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I am located on Seattle's East Side where the real estate market is hot and inventory low, so I doubt I'm going to have a difficult time selling my home. 99% of buyers first search online to find the homes they're interested in rather than having agents show them the homes sight unseen like in decades past. It's really online MLS listings that sell homes in 2017, not agents so I have decided to use a flat fee broker which will put me on the MLS and all of the major real estate sites and save me the 3% listing agents commission ($75000).

I realize that I need to offer the buyers agent a commission (or there will be no incentive to show the home), however 3% or $75,000 for 20/30 hours of work seems extreme. It's just as easy to sell a lower priced home than it is a higher priced one and I'm sorry but opening a few lockboxes, driving clients around and completing paperwork isn't worth $2500 an hour in any universe no matter how good the agent is. 2% commission is still $50,000 (which in my mind is still ridiculous compensation for the value that agents add, but still saves me $25,000. My worry is that buyers agents will bad mouth my house or be reluctant to show it if the commission is less than the full 3% even on a 2.5 million home. In the higher end real estate market how common is it for people to offer buyers agents a lower percentage of the sale price; what is the acceptable range? Any advice greatly appreciated!

  • Could down-voter give feedback for improving question? – Hart CO Aug 27 '17 at 4:12
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    In Australia we usually don't use buyers agents, and the few buyers that do pay them a fee themselves, it does not come out of the seller's commissions. Also selling agent commissions are usually between 1% to 2% - you guys in the USA pay way too much commissions to agents to sell a place. – Victor Aug 27 '17 at 4:58
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    Maybe I don't understand how the real estate market works in US, but why should seller pay the buyers agent? Wouldn't that kind of defeat the purpose for the buyers, if their agent is (in reality) working for you rather than for them? I guess the buyers should pay their own agent, and you should pay only your agent. – ssn Aug 27 '17 at 6:23
  • Yes, I meant flat fee, not flat free. I agree, commissions here in the US are outrageous. The realtors association used to control the MLS listing system and will blackball homes for sale by owner so that they can justify charging sellers a full 6% of the sale price. I can go without a listing agent and save 3% but am still responsible for paying 3% to the buyers agent (this is just the way its done here, it's the sellers responsibility and this is the rate at which they expect to be paid) unless I risk offering less but run the chance of them bad mouthing my home or refusing to show it. – Maia Aug 27 '17 at 12:35
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    While in theory the seller pays both agents, in reality the cost goes to the buyer as part of the price. One thing I saw few times in Canada, but typically for lower valued homes, is the seller including the buyer commission in the price and mentioning to potential buyers that if they don't have an agent the selling price is lower. – Nick S Aug 27 '17 at 21:23
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(Disclosure - I have a Realtor license) You are free to negotiate any deal you wish. There are brokers who may be willing to list your home for a $1000 flat fee and 2% to the buyer broker.

Another might be willing to put it up on MLS for you for a small fee, and not provide any other service.

You sound like a candidate for FSBO, for sale by owner. You can try that, and if you get no bites, work with an agent.

If I had a buyer at the ready, I'd be happy to sell them a $2.5M house for the 2% between my broker and me. Other agents might not react that way.

As far as the buyer/broker goes - of course they can steer buyers away. But doing so would be illegal. If a potential client asks about the house, they really do have an obligation to show it, if they refuse, the buyer is likely to just show up and try to see it.

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    Can you address the issue of whether or not buyer's agents would avoid the listing if he does flat-fee? Does commission show up on MLS somehow? I know it's not on the public listing. – Hart CO Aug 28 '17 at 2:49
  • In "Other agents might not real that way", you might want to consider whether you meant to write "deal" or "feel" instead of "real". :-) – Dilip Sarwate Aug 28 '17 at 14:13
  • React! I hate autocorrect ! Fixing now. – JoeTaxpayer Aug 28 '17 at 15:33
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    Even as a FSBO, you can choose how much, if anything, you are willing to pay to a buyer's agent. – stannius Aug 28 '17 at 19:58

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