How Can I Avoid Paying Realtor Fees?

Sell your property as a for sale by owner (FSBO) or opt for flat-fee MLS services to avoid realtor fees. Alternatively, negotiate lower commissions with agents or consider discount brokerages for reduced fees while still getting some professional assistance.

In this article, we will explore various strategies to help homeowners avoid paying hefty realtor fees. Homeowners may make cost-effective selling selections by knowing the options and their pros and downsides.


Selling as a For Sale By Owner

FSBO might save you 5%–6% of the transaction price in realtor commissions. Homeowners may keep more selling earnings by avoiding these fees. FSBO also lets sellers price and negotiate with purchasers. FSBO selling has drawbacks. Homeowners must assume real estate agent duties. Step-by-step instructions for FSBO:

Selling as a For Sale By Owner


  1. Pricing the Property: Research the local market and assess comparable properties to determine an appropriate and competitive asking price.
  2. Preparing the Property: Enhance curb appeal, declutter, and stage the property to make it more appealing to potential buyers.
  3. Marketing and Advertising: Utilize online listing platforms, social media, and traditional marketing channels to promote the property effectively. Professional-quality photographs and detailed descriptions are essential.
  4. Showings and Open Houses: Arrange and conduct property showings, considering safety precautions and ensuring that the property is well-presented.
  5. Negotiations and Offers: Review offers, negotiate terms, and consider seeking legal advice to ensure the contract protects your interests.
  6. Closing the Deal: Work with a real estate attorney or a title company to handle the necessary paperwork and inspections, and ensure a smooth closing process.


Homeowners should beware of FSBO traps. These include overpricing or underpricing the property, restricted visibility relative to MLS listings, negotiating difficulties, and legal issues. FSBO materials, forums, and local real estate groups may help homeowners reduce dangers.


Exploring Flat-Fee MLS Services

Flat-fee MLS services offer an alternative approach for homeowners who want to save on realtor fees while still gaining exposure to potential buyers through the multiple listing service (MLS). With flat-fee MLS services, homeowners pay a predetermined fee to have their property listed on the MLS, bypassing the need for a full-service real estate agent.

Listing a property on the MLS provides significant advantages. The MLS is a comprehensive database accessible to real estate agents and potential buyers, increasing the property’s visibility. This exposure can attract a wider pool of interested buyers, potentially leading to a faster sale.

By using flat-fee MLS services, homeowners can retain control over the selling process while benefiting from MLS exposure. They can handle tasks like property showings, negotiations, and closing themselves, saving on traditional commission-based fees.


Negotiating Lower Commissions

Homeowners may negotiate cheaper realtor commissions. Commissions are normally 5%–6% of the transaction price, however, they may be negotiated. Tips for negotiating reduced commissions:

Negotiating Lower Commissions


  1. Research and Compare: Start by researching the average commission rates in your area and compare them among different real estate agents.
  2. Highlight Market Factors: If the local real estate market is slow or if there is an abundance of similar properties for sale, agents may be more willing to negotiate their commissions.
  3. Interview Multiple Agents: Speak with several real estate agents and let them know you are considering different options. This can create competition and motivate agents to offer more competitive commission rates to secure your business.
  4. Bundle Services: Some real estate agents offer a range of services beyond traditional listing and marketing. By bundling additional services, such as staging, professional photography, or virtual tours, you may be able to negotiate a reduced commission rate.
  5. Set Clear Expectations: Communicate your expectations clearly and discuss the specific services you require from the agent. If you are willing to take on some tasks yourself, such as hosting open houses or conducting showings, make that known.
  6. Consider a Graduated Commission Structure: Instead of negotiating a lower overall commission rate, you can propose a graduated commission structure that decreases as the sale price increases.


Not all agents will negotiate commissions. Some have a set commission or minimum threshold. In such instances, flat-fee MLS services or cheap brokerages with lesser commissions may be essential.


Exploring Discount Brokerages

Discount brokerages provide professional services at lower prices than standard real estate brokers. Discount brokerages offer flat fees or lower commissions, unlike full-service agents. Discount brokerages, perks, and noteworthy options:

Discount brokerages differ from traditional agents primarily in their pricing structure. Instead of charging a percentage-based commission (usually around 5% to 6% of the sale price), discount brokerages offer reduced fees or alternative pricing models. This can result in substantial savings for homeowners.

The main benefit of discount brokerages is the potential cost savings. Homeowners can significantly reduce the amount they pay in realtor fees while still receiving professional assistance throughout the selling process. Discount brokerages often provide essential services such as MLS listings, marketing support, contract preparation, and guidance during negotiations.



In conclusion, homeowners have various strategies to avoid paying realtor fees, including selling as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) or exploring flat-fee MLS services. FSBO provides maximum control but requires thorough planning, while flat-fee MLS services offer exposure with some independent management.

Homeowners should evaluate their needs and capabilities, considering the pros and cons of each approach. Making informed decisions based on personal circumstances is key to minimizing costs and achieving successful property sales.

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