Save on real estate fees

Sell your home without a real estate agent and save on commission fees

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Real estate agents love to tell you that if you sell your home without using an agent, you won’t get full price.

That could be true. But you wouldn’t need to since the normal real estate commission runs somewhere between 5 to 6%. On a $350,000 home, if you knock 5% off, you’d only have to clear $332,500—that’s $17,500 in commission you’re not spending—to break even. Hey, it’s the bottom line that counts. And if you take a run at it yourself and it doesn’t work, you can always choose to use an agent down the road.

You could, of course, negotiate your commission to pay less to your agent. Some agents will trim their commission, others won’t. Beware the agent who agrees to the deal, locks you up for three to six months and then does sweet diddly-squat to sell your house because the payoff isn’t worth his time. You’ve got to be sure they’re happy with their end of the deal so you don’t end up just spinning your wheels while you wait out the contract.

There are agents who market themselves as “reduced-fee” agents, who can trim your commission costs by 1 to 1.5%. Depending on the market conditions of the day the savings will vary.

Or you could go with a flat-fee listing. This will let you place your property in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) used by realtors to hook shoppers (and each other) into looking at your home. A flat-fee listing reduces your cost to just the commission payable to the buyer’s agent.

Don’t want to pay any commission at all? Then you’re going to go with the For Sale by Owner approach. You’re willing to create your own marketing materials, do your own advertising, negotiate the terms, and arrange all the showings yourself. Hey, for $17,500, if you’ve got the time and the skills, that’s a pretty penny you’ll save doing it yourself.

3 comments on “Save on real estate fees

  1. The reality is…the buyer will know you're not paying a commission, therefore will want a 5-6% discount off the your price, therefore no savings in the end.

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  2. Nice article. I just have a couple extra points. If you decide to not use an agent and it doesn't work you, could potentially lose even more money. Using your numbers from the article, if you listed your place for $350,000 and it didn't sell and now you go to an agent, you could try listing it for the same price and hope their extra hard work pays off and you'll only be losing the extra $17,500 in commission. But chances are you'll have to drop the price as well decreasing your profit.
    Another big point is that having a real estate agent to do showings for you (plus advertising etc.) can be very convenient. If you don't work from home, it could be worth the $17,500 to not have the hassle of taking off work. Especially if your house is on the market for a long time.

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  3. Good point! I plan on buying a new house this 2013.

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