You can do several things to avoid—or at least reduce—realtor fees when selling a house. See if any of these options fit your situation.
You’ll save approximately 6% of your home’s value if you sell your home by yourself instead of using a realtor. That’s not much if you’re talking about sales tax on a candy bar, but it’s more than $20,000 for the average home.
The downside is significant, though. If you don’t pay a realtor, you need the time and expertise to do all the tricky things realtors charge for by yourself:
- Know what home improvements to make
- Determine listing price
- Market your home
- Gain access to the full Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website
- Understand the paperwork
But that’s not all. If you try to do it yourself, chances are you’ll make less money—a lot less. In 2018, the average selling price for homeowners who didn’t use a realtor was $200,000, while those who used realtors banked an extra $80,000.1
That might make that $20,000 in average realtor fees easier to swallow.
Selling your home without any professional assistance is risky—and potentially expensive. But if you can find a way to replicate the realtors’ skills, doing it yourself could save you tens of thousands of dollars.
Not all realtors charge the same amount. The typical real estate commission is about 6%, but some realtors charge a bit less—and others ask for a lot more. It depends on what they bring to the table.
Many realtors are amateurs, while some work for fancy brokerages with a reputation for quickly selling houses at top dollar. When 1 in every 165 people is a realtor, you have plenty of options to choose from.
Even if you find a realtor who offers only a small percentage break, it still saves you thousands of dollars.
Everything in real estate is negotiable—including your realtor’s commission. Just because you can’t find a realtor who offers a low initial fee doesn’t mean you can’t persuade them to reduce their rates.
If you’re the type of negotiator that can make a used car salesman sweat, you can probably get a realtor to lower your commission fee.
Consider a discount brokerage if the thought of paying a $20,000 commission scares you. Many companies offer basic services like listing your home on MLS for a flat fee of $1,000 or less. Since realtors consider MLS to be one of their top competitive advantages,1 you get access to a big piece of the pie. But only a piece.
The reason discount brokerages can offer flat low fees is that listing your home is the only service they provide. If you have questions, they won’t answer them. If you need help with something else like marketing your home or making a counteroffer, they can’t help.
Your MLS listing could even be flagged to indicate you’ve listed it through a flat-rate brokerage and don’t have the assistance of a real estate agent. And that can turn off interested parties.
So you could save thousands of dollars by not paying a realtor’s commission, but it also might mean your house fetches a lower amount and takes longer to sell. Discount brokerages work best for homeowners who aren’t in a rush and know how to price their homes.
Homie is an innovative company that saves the average homeowner $10,000.2 It offers lower fees than realtors, and it also provides more services than discount brokerages.
Homie can charge less in part because it pays its agents a salary instead of a commission. So there’s no constant salesy pressure to buy, and you still get someone who helps you with the tough stuff like paperwork and negotiations.