How to Sell a House Without a Realtor in Iowa

Selling your home without a realtor means you won’t have to pay a listing commission, which in Iowa averages 3.1% of the sale price. Considering a typical Iowa house is worth about $183,000, that’s a savings of $5,597.

However, trying to sell a home For Sale by Owner (FSBO) can be tough. It will cost you a lot of time and energy.

In the end, selling a house without a real estate agent isn’t worth it for most homeowners in Iowa. Especially considering there are low commission real estate companies that offer professional assistance for a lower cost.

If you’re considering FSBO in Iowa, read on to find out everything you need to know to do it successfully.

Key Takeaways of FSBO Sales

  • Selling without a real estate agent means avoiding a listing commission (3.1% on average in Iowa). But in exchange for those savings, you’ll have to do everything from advertising your home to negotiating the final deal.
  • In most cases, you’ll still need to offer a buyer’s agent commission. 2.8% is typical in Iowa.
  • Selling without an agent is best for experienced sellers or people selling to family or friends.
  • For most sellers, there are better cost-saving options that will net you more money and provide professional support.


Should I sell my house without a realtor?

Not sure if FSBO is right for you? Use the checklists below to find out if selling your Iowa home without a realtor is the best option for your situation.

Selling without an agent might be right for you if…

You want to save on commission.

When you sell without a realtor, you won’t pay a listing agent commission. In Iowa, that puts 3.1% of your final sale price back in your pocket. However, you will still need to offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission (2.8% is typical in Iowa).

You already have a buyer.

If you’ve already lined up a deal with a friend or family member, there’s no need to pay an agent to list your home on the MLS, host open houses, or negotiate on your behalf.

You have lots of time to spare.

Selling a house is a lot of work! You’ll need time to take on all the tasks a realtor normally handles.

8 Steps to Selling a House in Iowa

You’re in a hot seller’s market.

If you’re in a high-demand area with low inventory, you could find a buyer relatively easily with just a flat fee MLS package or a “For Sale” in your yard.

Here’s how fast and for how much homes in Iowa are currently selling for so you see how your local market compares.

Avg. days on market Avg. listing price
69 days $233,926


Selling without a realtor might not be right for you if…

You’re short on time. 

If you’re on a tight deadline, hiring an agent might be your best option. You’ll have to squeeze home selling tasks into your nights and weekends — or make sacrifices elsewhere in your schedule.

You’ve never sold a home in Iowa.

Without an agent, you won’t have any professional guidance about increasing your property’s curb appeal, pricing your home, or choosing the best offer.

We can’t say this enough: If you’ve never been through a Iowa home sale or are facing a complicated transaction, do not try it without a real estate agent.

Making one mistake could cost you tens of thousands of dollars or create some serious legal headaches for you.

You want to sell for more money. 

There are conflicting studies about whether FSBO properties sell for less compared to those sold by agents.

On the one hand, FSBO sellers are more likely to sell to friends or family and offer them a good deal on the home. This lowers the average price of homes sold without a realtor.

However, if a FSBO seller is inexperienced, they can lose money by pricing too low or scare away buyers by pricing too high.

If selling your home without a realtor sounds too risky or like too much work, you have other ways to save on commissions. You can work with a discount broker, save money, and not have to deal with the stress of selling without a realtor.

Don’t want to sell a home by yourself?

Our friends at Clever Real Estate negotiate lower rates with top-performing agents so you don’t have to do it alone AND you can save thousands in fees!

What does a realtor do in Iowa?

Selling real estate in Iowa can be a difficult task, especially if you decide not to work with a realtor. You will be in charge of scheduling showings, doing your own market price research, and looking for flat-fee MLS companies to list your home. Aside from being tedious, it can result in more added expenses and less overall profits, especially if you aren’t able to handle the pricing and negotiations well.

Here are a few of the things you’ll need to handle without a realtor in the Hawkeye state:

Traer, IA Real Estate - Traer Homes for Sale |®

Prices homes competitively

Agents will do a comparative market analysis (CMA) to accurately price your home. They look at the popularity of your housing market, how much similar properties are selling for, new upgrades you’ve added to the home, and other variable factors.

To get an idea of how much home values can vary, here’s a comparison of different sized homes value in Iowa.

Home size Home value in Iowa
2 bedrooms $127,298
3 bedrooms $186,013
4 bedrooms $249,990
5+ bedrooms $329,236
Based on Zillow data

Connects you with local pros

Experienced agents have networks of the best professionals in the area. They can connect you with handymen, stagers, photographers, and other service providers so you don’t have to track down reliable pros on your own.

Lists your home

Working with an agent will get your property listed on the multiple listing service (MLS) database. This can only be accessed by real estate agents, who use it to find homes to show their clients. Without a realtor, you’ll need to pay a flat fee MLS company to list your property, or you will face a much smaller pool of potential buyers.

Finds potential buyers

An agent can market your home, schedule open houses, and follow up with people who toured your home.

Agents will also take care of negotiating with prospective buyers and dealing with paperwork to ensure the sale doesn’t fall through.

Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Iowa

Below, you’ll find a list of prices for common services you might want to consider if you decide to sell without a realtor. However, know that if your home is in need of repairs or is in a buyer’s market, you might need to spend a lot more to prep and market your property.

Common costs for FSBO sellers

Appraisal $315 to $420 To price your home more accurately
Photography $257 To compete with homes listed by agents
Staging $1,529 To stand out to local buyers
Real estate attorney $204 to $359 per hour To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements
Flat fee MLS listing $100 to $500 To get listed on the MLS
Buyer’s agent commission 2.8% of sale price To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (it’s customary for the seller to pay)

If you’re considering selling without a realtor in Iowa, check out our friends at Clever Real Estate. Clever eliminates all the hassles and headaches of FSBO while helping you pay less than you would for a traditional realtor.

In Iowa, sellers pay an average of 3.1% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Iowa is $183,000, that amounts to $5,597. However, Clever agents provide full service support and list your home for $3,000 (or 1% for homes that sell for more than $350,000).

Marshalltown, IA Real Estate - Marshalltown Homes for Sale |®

Iowa FSBO paperwork and regulations

If you decide to sell without a realtor, you’ll be responsible for collecting, preparing, and filing all the correct paperwork.

But know that every state has its own laws and regulations for real estate sales — and Iowa is no different. Here are some additional forms you may need to close on a house without a realtor in Iowa:

  • Purchase agreement
  • Seller disclosures
  • Radon fact sheet
  • Real Estate Transfer Declaration of Value (DOV) 57-006
  • Groundwater hazard statement
  • Flood zone statement

6 steps to sell a home in Iowa without a realtor

Did you know?

1 out of 3 buyers believe that the best way to find a home is through a real estate agent.

The first thing that buyer’s agents typically do to find their clients housing options is to look through the local MLS. Unfortunately, if you’re selling FSBO, then you can’t access your local MLS. Consider working with a flat fee MLS company or a discount broker as an affordable way to advertise your house to realtors and their buyers.

Solon, IA Real Estate - Solon Homes for Sale |®

1. Get your home ready to sell

Simple repairs, such as fixing a squeaky door or repairing dents in the drywall, can greatly improve the aesthetic appeal of your house. Outdoors, a fresh coat of paint, and some basic landscaping work can boost curb appeal.

You can also hire a professional stager to get your home picture-perfect for showings. While prices vary from city to city, in Iowa it costs an average of $1,529 to stage a house.

High-quality photos of your property can make a huge difference when attracting buyers. Prices can vary based on your location, but in Iowa you can expect to pay $257 on average for a session with a professional photographer.

2. Price your home accurately

Without a real estate agent, it can be difficult to accurately price your home. An appraisal is a professional assessment of a home to evaluate its condition and estimate its value. In Iowa, an appraisal costs $315 to $420.

3. List your home

There are plenty of free or affordable websites where you can list your home. However, purchasing a flat fee MLS package often gives FSBO sellers the best bang for their buck.

In Iowa, this will cost you $100 to $500, but without a realtor, it’s the only way to get your property listed on the MLS — which is how most buyers find homes.

4. Show your home

Once buyers start contacting you, it’s important to have a system to track showing appointments and their contact information.

During a showing, be available to answer the buyer’s questions, but don’t follow them around from room to room. That can come off as overwhelming and scare buyers off.

5. Consider offers

Reviewing offers is about more than the price. You also need to consider whether the buyer’s moving timeline aligns with your own and what types of contingencies or concessions they’re asking for. Those parts of the offer will impact negotiations and how much you’ll actually walk away with.

6. Use a title and/or escrow company

It’s important to have a third party that will take care of collecting signatures and fees before and during closing. Often this will be your title company, but in some cases, you might have to find a separate escrow company to manage the money involved in the transaction.

Cedar Falls, IA Real Estate - Cedar Falls Homes for Sale |®

Alternatives to selling without a realtor in Iowa

For many people, trying to sell without an agent isn’t worth the hassle. If you think you’ll need some help along the way, here are a few other low-cost options.

Iowa flat fee MLS companies

Getting your home listed on your local MLS is the best way to reach more buyers. The biggest home search sites (Zillow,, etc.) all pull their listings from the MLS. Unfortunately, the only way to get your home on the MLS without a realtor is by purchasing a flat fee MLS package.

In Iowa, this will cost you about $100 to $500. However, if you want more support from a real estate professional, there are better options.

Flat Fee Group Flat Fee Realty
Price $99-$499 $199 $399.95
Number of Photos 50 6 20
MLS Listing 6-12 months 6 months 6 months
Pricing Assistance 💰
Negotiation Support 💰
Yard Sign 💰 💰
Open Houses 💰

💰 Service is an additional cost or not included in the basic package


Iowa discount brokers

Discount brokers are full-service real estate agents who are willing to work for a reduced commission rate. Sellers can save thousands while still receiving assistance from an expert local agent.

Clever Real Estate Redfin Assist-2-Sell
Listing Fees 1% or $3,000 1.5% (min. fees vary) $2,995-8,995
Customer Rating 4.9 out of 5 ⭐ 0 out of 5 ⭐3.9 out of 5 ⭐ 0 out of 5 ⭐
Locations Nationwide Nationwide (select markets) Nationwide (select markets)

For discount broker services, we highly recommend our friends at Clever! Clever pre-negotiates with top agents to offer you the lowest commission rates without compromising on service quality.

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