Am I legally responsible for paying the buyer’s agent fee if we are selling the property ourselves without an MLS?

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Am I legally responsible for paying the buyer’s agent fee if we are selling the property ourselves without an MLS?

We are selling our home FSBO without an MLS. A couple came to an Open House and several weeks later asked to bring their agent. We agreed, showed the house and they put in an offer that asked us to pay their agent fee of $5900. We countered that we are not responsible for that amount, but would pay $500 – are we correct?

Asked on August 22, 2011 Montana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The custom and practice in the real estate industry regarding the payment of real estate commissions for real estate agents who provide services concerning a sale and purchase of real property is as follows:

1. the seller in the written listing agreement with the agent agrees to pay a certain percentage of the sale to the licensed real estate agent representing them as the listing agent;

2. if the listing agent then lists the property in the multiple listing service through a specific association of realtors, the agreement allowing the placement of the home on the MLS sets the commission rate for any selling real estate agent representing the buyer of the property.

3. the purchase agreement for the home's sale would reference the rate of real estate commission split in the given transaction regardless of the MLS agreement in that commissions are paid to the lisitng brokerage and it is free to negotiate a commission payment to a licensed real estate agent representing the buyer.

In situations such as yours where you are selling your home without a real estate agent, the real estate commission payment in a closed escrow is usually paid partially by the sellers and partially by the buyers.

You are correct that you are not legally responsible for payment of any real estate commissions for the selling agent and brokerage unless you agree in writing to the amount you are willing to pay as real estate commissions for the buyer's agent in the sale.

Good question.


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