• If you use a real estate agent to sell your home, expect to pay a commission. If you are opposed to paying someone a significant chunk of your home's value, you have other options.

    Average Commissions

    Commission rates vary from state to state and city to city, and sometimes even among agents within a single market, but they generally range from 5 to 7 percent of the sale price, with 6 percent the most common.

    Who Pays

    The seller pays the commission, which is divided between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent.

    Negotiating a Lower Rate

    Nothing says you have to pay the standard commission rate. Ask your agent whether she would accept a lower rate if the home sells quickly, or if you do certain legwork yourself.

    For Sale By Owner

    If you sell your home without an agent--known as "for sale by owner" or "FSBO"--you can save on commissions. But be aware that the buyer's agent will expect to be paid his share of the sale price.

    "Flat Fee" Sales

    A flat-fee broker is a real estate agency that will list your home for a set amount rather than a percentage of the sale price, sometimes for just a few hundred dollars. You're probably going to have to do some of the marketing work yourself, but it gets your property on the main real estate database, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is off-limits to FSBO sellers.

    Source: Real Estate 101

    The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying and Selling a Home; Shelley O'Hara and Nancy D. Warner; 2000

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