Ask Clark: I Was Planning to Use a Realtor to Sell My House but a Friend Wants to Make a Cash Offer. What Should I Do?

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Welcome to Ask Clark, a column designed to answer your financial questions by money expert Clark Howard.

Do I Have to Use a Realtor to Sell My Home if I’m Friends With the Buyer?

Jennifer from Texas: “I was planning on selling my house with a Realtor. However, a family friend says she would like to make an attractive cash offer on the house. I know Realtors typically make between 5 and 7% on the sale of a house. Do I have to use a Realtor or can we make this transaction quicker and easier somehow?”

Clark’s Take on Whether a Home Seller Needs a Realtor When the Buyer Is a Friend

Clark thinks it’s OK in this case to eliminate the “middle man,” the real estate agent.

Clark says: “What I recommend particularly with a family [or friend] transaction is that you go to a lawyer who does real estate closings and have he or she prepare the purchase or sales agreement for you and … make sure that all the things are done like both of you would want them done.”

He adds: “In a case where the buyer is somebody who’s already known to you, there is not the need for a real estate agent like there would normally be. Real estate agents play a number of functions in the sale and purchasing of real estate, but the principal one is helping a buyer and seller get that match game done. You already have a match.”

If you’re thinking about selling your home and don’t have a buyer yet, you may be wondering how to go about the process.

The first step is to decide whether you want to work with a real estate agent or try to sell your house on your own.

Here’s what to know about doing an FSBO (for sale by owner).

If you do choose to work with an agent, here’s how to find the best real estate agent for you.

And keep in mind that real estate, like most other things, is a little different these days: Here’s Clark’s advice on whether you should buy or sell a home in the pandemic.

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To hear Clark’s full take on this question and many more, listen to the full podcast episode here:

Do you have a question for Clark? Use this form to ask him! And remember that you can listen to the Clark Howard Podcast at any time here.

If you have a question but you don’t want to go on-air, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center for free money help.

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