Discount real estate brokers offer significant savings for home buyers and sellers, which come in the form of reduced and rebated real estate commissions. Here's everything you need to know about discount real estate agents:
For home sellers, discount real estate agents offer reduced listing commission rates — this can translate to savings of around $5,000, based on the national median home value.
Home buyers in certain states may be eligible for a commission rebate of up to 1% by working with a discount buyer's agent.
There are several different types of discount real estate agent models. These include low-commission listing agents, flat-fee MLS listing services, brokerages that offer a-la-carte services, and buyer's agents that will refund a portion of their commission.
You can expect to get the same level of service from a discount real estate agent as a traditional agent, as long as you properly vet them and ensure you have found a top agent that is a good fit.
There are several established discount real estate companies that can help you save on commission, including Clever, Redfin, Redefy and REX Real Estate.
Read on for more information on discount real estate brokers, including how they work, how to choose an agent, and a breakdown of the major discount brokerages.
How do discount real estate brokers work?
Discount real estate agents offer lower commission rates to sellers, and rebates for buyers that can result in significant savings. These agents give up a portion of the profits in order to attract an increased volume of clients.
For home sellers: Typically, when you sell your home, you'll pay out 5-6% of the sale price in real estate commissions. Based on the national median home value of $247,084*, a 6% commission rate translates to $14,825. Discount listing agents — who work with people selling their houses — offer rates as low as 1%. After factoring in the buyer's agent commission of 3% (bringing the combined commission to 4%), the total savings amounts to $4,942 based on the previous example.
For home buyers: There are discount real estate agents that attract potential home buyers by offering to give them a portion of their commission at closing. The amount of commission that is shared — often called a buyer rebate— can range from a set rate of a few hundred dollars to up to 1% ($2,471 based on the national median home value) of the home purchase price. These rebates are usually paid out in the form of credits towards closing costs and buyers likely won't be able to receive cash directly from the transaction. Ultimately, the mortgage lender will have the final say as to how the money may be used.
* National median home value figure comes from Zillow
NOTE: Buyer rebates are not available in 10 states, where they they have been prohibited by the state legislature:
There are a few discount real estate broker models to choose from, each with different price points and services offered.
The best service for you will depend on what you want from your agent and what pricing model is most appealing to you. Below, we've compiled a breakdown of the main discount real estate broker options:
Discount agent model
How it works
Agents offer full service for a reduced commission. Full-service agents help with every part of the home selling process.
4-5% of your home's sale price
For a flat rate, a licensed real estate agent will put your home on the MLS — so it can be seen by as many qualified buyers as possible. Note that you will still likely have to offer a buyer's agent commission of 2-3%.
Flat fee of $50 to $3,000
Real estate brokers contract out one-off services — such as performing a comparative market analysis, MLS listing, and help with legal forms.
Prices vary from a flat rates around $50 to 1% of your home's sale price
Discount real estate agents offer buyers a portion of the commission they receive when the home sale closes.
Rebates range from a few hundred dollars to 1% of the home's sale price
Is there a difference between a discount real estate agent and a traditional agent?
There is not necessarily a difference between traditional agents and discount brokers. Home sellers can expect to get similar levels of customer service with discount real estate agents, as they can with traditional agents.
The exception is limited-service agents, who offer reduced commission or flat-fee rates, but only provide a limited range of services.
The most important thing you can do to ensure a good experience with an agent — discount or otherwise — is to properly vet them.
There will be varying levels of service and quality among all agents, including those that charge the full 5-6% and discount real estate agents. With some research, you can identify which agents are going to be the best fit for you. You can further improve your chances of a good outcome by comparing multiple services and/or agents before making a decision.
Discount real estate broker vetting checklist:
What services are they providing?: Whether you're looking for full service (which includes help with every aspect of the home selling process) or just an agent to help you set the right listing price, you should clarify exactly what your real estate broker will be doing for you.
What are their costs?: Understanding the specific price structure for a discount broker will make it easy to compare the value of different agents, and ensure you are getting the best deal possible.
Does the agent have extensive experience buying and selling homes in your area?: Local knowledge of your real estate market is the most valuable thing a real estate agent can bring to the table. Whether you're seeking a discount broker to help you buy or sell a home, local knowledge can help ensure you get the right price. Note that local expertise is less important if you are only looking for a flat-fee MLS listing service.
Does the agent have positive reviews from previous clients?: Although they can sometimes be misleading, agent reviews on sites like Zillow can give you a general sense of whether or not an agent has positive transactions with their clients.
Compare top discount real estate brokers
There are several discount real estate brokers worth mentioning. In addition to the companies we detail below — which are available in areas across the country — you should also consider small, local discount brokers operating in your city.
Find a discount real estate agent near you
Clever Real Estate connects you with highly-rated, discount real estate agents in your area. Helping you sell your home for top dollar while saving thousands on commission fees.
Clever works with top agents from major brokerages, including RE/MAX, Keller Williams, Century 21, and more. Our partner agents have agreed to list and sell your home for a flat fee of $3,000, or just 1% if it sells for more than $350,000.
Additionally, if you live in a state that allows commission rebates, you could get up to 1% back at closing when you buy a house with one of our partners.
Sign up below to learn more and connect with agents in your area. Interview as many as you'd like — our referral service is free and there's never any obligation to move forward.