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I recently showed my house to a friend of a friend, before officially putting the house on the market. The buyer then contacted me that evening advising they'd submitted an offer on my house to their realtor, who would be contact me the next day.

Since this now puts me in the category of being FSBO, who's responsible for the realtor's commission/fees? While I realize the realtor will be involved with paperwork related to the sale, they had no involvement with finding and showing the house.

Now, being a FSBO'er, I obviously want to keep as much profit in my pocket as possible, without coming across as a jerk seller. Since the realtor didn't do as much work as they normally would have (finding and showing my house for their buyer), doesn't seem fair for me to pay the full commission, if any at all.

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    "Since this now puts me in the category of being FSBO". Does thus mean that you had no intention of selling the house or that you always intended to do FSBO? Jul 30 at 12:57
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    Buyers can do what they like; you don't have a contract with the realtor, so no obligation to pay them anything. Jul 30 at 17:51
  • Just because you have received an offer doesn't mean it's too late to hire your own realtor. They can help you navigate the sales process, even if you don't need them to find a buyer.
    – chepner
    Jul 30 at 19:18
  • If you have to contract with a listing realtor that spells out the terms of them bringing you a buyer's offer, then it's up to the offer to spell out who pays who and how much. Did you read the offer carefully? Any commissions would be detailed in there. There are no "automatic" payments to realtors in real estate sales, it's all contractual.
    – jwh20
    Jul 31 at 10:11
  • Did you already receive the written offer? Does it include language about the seller paying the realtor fee? Jul 31 at 22:57
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You do. But instead of paying 6% to your agent that gets split between them and the buyer's agent, you pay 3% to the buyer's agent alone.

Technically, you aren't paying anything; the buyer is. The nature of real estate pricing (where there are no fixed prices, only what you can convince the buyer to pay) means it's hard to differentiate how much the actual house sells for from the total cost (sales + commissions + other overhead). But your original list price should have carried the assumption that 3% of it would go to a buyer's agent.


Another issue is, did you have an asking price to which the FOAF made a counteroffer, or did they simply make an offer?

If you had no asking price, you still have a chance to counter their offer of $X and ask for $X / 0.97 to cover the agent cost, which would provide enough to pay the agent and leave you with $X.

If you did have an asking price, it's harder to try to raise that now; I would just accept that your failure to account for the buyer's agent is not the buyer's problem.

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    More practically, if you want to get $200k for your house, then your "sales price" should be 200k + closing costs + whatever commission the agents get, so in the end the buyer actaully pays it unless you give up some of your profit to get the deal done.
    – D Stanley
    Jul 30 at 13:23
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    Not to be arithmetic, but the selling price change to accommodate a buyer's agent is not 1.03 times $X. It is $X divided by 0.97. :D Jul 30 at 15:48
  • @OrangeCoast-reinstateMonica Quite right, though :) I'll update.
    – chepner
    Jul 30 at 15:53
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    Re: "You do" This line is incorrect (or misleading, at best), as the seller has no contract or agreement with the buyer's realtor. If the buyer wants to use a realtor to buy the home, the realtor should add their commission fee to the sale price they tell the buyer via their contract with them. The seller only needs to get a check for the amount they are selling the house for. If the seller has not made a contract with the buyer's agent to pay the agent a commission, then they are perfectly within their rights to laugh off said buyer's agent who then asks for a % commission from the seller.
    – TylerH
    Jul 30 at 19:10
  • True, but the buyer's agent is going to bring it up, as they will be dealing with the OP directly, rather then via the OP's agent. Either the OP can agree to this, or the buyer's agent will inform the buyer that they must pay them, at which point the buyer may want to amend their offer.
    – chepner
    Jul 30 at 19:14

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