22 min read Dec 27, 2021

How To Sell A House by Owner in Illinois (2022 Update)

✍️ Editor’s Note: Houzeo is America’s most advanced For Sale By Owner platform. Almost $3.5 billion worth of properties were listed by home owners on Houzeo.com in 2021. This guide summarizes the steps for selling a house by owner (without a realtor) in Illinois based on our expertise.

How to sell a house by owner in Illinois

As per Zillow, the home values in Illinois have spiked by 13.5% in the last 1 year with the average realtor commission between 5-6%. This means that if you sell your property for $600,000, then you are in to fish out approximately $31,260 to the realtor(s). It is definitely expensive and therefore thorough research and understanding should be in place before selling a house by owner in Illinois.

The option of For Sale By Owner (FSBO) can be a probable solution to skip the commission fee of realtors but it has its own restrictions. You need to put in a lot of effort and time to sell your house as FSBO. Also, as per a study, the homes sold through agents attract 13% higher sale price than houses sold through FSBO.

There is another option where platforms like Houzeo allow you to sell your home in Illinois through Flat-Fee MLS, without having to worry about hefty commissions. Such platforms have a standard selling process which makes it easier for the sellers to list their home as For Sale By Owner or FSBO.

» More: Check out the best Flat Fee MLS companies in Illinois

» In this guide, we’ll cover:

How To Sell a House in Illinois By Owner

1. Understand The Benefits & Risks of Selling a House By Owner in Illinois

The property values in Illinois are not at the same level as in big states like California, Florida, and Texas. Still, the state has a decent real estate market, and selling a house in Illinois is nevertheless a good option. The closing requirements are a bit complex when compared with other states but can be typically handled by any competent title company or attorney (though the attorney generally takes care of all documentation).

✍️ Note: The real estate market of Illinois is expected to grow in 2022 with a forecast of more properties getting listed.

Key Benefits of Selling A House For Sale By Owner in Illinois

Savings on CommissionSelling a house in Illinois with the help of a realtor can result in giving away commissions of anywhere between 3% to 6% of the selling price, and Illinois’ average realtor commission is 5.21%. If you are to sell your house via FSBO in Illinois, you can be assured of good savings.
Speed to MarketFSBO platforms like Houzeo will list your property on the market within 24-48 hours, or even faster!

👉 Explore: Houzeo Reviews: Home Selling made easier with Houzeo.com!
Control Over TransactionAs a seller, you want to have more control over the property transaction. This can be achieved when there are minimum intermediaries. If an FSBO company is providing you an option to directly connect with the buyer or buyer agent, your purpose is solved.

Key Risks of Selling A House For Sale By Owner in Illinois

Hidden FeesSelling your own home in Illinois can be complex, as most Illinois based Flat-Fee MLS and FSBO companies are not upfront when it comes to the total fees required to complete a deal. Also, commissions on sale can cost you thousands.
Poor Customer ServiceFSBO could be challenging and expensive if you don’t have the proper expertise or more importantly proper assistance. It is recommended to read authentic reviews to know how an FSBO site’s customer service is.

⭐ Houzeo is rated 4.9 stars on Google & Trustpilot.
Knowing Help is AvailableListing and selling a property in Illinois through FSBO is a bit complex. But, a seller should be aware that help is available as and when required. Most sellers miss this pointer which makes their job a tad much difficult.

Understanding Illinois’ real estate laws and processes can be a bit challenging. Before diving into the next steps of ‘how to sell a home by owner in Illinois, let’s check out the overview of what Illinois FSBO looks like from the state regulations perspective:

Illinois FSBO Overview

Level of Difficulty for FSBOs?Average
Real Estate Attorney Required?No (but recommended)
Required State Disclosures (More)– Residential Real Property Disclosure Report
– Federal Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards
– Illinois Radon Disclosure..and more
FSBO Yard Sign Allowed? (More)Yes
Competitive Buyer Agent Commission2-3%

Top For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Websites

A thorough comparison between the best in the business

Start Your FREE Listing NOW!

2. Get Your House Ready for Sale in Illinois By Owner

Whether it is Illinois or any other state, you need to take care of certain important factors while selling your house on your own. Here is what you need to do:

Declutter & DepersonalizeDecluttering and depersonalization can greatly impact the selling process. While decluttering makes the house look tidy, depersonalization can convince the buyer to see the home as his own in the future.
RepairsIt is always beneficial to get the repairs done wherever necessary. Repairing important appliances, bathrooms, kitchen, etc. can lure buyers and get them interested in the deal.
Neutral ColorsPainting the home neutral brings out the transparency that a buyer needs to have to imagine what his future home will be like.
StagingSelling a home by owner in Illinois can be tricky. We recommend sellers to hire a professional who has very well mastered the art of staging. Proper staging can make the buyer understand how to manage the new home and how to utilize space.

▶️ Case Study: Daniel Woodrum in Panama City Beach, FL saved $8,000 by selling his house FSBO

3. What are the Different Disclosures While Selling A House By Owner in Illinois?

Just like any other state, while selling a house in Illinois, you will come across different disclosures that need to be furnished. An example would be, Residential Real Property Disclosure Report that binds the seller to disclose any major defects with respect to your house including appliances, wardrobes, etc.

Here are some of the disclosures needed in the state of Illinois:

Federal Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint HazardsFederal law states that if the house was built before 1978, it is required of the seller to disclose any dangers of lead paint.
Illinois Radon DisclosureThe disclosure makes the seller disclose any presence of radon inside the house and pamphlets are provided to the buyers to appraise any dangers of radon.
Flood Zone StatementThis document helps the buyer’s lender gather any information about the flood risk with respect to your property.

» More: Seller Disclosure Requirements in Illinois

4. Price Your Home Competitively

Pricing your home competitively can make a lot of difference. When we say competitively, we take market trends as a benchmark. A seller needs to be aware of the prices in the concerned state in which he/she is selling the property.

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

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

Pricing too lowSelling a house in Illinois at a low price will definitely fetch you more buyers. As a seller, you will always have an option to choose the highest and the best option. You may need to counter an offer and negotiate with the buyer for the best price.
Pricing too highThis will attract less traffic and you may be forced to lower your list price. Accordingly, you may still be selling your house as per the market price.

With Zillow and Redfin, you can easily create your own Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and understand how selling a house in Illinois or any other state works.

» More: How to Price Your Home For Sale in 6 Steps

5. Create Description of Your Property

After listing the price competitively, all you need is to add the description of your house. The description should be attractive and as per a buyer’s need. You can add unique features of your house or any historical significance while selling your house in Illinois. Next, you can also add any details about the renovations done to your property. Things like – When the renovation was done? What was included in it? and, What was the cost incurred? Any such description will help the buyers be aware of the property and have peace of mind.

6. What is the Right Time to Sell a House in Illinois?

Time to sell is as important as other factors for selling a house. For Illinois, June is considered to be the best month for buying and selling properties. The annual sale-to-list ratio is high during June and deal closure happens much more quickly when compared with other months.

7. Find Ways to Market Your Home

Almost 95% of buyers rely on the web to search for their next home. Thus, being online is the #1 priority for sellers. A good online marketing strategy can make a difference in getting your house sold.

Here are some of the marketing tactics that can help you in selling your house in Illinois. These strategies can be applied to other states well.

#Marketing TacticDescription
1.List on the MLS
Homes listed on the MLS sell faster and for 17% more. This doesn’t mean you need to hire a listing agent and pay that extra commission. Crafty listings surely entice potential buyers. Use a for sale by owner website to list your home and offer a competitive buyer agent commission. This will help in getting 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, they will limit your options because MLS’ will not allow them. Instead get a “FOR SALE” yard sign, preferably with your phone number on it. Houzeo custom yard sign is available for $49 only and 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. In a nutshell, it is worth the $49 investment.
3.Share Your Listing on Social MediaShare your property listing on social media. This will include your contact info apart from the listing details. If you share your listing on Zillow or Redfin, all the leads your listing generates will be sold to buyer agents who’ll demand a competitive buyer agent commission. Houzeo, on the other hand, doesn’t sell your information or leads. All buyer leads see your contact info, so you might save on 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.
4Hire a professional photographerAs a seller, you can hire a professional photographer to create a portfolio of your house. Professional pictures can greatly impact the selling process by attracting more buyers.

✍️ Pro Tip: Professional photographer can collate a portfolio that otherwise may not be possible if you are taking up the job.
5Run adsIf you want to sell your home all by yourself, you may also want to run ads on print and social media.

✍️ Pro Tip: Try to cover as many social media channels as possible to initiate ads of your listing.

▶️ Case Study: Paige Zukowski saved $11,000 selling through FSBO

8. Manage Showings

Selling a house by owner in Illinois requires the intervention of the seller in communicating the showing times with the prospective buyers. As deciphered, this can be a really tedious task to manage. Sellers can use a showing management tool to manage the showing times of their listing and be on top of the process.

Houzeo Showings, a cutting-edge solution, helps buyers and buyer agents to choose a particular showing slot as stated by the seller. The holistic tool manages your showings keeping the process smooth for you and the buyer.

1.Home Sellers Can Set Their Showing CalendarBuyers and buyer agents should only be shown times when the property is available for showing. This saves time for all the concerned parties.
2.Buyers & Buyer Agents Can Request & Reschedule ShowingsIt’s critical that buyers and buyer agents can request showings at available times. In addition, they should be able to reschedule and cancel on an ad-hoc basis.
3.Buyers & Buyer Agents Can Provide Feedback on the ListingFeedback from buyers and buyer agents is critical for home sellers because it allows them to assess their property (priced too high, the backyard needs fencing, rooms need whitewashing, and more). Where the feedback is actionable, small remedies can go a long way in improving showings and attracting top dollar for your property.

🗓️ Houzeo Showings has all the required features and is available on the Houzeo mobile app!

Introducing the Houzeo Mobile App!

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

Start Your FREE Listing NOW!

9. Negotiate Offers for Sale of House in Illinois

As FSBO, you sell a house without a realtor. The basics of what to do when you get offers remain the same though – Accept, Decline, or Ignore the offers (not recommended). We suggest you review the offers on all their merits, and never ignore an offer. Even if it’s a low-ball offer, you should counter with what you would accept. Where you are sure you don’t want to counter or accept, just politely decline.

There are two advanced tactics in every real estate agent’s arsenal i.e. countering an offer, or calling for the highest & best offers. When you sell a house by owner, you need to learn these 2 tactics.

Most companies will give you complex forms to counter an offer, or to request the highest & best one. Houzeo has digitized these, so, you can counter or ask for the highest & best with just a few clicks! That’s selling a house by owner made easy.

#Advanced TacticWhen to UseHow to Use
1.Counter an OfferSingle or Multiple Offer SituationYour best offer is not just the highest one but is also competitive across several parameters: deposit, financing, inspection contingency, closing timeline, etc. When you want to counter an offer, you can request any of the mentioned parameters updated as 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 the interested parties.

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

Apart, negotiating offers means focusing on other factors like contingencies, concessions, responsibility, and more.

It should be noted that negotiating offers during a home sale is inevitable. With the slightest change comes the massive paperwork update, signatures, due diligence, and much more. This is where Houzeo can be useful. Being a 100% online platform, Houzeo updates the changes across the paperwork seamlessly and digitally, cutting back on efforts and saving time in every update.

💰Incredible Technology, Incredible Savings

Houzeo’s technology makes FSBO easy by giving you access to tools only agents have
Learn more

10. Take Care of Appraisals and Inspections

A money/mortgage lender typically goes for a home appraisal to identify what is the appropriate value of a particular property. Based on the outcome by licensed appraisal agents, the lender decides the amount that should be part of the mortgage. This is crucial while selling a house in Illinois (or any other state) as it keeps the buyer protected from unwanted sale price.

Inspection is also part of the process where licensed individuals scan the property for any issues. If there are defects, re-negotiations might take place between the seller and the buyer. Consulting a real estate agent may be a good option for the seller to take care of these processes.

11. How to Handle Closing in Illinois?

Selling a house by owner means you’ll need to be prepared when it comes to paperwork and legalities. Even though your closing attorney or title agent will handle most of the legal work involved in a property transfer, you do have several obligations. Here’s how to prepare for your closing day.

» More: Paperwork for Selling a House Without a Realtor

Review Your Closing Documents in Advance for House Sale in Illinois

Closing documents should generally be available to you in advance of the scheduled closing date. Review these documents at length and understand their provisions. Here are some key documents you’ll likely sign at closing (it is always advised to consult an attorney):

The HUD-1 or Closing DisclosureWhen 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 amounts you’re charged for, your loan payoffs if any, and the net proceeds you will take to the bank. Depending upon how much equity you have in the property, you may need to bring a check (or send a wire) on the closing date. Also, ensure there are no typos in your name, address, property address, bank info, and other details. Then review every amount and the totals to ensure there are no mathematical errors or inadvertent costs.
The DeedThis document 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.
Statement of Closing CostsThis statement summarizes all the expenses involved in the transaction. This document is easier to understand vs. the HUD-1/Closing Disclosure, but they should tie.
Certificate of TitleIt allows you to state that you have the right to sell the property.

The below table showcases some more documents that are required in selling a house in Illinois.

Bill of SaleInformation about the seller and the buyer with the selling price.
Loan PayoffIn the case of a mortgage, 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.
HOA formsIf the house is part of HOA, the seller needs to give the buyer all the documentation on restrictions, fees, financials, and more.
Survey papersThe documentation defines the location and the dimensions of the property. This is important while selling a house in Illinois.
Home InspectionContains all the details about the inspection of the property.
Repairing ProofWhile selling a house in Illinois, if the seller has made repairs to the property before the sale, he/she needs to furnish the relevant documentation.
Home WarrantyContains all the coverage of the property, time span, and cost
Power of AttorneyIf the property is inherited, then the seller needs to furnish the details of the history and how the property was passed onto him/her.
Closing DisclosureProof that the seller agreed to buyer concessions. The disclosure is provided to the lender.
AffidavitsA 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.
Correction AgreementIn case there are any errors in the documentation, you may be required to correct those errors.

Ask Questions

If you have decided about selling a house by owner in Illinois or any other state, you can schedule an appointment with the closing agent before the date of the closing. Also, prior to that, do your research and clarify your doubts in the meeting. If you are already prepared for how to sell your house by owner, it will make a huge difference.

Bring TWO Forms of Official ID

There will likely be a licensed notary involved in the closing process who’ll require you to swear on your identity. You would be required to furnish identity proof (like passport, driving license, or any other authorized document) during the process. However, the closing process might also require you to produce secondary identity proof.

Closing documents are legally binding agreements, so ensure you keep the paperwork error-free. Also, any errors can derail your sale and you may be forced to re-list your house. Not only this, if you are stuck with wrong paperwork, it can also severely impact the closing cost.

12. Awareness of The Hidden Costs While Selling a House in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, there are other fees involved (some are optional) apart from the sale price and agent commission. For a new seller, you might not know what are the actual costs that need to be taken care of. Here is a list to get you started.

Transfer TaxIn the state of Illinois, it is mandatory to pay the transfer fee when a property is transferred from a seller to a buyer. The fees vary between 0.25-0.5 per $500. This fee is mostly paid by the seller but can also be paid by the buyer during negotiations.
Title InsuranceTitle insurance protects the buyer in case an important chain of title ownership is missed by the Title agent/company that could cause issues later. The premium can be paid by either seller or buyer based on the negotiations.
Property TaxesThe seller needs to pay property taxes to the buyer before transferring the ownership. These taxes are paid by the buyer at a later stage during the end of the year.
Home WarrantyA seller may go for a home warranty if some components of the home (water heater, air conditioner, fans, etc.) require attention. This will benefit buyers in case a component of the home breaks down later.
Pest Inspection FeesPest Inspection cost is typically borne by the buyer when a lender is involved. However, a seller may also go for such an inspection before selling the property. This fee is somewhere between $100-$150.
Survey FeesA survey of the property is generally carried out before the purchase deal. It includes all the features related to the property. The base cost lies between $400-$750.
Attorney FeesThis fee is optional as it is not required to hire a real estate attorney in Illinois but is highly recommended. A real estate attorney can help you with the documentation and other closing processes.

Bottom-line: Selling FSBO in Illinois Requires a Good Understanding

Here is what the picture looks like for a seller selling a house in Illinois:

Minimum Service StateYes (requires basic services like negotiating, accepting offers, answering questions, etc. as part of limited brokerage services)
Seller Disclosures ComplexityAverage
Hidden CostsYes
Closing Process ComplexityAverage

So, summarizing the answer to the question – how to sell a house in Illinois by owner?

Selling a house in Illinois by owner is a bit complicated but not to the level of states like Florida, California, etc. Still, a seller will need to be aware of processes and documents that form a part of the purchase deal. Ultimately, you will have to be on top of many things in order to close the deal and may require professional help.

Though FSBO is one of the methods to save realtor commission, it still is not the preferred selling method. Home sellers either go for an agent’s help or via the Flat Fee MLS route to sell their property. Let’s compare selling a house via an agent and via Flat-Fee MLS by owner. This data will help understand which is the best way to sell a home.

Note: The comparison is generic and is applicable to all the states.

This is where Houzeo can help. With Houzeo, you have the option to list your property as an owner and enable a smooth closing process. You do not have to worry otherwise about complex processes as the platform is 100% online.

Houzeo helps in listing your property on the MLS at a flat rate(Flat Fee MLS) and takes care of other tasks that otherwise would require manual intervention. Another significant point is that due to platforms like Houzeo, the real estate agent’s commissions are declining. This is majorly because of the flat fee MLS structure that has gained momentum over the last few years.

Check out some of the Houzeo reviews and how it has helped customers around the US.

Houzeo Reviews

Real People, Real Stories

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's FSBO?

FSBO, or For Sale By Owner, as the name suggests, is a term used for selling of house by the owner himself and without any help from agent.

Is MLS needed to sell For Sale By Owner?

Absolutely! MLS is by far the most important tool a real estate agent can provide you. The US Department of Justice says that home sellers can save $6,200 on the sale of median-priced homes by choosing innovative services like MLS-only packages offered by brokers on Houzeo. If your home is more expensive – it’s much much more than that!

Is Illinois minimum service state?

Yes, Illinois is a minimum service state.

What is the average realtor commission rate in Illinois?

The average realtor commission rate in Illinois varies between 5-6%

What are some of the Required State Disclosures in Illinois?

Federal Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards, Residential Real Property Disclosure Report, Illinois Radon Disclosure, Flood Zone statement..and more

What are the steps to get my home ready for sale in Illinois?

(1) Declutter & Depersonalize:
(2) Make repairs.
(3) Repaint Neutral
(4) Improve Curb Appeal.

How do I list my home for sale in local MLS in Illinois?

First, log in to Houzeo using your e-mail, Facebook or google plus account. Click “Sell a Property” on the dashboard and fill out the address. Select a listing pan and Houzeo’s IntelliList Management System will make listing home easy and quick for you. Upload photos set a price, and sign your MLS contracts—it’s that easy, and your home will be listed on the local MLS in no time.

How long does it take to get my listing on the MLS in Illinois?

It takes 1-2 business days. In case of Houzeo, after you’ve submitted your property info and all other details, your home will go live on the same day or the next business day. The MLS system will manually enter the listing that takes extra two business days to process and activate.

What are the necessary documents in closing your home?

Review these important documents in advance before the scheduled closing date. First, the HUD-1 or Closing disclosure that details the amounts you’re charged for, your loan payoffs if any, and the net proceeds you will take to the bank. Depending on how much equity you have in the property, you may need to bring a check (or send a wire) on the closing date.

What do I need to bring during closing?

Before the closing, make sure to prepare two forms of official ID. Use a valid driver’s license or passport—and a secondary as well, just in case. There will likely be a licensed notary who will need you to confirm your identification.

How to sell your house by owner in Illinois

Almost 95% of buyers rely on the web to search for their next home. Thus, being online is the #1 priority for sellers. A good online marketing strategy can make a difference in getting your house sold. Here are some of the marketing tactics that can help you in selling your house in Illinois. These strategies can be applied to other states well.

1. List on the MLS
2. Get a Yard Sign
3. Share Your Listing on Social Media
4. Hire a professional photographer
5. Run ads

Related: how to sell your house by owner in Illinois, how to sell a house by owner in Illinois, how to sell by owner in Illinois, selling a home by owner in Illinois, how to sell a home by owner in Illinois, selling your own home in Illinois, selling a house by owner in Illinois.

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