How Much Does It Cost to Sell Your House by Owner in Illinois?

Written by Kristine CameronFebruary 9th, 202311 minute read

costs to sell your house by owner in Illinois

Summary of costs | Pre-listing expenses | Listing expenses | Closing cost expenses | Bottom line | FSBO alternatives

On average, Illinois residents can expect to spend about 10.35% of their home's property value to sell their home. This means it would cost about $27,287 to sell a $263,576 home (the median home value in Illinois).

Properties listed as for sale by owner (FSBO) could help sellers save an average of 2.75%, or about $7,200 on listing agent commissions. However, even by eliminating listing agent fees, selling FSBO probably isn't as cheap as you might think.

Use the calculator below to estimate your actual FSBO selling costs. The calculator defaults to the required costs only, but you can adjust the additional recommended fees based on your unique situation.

This guide will further explain all these costs so you can fully understand what you need to pay as a FSBO seller and which expenses are customizable. By the end, you'll be able to make informed decisions about maximizing your FSBO savings without jeopardizing your sale!

Summary: Typical FSBO costs and fees in Illinois

Surprised by the hidden costs of selling FSBO? Here are the major expenses that most sellers don't consider:

  • Home valuation: A broker price opinion (BPO) costs about $100, whereas a professional home appraisal costs about $315 to $405 in Illinois.
  • Pre-listing preparations: The recommended pre-listing preparations add up to $2,485. This fee includes interior painting ($1,899), deep cleaning services ($168), and handyman services ($418).
  • Flat fee MLS listing: A flat fee MLS listing will help you sell your home faster by marketing directly to real estate agents. The average cost ranges from $300 to $800, depending on how many additional services you need.
  • Closing costs: At closing, Illinois FSBO sellers can expect to spend about $1,948 for title insurance, $30 for recording fees, $4,195 for title service fees, and $395 transfer taxes.
  • Buyer's agent commission: The average commission rate for buyer's agents is 2.60%, or about $6,853 based on the median home value in Illinois.
  • Real estate attorney: Although it's not required in Illinois, we strongly recommend FSBO sellers hire a real estate attorney to help them through the closing process. The average flat fee for an attorney is about $1,000, but some attorneys may charge anywhere from $100 to $470 per hour.

💰FSBO vs realtor: Are the potential savings worth it?
When you sell FSBO, you can save $7,200 by avoiding paying a listing agent's commission. However, that means assuming a lot of the risks and many of the costs of services a real estate agent provides. In the end, your savings might not be as great as you'd hoped. Luckily, discount brokers over a full service option and still save you thousands when you sell.

Our friends at Clever pre-negotiates low rates with top local agents from major brokerages like RE/MAX and Keller Williams. When you go through Clever, your listing fee is just 1.5% vs. the average 2.75% rate in Illinois. You get all the benefits of a full-service agent (including pro photos, marketing, and end-to-end support) for about one-third the typical price.

Clever’s service is also 100% free with no obligation — so there’s no risk in giving it a try. If you decide it’s not for you, you can just walk away and stick with FSBO.

» LEARN MORE: Try Clever’s free service, find out how much you could save

FSBO costs in Illinois: An in-depth breakdown

Typical pre-listing expenses for FSBO sellers in Illinois

Pre-listing expense
Pre-listing expense
Inspection (optional)
*Based on local service estimates and prices in Illinois

Pre-listing expenses are things you do before you put your house on the market. FSBO sellers in Illinois can expect to pay anywhere from $100–3,230 depending on the property's condition and location.

Recommended: Professional home valuation ($100–405)

Many FSBO sellers have trouble accurately pricing their home, so it's a good idea to get a professional home valuation. If your home is priced too high, it'll be really difficult to sell. If your home is priced too low, you won't earn the money your house is actually worth.

There are two options for getting your home professionally valuated:

  • Broker price opinion (BPO): This is when a broker or real estate agent does a basic inspection of your home and compares it to similar properties in the area. A BPO costs about $100 and often works best for sellers in urban areas like Chicago or Aurora.
  • Appraisal: An appraisal is a bit pricier ($315 to $405), but it's completed by a certified appraiser who will conduct a more detailed analysis and consider more market trends in the surrounding area. This option is best for sellers in less populated or rural areas like Gallatin or Pope County.

Optional: Pre-listing inspection ($340)

A pre-listing inspection isn't necessary In Illinois, but it can give buyers additional peace of mind. The average cost of an inspection in Illinois is $340, but this can vary based on the square footage of the property. In Chicago, for example, the average cost of a home inspection is $315.

It's a good idea to have an inspection if your home has a serious issue that could impact the sale, but not all sellers need to get one. Don't worry about getting a pre-listing inspection if:

  • You're selling to an investor.
  • Your home is less than 5 years old.
  • You have the time to negotiate with buyers.

Optional: Repairs and improvements ($168–2,485)

Making some minor repairs and adding a few cosmetic improvements to your home can make a major difference to potential buyers. In Illinois, the average cost of repairs can add up to about $2,485.

Here's how the standard fees break down:

Cleaning services
Handyman services
Interior painting

Additional costs can include landscaping ($3,372 on average) and staging ($1,461).

To keep more of your money in your pocket, you could do some DIY projects. Just keep your own timeline in mind — it might be worth it to hire a pro if you don't have the time or materials necessary to complete each task.

Typical listing-related expenses for FSBO sellers in Illinois

Listing expense
*Based on local service estimates and prices in Illinois

Listing expenses refer to the costs associated with putting your home on the market, attracting buyers, and selecting an offer. The listing expenses vary a lot depending on how you want to market your home and how you want to conduct showings.

We've included some suggested marketing costs that might help you sell more efficiently.

Recommended: Lockbox purchase: $25–100

A lockbox is a small box with a combination lock that holds a key to the property. This device lets buyers' agents check out your home, even if you're not there.

We strongly recommended getting a lockbox to give potential buyers the freedom to tour the property without feeling pressured or rushed. Visitors typically feel more comfortable speaking honestly with their agent or partner if the seller isn't around. It's also a major time commitment to be available whenever someone wants to check out your home!

A standard lockbox can cost under $30, whereas more expensive Bluetooth-enabled locks can exceed $100.

Recommended: FSBO yard sign: $2–35

Putting a For Sale By Owner sign in your yard will help generate word-of-mouth referrals and attract attention from local agents and buyers. You can buy a basic corrugated plastic sign or an aluminum sign with a thin H-frame ($1–3) or a sign frame ($18–35). If you're located in a more expensive neighborhood, you may opt for a sign post, but these can cost over $50.

If you work with a flat fee MLS company, they might include a yard sign as part of their FSBO package.

Regardless of what type of sign you choose, make sure you include your name and contact information so buyers and agents can connect with you!

Recommended: Real estate photography: ($153)

The average cost of a real estate photography session in Illinois is $153, but this can vary based on your location and the size of your home. It's highly recommended to get professional photos taken since most realtors and buyers review houses online before visiting them in person.

Before the photographer arrives, make sure that every room is clean, well-lit, and clutter-free. If you'd like, you can further show off your property with 3D images or aerial photography, but these extra services can get pretty pricey.

Recommended: Flat fee MLS listing: ($300–800)

The MLS database is a service that only realtors can access and post listings on. According to our 2022 survey of 1,000 home sellers, 71% of home buyers browse sites fueled by the MLS. Not listing your home on the MLS could cause your property to go overlooked by countless realtors and prospective buyers.

Paying a one-time fee to a flat fee MLS company can help you sell faster by listing your home on the biggest database in Illinois, the Midwest Real Estate Data. This MLS database is used by over 46,000 real estate professionals in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and northwest Indiana.

The cost of a flat fee MLS package varies based on the number of extra services you need. If all you want is to get listed on the database, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars. If you want help marketing your property or need additional supplies to advertise your home, it can cost you closer to a thousand dollars.

✋ What about free listing sites?

There are several free websites that allow FSBO listings, such as Zillow, Facebook, and Craigslist. However, these sites aren't used by actual real estate agents as often as the MLS database. Furthermore, using a flat fee MLS company will automatically sync your listing to hundreds of other websites and local brokerage sites anyways.

Optional: Additional recommended advertising (~$350)

If you want to go above and beyond with your marketing strategy, there are a few additional options to consider:

  • Advertisements: You could advertise in local papers or buy ad space online. For example, the Chicago Tribune can advertise your propertyin print and on their website for 30 days, starting at just $115.33.
  • Brochures: You can design your own open house brochures using sites like Canva and Vistaprint. These user-friendly platforms offer templates for different brochure sizes, folds, and designs that you can customize, print, or order in bulk.
  • Social media posts: If you want your listing to stand out on social media, you can boost one of your posts on Facebook or Instagram. Both of these platforms allow you to customize your own budget and choose how often to boost your listing. It can cost as little as $1 per day on each platform to advertise your post.
  • Open house materials: You might want to have refreshments, brochures, a sign-in list, or other materials to make your open houses and showings memorable. Costs here can vary a lot based on personal preferences and the number of showings held.

Closing costs for FSBO sellers in Illinois

Listing expense
% of sale price
Up to 2.24%
Up to $5,904
County transfer tax
City transfer tax
Averages 0.4%
Total (required fees)
$100 to $470 per hour
Concessions (optional)
About 2%
Based on the median home value in Illinois ($263,576)
*Closing cost is a set fee and not dependent on sale price. Because of this actual costs may be higher or lower than the average ranges.

Average closing costs in Illinois add up to $17,347–$22,619, including the average cost of the buyer's agent commission. Most of these fees are required in Illinois, but buyers and sellers can negotiate which costs each person is responsible for.

Closing costs can be paid using the funds you earned from the sale. In other words, you won't have to pay these fees out of pocket unless you're underwater on your mortgage.

Recommended: Buyer’s agent fee ($6,853)

Unless you're selling directly to someone you know or an unrepresented buyer, you'll probably have to offer the buyer's agent commission. In Illinois, the average buyer's agent commission is 2.60% of the sales price, or about $6,853 based on the median home value of $263,576.

However, the commission rate is always negotiable.If you're selling FSBO, you can negotiate directly with the agent to come to an agreement that's fair for both parties.

Required: Prorated property taxes (up to $5,904)

Statewide, the average property tax rate is 2.24% of the property value, or about $5,904. Prorated property taxes are fees split between the buyer and seller depending on when each party actually lived in the home.

For example, if the seller lived in the home for 10 months before selling the home, they should cover the property taxes for that period of time.

Required: Title service fees ($4,195)

Total title service fees add up to about $4,195 in Illinois. This covers the cost of working with a title company, the recording fee, and title insurance.

Owner's title insurance protects the buyer in case of any issues with the property title. It's customary for the seller to pay this fee, which costs an average of $1,948.

Recording fees pay for the services needed to transfer and update real estate documents, including leases, mortgages, and deeds. The average recording fee in Illinois is $30.

Required: Transfer taxes (~$395)

The state of Illinois charges a 0.15% transfer tax, which will cost about $395 based on the median home value. In addition, Illinois counties may charge up to 0.05% (or $0.50 per $1,000) in transfer taxes for real estate transactions.

Some regions also have city taxes required for all real estate transactions. In Chicago, for instance, the city taxes are $7.50 per $1,000 — or 0.75%!

It's customary for sellers to pay for the transfer taxes, but buyers and sellers are free to negotiate or agree to split the fees.

Optional: Real estate attorney fees ($1,000)

FSBO sellers in Illinois aren't required to hire a real estate attorney, but it's still a good idea to get legal advice when reviewing offers or completing the closing process. The average cost of a real estate attorney can range from $100 to $470 per hour, or about $1,000 for a flat rate package.

Most attorneys will offer a free consultation to assess your needs and give you a more accurate price estimate.

Optional: Concessions ($5,270)

Concessions in Illinois cost sellers an average of 2%, or about $5,270. Seller concession fees refer to the closing costs the seller agrees to pay, so they're more common in a buyer's market. If you're in a hot seller's market — where there are more buyers than homes available — you may not have to pay any concessions at all!

Seller concessions are taken out of the total profit from the home sale, making the closing process more affordable for the buyer. Sellers may offer to cover the costs of certain home repairs or the home inspection fee.

Summary: Cost to sell a house without a realtor in Illinois

FSBO sellers in Illinois will spend approximately 9.4% of their home's property value in order to sell their home. However, the savings that come from working without a realtor might not be worth the extra work and hassle.

Without an agent, FSBO sellers will have to manage all the tasks a realtor usually takes care of, such as marketing the property, negotiating with buyers, and hosting house showings. Sellers will also have to pay for several things out of pocket that an agent would normally cover, such as a lockbox, yard sign, an MLS listing, and professional photography.

It might be helpful to investigate the costs of these services in your area to see how much you'll actually save if you sell without a realtor. If you're not sure FSBO is right for you, a discount brokerage is a great way to help you save money without compromising on professional services.

FSBO alternatives in Illinois: Better ways to save on realtor commission

Selling FSBO can be difficult and time-consuming, but with thousands in potential savings on the line, many sellers feel like it's their best option. However, what few sellers realize is that there are agent matching services and discount brokerages that can help them save on commissions without sacrificing professional service.

Agent matching services like Clever Real Estate can connect you with top rated, local agents from name-brand brokerages (RE/MAX, Century 21) and pre-negotiate lower commission rates on your behalf. When you find your agent through Clever, you get full service realtor assistance for a 1% listing fee — a fraction of the typical rate.

Some discount brokerages, like Redfin, offer full service through their in-house agents, but they can be a little more hands-off compared to an agent from Clever. Still, you'll get most of the same services for a 1.5% listing fee.

Selling approach
Listing expense
$300 to $800
Traditional agent
*Based on median Illinois home value ($263,576)

If you want to learn more, we recommend looking into Clever first, as it offers the lowest rates and the largest selection of any low commission real estate brand. It’s 100% free to use with zero obligation, so there’s no risk in learning more or even giving it a try.

With a traditional listing agent, Illinois residents can expect to spend about 12.1% of their home's property value on selling their home. For the average home valued at $263,576, this would equal about $27,287. Selling without an agent eliminates the average commission rate of 2.75%, which could help sellers save about $7,200 on realtor fees.

It's customary for sellers to cover the state and county transfer taxes in Illinois, but this can always be negotiated with the buyer. The state transfer rate is 0.15%, and individual counties may charge up to 0.05% for real estate transactions. Some cities in Illinois also have their own transfer fees, such as Chicago and Aurora, so be sure to check with your local municipality.

Cost to sell without a realtor by state

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