Should For Sale by Owners Offer Commission to Buyers Agents?

It's no secret that for sale by owner sellers are interested in saving money. While some consider accepting showing requests and offers from buyers agents, others refuse to pay a dime when selling the biggest investment of their lives. The MLS asks that sellers state a buyers agent's commission on the listing. So let's consider whether it is worth offering a commission to a buyers agent.

(Spoiler Alert!) In our 7 years of experience working closely with for sale by owner sellers, the answer has become apparent. A willingness to entertain offers from buyers agents is crucial to receiving the highest potential earnings for your property, and to sell your house within a desired amount of time. But don't take our word for it...

In a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 4 out of 5 of buyers were working with a buyers agent to find their next home. If you only reach 1 out of 5 buyers, do you think you will receive the best potential offer for your property?

Remember, a seller only needs to pay a commission if they choose to accept the offer. If you receive an offer and decide that your net earnings would not be sufficient, you are free to negotiate or reject it. The offer is simply an additional option that would not have presented itself otherwise. This option often ends up being the seller's best offer.

Since the MLS has the most comprehensive collection of real estate listings available, it is often a one-stop shop for buyers and their agents to search. With many property matches available, there is little incentive for them to search elsewhere. For this reason, properties that are not listed on the MLS will be overlooked by almost 80% of their potential buyers.

Buyer agents are sometimes hesitant to show properties listed for sale by owner, because an inexperienced seller can possibly mean extra work for them in seeing the transaction through to the closing. Furthermore, their commission is unprotected - if their buyer falls in love with a for sale by owner property and the owner refuses to pay a commission, the buyer agent is simply out of luck. By listing a property on the MLS and stating the commission offered upfront, you are giving agents an incentive to show your property with confidence that their interest is taken care of.

While we applaud your desire to be as frugal as possible when selling your house, we advise you that entertaining every available option will make all the difference. With 4 of 5 buyers depending on buyers agents for their property matches, it is crucial that you include them in your for sale by owner marketing strategy.