Q: We have our home for sale by-owner. Some buyers came to the house and I thought that they were the friends of friends, although they did come in with a real estate agent.
They put an offer in on our house. Our house is not listed on the local multiple listing service (MLS) and we did not intend to show a house to a buyer who had an agent.
Still, we offered to pay her a small commission — 1 percent of the sales price. She rejected our offer and said that she wouldn’t push the offer through for anything less than 2.5 percent. Is their agent legally entitled to a commission? Thanks for reading my question.
A: Unless you signed some sort of agreement when she came into your house with the buyers, or when they submitted their offer, you are under no obligation to pay her any commission.
Then again, she has the buyer. So the question you really have to ask yourself is, “Do I want to sell this house?”
If you want to sell, then paying a 2.5 percent commission to an agent for bringing a qualified buyer to the table is a small price to pay. If you think you can do better on your own, and there are other buyers knocking at the door, then refuse her offer, or stick to your guns and tell her it’s 1 percent or nothing.
Just don’t be surprised if she wheels her clients out the door. They may like your house, but in most markets, there are a lot of wonderful homes for sale. I’m sure (and I’ll bet the agent is sure) that they’ll find another they like as well or better than your home.
The ball is in your court. I’ve sold homes and paid a half commission quite happily. But it’s really about what will let you sleep at night. If you feel like you’ve left money on the table by paying this agent an extra 1.5 percent, you’ll be talking about it for the next 10 years.