Selling & buying process - Sell
Choose an Agent:
Evaluate two or three agents; don't just hire the one who promises the highest price. Ask each agent which homes they sold in your area, how they'll market your home, what they charges in fees, and how quickly her last five to 10 listings sold. Read customer reviews. Be wary of agents who will lock you in for six months with a listing contract. What's most important is an agent who will fight to get the deal that's best for you, not just the one that's easiest for her.
Price is right:
Ask your agent for a comparative market analysis, which identifies local sales of homes like yours in the past year. Tour similar homes currently for sale to see how yours stacks up. When in doubt, start with a lower asking price. If you underprice by, say, $10,000, you could lose $10,000 — or get multiple buyers to bid up the price. If you overprice by $10,000, the home may sit on the market for months, and you'll lose a lot more. The best outcome always involves multiple buyers.
How Real Estate Commission Works
How much is real estate commission?
Typically, real estate commission is 5%–6% of the home’s sale price. In most areas the buyer’s agent receives 2.5%–3% in commission and the seller’s agent receives 2.5%-3% in commission.
Who pays the commission?
If you are buying a home, you don’t have to pay real estate agent commission; however, you still have to pay closing costs. On the other hand, if you are selling a home you pay commission to both your agent and the buyer’s agent when your house closes.
Can you negotiate commission fees?
Some agents will lower their commission fees, particularly if they are representing both the buyer and the seller in a home sale (also known as dual agency).
Do you have to pay commission if you don’t buy a home?
Real estate agents are paid at the end of the process, so if you don’t buy a home, they won’t be paid for their time. On the other hand, if you decide you don’t like your agent and want to work with someone new, it may be difficult to break up with them if you’ve signed a contract (also known as a buyer’s agency agreement). Make sure to ask the right questions before signing a contract!
Do you have to pay commission if your home doesn’t sell?
Short answer: Probably not. Real estate agents are paid when you sell your home, so if your home doesn’t sell, you shouldn’t owe them a commission.
Long answer: Read the fine print. Generally, your contract with your agent is bound to a certain time period. Unless your contract says otherwise, you are typically not required to pay your agent if the contract expires and your home doesn’t sell. However, there may be some exceptions; some examples include:
Your agent found the buyer: Some contracts state that you still owe your agent commission after the contract period ends if your buyer was a prospect during the term of the agent’s contract.
You back out of the sale: After an offer is accepted, you are responsible for paying commission to both real estate agents immediately. If you decide to back out of the sale last minute, you still have to pay both real estate agents their commission. If the buyer backs out, you may still be responsible for paying the commission — but can potentially sue the buyer for breach of contract.
Read all contracts carefully. To find a real estate agent who’s paid on your satisfaction, not just commission.