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Should sellers just save that big old real estate commission and just sell their home themselves?

Are REALTORS worth the big commissions they get paid at closing, which is usually in the tens of thousands of dollars?

Buyer Agent Search decided to see what these two sellers decided to do regarding their choice of whether to sell by owner or hire a professional REALTOR.  The chart below summarizes the points made in each of these two videos

FSBO seller Jan:

Hired a REALTOR Jeff:

A comparison chart on use of a professional listing agent v. FSBO

Jan did For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

Jeff Used REALTOR listing agent

Stress level

Not too stressful but some things caused delays

Stressful by nature, but REALTOR provided step by step guidance


Felt she knew the steps to take

Soon discovered there were may areas he was unfamiliar with and so needed professional advise

More than just pricing right & new paint

She had maintained the home well, so knew the house would meet most inpection concerns of a buyer

REALTOR stopped by house, itentified many things that he was unaware of to make the house be seen more favorably

Setting the right price

She used the services of 2 local REALTORS who gave her price range estimates, hopeing she would perhaps hire them.

After studdying estimates online, realized with the REALTOR demonstration of comparables, that he needed a more realistic listing price.  He explained the psychology of how to price the home not too high or too low to get the most interested buyers

What was used for comparabes

She picked a number about in the middle of the rnges suggested by the REALTORS 

Sold homes, under contract homes, homes ot yet on the market

How many interviews did you have?

Did not interview agents

3  and also his neighbor/friend.  However, has policy not to hire friends or neighbors

Commission paid

0, but did pay an attorney and the title company

Asked for a discount from all he interviewed

What reduced the comission

Doing the work herself of talking with buyers and showing them the house

If listing agent was also the buyers agent, how quickly it sold, if he brought the buyer

skills that the listing agent had

N/A. Jan handled the negotiations

Top notch marketing skills, ability to listen and be accessible, license, suggested good contractors, up front advise even before he signed with him.

How far out to choose and work with the agent


3 months

How to handle different offers

She compromised on her asking price, and sold it for $10,000 under what she was hoping for, but felt it was a fair price.

a great deal of psychological as well as marketing info  REALTOR told  which bids were serious.  He gave  reports on how people behaved in the house, including whether they visualized themselves in the home. Accepted offer was $10,000 over asking price

Inspection phase

No issues there, but had to hire a lawyer to register the title right with the county,

Concessions were  about $1200, but the REALTOR advised he fix these things since they had to do with health and safety: Failed Radon test ($700), wall crack iin basement ($500), & they didn’t bother with a sewer scope test

Comission split

Did not have to pay a REALTOR commission

At first it seemed like a lot, but he realized that his seller agent only eared 1/2 or the seller side of the fee (about 2.6% of the gross sales price), and his services were “worth every penny”.  “He made the deal happen.”  Did pay a reduced realtor commission out of the sales price.

Kathleen Chiras

Kathleen Chiras is the associations manager and web manager for the Colorado Exlusive Buyer Agents Association.

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