lead to lender work orders (required repairs for buyers’ financing approval). Anything wrong with the property structure will require that the seller repairs it before going through with the sale.


Decide What Is The Best Option For You

Screw City Properties has bought properties both from agents and home sellers directly. We have also sold properties with an agent – but have also sold off-market as a “for sale by owner.”

From our experience, there are 2 main determining factors when selling a FSBO:

Do you need to sell fast?

The primary reason for selling a house off-market is speed. Between listing agreements, staging, and showings, selling on the MLS can take weeks. An off-market sale can happen in 7-10 days.

Are you looking for “top dollar”?

planning for sale
Is it worth waiting or
should I sell now at a discount?
Be honest with yourself about
what you’re looking for!

“I want to sell my house as-is, for cash, without paying any commissions or fees. But I want to sell for full market value.”

It’s very common for owners to want the highest price possible for their property – we all do. We also want the convenience of a fast, hassle-free, cash sale. Unfortunately, this isn’t how the market works. If you want to sell a property fast, you need to price it competitively.

Keep in mind that there’s a trade-off between selling a house fast and getting top dollar for it. Are you willing to sell at a significant discount in exchange for speed and convenience? Screw City Properties buy houses fast, with cash, without sellers having to do any repairs. You will also save on fees and commissions. Learn more about our “3 Step Buying Process” here.

The Bottom Line

Selling a house by owner in Illinois is more complicated than with a real estate agent. Expect to do more work yourself. However, if you have the time, it’s well worth it for the money you can save.

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