Selling Our House: FSBO or Flat-Fee Broker or...?

DW and I are about to sell our single-family house in a desirable neighborhood in Boston, where inventory has been extremely low for at least a year and demand is healthy.

With these favorable market conditions, we are considering FSBO as a way of saving a nice chunk of change by paying no commission to a selling broker. We’re also confident we can make FSBO work through our social media leads (clearly we can get more of these leads with minimal effort) and through word of mouth. We’ll hire a lawyer to handle a few things and do the rest of the work ourselves.

Ideally, we’d do the sale without involving brokers on either side, saving us even more money. Short of that, we could do what someone on FDF has done (can’t find the thread), which is to stipulate to prospective buyers that the offering price is net of any buyer’s broker commission.

A few questions:

  • How do we make sure things go smoothly in doing FSBO?
  • What are the main issues we need to consider if no broker is involved on either side?
  • Is it worthwhile to consider hiring a flat-fee broker instead of going FSBO?
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I’ve done it a couple ways over the years. I found that the other agents avoided showing my listing to their buyers when they discovered they’d essentially have to do all the work. That was in 2002 though. Maybe it’s different now. There are a lot of realtors now, I’d just let one handle it but negotiate the fees.

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If you have a hot market then (IMO) there is no reason not to go FSBO. I did FSBO in North Carolina back in 2008 on a vacant rental property that was going to be a teardown (so this was a very uncomplicated sale). I put a sign in yard, had a flyer that said “accepting offers over $xxx by x date” and I had four offers within the week, only had to show the house twice.

I hired a RE attorney (flat fee per sale in NC) and that protected me from any potential paperwork issues. Saved more than $25k in commissions using this strategy and got a better price than I would have using a broker.


Same as the poster above, in 2006 listed a 200k house on Craiglist in a hot market. Hired an attorney for a small cost for the paperwork. Unless you don’t want to deal with showings you can skip the realtor. It depends on how much time you have.

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I recently sold my home myself and saved on seller agent commission. Here is what I did
I felt the key is getting the listing in MLS so that it would show up in all the realty web sites. I listed my home using They charge flat fee on sale of property which I beleive is about $300. For listing, you can get it for free but I went with $139 plan. We took the photos of our home for the listing, hired an RE attorney to review the paperwork.

I also offered buyer agent commission of 2.5% since I wanted agents to bring buyers to see the property. I felt that without commission, they have no incentive to show your home to the propspective buyer. The buyer commission is specified by you at the time of listing and it is up to you how much you want to offer.

I did open houses on the weekends. If the buyer did not have agent, I was open to reducing the price by the commission that I was offering to the agent. I sold the home to the buyer without agent representation and reduced the price by 2.5% It took me about 4 weeks to get an offer that I could work with.


As some body who recently bought. All i can say is that FSBO or not, pricing matters a lot. If you are going to go FSBO, make sure that your house is clean and presentable. Make sure that the price is right(Key). Visual aspect/presentation is important. For e.g., if a house had obvious issues like a heavily dented/damaged garage door, i used to skip the house. Reason, if the owners cant spend money to rectify obvious/visible issues, what other issues are postponed.

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Ugh, thanks for reminding me that I should fix my garage door that has been dented since before I bought the house 8+ years ago.


Make sure to list in on Zillow with good quality pictures (whitle balance and exposure). That in itself should give you plenty of leads.


Check this out. It’s called “Zillow Offers”. As in, Zillow Offers to buy your house for 20% below market value. Then they make some small improvements and bam! Profit!! @scripta