Home Selling in Ohio>Question Details

Lisa, Both Buyer and Seller in Cleveland, OH

For Sale By Owner - commission for buyer with an agent.

Asked by Lisa, Cleveland, OH Mon Apr 20, 2009

We have been selling by owner and we have interested buyers who are working with agents. When we are asked if we are willing to work with agents we say 'yes' - we do not want to completely limit our market. What can we expect to pay in commission to that agent?

As a side note, we have interviewed realtors to sell but the way the market is in our development we will pretty much be walking away from our house. So getting a realtor would require us to pay up to $8,000 out of our pocket for commission. That is just not an option for us right now. Any input on this scenario would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


If I find a FSBO that my client wants to (or should) see, I contact the seller first to find out of they're "willing to cooperate with agents".

If they say "yes", then we get negotiate the fee. It's always less than what I would have charged as a listing agent, because there's only one agent/agency to be paid (me/mine).

Just because you've said "yes" that you'll cooperate, does not mean that you've locked yourself into a pre-determined commission... that part will be negotiated by the buyer's agent with you, when they call to show your property.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
Lisa, You are making a financial decision based on all kinds of personal details, finances, need,possibilities and many other things only you are aware of. I'm sure you've spent time learning as much as possible and know that FSBO will involve a lot of work on your part to make it happen.

You look at the choices and decide what will work best for you at this time, in this market and if not having an agent is the choice then you'll have to accept the amount of work/time it will take.

Here is another of my opinions..Statistics from the National Association of Realtors about your need for a Realtor might be a little suspect in my mind.
I wish you the best of luck in the sale of your home, Dunes
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
re: Brad's answer...just be careful, the "MLS" on a for sale by owner is NOT the Multiple listing service used by agents....each state/geographical area has its own that is SOLELY used by agents. If the listing is not one that uses agents (pays agent) then your listing is NOT on the MLS that the agents use to find properties or send properties to their clients/buyers. When we put together lists of properties to view, we only use the real MLS.. If an agent doesn't see the property listed, it doesn't matter whether a website "calls itself" an MLS.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 23, 2010
Try a for sale by owner MLS web site
Web Reference: http://www.mlsisland.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 23, 2010
Definitions were never my strong point, plus everyone knows I'm not all that tightly wrapped.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
... and this is "watcher" mode?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
Rockinblu....Don't give it to the good guys so fast, you and Alan were doing pretty good .............. ; )
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
I agree with Keith's answer below, specifically the statistics. You really have to decide if you have the time to wait the market out---or are you willing to walk away and lose out. I'm a realtor and experienced selling my own home. We had to bring money to closing just to be able to walk away. It's not a fun scenario, but it all depends on what your personal situation is.

A realtor bringing a buyer is beholden to his BROKER (the company he/she represents) and generally, they require a minimum of 3% because they end up writing the deal and contract for BOTH parties, since you won't have your own realtor. They also direct the transaction, provide title and escrow connections and all the paperwork/documents/research those things entail.

My advice is to price the house appropriate to the market (the "market" won't purchase it if its not, anyway, so it doesn't do any good to overprice), then use a realtor and bite the bullet so the house is "out there" to every possible person.

At the very least, price it aggressively BY OWNER and joyfully accept the buyer's realtor at 3%.

I wish you the very best!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
The truth is probably not what you want to hear, but here goes:
According to Trulia homes are selling in your area at a rate of about 16% below last year. If you click on the "Market Trends" button you can see that the price per square foot has been declining for the last few years.

So you are faced with a number of challenges. Here are the facts based on NAR studies:
On average about 10% of homes are sold without an agent. When they sell they average in price about 16% less than those homes sold by Realtors.

In homes sold by Realtors 90% of the time they are bought by a buyer represented by a buyer's agent. 10% of the time they are represented by the listing agent.

Buy not marketing your home you are excluding 90% of the buyers. if you are only marketing to 10% of the buyers, what is the chance you will sell at top price?

If I were counseling you I would ask these questions:
Why are you moving?
What is the drawback if you are unable to move?
Do you have any alternatives? Stay. Rent it out? Talk with your CPA regarding the tax consequences before ruling out renting.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
I am seeing the average be 2.5% but everything can be discussed and is not set in stone.

Sean Dawes
Long and Foster Real Estate Inc.
Web Reference: http://www.SeanDawes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
Hi Lisa,
Negotiate the %-age up front is one option.
Or the other option would be to consider a program that I have that is geared to helping Sellers who need to sell and buy their next home. This program will can save you thousands of dollars on my "Round-Trip Loyalty Bonus".
If you would like the details of this program, please drop me an e-mail at jwirsing@kw.com or call me at 440-487-2193.
Best of luck,
John Wirsing
Keller Williams Realty Greater Cleveland
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
Each agent should have an agreement with thier buyer as to how much they expect to get paid. Don't beat around the bush, when they ask you if you are willing to let them represent the buyer, ask them what their fee is before you say yes. The should present you with a disclosure form that they represent the buyer and a fee agreement if they sell your house. Just ask them upfront. The more you all understand from the get go, the clearer negotiations will be. Glad you are getting calls and I hope you get your home sold.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
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