FSBO vs. Realtor: Who Pays What in Closing Costs?


Closing costs are an inevitable part of any real estate transaction, whether you’re selling your home on your own (For Sale By Owner – FSBO) or using the services of a real estate agent. However, who pays for what can vary depending on the route you choose. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of closing costs in both FSBO and realtor-assisted sales, shedding light on whether realtor fees are included in closing costs and exploring the concept of flat fee realtors.

What are Closing Costs?

Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to understand what closing costs entail. Closing costs refer to the fees and expenses associated with the transfer of property ownership from the seller to the buyer. These costs typically include appraisal fees, title insurance, attorney fees, property taxes, and various other charges.

FSBO: Seller’s Perspective

When selling your home without a realtor, you take on the responsibility of handling the entire process yourself, including negotiating with potential buyers and managing paperwork. In an FSBO transaction, sellers may have to cover all closing costs themselves unless otherwise negotiated with the buyer.

Realtor-Assisted Sales: Who Bears the Burden?

In contrast, when working with a realtor, the seller often shares the burden of closing costs with the buyer. However, the specifics can vary depending on the agreement between the parties and local market practices.

Are Realtor Fees Included in Closing Costs?

One common question that arises in real estate transactions is, are realtor fees included in closing costs. The answer to this question typically depends on the negotiation between the seller and the real estate agent. In some cases, the seller may agree to pay the realtor’s commission as part of the closing costs, while in others, the buyer may cover this expense. It’s essential for both parties to discuss and clarify this aspect early in the process to avoid any misunderstandings later on.

Understanding Realtor Fees

Realtor fees are the commission paid to the real estate agent for their services in facilitating the sale of the property. These fees are typically calculated as a percentage of the final sale price and can vary depending on the agent and local market conditions.

The Rise of Flat Fee Realtors

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards flat fee realtor. Unlike traditional real estate agents who charge a percentage-based commission, flat fee realtors charge a predetermined flat fee for their services, regardless of the property’s sale price. This model appeals to sellers looking to save on commission costs.

Pros and Cons of FSBO and Realtor-Assisted Sales

Each approach—FSBO and realtor-assisted sales—comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. FSBO can potentially save sellers money on commission fees but requires significant time and effort. On the other hand, working with a realtor offers expertise and convenience but comes with associated costs, including realtor fees.


In conclusion, whether you opt for FSBO or enlist the services of a real estate agent, understanding closing costs is crucial for making informed decisions. While realtor fees may or may not be included in closing costs, negotiating these expenses upfront can help avoid misunderstandings later on. Additionally, exploring alternative models like flat fee realtors can provide sellers with more flexibility and control over their finances. By weighing the pros and cons of each approach, sellers can navigate the real estate market with confidence and achieve successful outcomes.


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