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

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption