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How Do I Sell My House Without An Agent in Houston?

If you’re looking to sell your house or investment property in Houston without using a real estate agent, we can help.

Although we do cooperate with brokers, sometimes it’s best to avoid paying someone to be in the middle.

After all, paying 5-6% of the sale of a property in a commission is a lot of money. In certain situations, TX brokers and real estate agents can be very useful and earn their commission. Not always.

How Do I Sell My House Without An Agent in Houston?

There are a few ways to avoid paying high commissions in your TX sale.

First, there’s a tricky custom that you’ve gotta know about.

In most sales in Houston, roughly half of the commission you pay as the seller goes to pay for the buyer’s broker.

Doesn’t make much sense, right?

Why should you pay for the agent on the other side of the table?

Truthfully, it defies logic – it’s just what’s typically done.

You can use that to your advantage in a few ways.

First, factor in the commissions paid when you’re looking at the comparable sales. If the properties similar to yours sold for prices that included commissions, take that into account.

Don’t underprice your property – Be aware that a savvy buyer may expect to take a discount too. If you’re doing the work of one agent, you can expect to save that money.

Sometimes in Houston, buyers who aren’t represented by an agent won’t remember to negotiate the buyer’s side commission out of the price for themselves. So, while it’s not unethical to NOT remind them if you don’t want to pay them (they aren’t realtors after all), Just don’t be surprised if it comes up during the negotiation.

You may want to consider offering 2.5% to buyer’s agents who will bring their clients to show your property. Sure, it’s a lot of money. If you’re pricing your property including that commission, you can always negotiate a better deal for a purchaser who comes without an agent. If you’re going to list with a realtor on the MLS (multiple listing service) though, where over 90% of homes are sold, spring for 3%. Otherwise, buyer agents may only show properties to their clients with a higher, 3% commission, which is most common (but is never set in stone). Agents have a fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interest but in my experience, just pay the 3%. It works out much better in the end.

On the other hand, if you don’t leave room for the buyer’s agent’s commission, you’ll be excluding most of the buyers in the market in Houston.

Don’t OVERPRICE your property, either – While it may seem tempting to tack on an extra 10% of  what the market price of your property actually is, it is almost always in your best interest not to do so.

“I can alway just lower the price later to market price if it doesn’t sell or just accept a lower offer close to market price, right?” Not so fast. The answer is not always and, a better answer might be, “usually not”.  Why on earth, not? Here’s why:  Unless you’re in a REALLY hot market (Read: Seller’s Market) (Feel free to ask us what kind of market we’re currently in) this will almost always backfire.

It’s just human nature. People, inherently, don’t want what other people don’t want. If your home sits on the market too long because it’s overpriced, people may think something is wrong with it. Your home could be in perfect condition, with a new roof, new a/c, the works, but if it sits too long people will start to whisper things to themselves, or worse to others, like “It’s been sitting too long. There just HAS to be something wrong with it”. Not good. Definitely not good.

Pro Tip: If you don’t want to pay an agent to list your property, contact a local real estate broker and ask them to complete a broker price opinion (BPO) or comparative market analysis (CMA) for your property to give you a range on market value ( the price point where you should list your property). Always be up-front, though. If you are positive that you don’t want to list your property with them, do the right thing and offer to compensate them for their time. These types of reports are usually done for free if they are listing your property or are being considered for the job but if not,  it’s not good practice to waste others’ time. You can even take it one step further and call an appraiser to write an appraisal report. It may cost you $500-$700 or more but that’s way less than paying a listing agent! Plus, if anyone tries to haggle price, they are arguing with a subject matter expert (the appraiser) not you. Did someone say Ace in the Hole?

Over 90% of transactions happen through the MLS – that’s the Multiple Listing Service. It’s the main database that all the brokers in Houston use to access information for their clients on the houses, condos, land and investment properties for sale, along with data on the sold prices.

Once upon a time, you had to pay a full commission to get your property on the MLS. Now in Houston, there are a few brokers who will charge you a fee just to list your property on the MLS. Often, you spend a few hundred bucks and you only pay a commission if the sale closes.

Compared to the cost of a newspaper ad, the MLS is a cheap way to market your property to a very wide audience.

All the major real estate search sites like, Zillow, Yahoo Homes, etc. get data from the MLS. Chances are good that when you submit your listing in Houston to the MLS, information on your property will end up on most of the major sites within a few days.

Each of those sites sells ads. They’ve got packages that let you pay to enhance your listing, feature it at the top of the search, and a lot of other bells and whistles that might or might not get an interested buyer to buy your property.

Advertising is a gamble. Sometimes open houses in Houston TX can be a great way to sell a property, and sometimes they’re a waste of time. Same with newspaper ads, craigslist postings, fancy signs – sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t.

To effectively sell your property on your own, you have to market it well.

Putting up fliers and signs around your neighborhood can generate some calls, and there’s a lot of free websites where you can post information. But often just putting up flyers and an open house isn’t enough if your house doesn’t appeal to the average home buyer.

In theory, real estate agents charge big commissions because they have to spend a lot of money up front to advertise your property. By advertising lots of properties at once, they expect to get more phone calls – and obviously, they’ll make good profits by selling lots of houses.

Certain properties might require thousands of dollars in advertising expenses before the right buyer happens to see the ad and call.

If you want to avoid paying any commissions, you can also sell your house to investors like us for CASH

We fair prices for properties – and we can close fast (in as little as 3-5 days if you need to).

Sometimes we’ll purchase Houston houses, fix them up, then rent them out… sometimes we’ll fix them up and sell them to other people looking for great homes in the area, and a lot of other reasons, too – but we love to hear from people like you who are thinking of selling anywhere in TX.

We’re investors who care a lot about Houston.

We close fast and pay cash in as little as just 3-5 days. Give us a call now at 713-379-4376 or fill out the short form over here.

Sell Your Houston House Fast – Get A Cash Offer Today


Fred A. Paskell has served the Houston community for almost 20 years, providing real estate solutions and learning from some of the very best in the business. A native Texan and Army Combat Veteran, Paskell began his career in the commercial real estate sector and has since evolved into a subject matter expert in many aspects of both commercial and residential real estate, including valuation and investment analysis. Throughout his career he has worked for several notable and respected firms including Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE, Mohr Partners and the Newmark Group. On the commercial side, Paskell focuses on Office, Industrial and Retail assets while being purely focused on the investment side of residential real estate. While beginning his college studies at Louisiana State University (and still a big LSU football fan), he earned both his M.B.A. in Real Estate Finance and B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Houston, cum laude, with honors. Paskell is also a CCIM designee, the pinnacle designation for commercial investment real estate. Fred devoted ten years of his life to protecting our country in the U.S. Army, including two combat tours to Iraq with the 7th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment as an AH-64 Apache Helicopter Crew-chief, completing his service at the rank of Staff Sergeant. He is also an avid scuba diver of over 26 years having reached the levels of divemaster, rescue diver and technical diver. With this passion he enjoys scuba diving and spearfishing on the offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico in his spare time as well as fishing, playing poker, staying healthy and spending time with friends and family . Paskell also volunteers for several groups serving disabled veterans, including being a member of the Armed Forces Appreciation Committee at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

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