Key takeaways

  • You aren’t required to hire a Realtor to sell a home in Michigan, but it can make the process much easier.
  • If you choose the “for sale by owner” route, you won’t have to pay a listing agent’s commission — but you may still need to pay your buyer’s agent.
  • Without an agent to lean on, it’s smart to hire a real estate attorney to draw up the contract and assist with the closing process.

Most people sell their homes with the help of an agent, but there’s also a small portion of sellers — 7 percent in 2023, according to the National Association of Realtors — who go it alone. This option reduces how much you’ll pay in commissions, but it also puts a lot of work on your plate.

If you’re wondering about how to sell a house by owner in Michigan, it helps to understand exactly what’s involved in the process. Read on for an overview.

Selling a house without a Realtor in Michigan

As a “for sale by owner” (or FSBO for short) seller, you’ll take on all the typical responsibilities of a listing agent yourself. This means you’re in charge of setting an asking price, coordinating open houses and viewings, negotiating with buyers and more — much more. Here are the most important basic steps in this process.

Set an asking price

Your home’s asking price plays a primary role in attracting buyers. If you set the price too low, you could leave money on the table, but if it’s too high, you could turn off buyers before they’ve even seen the property. So, how do you determine an appropriate asking price?

First, you’ll need an idea of how much your home is worth. As of May 2024, the median home sale price in Michigan overall was $273,000, according to Redfin data. However, prices vary depending on your local market. In Grand Rapids, for example, the median was slightly higher at $286,000 — and in Bloomfield Hills, it was far, far higher at $829,050.

To understand pricing trends in your area, review real estate comps to see how much similar properties nearby are commanding. It’s also worth looking at how quickly houses sell. A property that lingers on the market for a long time might be priced too high.

Create a listing

Next up: Crafting a compelling listing that showcases your home and captures the attention of potential buyers. Your listing should have a written description that covers important details about your property, such as:

  • Year built
  • Square footage
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Any recent renovations
  • Special features, like a finished basement, hot tub or lake views
  • Information about the local school district and neighborhood

The listing should also include high-quality photos of the inside and outside of your house. Attractive images will help draw in buyers who are browsing online home listings, so it’s often worth hiring a professional to capture these shots.

Market your property

To get your listing seen by as many prospective buyers as possible, you’ll want to add it to your local multiple listing service (MLS). MLS listings are typically aggregated on big consumer sites like Zillow. Usually, only real estate agents have access to the MLS, but there are many companies that will list FSBO properties on the seller’s behalf for a fee. For Michigan sellers, companies that offer this service include Houzeo, Modern Way Realty and Kermath Realty.

There are other tactics to try, too, including putting a store-bought “for sale” sign in your front yard or sharing your listing on social media and community websites like Craigslist and Nextdoor. Just be careful about how much personal information you reveal online, especially if you still live in the house.

Marketing also includes showing the house to potential buyers, either through open houses or private appointments. This can be hectic, again especially if you still live there, so take precautions when letting strangers into your home.

Close the deal

Hopefully, you’ll end up with an offer or two. Be ready for some back and forth; without an agent to work out the terms on your behalf, you may need to negotiate on things like price, seller concessions and timelines. (And you may not be dealing with the buyer themselves but the buyer’s agent, who will likely be a skilled negotiator.)

You’ll also be responsible for creating the purchase and sale agreement, which is a legally binding document. This is one of many reasons that FSBO sellers do well to consult a local real estate attorney — unless you are a very experienced seller, it’s smart to have a pro ensure that the deal is legally sound and your interests are protected.

Required disclosures for Michigan home sellers

In Michigan, most people who sell residential property will need to fill out the state’s seller’s disclosure statement. This will include information about the condition of your home, including its appliances, roof, plumbing and electrical systems. You should also disclose any unpermitted modifications or repairs, previous flood or fire damage and other issues. If the home was built before 1978, you’ll have to submit a lead-based paint disclosure as well. In addition, if the property is part of a homeowners association, you’ll need to provide the buyer with documentation about the HOA rules and financial status.

Pros and cons of selling a house by owner in Michigan

If you’re trying to decide whether to sell with or without a Realtor, consider the following:


  • You’ll save on commissions: Without a listing agent, there’s no listing agent’s commission to pay. An agent’s fee usually ranges from 2.5 to 3 percent of the home’s sale price, so on a median-priced $273,000 house in Michigan, the savings would be between $6,825 and $8,190. (You might still be on the hook for your buyer’s agent’s fee, though.)
  • You’re in charge: As a FSBO seller, you can do everything your way. From setting an asking price to negotiating with buyers, you’re in complete control.
  • You can move quicker: Realtors often have multiple clients, which can take their attention away from your sale. In a FSBO sale, you won’t have to wait to hear back from an agent or work around their schedule, which can speed up the deal.


  • It’s a big commitment: Real estate agents have a lot of responsibilities, all of which you’ll need to take on if you go the FSBO route. Without an agent’s help, you’re in charge of pricing, developing a marketing plan, hosting showings, fielding offers, coordinating paperwork and more.
  • Finding a buyer might be harder: Agents rely on their professional networks to promote their clients’ listings and reach potential buyers. If you don’t have an agent, you might find it more challenging to attract buyers.
  • You could earn less money: According to the National Association of Realtors, FSBO sales typically bring in less money than traditional sales. In addition, with this much money changing hands, a negotiating or contract mistake can be costly.


  • No. However, legal counsel can be a good investment — especially for those selling without a Realtor. Real estate transactions involve complex contracts and stacks of other legal and financial paperwork, so having an attorney on your side can help you navigate the process and ensure that you’re properly protected.
  • Yes. When selling a home in Michigan, the taxes you may need to pay include the state’s transfer tax, or the cost of transferring property to the buyer, and prorated property taxes. You might also owe capital gains taxes, depending on how much profit you earn and how long you’ve owned and lived in the home. Reach out to a tax professional to understand your obligations.
  • In Michigan, sellers are required to complete a disclosure statement that details the home’s history and current condition, as well as other disclosures. Other documents needed to sell a home include the deed, purchase agreement and closing statement. If the home is part of an HOA, you’ll also need paperwork for that, and if you’re paying off the remainder of your mortgage, there will be documentation for that as well.