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23 min read Jan 20, 2023

How to Sell a House By Owner in Des Moines, IA (2023 Updates)

How to Sell a House By Owner in Des Moines, IA

Des Moines is one of the most renowned cities in Iowa where home prices surged 12.5% between 2021 and 2022. Record home prices mean you’ll pay record commissions. Selling a house by owner in Des Moines saves you thousands in agent commissions.

77% of FSBO homes are selling in less than 2 weeks. Selling FSBO in Des Moines is more popular and high-tech than ever.

Can I Sell My House by Myself in Des Moines?

Yes! You need to do just 4 things to successfully sell most homes by owner

  • List on Your Local MLS: Homes listed on the MLS sell faster and for 17% more. The biggest challenge FSBO sellers in Des Moines face is not getting access to their local MLS. There are over 600 MLS’ in the U.S. Houzeo.com will automatically assign you the right MLS for your property.
  • Price Your Home Competitively: Be sure to look at recent sales in your neighborhood.
  • Offer a Competitive Buyer Agent Commission: Most homes sell through a buyer agent, so it’s key to offer a competitive commission to them.
  • Take Professional Photos: You’re competing for clicks online. More online clicks = more foot traffic. There’s no single investment as good as pro photos that convert clicks!

» For Sale By Owner Tips: See our 7 FSBO tips to sell a house fast in Des Moines!

Should I Sell My Home by Owner in Des Moines?

Yes, you should sell your home by owner in Des Moines. 36% of Millennials, 26% of Gen Xers, 22% of Boomers, and 19% of Silent Gen are selling their homes by owner.

Real estate commissions in the US surpassed $100 billion in 2021. By selling FSBO, you will save thousands in commissions. You will also retain full control of your transaction. Finally, selling FSBO through a high-tech platform like Houzeo.com is faster than selling property in Des Moines with a traditional agent.

👍 Key Benefits of Selling For Sale By Owner in Des Moines

  • Savings on Commission: Des Moines home sellers spend around $11,600 on real estate commissions (based on the median home values in Des Moines). Selling a house by owner in Des Moines can help you save around $5,800 on the listing agent commission.
  • Speed to Market: You can set out to sell your house whenever you are ready. You need not hunt for a real estate agent for selling your home in Des Moines. FSBO websites like Houzeo can get you listed within 24-48 hours, or faster!
  • Control Over Transaction: You interact directly with buyers or buyer agents. This reduces the intermediaries involved in the transaction.

👎 Key Risks of Selling For Sale By Owner in Des Moines

  • No Help When You Need: If you need help with paperwork, inspections, negotiations, or closing, you’re on your own as a For Sale By Owner.
  • No MLS Exposure: MLS is the most important tool an agent has. Selling FSBO means limited exposure, so there will be less competition for your property. That will likely reduce the selling price. Homes on the MLS sold for 17% more than homes, not on the MLS.

💲 List on MLS with Houzeo.com



Houzeo will get your home on the MLS within 2 business days – at $349 only!


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How to Sell a House by Owner (Without a Realtor) in Des Moines?

When selling a Des Moines home on your own, you are competing with agent-assisted sales. The following steps will help you manage your sale process professionally and attract more buyers in Des Moines’ hot seller market.

Steps to Sell a House by Owner in Des Moines

  1. Determine the Best Time to Sell Your House
  2. Price Your Home Competitively
  3. Prep Your Home for Sale
  4. Create an Appealing Property Description
  5. Fill out Seller Disclosure
  6. Market Your Home For Sale by Owner
  7. Manage Showings
  8. Review, Compare and Negotiate Offers
  9. Handle Closing

Step 1: Determine the Best Time to Sell a House in Des Moines

The best time to sell a house in Des Moines, IA is June. But since 2020, the trend has shifted a bit. In 2021, the highest median price for a house was in the month of September. One factor could be that serious buyers are willing to purchase a house, no matter the season.

21% of the homes are listed on a Thursday as they sell quickly and are more likely to sell above the list price. So the best time of year to sell a home without a realtor in Iowa is June on a Thursday.

Is it a Good Time to Sell a Home in Des Moines Now?

The best time to sell your house in Des Moines is whenever you are ready. Never try to time the market – in the long term, that’s a difficult strategy.

Mortgage rates are on the rise and Des Moines home prices are expected to cool down in 2022 & 2023. Real estate commissions are declining. So if you’re ready to sell, list now.

Step 2: Price Your Home Competitively

Listing price is the single most important factor that will determine how quickly a home sells. Whether you’re selling a house in Des Moines by owner or not, the listing price is crucial for attracting a wide pool of buyers.

REMEMBER! The purpose of the LIST PRICE is to DRIVE TRAFFIC to your listing. It’s not your SALE PRICE!!!

What happens if you underprice or over-price your listing?

If you price it too lowYou will get multiple offers. You’ll likely call for “Highest & Best Offer” or counter the best offers. And you will sell at market price.
If you price it too highYou will get little interest. That’ll make you drop the price, and you will sell at the market price.

Real estate brokers in Des Moines typically create a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine what’s an ideal listing price for a property. With Zillow and Redfin, you can easily create your own CMA and understand how selling a house in Des Moines works.

» How to Price Your Home for Sale in 6 Steps: Learn to Price Your Home Competitively with Houzeo

Step 3: Prep Your Home for Sale

Here are a few tips to prep to begin the process of selling a house by Owner in Des Moines:

  • Repaint Neutral: Neutral colors appeal to a wider range of buyers.
  • Clean: Scrub, shampoo, wash, and deep clean every nook of your house.
  • Improve Curb Appeal: Clear landscape or plant fresh flowers. First impressions are everything!
  • Stage: Hire a professional stager or organize your furniture to make rooms look neat and spacious.
  • Declutter & Depersonalize: You want the buyers to imagine their own life in your house, not yours.
  • Showcase Natural Light: Natural light helps. Ensure you have opened curtains and blinds. Make sure every room has ample light, and add bulbs if necessary.
  • Make Repairs: If there’s anything glaringly wrong, take care of it early. For instance, a squeaky doorknob will not be overlooked by potential buyers. It is best to get such defects fixed.

Making your home look its best self works wonders when selling real estate in Des Moines by owner. Complement every room in a way that narrates a story, don’t let furniture consume all the space, and create a visually appealing first look.

    🤔 How to Sell a House As Is by Owner in Des Moines?


    Selling a house “as is” in Des Moines by owner is easier with Houzeo.com. You can attract offers as high as 100% of the home value.


    » List Now: Start your FREE listing on Houzeo.com!

Step 4: Create an Appealing Property Description

Here are a few best practices to make an appealing property description:

  • Craft a Catchy Headline: You only have a few seconds to grab the readers’ attention. So, keep your headline short and use descriptive words.
  • Make an Opening Statement: Highlight the features of your property that could not fit in the headline. For instance, parking in city listings, mountain or lake views, etc.
  • Choose Popular Adjectives: Listings that contain words like captivating, luxurious, impeccable, stainless, etc. are sold more than the ones that do not include them.
  • Avoid these Red Flag Words: A giant of real estate, Zillow found some red flag words which you need to avoid while writing the description. TLC, investment, investor, bargain, and cosmetic are some of these red flag words.
  • Keep the Basic Info Aside: Do not talk about the super basic things of your property like stories, beds, and baths because these details are already available in your listing.
  • Talk About Features: Mention name-brand appliances, type of flooring (cherry, walnut, etc.), energy-efficient devices like solar panels, wi-fi-enabled smart devices, etc.
  • Mention Nearby Amenities: Talk about parks, schools, shopping places, and recreational facilities located nearby.

Step 5: Fill out the Iowa Seller Disclosure

It is mandatory to fill out seller disclosure in Iowa. Home sellers need to take care of the following documents mentioned below:

  • Iowa Property Disclosure Statement: Home sellers in Iowa utilize a property disclosure statement. It explains the condition of their real estate and discloses issues that may affect the property’s value.
  • Lead Paint Disclosure: As per the legal binding, for homes built before 1978, the seller should declare any lead-based paint hazards in the house.
  • Flood Zone Statement: A buyer’s lender may require the concerned property’s flood hazard disclosures report before providing the loan. This could be important in mortgages that are backed by the federal government.

    🎯 Houzeo Makes FSBO Paperwork Easy


    With varying federal, state, and MLS requirements, paperwork can be daunting. Houzeo automatically assigns you the right paperwork to get your property listed. You can get a Licensed Broker to assist you with closing, if that’s all you need.


    » List Now: Start your FREE listing on Houzeo.com!

Step 6: Market Your Des Moines Home For Sale by Owner

95% of home buyers search and review homes online. Getting maximum online exposure should be the #1 priority when selling their house, combined with other marketing tactics.

Here are six powerful ways to market your Des Moines home for sale by owner:

#Marketing TacticDescription
1.List Your Des Moines Home For Sale by OwnerHomes listed on the MLS sell faster and for 17% more. That doesn’t mean you need to hire a listing agent or pay that extra commission. Craft appealing listing descriptions to entice potential buyers.

Use for sale by owner websites to list your home for sale by owner and offer a competitive buyer agent commission. That’ll have you in good stead to get top-dollar for your property.

✍️ Pro Tip: Research the Best For Sale by Owner Websites Before Picking One.
2.Get a Yard SignDo not get a “FOR SALE BY OWNER” yard sign. FSBO yard signs have a negative association. Additionally, it’ll limit your options because some MLS’ will not allow them.

Get a “FOR SALE” yard sign, preferably with your phone number. Houzeo custom yard sign is $49 only, and it comes FREE with a selfie!

✍️ Pro Tip: If you secure a buyer from a yard sign, chances are you’ll save on the buyer agent commission as well.
3.Hire a Professional PhotographerHire a professional real estate photographer to create a portfolio of your house. Professional photos can greatly impact the selling process by attracting more buyers.

✍️ Pro Tip: A real estate photographer can collate a portfolio that otherwise may not be possible.
4.Share Your Listing on Social MediaShare your Houzeo listing on social media sites. It includes your contact info. If you share Zillow or Redfin listings, all the leads your listing generates will be sold to paying buyer agents who’ll demand a competitive buyer agent commission.

Houzeo doesn’t sell your information or leads. All buyer leads see your contact info, so you might save the buyer agent commission.

✍️ Pro Tip: If you secure a buyer from social sharing, chances are you’ll save on the buyer agent commission as well.
5.Print Sales Flyers/BrochuresKeep a flyer ready to hand out. Include property specifics: property description, sale price, property address, and your contact details.

✍️ Pro Tip: Your MLS listing is the best flyer. It’s detailed, and most agents & buyers are familiar with the format.
6. List on CraigslistCraigslist is still the biggest classified ad platform. And it’s still effective today. Here’s how to sell a house on Craigslist.

» Creative Ways to Market a House: Discover 18 Unique Ways of Marketing Your Des Moines Home

Step 7: Manage Showings

Once your property is ready for showings, it is critical to manage them effectively. You want to know who has seen your property or expressed interest in seeing it. And you also want to track when a potential buyer last saw it.

Online showing scheduling tools provide buyers and buyer agents with a frictionless way to request and schedule showings. Cutting-edge showing technologies, like Houzeo Showings, also feature ways for buyers and buyer agents to provide feedback.

Houzeo Showings: How It Works

#FeatureDescription
1.Set Showing CalendarBuyers and buyer agents should only be shown times when the property is available for showing. This saves the time spent in correspondence with all parties.
2.Request & Reschedule ShowingsIt’s critical that buyers and buyer agents can request showings at available times. Things do change sometimes, so they should be able to reschedule and cancel showing requests as well.
3.Provide Feedback Feedback from buyers and buyer agents is critical for home sellers. It allows them to assess if their property is priced too high, the backyard needs fencing, or the door lock was too difficult to open. If the property is on a major street, there’s nothing the home seller can do about it. But where the feedback is actionable, small remedies can improve showings and attract top dollar for your property.

🗓️ Houzeo Showings: See how the most powerful showing app works on mobile and the web.

Introducing the Houzeo Mobile App!

  • View your listing
  • Review and compare offers
  • Manage Showings Online
  • Counter an offer
  • NEW! Buyers can now search your property and save it in “Favorites”

Start Your FREE Listing NOW!

Step 8: Review, Compare and Negotiate Offers

Though you are selling your home without a realtor in Des Moines, the basics of what to do when you get offers remain the same. This includes accepting, declining, or ignoring the offers (not recommended).

Review the offers on all their merits, and never ignore an offer. Even if it’s a lowball offer, you should counter with what you would accept. Where you are sure you don’t want to counter or accept, just politely decline.

Countering an offer, or calling for the highest & best offers are 2 advanced tactics in every real estate agent’s arsenal. When selling your home by owner in Des Moines, you need to learn these 2 tactics.

Most companies will give you complex forms to counter an offer, or to request the highest & best. Houzeo has digitized these features. You can counter or ask for the highest & best offers with just a few clicks!

Houzeo Offers: How to Counter or Request Highest & Best

#Advanced TacticWhen to UseHow to Use
1.Counter an OfferSingle or Multiple Offer SituationYour best offer is not just the highest one. It’ll be competitive across several parameters: deposit, financing, inspection contingency, closing timeline, etc.

When countering an offer, you can request any of these parameters to be updated per your preferences.

▶️ Learn more: How to counter an offer on Houzeo.com
2.Request Highest & Best OffersMultiple Offer SituationIf you have multiple offers, and a timeline by which you’d like to pick an offer, you can call for Highest & Best offer from all interested parties.

▶️ Learn more: How to request Highest & Best Offer on Houzeo.com

Step 9: Handle Closing in Des Moines

Title agents & attorneys handle the Des Moines real estate closing process and take care of the legalities involved. You still have several obligations. These include:

1. Title, Inspection, and Appraisal

Title, appraisals, and inspections are crucial parts of selling a house by owner in Des Moines. They all require agents/companies that could verify the data and aid in the selling process.

  • Title: A clear title and a meticulous transfer are key to a real estate transaction. Title insurance protects you if there is any problem related to the prior ownership of the property. It makes you whole in case of a legal dispute related to the title.
  • Inspection: A home inspector inspects the property before the home-buying process is completed. They check for any defects/repairs in the property and raise concerns accordingly. This ensures that the buyers don’t have to shell out money if there are defects in the property that the seller did not highlight.
  • Appraisal: An appraiser does market research and evaluates the price of a specific property. The appraisal manager ensures that the seller offers a correct price per the market value. Here’s how to prepare for a home appraisal.

CMA vs. Appraisal: Know the Difference

Here is a table depicting the difference between Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and Appraisal:

CMAAppraisal
Performed by Real estate agent/brokerLicensed appraiser
PurposeSuggest the best listing price for a houseHelp the bank determine the mortgage amount

2. Paying all the Des Moines Seller Closing Costs

The real estate transaction is not only about real estate agent commission and sale price, but also includes other costs.

  • Agent Commission: Even if you are selling property in Des Moines by owner, there are chances that you will interact with represented buyers. Buyer agent commission in Des Moines is around 2.5% to 3%.
  • Title Insurance: Title insurance, on average, is more expensive than Iowa Title Guaranty. The first $500,000 in Iowa Title Guaranty premium is only $110, with an additional $1 per thousand beyond that.
  • Transfer Tax: Iowa has a statewide average effective property tax rate of $1.60 per thousand and the first $500 is exempt.
  • Capital Gains Tax Iowa: The capital gains tax rate in Iowa is 8.53%, but an individual’s actual tax bill will be lower because the state allows a federal income tax deduction.
  • Home Warranty: The average deductible for a home warranty in Iowa is $40.55, while the average premium is $318.98.
  • Appraisal Fees: An appraiser is hired to determine the actual price of the property. The price of the appraisal process depends on various factors such as property type, size, and location. It is usually paid by the buyer. In Des Moines, home appraisal cost is between $315 – $420, depending upon the type of property.
  • Inspection Fees: You can just state that home inspection cost varies depending on the area of the property. For instance, for properties below 2,000 sq. ft. it is between $260 to $360.
  • Survey Fees: Homeowners report that the average land survey cost is $504. This includes the price to hire a land surveyor, which ranges from $338 and $670.
  • Attorney Fee: This fee is optional as it is not required to hire a real estate attorney in Iowa but is highly recommended. A real estate attorney can help you with the documentation and other closing processes.
  • Settlement Costs: The average home in the state sells for between $100,000 and $200,000. Expect to pay between $1,136 and $4,544 in closing costs after taxes if you buy a home in that price range.
  • Other Costs: Apart from the stated costs, multiple other costs are involved to sell homes in Des Moines. These can be fees related to the courier, pest inspection, estoppel fees, and any other as imposed by the city/county. Apart from these, there can be fees to prep your home, relocation fees, and more.

» How Much are Closing Costs in Iowa: A must-read before selling by owner

How to Draft Your Des Moines For Sale By Owner Contract?

You can draft your own for sale by owner Des Moines contract, but we do not recommend it. It is best to hire a real estate attorney for drafting the contract. A real estate attorney would provide you with professional guidance when needed. They will also ensure the contract stands legally binding for both parties.

What is a For Sale By Owner Contract?

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) contract is a legally binding document used when selling a property by owner. A typical FSBO Iowa contract contains the name of the buyer and the seller, contract date, property description, terms of payment, contingencies, etc.

» For Sale by Owner Contract Iowa: Who makes it, is it legally binding, and what does it contain?

What Documents do I Need to Sell My House in Des Moines?

Here are some key documents required for all Des Moines real estate sales:

  • The HUD-1 or Closing Disclosure: When homes are purchased with a mortgage, you’ll summarize the detailed costs in the Closing Disclosure. If your sale is all cash, you may get the HUD-1, which is less common. These documents detail the amounts you’re charged for, your loan payoffs if any, and the net proceeds you will take to the bank.
  • The Deed: It enables the legal transfer of title from the seller to the buyer. Read this document carefully, verifying all details including the legal description of the property, the deed book, the deed book page, and the Property Identification Number (PIN), if any.
  • Real Estate Purchase Agreement Iowa: It is a standard form of real estate contract that details the terms of transactions. It contains aspects such as sale price, financing contingencies, property description, etc.
  • Statement of Closing Costs: This statement summarizes all the expenses involved in the transaction.
  • Certificate of Title: It allows you to state that you have the right to sell the property.

There are also additional documents required in selling real estate in Des Moines. Some of the legal documents needed to sell a home without a Realtor in Des Moines or even otherwise are stated below:

  • Loan Payoff: You need to provide proper documentation if the disbursement of the loan amount has been completed. Else, you need to provide how much you still owe.
  • Bill of Sale: It contains information about the sellers and the buyer with the selling price.
  • HOA Forms: If the house is part of an HOA, the seller needs to give the buyer all the documentation on restrictions, fees, financials, and more.
  • Survey Papers: The documentation defines the property’s location and dimensions. This is important while selling your own home in Des Moines.
  • Repairing Proof: While selling real estate, if the seller has made repairs to the property before the sale, they need to furnish the relevant documentation.
  • Power of Attorney: If the property is inherited, then the seller needs to furnish the details of the history and how the property was passed onto him/her.
  • Home Warranty Papers: These contain all the coverage of the property, period, and cost of insurance.
  • Home Inspection: This contains all the details about the inspection of the property.
  • Close to Clear: Lender issues “close to clear” after he/she is satisfied that the buyer has fulfilled all the obligations mentioned as part of the loan commitment.
  • Health Department Approval (septic): Sellers must get the approval of the Iowa Health Department for the septic system of their homes. These rules vary from county to county, so accordingly you need to contact the local authorities.
  • Correction Agreement: A correction agreement is a document that allows buyers and sellers the scope to correct mistakes in some specific documents like a sale deed, a title deed, etc.
  • Affidavits: A seller will need to provide a few affidavits like name affidavit, non-foreign, etc. This may also include affidavits like “Affidavit of Title” which discloses that you are the rightful owner of the property and that there are no liens on the property.

» Paperwork for Selling a House Without a Realtor: Everything You Need to Know

🚀 Blast Past Paperwork With Houzeo



Houzeo is 100% online. You can finish the listing formalities in <60 mins. Start NOW!


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Ask Questions

If this is your first time selling a property or learning how to sell your own home in the state of Iowa, schedule an appointment with the closing agent before the date of the closing.

Before that appointment, do your research and ask clarifying questions about anything you have doubts about. Readiness on how to sell a house by owner in Des Moines makes a huge difference.

Bring TWO Forms of Official ID

There will likely be a licensed notary involved who’ll require that you swear you are who you say you are. Take a valid driver’s license or passport for ID. Carry a secondary ID as well, just in case.

Closing documents are legally binding agreements. Ensure you keep the paperwork error-free or you can derail your sale and be forced to re-list your house.

Sell Your House Fast in Des Moines

Opt for the following ways to sell your home fast in Des Moines:

FSBO Alternatives You Might Consider

If saving money is the main goal you should consider the following:

  • Selling FSBO with Houzeo: Houzeo provides the best combination of fast listing, max savings, maximum exposure, cutting-edge tech, and 5-star customer service.
  • Flat Fee MLS Iowa: Flat Fee MLS companies get you on the MLS for a small flat fee saving you thousands in commissions. Check out our rankings for the best Iowa Flat Fee MLS companies.
  • Discount Real Estate Brokers: If you want to save on commission but still need constant guidance and support, go for a discount broker. We have ranked the top discount brokers.

Bottom line: Selling your Home Without a Realtor in Des Moines is Easy

The average real estate agent commission in Des Moines is around $11,600. You can save thousands in commissions by selling your home by owner in Des Moines with a sophisticated For Sale By Owner platform like Houzeo.

Best and The Fastest Way to Sell A House in Des Moines By Yourself

🔥 BEST FSBO PLATFORM

Houzeo.com

Houzeo Logo
  • Listing Fee: $349
  • Available nationwide
  • 5 Stars 4.9/5.0 (out of 4,296 reviews)

Why Houzeo is #1: Houzeo provides the best combination of max savings, max exposure, cutting-edge tech, and 5-star customer service.

Packages: Houzeo offers 4 Flat Fee MLS packages.

  • Bronze Package – $299: It is best for selling a lot. Your listing gets syndicated to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, Redfin, and more.
  • Silver Package – $349: This includes everything competitors like Fizber.com charge $399 for. In addition, you can make unlimited changes to your listing.
  • Gold Package – $429: It is Houzeo’s signature package and includes all the technology Houzeo is known for: Houzeo Showings, Houzeo Offers, and Digital Transaction Management.
  • Platinum Package – $999+: It includes the assistance of a licensed broker to help you with negotiations, disclosures, and closing.


Custom Yard Sign
To maximize exposure, Houzeo offers custom “For Sale” yard signs. It costs $49 and comes free with a selfie!

👉 Our Take: We recommend the GOLD plan. You’ll have access to Houzeo’s cutting-edge technology, making managing showings and offer negotiations easy!

» Houzeo reviews: Check what customers have to say about our services!

  • Quick listing
  • Nationwide coverage
  • Mobile app availability
  • Savings on commissions
  • 100% online – easy listing, fast changes, online showings, and online offers
  • Listings get syndicated to Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin, and 100s of other sites

Houzeo has a 4.9 out of 5 rating on Google & Trustpilot.

Houzeo is available nationwide.

» NEED MORE CLARITY? Watch exclusive Houzeo reviews and learn why the platform is the best in America’s competitive housing market.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can you sell a house without a realtor in Des Moines, IA?

Yes, you can sell a house without a realtor in Des Moines as FSBO. You can opt for a Flat Fee MLS company to get listed on the MLS. Check out our rankings for the Best Flat Fee MLS Iowa Companies.

Related: housezo, houszeo, houzzeo, hozeo

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