How to Sell a House by Owner in Arizona

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When the time comes to move, some tenacious homeowners in Arizona are eager to take over the reins of their home sale and figure out how to sell a house by owner.

Often, the decision to go for sale by owner (or “FSBO”) is motivated by a desire to save on agent commissions. While FSBO can work, it does come with some risks, including the possibility of selling your house for less than market value.

In this guide on how to sell a house by owner in Arizona, we’ll cover what can be the most difficult aspects of selling by owner, including the steps that might be harder than you think. We’ll also provide a comprehensive overview of the full process to prep, market, and close on your home without the assistance of a real estate agent.

Unsure About Selling FSBO in Arizona?

If you don’t have the time or expertise to list your home FSBO, partner with a trusted, top agent in your Arizona market. We analyze over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to find you the best agent for your unique situation.

Note: Once you’ve seen what’s required, you can roll up your sleeves and get started with your FSBO sale in Arizona. Or — in the event you’d prefer to work with a real estate agent — HomeLight would be happy to introduce you to highly-rated professionals who can help you command top dollar and provide a low-stress selling experience.

Fast Facts for Selling a House in Arizona

Median sales price: $410,000 (November 2023)
Average days on market: 53 (December 2023, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale)
For Sale signs in the yard: Generally allowed, but regulations vary by jurisdiction concerning size, placement, and other limitations.
Disclosures: Arizona law requires sellers to disclose material facts about the property through the Residential Seller Disclosure.
Is a real estate attorney required? Real estate attorneys are not considered essential for closing in the state of Arizona. However, hiring an attorney when selling by owner is almost always advisable to avoid an abundance of legal risk.
Real estate transfer taxes? $2 flat fee on the entire transaction (so basically nothing!)

Quick FSBO overview

FSBO is a method of selling your home without the involvement of a listing agent. In a FSBO scenario, the seller assumes the responsibilities that would normally fall to their agent such as pricing the home, arranging showings, and negotiating the deal.

In an agent-assisted sale, the seller typically pays a commission amounting to around 6% of the sale price, which is then split 50/50 with the buyer’s agent. That 6% is deducted from the seller’s proceeds at closing. By selling FSBO, a seller can eliminate the cost of the listing agent commission (so around 3%), though they may still need to offer a buyer’s agent commission.

Finally, a FSBO sale does not mean that a seller won’t need any professional assistance. Most people who sell by owner will need to hire an attorney to review and prepare key documents and make sure paperwork is filled out properly, such as the seller’s disclosures and purchase contract.

How to sell a house by owner in Arizona

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for educational purposes only. HomeLight recommends that you look into the real estate regulations for your area and consult a trusted advisor.

By opting for a FSBO sale, you’re putting yourself in competition with homes that have the advantage of a real estate agent’s extensive marketing resources. These steps aim to give your home a better chance of resembling a professional listing and attracting the attention of potential buyers.

As reported in HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report for End of Year 2023, pricing and preparation are still key to maximizing a client’s home sale, even in a challenging market. Here’s what top agents recommend to their clients.

A HomeLight infographic about selling a house by owner in Arizona.

Step 1: Address needed repairs and maintenance

FSBO sellers in Arizona may consider getting a home inspection before listing their home for sale. Addressing any issues upfront helps buyers have peace of mind when making an offer. However, be aware that if you get a pre-listing inspection, you will be required to share relevant findings with buyers and how you did or did not address them.

Problems commonly found in Arizona homes

  • Faulty wiring and outdated electrical systems are some of the most common problems found in Arizona homes, especially for older properties. Since electrical problems pose a serious safety risk, these issues will likely need to be addressed before the sale.
  • HVAC systems are a big problem in Arizona because the climate is both hot and dry. There’s a lot of dust in the air and that means air conditioners and their components may wear out sooner than they would in other states.
  • Plumbing leaks are common in older homes, but they can crop up regardless of the home’s age. Leaks are usually caused by rusted or corroded plumbing, but also by damaged or improperly installed fixtures like toilets, sinks, and bathtubs.
  • Improper grading/drainage is a problem in Arizona because the soil contains a lot of clay. When you combine the clay-rich soil with poorly installed (or maintained) gutters and downspouts, it could lead to serious foundation problems.
  • Termite damage is a common problem in the state due to the hot and dry climate. If you are unaware of a termite infestation or don’t have them exterminated, it could lead to serious structural damage, costing tens of thousands to repair.

Step 2: Fill out your disclosure form(s)

Sellers in Arizona are required to complete the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) as thoroughly as possible and attach relevant documents for the buyer. This may include warranties, invoices, and leases.

A good time to fill out your Arizona property disclosure is prior to listing your home so that you know it’s taken care of. If you use the Residential Resale Real Estate Purchase Contract provided by the Arizona Association of Realtors®, disclosures are due to the buyer no later than three days after contract acceptance.

Arizona’s form will walk the seller through disclosing any known association fees, anticipated disputes, tax liens, or assessments affecting the property. The form also covers details about the property’s condition such as whether there have been any roof repairs, foundation cracks or settling, chimney or fireplace problems, or termite issues, among other items.

Depending on the age of your home, you also may need to fill out a Lead-Based Paint Hazards disclosure for residential sales.

It’s almost always advisable to engage the expertise of a real estate attorney to assist in this step in the process to minimize potential legal risk. According to Arizona’s disclosure form, “if you do not make the legally required disclosures, you may be subject to civil liability.”

Step 3: Declutter, clean, stage, and add curb appeal

Research shows that thoroughly cleaning and decluttering your home before putting it on the market can lead to significant benefits. HomeLight’s Summer 2023 Top Agent Insights report reveals that decluttering a home can increase its resale value by an average of $8,000. Another HomeLight survey found that deep cleaning can add $3,700 to a home’s sticker price. That’s well worth a weekend’s work (or $200-$400 to bring in a professional cleaning service).

You may also want to consider strategically staging your home so that buyers can envision how each space could be used. According to HomeLight’s most recent survey, 67% of agents say staging is helping to sell homes, while another 31% consider staging to be “essential for a sale.”

Without the independent advice of a real estate agent, FSBO sellers can invite over friends and family for an honest opinion of how the house looks: Will it pass muster with buyers or do some spaces in the house need a bit more attention?

Finally, don’t forget about the outdoors. Great curb appeal will help get buyers in the door. Consider sprucing up the landscaping with fresh mulch and plants, painting the front door an eye-catching color, or having your home’s windows professionally cleaned.

Step 4: Price your home competitively

When selling a house by owner, you need to take care to set the right asking price. Price too high and your property is likely to be on the market longer than necessary; price too low and you could significantly undersell your home.

Follow these steps to price your Arizona house for the market:

Start with a free online home value estimate

As a starting point, look at several online estimators for your home’s value. HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator aggregates publicly available data such as tax records and assessments, your home’s last sale price, and recent sales records for other properties in the same neighborhood of your Arizona home.

Gather your comps

Comps are recently sold homes comparable to yours in characteristics such as size, age, condition, and major features. The most reliable comps are going to be those within as close of a radius as possible to the location where you’re selling a property. Since you won’t be able to access MLS data without a real estate license, you’ll need to look at major home search sites to collect your data.

Conduct your own comps analysis

Compare your home’s features against the nearby comps you collected. Hopefully, the houses you studied give an indication of an appropriate price range for your home. From there, you can make dollar adjustments based on characteristics that add value (pools, new floors, an extra bedroom) versus detract from it (a busy street, deferred maintenance, less square footage).

Get a pre-listing appraisal

A DIY comps analysis is risky if you don’t have a ton of experience making sense of property data. Alternatively, you could pay for a pre-listing appraisal. An appraiser will combine desk research with an onsite visit to your home to provide a professional and independent opinion of value.

Appraisals usually cost $356 on average, and getting one doesn’t mean that a buyer’s lender won’t require a separate and independent appraisal before closing. However, it can reduce some of the stress of pricing your home for sale since appraisers are licensed and trained for this work.

Step 5: Arrange for professional photography

A basic shoot with 25 to 50 photos can cost as little as $110-$300, while a shoot that includes both photos and video can run you $300-$900. FSBO sellers should consider the copious benefits of getting professional photos to include in their listings. A professional photographer will take steps to shoot each room from the best angle; ensure optimal interior and natural lighting; and edit for the ideal brightness and exposure.

A high-quality camera with a wide-angle lens is also essential to showcasing entire rooms rather than half or three-quarters of what’s there. For these reasons and more, professionally photographed homes can sell up to 50% faster than houses marketed without high-quality photos.

In addition to professional photography, consider these add-ons to enhance your FSBO listing:

  • Drone photography: Getting an aerial view of the property can help buyers see the location and layout. Homes with aerial photographs and video tend to sell 68% faster, which can help your FSBO listing compete.
  • Video walk-through: A professionally edited video walk-through will help attract out-of-town buyers who might not be able to come for an in-person showing.
  • Floor plan imaging: Having a 2D or 3D floor plan image allows buyers to see spatial relationships regarding how the home is connected.

Research from the National Association of Realtors shows that 100% of home buyers used the internet to search for a home in 2023. That means your home’s visual online presence is more important than ever. Even the best cell phone pictures can’t compete with professional images.

Note: When selling a house by owner in Arizona, the seller will need to arrange for these marketing services on their own and budget for them as part of their listing expenses. When working with a full-service real estate agent, professional listing photography is almost always going to be included — and many agents offer aerial photography and 3D tours as well as part of their listing package.

Step 6: Market your home to buyers

When it comes to marketing your home, you’ll do yourself a favor by posting across multiple platforms for visibility. Data indicates that 47% of FSBO sellers use online outlets (including multiple listing services, third-party aggregators, and social networking websites), 20% set up yard signs, and 28% work to generate word of mouth through friends and neighbors.

Listing on the multiple listing service (MLS) will get your property more visibility. As a FSBO seller, you can opt to have your property listed on the MLS for a flat fee, or you can employ a listing service that will charge a percentage of the sales price for services that include MLS access.

However, keep in mind that when posting on the MLS, a buyer’s broker commission will be required and the commission rate will need to be provided upfront upon entering into the MLS (an average of 2%-3%).

Step 7: Field and negotiate offers

Hopefully, your marketing efforts lead to one or more offers on your Arizona property. But not every offer is a good offer. As a FSBO seller, you’ll be responsible for negotiating a contract you’re satisfied with. Price is a major factor, as are other details of the agreement such as whether you’ll cover any of the buyer’s closing costs, when you’ll agree to move out, and which contingencies will be included in the contract.

Let’s review some of the top points of negotiation you may encounter:


Buyers may ask for the offer to be contingent on other factors, such as the sale of their existing home or their ability to obtain financing. They are also likely to include a home inspection contingency, which is a stipulation in the purchase agreement that says the buyer can inspect the home, top to bottom, and then decide whether to move forward with the purchase.

Finally, FSBO sellers should be aware of the home appraisal contingency, which buyers often add as protection if the appraised value comes in lower than the purchase price. A contingency-free contract is rare, but in a seller’s market, buyers are more likely to waive one or more to strengthen their offer.

Closing costs

Both buyer and seller will have costs to cover at settlement. However, some of these costs — such as title fees, escrow fees, and transfer taxes — can be negotiated in many instances.

A buyer may request that you pay a portion of their closing costs, but in today’s seller’s market, it’s been more likely for sellers to either pay nothing or even ask that the buyer cover a portion of their costs as a condition of the sale.


Following the inspection, a buyer may ask you to make necessary repairs or for monetary compensation based on an estimation of what the repair is likely to cost. You can either accommodate the request or do nothing, but the buyer can choose not to continue with the purchase if the results of the inspection aren’t satisfactory (unless they opted to waive the home inspection contingency).

Closing date

Closing dates can be subject to negotiation as well. Buyers may need longer to secure financing, or sellers may ask for additional time to move out after closing. On the flip side, one party may ask for a quicker closing date to enable them to move faster if needed.

Earnest money

The earnest money deposit is typically a small amount of money that goes into an escrow account to show that the buyer is serious. The amount is negotiable, and it always goes toward the purchase price.

When buyers add contingencies to the contract, they can back out of the deal and get their earnest money back in certain circumstances, such as if anything unsatisfactory turns up on the inspection report. You’ll need to have a third-party account set aside to hold this earnest money until closing (such as a title company).

Remember that even if you come to terms with your buyer verbally at first, you’ll want to put the offer in writing using a residential real estate purchase contract, like this one that is specific to Arizona. A purchase contract is a legally binding document that protects the interests of both the seller and the buyer by specifically outlining expectations prior to closing.

To reduce the risk of errors for your sale, hire a real estate attorney to review the contract for you. The attorney can also advise you on necessary steps in preparation for closing. A real estate attorney usually charges $150 to over $400 per hour.

Step 8: Complete steps to closing

After you go under contract with the buyer and finalize the details of the purchase agreement, escrow opens. Real estate transactions in Arizona are typically closed by escrow agents and title companies.

In Arizona, either buyer or seller can propose their choice of escrow but they must eventually decide on a company to go with. Before the deal is final, you can expect the following next steps to occur:

  • Complete the home inspection, usually within five days to a week of signing the purchase agreement.
  • Negotiate inspection items (if applicable).
  • Complete home appraisal by a third-party independent appraiser (necessary if your buyer is using a mortgage).
  • Negotiate appraisal results (if applicable).
  • Buyer completes final walkthrough to ensure the home is in “broom clean” condition, which means swept, vacuumed, and free of debris and excess stuff.
  • The buyer will also ensure that no damage has been done to the property since their last visit.

Step 9: Close the sale

Arizona is a “dry funding” state, meaning that all parties sign the necessary mortgage and title documents to close on the home, but the purchase isn’t funded at that time.

Dry refers to waiting for the ink to proverbially dry before a deal is closed. The extra padding of the clock provides an additional layer of protection to ensure there aren’t any issues with the transaction.

Be aware that closing as a FSBO seller does not mean that you avoid all closing fees. Common seller closing fees include prorated property taxes and settlement fees. One nice thing about selling real estate in Arizona is that the state barely charges any transfer taxes — only a tiny $2 flat fee.

If a buyer uses an agent, a seller may also be asked to pay all or part of the buyer’s agent commission. Consult our guide on who pays for closing costs when selling a house by owner for more details.

The next steps are likely to include:

  • Attorneys review documents for errors.
  • Clear title; resolve any title issues necessary to close.
  • Transfer ownership of your home to the buyer at settlement.
  • Funds are disbursed to the seller and other parties involved.
  • Review your settlement statement for a complete list of fees and credits of the sale.

Reminders for closing

  • Gather your title, loan documents, survey, insurance information, and any permits for renovations and have them ready for closing.
  • You’ll also need your financial information for a final wire transfer.
  • If you’ve agreed to make repairs based on the inspection, you’ll probably need to provide receipts to prove that the repairs have been completed.

Challenges Arizona FSBO sellers face

Some Arizona sellers may not bat an eyelash at the steps outlined above, but many FSBO sellers find the actual execution a lot more challenging.

The possibility of underselling the home is one major concern. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) found in its latest dataset that the median sale price of a FSBO home was $225,000, compared to $330,000 for the median sale price of an agent-assisted sale.

NAR also highlights which steps in the process FSBO sellers found to be the hardest:

  • Setting an accurate price (16%)
  • Understanding and performing paperwork (13%)
  • Selling within the planned length of time (10%)
  • Preparing the home for sale (6%)

Alternatives to selling a house by owner

There’s more than one way to sell a house. In addition to FSBO, below are a few of the methods available to Arizona sellers.

Option 1: Request a cash offer for your home

Another option for selling a house without a real estate agent is to work with an investor or house-buying company purchasing homes for cash in your area.

Saving on commissions is often top of mind for FSBO sellers, and selling your house for cash is another option where you can do that. A cash transaction can usually be turned over in as little as a week to two weeks, as it allows you to skip the mortgage process and the appraisal, which are typically the two most time-consuming steps.

If this option interests you, consider requesting a cash offer through HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. Sellers using Simple Sale receive an all-cash offer in about 24 hours and can close in as few as 10 days, with the flexibility of selecting a move-out date.

Sell Without a Realtor: Get an All-Cash Offer

Avoid agent commissions by selling through HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. Skip repairs, repeated showings, and preparing the home for listing entirely. Receive a full cash offer within 24 hours and close in as little as 10 days.

That said, it’s important to know that investors typically pay under market value for the homes they purchase, and sometimes significantly so. Simple Sale shows you a side-by-side comparison of your cash offer amount against an estimation of what you could list for on the open market to help you make an informed decision.

Option 2: Hire a top Arizona real estate agent

Research shows that agents statistically sell homes for more money, helping to offset or even exceed the amount paid in commission fees. And they do it while wrapping your entire listing and selling process in absolute professionalism.

Work with a top-rated agent, and the results are likely to be even better. Internal transaction data at HomeLight finds that the top 5% of real estate agents sell homes for 4.8% more on average.

A real estate agent helps you fetch the highest sale price by putting together a beautiful listing, advising you on targeted upgrades, and negotiating the best price — and that’s just scratching the surface of their expertise.

If you’d like to explore the option of working with a top agent further, HomeLight would be happy to make an introduction. The service is 100% free and it takes less than two minutes to match you with top agents in your area. Agents don’t pay to be featured, and our recommendations are based on location, performance, and specializations.

Whatever direction you choose, we hope that selling your Arizona home goes smoothly!

Header Image Source: (Ярослав Алексеенко / Unsplash)