How Discount Real Estate Brokers Can Help You Save

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.

Find a discount real estate broker!

Clever negotiates low rates with top, local agents from major brands and brokerages (RE/MAX, Century 21, Keller Williams, etc.), saving you up to 50% on commission fees WITHOUT sacrificing service. That means you get all the benefits you’d expect from a traditional, full-commission agent, but for a fraction of the typical cost.

Sellers who list with Clever save an average of $9,000 per transaction — they also get offers 2.8x faster than the national average.

Sound interesting? Fill out the form below to get connect with agents!

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:

AlabamaAlaskaIowaKansas
LouisianaMississippiMissouriOklahoma
OregonTennessee


>> LEARN more about how real estate commission works

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

Pricing model

Low commission real estate agents

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

Flat-fee MLS listing

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

A-la-carte real estate services

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

Buyer rebates

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.

Listing Fee

1% (minimum $3,000)

Buyer Rebate

Up to 1%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.8/5 (386 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Clever Real Estate is a nationwide, online concierge and agent matching service for sellers and buyers — learn more
  • Buyers and sellers are matched with multiple highly rated agents from major brands, such as Keller Williams, Century 21, Compass, RE/MAX, and more
  • Sellers choose a full-service agent and pay a flat, $3,000 fee — or just 1% for homes more than $350,000
  • Buyers may be eligible for up to 1% back at closing (in qualifying locations)

Clever has pre-negotiated lower commission rates with top agents in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico

Pros
  • Listing fee of $3,000 (or 1% on homes >$350K) for a full-service agent
  • Sellers only pay once their home is sold
  • Partner Agents are top, local realtors with at least 5 years experience
  • Agent matches are customized and based on your specific situation
  • Eligible buyers receive a home buyer rebate of up to 1%
Cons
  • Sellers may not be matched with an agent from their preferred brokerage
  • While homes are listed on the MLS, there's no independent Clever listing site.







As of May 20, 2020, Clever's average customer rating is 4.8/5 based on 386 reviews on Trustpilot.

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REX Real Estate

REX Real Estate

Listing Fee

2% ($9,000 min.)

Buyer Rebate

Up to 1-1.5%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.6/5 (536 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Sellers get full service (minus MLS access) for a 2% listing fee — $9,000 minimum fee for homes below $450,000
  • REX does not post listings on the MLS. Instead, it uses digital advertising to target unrepresented buyers and help you avoid paying a buyer’s agent commission (typically 2-3%)
  • This may significantly reduce your pool of prospective buyers (roughly 87% of buyers work with agents), making it harder to attract offers
  • Represented buyers must cover their agent's fee themselves, which could hinder their ability or desire to purchase your home
  • If you buy a non-REX home with a REX agent, you may qualify for a 1-1.5% commission rebate. If you buy a REX-listed home, you are not eligible for a rebate
Arizona
California
Colorado
New Jersey
New York
Florida
North Carolina
Georgia
Pennsylvania
Oregon
Illinois
Texas
Maryland
Vermont
Massachusetts
Virginia
Nevada
Washington, D.C.
Pros
  • Save up to 1% on listing fees
  • Potential to avoid buyer’s agent commission (2-3%)
  • Get full service (minus MLS access) and concierge support



Cons
  • $9,000 minimum may result in listings fees higher than advertised 2%
  • Not listing on the MLS significantly reduces your home's visibility
  • Not offering a buyer's agent commission puts you at a competitive disadvantage

As of May 20, 2020, REX Real Estate’s average customer rating is 4.6/5 based on 536 reviews across Zillow, Facebook, and Google. See the breakdown below.

>> VIEW REX’s Better Business Bureau profile here.


*These reviews are for REX's main California office. Reviews may vary by location. We recommend conducting your own research for customer reviews specific to your area.

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Redfin

Redfin

Listing Fee

1-1.5% (min. fees apply)

Buyer Rebate

Avg. $1,500 (where availabe)

Avg. Customer Rating

3.2/5 (243 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Redfin is an online listing portal and multi-state real estate brokerage operating in 80+ markets across the United States
  • Sellers get full service and support from a Redfin agent for a reduced listing fee (rates and minimums vary by location)
  • Redfin agents are salaried. Since they do not work on commission, there is no incentive to get sellers the highest sale price — learn more
  • RedfinNow — Redfin's iBuyer program — makes all-cash offers on qualifying homes in 10 markets for a 7% service fee (but no additional commission)
  • Buyers in select markets might be eligible for a home buyer rebate — learn more
AshevilleHouston*
Orlando
AlbanyIndianapolis
Palm Beach
AtlantaInland Empire*
Palm Springs
Austin*Jacksonville
Philadelphia
Birmingham^Kansas City^
Phoenix
BoiseKnoxville^
Pittsburgh
Boston
Lake Tahoe
Portland, OR^
BuffaloLas Vegas*Raleigh
CharlotteLittle Rock^Rhode Island
ChicagoLos Angeles*Richmond
CincinnatiLouisiana^Sacramento
Cleveland^Louisville^Salt Lake City
ColumbusMarylandSan Antonio*^
ConnecticutMemphis^San Diego*
Dallas*MiamiSan Francisco
DelawareMinneapolisSavannah
Denver*Nashville^Seattle
Des Moines^Nebraska^South Carolina
DetroitNew JerseySouth Texas^
El Paso^New MexicoSpokane
FlagstaffNew York CitySt. Louis^
Fort MyersNortheast VirginiaTampa
Grand RapidsNorthern New EnglandTucson^
Hampton RoadsOklahoma^Washington, D.C.
HawaiiOrange County, CA*Wisconsin^

*Also a RedfinNow location

^No home buyer rebate available

Pros
  • Sellers get full service and support for a discounted rate of 1.5%
  • Rate drops to 1% when you sell and buy with Redfin
  • Access to a variety of online tools and services, including virtual showings, paperwork, closing, and more
  • Commission rebate offered to eligible buyers in select markets
Cons
  • Only available in ~80 U.S. markets
  • Minimum listing fees can result in paying more than advertised 1-1.5% rate
  • Choice of agents is limited to Redfin's in-house team or local partners
  • Local partners don't necessarily adhere to Redfin's discount pricing model

As of May 20, 2020, Redfin's average customer rating is 3.2/5 based on 235 reviews across Yelp, Google, and Consumer Affairs.

*These reviews are for Redfin's Seattle, WA office. Reviews may vary by location.

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Listing Fee

$3,500

Buyer Rebate

N/A

Avg. Customer Rating

4.3/5 (115 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Redefy is a multi-state real estate franchise that offers flat-fee listing services for home sellers and standard services for home buyers
  • Redefy is currently available in select cities in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia
  • When you sell with Redefy, you'll pay a nonrefundable $500 fee up front, then $3,000 at closing, for a total fee of $3,500.
  • You should also expect to pay a buyer's agent commission. Rates vary, but 2.5-3% is typical nationwide
  • When you buy with Redefy, you'll get full service and support, but unlike some other discount services, Redefy doesn't offer built-in savings or rebates
  • Note: Each Redefy office is an individual franchisee, so experiences may vary considerably by location. Look up reviews specific to your local office for an accurate gauge of customers' experiences
Atlanta, GA
Jacksonville, FL
Augusta, GA
Knoxville, TN
Austin, TX
Memphis, TN
Charleston, SC
Miami, FL
Charlotte, NC
Nashville, TN
Chattanooga, TN
Norfolk, VA
Chesapeake, VA
Northern Colorado
Chicago, IL
Orlando, FL
Colorado Springs, CO
Raleigh, NC
Columbia, SC
Richmond, VA
Dallas, TX
Rock Hill, SC
Denver, CO
San Antonio, TX
Fort Mill, SC
Tampa, FL
Greenville, NC
Virginia Beach, VA
Houston, TX

ProsCons
  • Charges $500 non-refundable fee up front
  • Franchise model means service quality and/or experience may vary considerably by location
  • Redefy doesn't do open houses for its sellers
  • Limited availability — locations in only 29 U.S. cities (as of 4/10/2020)
  • No built-in commission rebates for buyers


*Homes valued over $1 million may pay a 1% listing fee — check with your local Redefy office.

As of May 20, 2020, Redefy's third-party reviews for its main Denver office average a 4.3/5 rating across Yelp, Google, and Facebook. See the breakdown below.


*These reviews are for Redefy's main Aurora, CO office. Reviews vary considerably by location. We recommend conducting your own research for customer reviews specific to your area.

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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.

>> Interview full-service, discount real estate brokers near you.

Information on discount real estate brokers in your state

Discount Real Estate Agent FAQs

How do discount brokers offer a discount commission and remain profitable?

Discount brokers agree to work for a commission rate lower rate, with the understanding that they are going to attract more clients. Essentially, they are lowering their rates but increasing the volume of real estate transactions.

Additionally, some real estate agents agree to work with discount broker referral services, Clever is one of them that connect agents with home buyers and sellers. The advantage for these realtors, is that they get a consistent source of referrals, without having to spend the money and effort typically associated with generating clients.

How does the discount listing process work?

When working with a full-service discount agent, the process works almost the same as working with a traditional listing agent. The key difference is when your home sells, you get to keep a larger portion of your home's equity.


Your agent will provide a comparative market analysis (CMA), advise a list price for the home, and make recommendations for any repairs or upgrades that might increase the value of your home. They will then handle any negotiations with potential buyers, and try to net you the highest possible price for your home.

Does a discount real estate agent provide a lockbox and sign in the yard?

Most full-service discount real estate agents will provide a lockbox on your front door and sign in the yard with the branding of their brokerage. However if you choose a flat-fee MLS service or an agent who offers a-la-carte services, you may have to pay an additional fee to get a yard sign or lockbox.

Does a discount listing look different than a traditional listing?

If you work with a discount brokerage, such as REX Real Estate, potential buyers will know that you are working with a discount brokerage. This may disincentive buyer's agents from showing your home to their clients, as they may assume you aren't offering a commission on the buyer's side.

By contrast if you get connected with your agent through a referral service, such as Clever, then your listing will appear identical to homes listed by traditional agents.