agent's commission may help FSBO sale
Real Estate Adviser,
If the buyer of a FSBO house has an agent, am I -- the seller of
the FSBO -- required to pay commission to the buyer's agent? What
if the buyers are willing to pay full price?
You aren't required to pay a dime. But there are circumstances where
you might want to contribute funds in the interest of making a sale,
particularly if your FSBO has been on the market awhile and the
buyers are willing to pay close-to-full price for it.
For example, if a prospective buyer, using an agent,
is serious about purchasing your home, that agent might ask you
to pay some kind of finder's fee, if not straight commission, for
bringing you the buyer. If you balk at that arrangement, the buyer
would be forced to either pass on your home or pay the agent the
full commission themselves. That's probably a deal-killer, unless
you have proffered significant reductions in price.
In any event, be sure to remind the buyers and their agent that
you are, after all, selling FSBO, but that you might be persuaded
to forge a compromise, depending on the terms.
But also realize that sellers traditionally have paid
commissions to the buyer's agent. So buyers and their agents have
come to expect at least some contribution from the seller's camp
in a home sale -- although the FSBO trend has changed that mindset
If you can strike a discounted commission deal with
the buyer's agent that includes her tending to the many little details
of closing a sale, then that's a bargain -- at least at face value
-- unless you're unusually savvy about real estate and are comfortable
doing it yourself. However, the more you rely on the buyer's agent,
the more you put her -- and you -- in a possible conflict-of-interest
position, since she is really not your agent, even if you are using
her for some agent services.
If you are paying a real estate service to list your
FSBO home on the Multiple Listing Service to gain broader market
exposure, you will likely be obligated to pay part of a commission
anyway -- about 2 percent -- as a condition of the arrangement.
With enough of these add-ons, you might be sacrificing
most of the gains you thought you'd enjoy by going FSBO in the first
It's hard to say how many of these scenarios, if any, will apply
to your sale. But if you are sitting in a seller's market, you stand
to fare a little better going FSBO. If you're not, you may have
to make significant concessions. As in any real estate deal, the
devil is in those details.
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