Stories & Advice for Homeowners

Realtor’s Commission: What You Should Know

Is a realtor’s commission set in stone?

The simple answer is no; it’s negotiable.

It never hurts to ask your real estate agent for a lower fee. But don’t expect your agent to agree to just anything. There should be valid reasons for requesting a lower fee in this negotiation.

Most agents charge a commission of 6%; it’s usually split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent.

Some agent’s have more flexibility with negotiating than others. It often depends on brokerages and an agent’s company. Many agents have to hold out for a minimum percentage, and agents are usually required a percentage of their commission to their company. 

Real estate agent showing young couple a home

An agent may lower their commission by half a percentage or maybe one full percentage point in some of these special cases.

  • The area has a high rate of homes selling quickly
  • The home is high-end
  • You forego real estate agent marketing perks such as open houses or only have the home on the market for a short time
  • The agent really wants to work in that specific area
  • You have multiple projects with this agent

Ultimately, you’re going to get what you pay for.

You don’t want the commission of the buyer’s agent to go below 3%. Otherwise, your home is going to be looked over.

You should be aware of what the typical rates and additional costs are in your area. An experienced and knowledgeable agent can really do an amazing job selling your home. You don’t really want to under-pay the agent selling your home or the agent trying to get buyers to purchase your home.

Realtor going over a home's floor plan with prospective buyers

If you simply lower your realtor’s commission by half a percent, but that costs you 5% of your selling price, you’re not really saving anything.

Before you hire an agent, get a few quotes and ask a lot of questions. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Do you have recommendations and reviews I can look at?
  • How long have you been selling homes in my area?
  • How long do you predict my home will stay on the market before it sells?
  • How long do your listings stay on the market (how quickly do you sell)?
  • How will you help me sell my home?
  • What are some of the marketing techniques you’ll be using?
  • What percentage of the commission do you actually acquire?

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