"You Don't Have Go Through Me."
Somewhat widely known but almost never offered up to the inexperienced seller by an agent is that fact that you can BYOB (Bring Your Own Buyers, that is) to the table, and get around paying a commission if one of them comes through.
But you need to negotiate this up front, before you've signed on with the agency. "Disclose any legitimate buyers you have found on your own before hiring the broker," says Memphis real estate lawyer John B. Philip. You will need to do this in writing, as a component of the contract they ask you to sign. If you sell to one of the individuals named in the clause within whatever time frame you negotiate, Philip says, "You will owe the broker nothing."