Sell A House By Owner In Maryland

Interested in selling a house by owner in Maryland? We created this complete guide to cover everything from the pros and cons of selling a home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) to step-by-step instructions of exactly how to sell your own home in Maryland (including costs). Check out our full FSBO guide to learn the ins and outs of selling your house by owner!


  • Selling by owner lets you have direct control over the home sale but will require more time and effort than working with an agent.
  • There are several costs to sell FSBO from marketing to receiving legal advice from an attorney, which reduces the savings from agent’s commission.
  • A successful FSBO sale requires leveraging your social network, negotiating with buyers, and communicating with a title company in Maryland.

Table of Contents

1. Benefits Of Selling A House By Owner
2. Drawbacks Of Selling Your Own House
3. Costs To Sell For-Sale-By-Owner
4. How To Sell Your House By Owner (5 Steps)

Benefits of Selling Your House By Owner

Selling your house by owner in Maryland has several advantages including saving money on real estate agent commission, as well as having full control over the sales process.

benefits of sell house by owner

This differs from selling with a realtor where you’re dealing with endless house showings, open houses, ugly “For Sale” signs, and achieving “market ready” standards that result in an overly expensive home sale. Naturally, these factors can turn off any homeowner.

There is a way to avoid these headaches and frustrations of the traditional selling process…

Let’s explore the benefits of selling for sale by owner in Maryland!

Save Money On Maryland Agent Commission

What is something that all homeowners looking to sell their house have in common?

Sellers want to keep as much cash in their pockets as possible.

The primary motivation to sell a house yourself in Maryland is to avoid paying the exorbitant realtor commission.

In Maryland, agent commission is five to six percent on average. This means on the average home sale of $310k, agents are walking away with $18,600.

…Get your checkbooks ready.

When selling on your own, you can save at least half of this (the seller’s agent portion). In addition, there is no pressure from an agent to compromise on sale price. This provides you with time to find the right offer during your home sale.

“If I sell my house myself, do I have to pay the buyer’s realtor?”

You can market your home by advertising you will not pay compensation to a buyer’s realtor.

However, this may limit the number of interested buyers in your home as most retail buyers use a real estate agent. Limiting your buyer pool to save 3% on commission could elongate the sale and end up costing you in terms of monthly costs (mortgage, insurance, taxes, utilities, and interest).

If you’re not interested in retail buyers (i.e. you’re selling to someone you know) then this is not an issue!

Control over your Home Sale

Selling a property in Maryland FSBO means that you get to be in charge of the sale from beginning to end.

sell Maryland real estate FSBO

Real estate agents were necessary before real estate marketplaces and social media. However, the increase in technology has enabled any homeowner to take on the classic realtor roles and sell a property by owner.

An agent’s primary job is to market a house on several channels including the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) so that prospective home buyers are lining up outside your door. They’re also in charge of hosting open houses and showings, scheduling an inspection and appraisal, and negotiating with buyers.

Take control of your home sale by leveraging your network and using resources that agents pay for such as MLS listing access.

We explore 5 benefits of having control of your own sale...

1. Leverage your Existing Social Network

Using your local network to look for referrals is a great place to start when marketing your house for sale by owner.

Sellers’ agents are in charge of connecting home buyers with their sellers. But now, online platforms such as Zillow, Craigslist, and Facebook allow sellers to find buyers themselves.

These public platforms are free for sellers to list a property by owner and reach many prospective home buyers. In your listing, include photos of your property with an engaging description.

Word of mouth (although this may seem old-school) is another effective strategy to gain buyer referrals. A family member or co-worker may be in the market for a new home or know someone who is looking to purchase real estate.

2. Take Professional Photos

listing homes for sale by owner

Real estate agents typically handle hiring a photographer…

However, nothing is stopping a homeowner who wants to sell their own property from hiring a local photographer themselves.

Or better yet, take pictures on a smartphone (smartphone cameras have advanced exponentially in the past 10 years).

This can be a major cost saving opportunity for FSBO sellers.

3. Pay a Flat Fee for Listing on MLS

As technology has increased, selling a property without an agent has never been easier.

You can now pay to put your house directly on the MLS without using a full-service agent, which can come at much lower cost than commission.

The cost is a flat fee ranging from $89 to $1999 depending on which service you choose, how long you plan to list, and how many photos you need to upload.

Even if you decide to use a full-service agent, having the flat fee MLS option has put pressure on agents to be both more competitive with their service and their pricing.

A win for homeowners!

4. Negotiate with Potential Buyers

how to sell Maryland real estate FSBO

By the time you’re ready to negotiate with buyers, you will know the local Maryland housing prices, and understand what your house is worth.

So, does paying a realtor make sense to do this for you?

Selling a house on your own gives you control over the negotiations of the sale (not just on the sale price and closing costs) but with contingencies such as repairs and a home inspection, too.

An experienced realtor with strong negotiation skills can be beneficial to ensure you get top price for your house, but these negotiation skills can be learned and practiced.

5. Full and Undivided Attention

Your home sale deserves full attention to ensure it gets sold quickly for market value, which some agents can provide, but others will be busy with several homes at once in a hot market.

Agents are constantly answering phone calls and replying to emails from other clients, inspectors, attorneys, and so on…

Selling your own home enables you to manage your own property and put as much work into and attention on your property as you choose!

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Drawbacks Of Selling Your Own House In Maryland

Selling your own house in Maryland doesn’t make sense for every home sale.

If you don’t have time to put into learning the FSBO process, hiring a real estate agent has 4 main advantages

1) Real Estate Agents Work Full-Time

Many people think giving a realtor 6% commission for an “easy” job is a waste of money.

However, once you choose to sell your own home, you find out everything involved in an agent’s job…

In addition to the closing taxes and fees you would normally pay when selling your home with a real estate agent, you will also be responsible for:

cons of listing homes for sale by owner
  • Paying a flat fee to list your home on the MLS
  • Scheduling and leading showings
  • Negotiating with interested buyers
  • Coordinating appraisal and inspection (for a loan financed offer)
  • Preparing legal documentation (e.g. purchase agreement, addendums, etc.)
  • Communicating with a local title company for closing

After accounting for the added work and expenses, your home is still going to sell for market value at best meaning you can’t list your home higher to pay for your time or make up for unanticipated expenses such as lender required repairs.

2) Marketing Your Maryland Home

Expert real estate agents will have local marketing experience and the skills necessary to sell a property.

What takes you hours might take them minutes.

They have a larger network of buyers and access to many more marketing channels. They also understand the importance of high quality photographs and an engaging home sale description to captivate buyers.

An agent will already know a photographer who can get the job done right and will be able to quickly describe the home in a way that pulls buyers in…

These tasks will now be your job when you sell your own home and can make or break the amount of interested buyers you receive for your home.

3) Time Available To Sell Your Home

sell FSBO in Maryland real estate market

If this is your first time selling your own home in Maryland, be prepared to work quickly.

A local agent will be seasoned with the work involved including listing the home to find buyers, scheduling showings, negotiating with the buyer’s agent, and completing the sales contract. 

If you have a busy schedule between your demanding job, family commitments, and your hobbies, hiring an agent might make more sense.

This will give you back your time while an agent deals with the sale of your home.

4) Understanding Maryland Real Estate Documents

Unlike when you sell your own home for the first time, a Maryland real estate agent will understand and have access to all necessary legal documents that are part of the home sale.

To avoid legal issues, it is in your best interest to use the standard Maryland real estate contract.

However, if you need to change the standard purchase agreement, a local attorney or a real estate expert who has experience should be involved to ensure you conform to Maryland state laws.

Another way around this is to work with a professional cash home buyer who will supply these legal documents when buying your Maryland home.

Is Selling Your House By Owner Worth It?

Selling your house by owner may be worth it depending on how you want to spend your time versus your money.

Think of yourself as the general contractor choosing to either hire out a piece of the job or perform the job yourself.

The decision boils down to whether you want to spend your time learning and performing the real estate agent roles or spend your money to hire the agent.

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Costs To Sell For-Sale-By-Owner In Maryland

Like any cost minded individual you’re probably wondering, “How much does it cost to sell my home by owner?”

After all, selling a house isn’t free no matter how you choose to sell…

But what do real estate agents really provide for you that you can’t do yourself?

Let’s explore the money involved when selling for sale by owner in Maryland…

Determine Sales Price: $300-$400

When setting a sale price, an agent starts by creating a comparative market analysis (CMA) that breaks down the value of homes in your area.

free services to figure out home price

Then you, the seller, and the agent can set a price point that will be competitive with these other homes.

However, when selling a home by owner, it’s on you to price your home effectively...

Start by looking at the pricing of comparable homes in the area using real estate marketplaces such as Zillow.

However, do not solely rely on real estate marketplaces to accurately predict the value of your home.

If you’re not confident in doing this analysis yourself, hiring an appraiser will cost $300 to $400 in Maryland. This will give you an accurate value of what your house is worth.

If your property is exceptionally unique (very few properties similar to it), then it could be worth hiring an experienced agent to give you a CMA more closely aligned to your home’s physical characteristics.

Hire A Professional Photographer: $200-$300

Typically, an agent would set up a professional photo shoot for your home to display its best qualities.

If you sell your property by owner, you’ll be responsible for the photography of both the inside of the home as well as the exterior (including your yard).

Hiring a professional real estate photographer will cost $200-$300 but will be worth it to attract potential buyers more quickly.

Trying to keep your up-front expenses as low as possible?

If you have a smartphone with an advanced camera and software to edit photographs, you can take photos of your house yourself to save a few hundred dollars.

Market Your House: $0-$450

Normally, an agent would list your house on the MLS…

When you sell your home by owner, you can do what you want!

Instead of paying to list your house on the MLS, you could market your house for free via Craigslist, Facebook, or Zillow.

If you choose to list your house on the MLS, expect to pay a minimum of $89– the flat fee is closer to $250-$450 in Maryland.

Depending on how many photos you’re planning to upload and how long you would like to have your house listed will determine the cost.

However, listing your property on the MLS will produce the highest amount of attractive offers (as most buyers use the MLS).

Not to mention the average flat fee to list is minimal relative to the commission you would be paying to an agent.

Create a Sales Contract: ~$250

Along with the standard Maryland contract, there are other variations of real estate contracts floating around on the internet.

It is important to use a contract that is legal, sound, and legitimate.

Hiring a local attorney to either draft a contract or provide legal advice on a purchase agreement received from a buyer is an FSBO cost worth paying. An attorney typically charges by the hour.

Purchase a Home Warranty: $400-$600/year

Most sellers include a one or two year home warranty on the home sale as a token of good faith (buyers appreciate this).

Home warranties cover larger items such as HVAC, sump pump, septic, and high-end appliances.

Purchasing a home warranty is not a required cost but should be considered.

Pay Buyer’s Agent Fees: 0%-3% Of Home Value

how much to sell FSBO in Maryland

Many homeowners selling a home by owner want to lower their realtor costs to $0.

However, if you list your property on the MLS, you should be prepared to offer two to three percent to the buyer’s agent when selling your home by owner in Maryland.

Most buyers using the MLS have an agent, and a buyer’s agent typically won’t bring in a buyer without receiving a commission when the sale closes.

If the buyer is purchasing the house alone, you can avoid paying commission altogether. This is uncommon with retail buyers, but companies who buy houses for cash will enable you to save on commission.

Subtract Closing Costs: 2%-5% Of Home Value

Closing costs range between two and five percent of the purchase price for the home. The variation can depend on where the house is located in Maryland, as well as the type of home or if there are any outstanding liens.

Regardless of whether you sell your house without a realtor, closing costs are still required…

Fees include transfer taxes, recording fees, settlement fees, and title insurance. There are more fees for houses and condos with an HOA.

Value Your Time… Priceless

All in, selling your home by owner in Maryland can cost you a lot of time.

Between listing your home, showing your house, and working with an attorney, home sellers will need to quantify how much their time is worth before putting the house up for sale.

Working with a professional cash home buyer is another option…

The House Guys offer cash for houses in Maryland. There are no agents involved meaning you save on commission. We even pay the closing costs! We are happy to make you an offer. ?