Selling your home and moving on to bigger and better things can be an exciting prospect, until your listing agent draws up a proposal. Real estate commissions can take a huge bite out of your potential take-home check, especially since industry standard dictates that you, the seller, pay both your agent and buyer's agent at closing. You should probably work with a listing agent and pay commission if you've never sold a house before. But if you've sold homes a couple times before and feel you've learned enough to do it on your own, use the knowledge you gained to keep your money in your pocket.
Sell your house without an listing agent. The upside of selling your house "For Sale by Owner," or FSBO, is that you can keep 6 percent or more of the sales price in your pocket. The downside of not working with an agent, however, is that you must show your home, qualify buyers and prepare the sales contract with little or no assistance.
Require the buyer to add her agent's commission to the sale price of the home. If you permit buyers' agents to show your FSBO property, put the terms of the deal in the property flyer and in published advertisements. Notify buyers that their agents are welcome to submit offers, but that they must tack their agent's commission to the offering price. If you go this route, negotiate a price with the buyer first, and then add the commission in the final counter offer.
Hire a fee-for-service brokerage firm. Such real estate brokerage firms offer clients real estate services from an a la carte menu. You could, for example, pay a fee-for-service broker to list your home in the MLS to expose your property to more buyers, to hold an open house, or to place an advertisement in a real estate magazine. You pay only for the services you want or need, but no flat-rate commission.
- The For Sale by Owner Handbook; Piper Nichole
- Nolo: FSBO or a Real Estate Agent?
- United States Department of Justice: Competition in the Real Estate Industry
- Hire a real estate attorney to review sales offers and to represent your interests throughout the transaction. Invite your attorney to the closing to assist with any unexpected problems that may arise.
Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.