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Added Jan 03 2018

Has anyone ever sold their Chicago home without a realtor? If you have and are willing to shoot me a message to answer some questions, I would really appreciate it.


  • Hi, I'm a realtor and I would definitely be flexible regarding commission . I have been a Real Estate Broker for 17 years and know our area. Call anytime if you would like to discuss.

  • Hey Krisi, I've sold a place and in my experience the selling agent was a necessity, whereas buying agents seem to get a free ride in my opinion.

    Mine was a condo, which I think people are pickier about. But we are talking dozens of showings and many open houses. Photography and presenting a professional listing isn't rocket science but good vs meh matters. Its a lot of work, and you being the owner may turn off some buyers, saying nothing of whatever your sales skills are. And then there is the realtor cabal and buying agents may steer clients away from you.

    I used redfin which is a lower commission than standard. Eric is also offering lower rates. I would explore these routes first. Once you list the property damage will already be done so think this over carefully before acting.

  • EB Longtime neighbor

    A good real estate attorney can handle the full transaction.

  • An attorney is needed at the closing by law in Illinois regardless. And the realtor's main job at closing is making sure they get their check. So thats really neither here nor thee, Joe.

  • Hi , please don't be misled. Having a realtor represent you every step of the way will ensure your sale and in this market, get you top dollar. You will use an attorney to represent you for advice and at closing.
    If your not happy with me, you can cancel anytime .

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  • Marcin Talaga Northside Realtor - Portage Park Resident

    Krisi, I am a Realtor but am reaching out to you as a potential buyer. If the home you happen to be selling is in need of major renovating please let me know. I buy distressed properties on the NWside and would be interested in taking a look at it if that is the case.

    As FSBO goes, just keep in mind it's been proven over and over again that using an agent to sell your home will usually get you more $$ and a quicker sale. The increase in sale price you'll get by using an agent will cover the commission you pay them and it saves you from having to do a thing. They'll guide you through the whole process, set you up with a good attorney, help you prep the place for photos and for sale, maximize exposure and take care of all the phone calls, questions, and showings. When a buyer sees a FSBO they assume that you'll also give them a better deal since you are selling yourself so they'll low ball you. You'll also get bombarded with agents calling you trying to earn your business. Not to mention when you list with an agent, that agent makes sure that the people coming to see your place also have an agent and so there is a sense of security in listing with someone as well. Just some food for thought.


  • My wife and I sold our place last year using a flat-fee realtor (~$300): they post your home to the MLS and help with the negotiating a bit. Everything else is up to you, but if you're up for it you could save and have more room with your price. We were lucky to have a cousin who's into the home buying/selling process so that was helpful at various points. There definitely was some resistance from realtors working with us...they didn't like the idea of us not being represented by someone. Our sense is because this is their livelihood and they don't like it threatened. In my opinion, it's more important to have a good lawyer...they make sure you're protected.

    Best of luck to you!

  • Huh, thats interesting to hear you say that. In Michigan lawyers are not required and typically not used. I suppose a lawyer could save you some trouble but mostly they just let you know what you are signing, which is something a person from the title agency could be doing just as well.

    The guy I've used in Chicago was I think 4 or 5 hundred, but if I purchase again here I would probably go bottom dollar on the lawyer. *That* is an area I would look to save a few bucks on before trying to sell by owner.

  • There's a lot that a lawyer does before the signing, during attorney review. When we sold our home, we went with a less-expensive option but was surprised with a large fee for condo doc collection at closing. When we bought, we were purchasing a recent rehab so there's a lot to navigate there and were glad we went with someone more trusted. That's the other thing: the tendency is just to accept whatever lawyer is attached to whoever's in the transaction. My biggest advice after going through the process is to find your own lawyer and one that you trust.

  • Joe

    I have bought and sold without an attorney, all in Chicago. If it is required no one knows or cares. Attorneys are not necessary in my opinion. Just read up on what is needed. Getting water certs and filing deeds is easy, no one needs to go to law school to do what the people at the desk can explain in 5 minutes.

  • Joe

    I never sold without a realtor because of getting the property in MLS and offering the buyer realtor a commission. However, I stipulate that if I find a buyer that does not have a realtor then the buyer gets a lower price on the property. I have also asked that the realtor representing the selling of the property I was buying list the property I was selling for free. Then I just did the showings myself. Only works if you do not need the money from selling

  • I stand corrected Joe. I've been told you need a lawyer a few times, and just about everyone does. But you don't need one.

    When I sold it was nice to have the lawyer as I didn't have to attend closing. Its a small fee for a large transaction so if they give you just a little piece of mind its probably worth it.

  • Philip Independent Business owner ,47th. ward since 1968

    For Sale by Owner, I’m seeing a lot of these signs around. I purchased this way using a neighborhood attorney. I would do it again and save the realtor fee , which is thousands of dollars.

  • I highly recommend Steve Meyer with Redfin. We just sold our condo at asking price after 9 days on the market in October, a time when there are far fewer buyers. Redfin's speed, marketing and service were the best we have ever experienced. As for the marketing: spectacular photos, highly effective virtual tour, beautiful collateral, and a hard-to-get profile in Curbed Chicago. Realtors will tell you that "you get what you pay for" if you hire Redfin. Our experience is that we got way, way, way more effective service and marketing at a much lower cost to us. Can't say enough about the experience we had with Steve.

  • Wendy Small-town living in the big city

    We bought a FSBO house a year and a half ago, and it was an awful process. I saw the house on and was completely turned off (they apparently used some online "realtor" service that allowed it to be posted to the MLS and other sites). The photos were terrible and it seemed overpriced. I immediately put it in the "discard" pile. Fatefully, a friend who knows the neighborhood convinced me to look at it because of great location. We came to an open house and it was in no shape for a showing -- I won't bore you with the gory details here. Eventually -- apparently with not much interest -- they dropped the price and we made an offer, based on location and "potential." We settled on a price much lower than their original asking price. We had an agent, and the owner did agree to pay her side of the commission (if he hadn't, we would have walked). The entire process was awkward and much more painful that it needed to be -- we probably wouldn't do that again. Without knowing you, I can only guess that you wouldn't make the same mistakes he made (frankly, I'm not sure how anyone could, but I witnessed it). Of course we were selling our existing house at the same time, and it really made me appreciate the counsel and work of our Realtor (and we sold our house for more than we expected). Good luck!

  • avid cook in bucktown, that was my exact experience with redfin as well. I don't want to come off as advertising for them, but everything was 1st rate and even if the sell price was no higher with them than if I did it myself (I'm sure it was), just the amount of work they did was well worth the check I gave them.

  • Philip Independent Business owner ,47th. ward since 1968

    I read an article stating that home sales in Chicago are on the rise , indicating home’s sell fast in certain neighborhoods and usually at a premium . If you can afford to pay a high priced realtor to sell your house, “more power to you”. If you have time hire an attorney and sell it by yourself, it seemed to me when I purchased 3 properties without a realtor it was a very easy process with only an attorney.

  • Andrew Carpenter Realtor Edgewater home owner and Chicago Reator

    Philip, skipping a Realtor on the buying side doesn't actually save you any money. The seller has already agreed to pay a set amount of commission to their listing Realtor. If the buyer has no representation then the seller's Realtor gets to keep all of the commission. Additionally if you use a Realtor they may be able to get you a better price than you could negotiate on your own, I just helped a client get $20k off of a $150k property.

  • Joe

    Not true, when I have no realtor as a buyer I negotiate price then when agreed I ask for the buyer realtor fee to me at closing. It is all part of negotiating. I have done it many times. There is no way the selling realtor is getting extra money from me.

  • Philip Independent Business owner ,47th. ward since 1968

    Andrew, I’m my opinion ,realtor’s commissions are simply way to high! I would never pay someone that much hard earned money to sell or buy a property . Based on my last 3 property purchases without using a realtor I would call the attorney and bank the high commission of a realtor and take a few well earned vacations. There were also 3 sellers of these properties that saved a lot of commission payout money. You are in the business of helping people buy and sell properties, not all of us need this service and not all of us want to pay high commissions to use this service. I’ve seen many for sale by owner properties popping up . Andrew you also stated that buyers don’t benefit from not using a realtor . I negotiated the buy price lower by pointing out to the seller how much he was saving by not using a realtor. Neither of the sellers used a realtor. We all saved big money.

  • Andrew Carpenter Realtor Edgewater home owner and Chicago Reator

    Philip, You seem like you may have enough experience to be able to help yourself through a properly priced transaction but I talked to a FSBO this year who over paid by tens of thousands of dollars because she bought directly from the previous owner without a Realtor and didn't know any better. She saw the money she saved up front but hurt herself in the long run. I'm currently talking to another FSBO who is selling his family's property for tens of thousands of dollars under market price.
    Again this may not entirely apply to you but, if you were hiring a realtor you would want one with experience right? Hiring yourself as someone with little experience wouldn't always be the best idea. I am part of a team that I'm on that closed deals on 90 properties last year and I closed an additional 6 on my own. You can always see the money up front that you save but you can't always see the pitfalls that come with inexperience and lack of professional training.

  • Andrew Carpenter Realtor Edgewater home owner and Chicago Reator

    Joe, If that's actually true you must be dealing with the nicest Realtors out there. The other possibility is that they may be just getting the seller to drop that much more off of the price of the property and still keeping both sides of the commission. Like I said the commission contract is signed between the seller and their Realtor long before you come along. If you truly do have a silver tongue that's able to get a Realtor to part with their golden egg of extra commission you should become a Realtor yourself.

  • Joe

    Andrew, seller contracts I have seen stipulate the commission, say 5% split between 2 realtors. I see nothing that says if the buyer has no realtor the seller gets the whole 5%. That 2.5% should come off the price or as a credit back to the buyer. Any realtor keeping both sides of the commission is the solver tongue further evidence realtors are not being up front with all parties.

  • Andrew Carpenter Realtor Edgewater home owner and Chicago Reator

    Joe, I'm not here to argue with you. I don't have access to read the listing agreements between other sellers and their clients. I'm just telling you what I have learned in my professional training and my experience as a Realtor. All of my contracts are in plain English and are easy to read, my clients know exactly what they are getting into.

  • Philip Independent Business owner ,47th. ward since 1968

    Hey Krisi did you get any of your questions answered? I gotta say with the info given here , I am certainly more educated on the pros and cons of selling or buying with or without a realtor. Andrew thank you for your professional input here, if I ever have the need for a realtor I would call you. Thanks again.

  • Hi Krisi, You don't have messaging currently turned on. We've never sold by owner but have purchased by owner. Both sides had lawyers. Another PP was interested as a possible buyer. We may be as well. Feel free to message me.
    thank you.

  • Hi Phillip - I appreciate your comments on this thread. Your email settings seem to be disabled, but I’d love to talk to you more. I believe mine are enabled, would you please send me a message so we can talk more? Thank you!

  • Hi Krisi, call me . 773-590-6272
    I mentioned my commission would be much less .

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