How to Find Homes for Sale Not Listed With a Realtor

by Jane Doyle ; Updated July 27, 2017
Homeowners may sell a house themselves to avoid paying real estate agent commissions.

A home that is for sale and not listed with a real estate agent is known as a "for sale by owner," or FSBO, property. The real estate industry pronounces it fizz-bo. In the past, these types of homes had limited exposure. However, according to the New York Times website in 2008, the real estate industry found a way to make peace with the universal exposure afforded by the Internet and allow FSBOs, as well as foreclosures, on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sites alongside properties listed by Realtors.

Step 1

Search for "FSBO" on the Internet and you will find a number of sites, such as For Sale By Owner and Homes By Owner (see the Resources section). These sites will ask for a city or a zip code to begin your search. Unlike the MLS, all FSBO homes will not appear on one site. Homeowners pay to join each site. Looking at more sites will give you more options. If you find a house that you like, there will be a contact number or email address for setting up an appointment with the homeowner.

Step 2

Use a free resource to find a home that's not listed by a real estate agent. Homeowners may list their homes on site's such as Craigslist (see the Resources section). Also, many local real estate and rental guides, which may be found at the entrance of grocery stores, often have ads for FSBOs.

Step 3

List the priorities that you have for buying home. Are you looking for a foreclosed home? A small home? A "green," or environmentally friendly, home? Many homes are listed by their attributes. Green homes, for example, may be found at Green Homes For Sale, which lists many FSBO houses. Some foreclosed properties can be found on the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website (see the Resources section). Some websites for foreclosed properties charge for access.

Step 4

Drive around the area where you want to live to look for yard signs.

Tips

  • To protect yourself in a FSBO transaction, ForSaleByOwner.com recommends that you hire a local real estate attorney.

About the Author

Jane Doyle has been writing for newspapers and magazines for more than 30 years. She served as associate editor for a business/lifestyle publication and has written articles for magazines ranging from "Bank Director" to "Natural Home." Doyle holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Kansas.

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