At a Glance
Real estate agents typically aren't paid a base salary. The vast majority earn a living via their commission fees, which are a set percentage of the final price of each home they sell.
Across the country, the average real estate commission rate is approximately 6%, which is usually split evenly between the listing and buyer's agents who handle the transaction.
When you list with a flat-fee real estate agent, you'll pay a fraction of that price — saving you up to 50% on commission fees.
What is a flat-fee real estate agent?
A flat-fee real estate agent or brokerage will help you list and sell your home for a predetermined, fixed rate instead of taking a hefty percentage of the final sale price.
If you're looking to list with a flat-fee real estate agent, there are several options you can choose from:
Flat-Fee, Limited-Service Brokerage: These companies will list your home on the MLS and offer limited, à la carte services and support (i.e., your price will go up with each service you add)
Flat-Fee MLS Service: These companies will simply list your home on the MLS — the support ends there
Full-Service, Flat-Fee Agents: These agents usually charge a full commission but offer discounted rates to sellers who connect through an agent referral network, like Clever Real Estate
Clever connects you with top-rated, local real estate agents from major brands or regional brokerages (Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Century 21, etc.) who have agreed to offer Clever clients their full service and support for a simple, flat fee.
That means you get the exact same level of service and support as any of their full-commission clients — e.g., pricing guidance, professional photos, marketing on the MLS and hundreds of other listing sites, showings, negotiation support, and everything/anything else you need to close on your home — only you pay a fraction of their typical fee.
Here's how Clever stacks up against other flat-fee agents and brokerages:
As you can see, unlike other flat-fee options, Clever Partner Agents offer full listing services and support for just $3,000.
As of 2019, sellers who listed their homes with Clever saved an average of $9,000 on commission fees!
If you're looking to sell your home with a top-rated, full-service agent but don't want to pay a fortune, Clever can help!
Give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out the form below. We'll be in touch to answer your questions and connect you with one of our top Partner Agents in your area for a no-obligation consultation!
How are flat-fee agents different from traditional realtors?
Flat-fee real estate agents are licensed agents or brokers, just like their traditional, full-priced counterparts.
The main difference is that where traditional agents provide full service, many flat-fee agents offer limited services and support to offset their reduced rates.
For example, some flat-fee services will only list your house on the MLS — that means you get zero assistance with other, crucial aspects of the sale like marketing, pricing, photos, inspections, negotiations, and closing.
Before signing with any flat-fee real estate agent or broker, it's vital that you ask exactly what services you'll be getting in exchange for their fee.
Keep in mind that when you list with Clever, you'll be working with a top-rated, local real estate agent. You'll get the same services and support they offer their full-commission clients — but for a fraction of the cost.
Here's how the savings break down:
To put this into real terms, if you sell a $300,000 home with a traditional agent, you'll end up paying about $18,000 in commission fees.
Were you to sell the same home with a Clever Partner Agent, you'd have the same experience and support — but you'll walk away with $6,000 in savings.
> Ready to get started? Find a flat-fee agent near you!
What's the difference between a flat-fee agent and a flat-fee MLS service?
Agents work with Clever as a means to supplement their traditional business. In other words, while they normally charge a full commission fee in exchange for their services, they've agreed to offer our customers significant discounts.
But rest assured, when you work with one of our Partner Agents you'll get the same services, support, and advantages as their full-paying customers — including the use of their professional branding.
That means Clever's logo won't be in your online listing or the “for sale” sign in your yard. Instead, both will only feature your agent and their parent company or brokerage, e.g., RE/MAX, Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, etc.
This is a key benefit over other discount brokerages and flat-fee services, as prospective buyers will have no idea that you saved thousands on your listing commission — information that, when made public, can result in lowball offers or difficult negotiations.
The key takeaway is that while saving on commission is great, it shouldn't come at the expense of the outcome of your sale — or your experience throughout the process.
When you list with Clever, you don't have to choose between savings and service. Instead, you get the best of both worlds: a top-rated, full-service real estate agent for a fraction of the typical cost.
Are realtor fees negotiable?
The idea that realtor commissions are set in stone is a common misconception. In real estate, everything is negotiable — including your agent's fee.
That said, it is true that most home sellers across the country end up paying more or less the same amount in realtor commission: approximately 6%, which is split between the listing and buyer's agents who handle the transaction.
Your ability to negotiate this rate will likely boil down to the temperature of your local market, as well as the type and condition of the property you're selling. That said, even if you're selling a beautiful house in a highly desirable neighborhood, chances are negotiating your realtor down for their typical rate is still going to be a challenge.
Selling a house is a high-stakes, effort-intensive process. Realtors know the value of the services they provide, plus they have their bottom line to look out for.
But here's the real question you should be asking yourself: Is talking your agent down from their standard rate a good idea?
When you negotiate a reduced rate with your listing agent on your own, chances are there's going to be a tradeoff — less communication, services, support, etc.
The good news is that this doesn't necessarily have to be your problem! When you find your agent through Clever's referral service, they've already agreed to sell your home for a flat fee of $3,000 — or just 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.
In other words, we negotiate the reduced rates for you — while ensuring you still get exceptional full service and support — so you can just sit back and watch the savings roll in!
3 Tips for Negotiating Real Estate Listing Fees
1. Do some research and learn about your local market
Do your homework before you initiate the conversation with a prospective (or your current) realtor. Some simple Googling will surface information that can help with your negotiations:
Find recent sale prices for similar homes in your neighborhood
Figure out when the best time to sell in your area is
Determine the current level of demand (i.e., is it a buyer's or seller's market?)
This kind of info will give you a better sense of how much leverage you actually have going into the conversation.
2. Take stock of available resources and assess your needs
Evaluate what services you value and/or need — and which ones you don't. Maybe you're friends with a professional photographer or your cousin is a real estate attorney (and she owes you a huge favor). The point is that when you negotiate fees yourself, you may have to sacrifice some of the included services in exchange for a price cut.
It's also worth mentioning that some realtors might not want to work with you if they're not going to have full control over the process and strategy. Remember, they're the experts and have a bottom line to look out for. If an agent feels as though you may impede their ability to get your home sold, they may opt to walk away.
3. List through a trustworthy real estate referral network
More often than not, your best bet is to get help from an established company who negotiates reduced commission rates on your behalf.
When you find an agent through Clever, you'll be teamed up with a top-rated, full-service agent who has already agreed to list and sell your home for a fraction of their normal rate.
Why are Clever's partners willing to work for a flat rate instead of their normal commission percentage?
Simple: similarly to what Groupon does for restaurants and local merchants, Clever sends real estate agents a high volume of new business at zero upfront cost to them. This allows them to offer substantial savings while still remaining profitable.
Moreover, the increased volume of business bolsters their sales numbers, reviews, and reputation in general, which means more visibility in their local market — and more traditional, full-commission referrals as well.
How does Clever work?
Put simply, Clever is a real estate referral network. We negotiate flat commission rates with full-service realtors from major brands (Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, etc.) across the U.S. who have been identified as top performers in their local markets.
The agents we partner with run traditional, full-commission real estate businesses, but have agreed to offer substantial discounts to sellers who connect with them via Clever's referral service.
Importantly, when you list with Clever, your agent will provide the same experience and services as they do for their full-commission clients — only you'll pay a flat fee of $3,000, or just 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000. Fill out this form to learn more and interview flat-fee real estate agents near you.
What services do Clever Partner Agents offer?
All of Clever's Partner Agents are full service, meaning you'll get end-to-end guidance and support in exchange for your flat fee.
Here are some of the services you can expect when you list with Clever:
Comparative Market Analysis
Full listing on the MLS and hundreds of other real estate sites
Digital and traditional marketing campaigns
Help with showings and open houses
Help with offers and counteroffers
Home inspection coordination and negotiation support
Title transfer assistance
Help with paperwork and closing
Expert, hands-on guidance throughout the entire process
If the above list sounds like we're describing a traditional, full-service realtor, that's because we are!
Clever only partners with top-rated, full-service realtors. Get the experience, support, and benefits you need to sell your home for top dollar — all for a fraction of the typical price.
Why do real estate agents agree to work with Clever and offer a flat fee?
Real estate agents typically have to spend a ton of their time and money on drumming up new business for themselves.
Marketing, networking, meeting with prospective clients — all of these things require a hefty amount of resources and don't actually generate revenue in their own right. After all, agents get paid when they sell homes, not when they sign new customers.
Agents who work with Clever get a steady stream of new business opportunities for zero upfront cost. That means they can spend more of their time and energy selling and earning money, as opposed to finding new prospective customers with no guarantee of a payday down the road.
As a result, they're able to generate more income with little-to-no upfront investment. This allows them to pass savings along to Clever sellers in the form of a flat, $3,000 listing fee.
Remember, with Clever there are no hidden fees or strings attached. Our referral service is 100% free and there's never an obligation to sign with one of our agents. What's more, you only pay your flat fee if and when your home actually sells.
Fill out the form below to learn more and get started!
Clever Flat-Fee Real Estate Agent Reviews
See What Are Other Sellers Are Saying About Their Experience With Clever
Find a Top-Rated, Flat-Fee Agent Near You!
Want to sell your home for top dollar and save thousands on commission fees? We'll match you with a top-rated, flat-fee listing agent in your area.
Clever partners with thousands of top-rated agents across the country who 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.
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 sign
Top FAQs About Flat-Fee Real Estate Agents
1. Do I have to pay Clever for helping me find a flat-fee real estate agent?
No. Clever's referral service is 100% free. If you do choose to sign with one of our recommendations, there are no upfront fees. With Clever, you only pay if and when your home actually sells. If your listing doesn't work out, you won't pay a dime.
2. How much will I save by working with a flat-fee Clever Partner Agent?
As of 2019, home sellers who listed with Clever saved an average of $9,000 per transaction, compared to what they would have paid working with a full-commission realtor.
3. Does Clever have flat-fee real estate agents in my area?
Clever partners with thousands of top-rated real estate agents across the country who will list your house for a low, flat fee. Get in touch to learn more and interview one or more of our Partner Agents in your area. Submit your info via the link below and we'll connect you with a top, full-service agent who can help you sell your home and save thousands on commission. The referral is free and there's no obligation to sign!
4. What fees do you pay when you sell a house?
People are often surprised by how expensive it can be to sell a house. In addition to all of the costs necessary to prepare your home for sale (renovations, landscaping, painting, other improvements, etc.), there are a number of other fees you'll have to pay along the way, including closing costs (see below), realtor commission, attorney fees, and more.
5. How much are typical closing costs for home sellers?
In addition to the real estate agents' commission fees, sellers will have to pay their own set of closing costs at the conclusion of the sale. These typically include (but aren't limited to) things like real estate attorney fees, transfer taxes, title fees, and more (view the full HUD-1 Settlement Statement here to see all seller costs.
While the total amount will vary from situation to situation, expect to pay an additional 1-3% in closing costs on top of your commission fees.
6. Is it hard to sell your home without a realtor?
Selling without a realtor — also known as listing for sale by owner (FSBO) — is generally not recommended. Unless you're a seasoned real estate veteran with extensive experience in tax protocols, legal documents, local market trends, pricing strategy, negotiations, contingencies, and more, chances are you'd benefit from an agent's help.
While a small percentage of people end up closing on their FSBO listings, for the vast majority of sellers, the ends simply don't justify the means. The challenges and disadvantages of FSBO selling almost always outweigh the potential cost savings.
If cost is a major concern, Clever can help! Get all the benefits of a full-service agent for a fraction of the typical price. Get in touch to learn more and interview top-rated, flat-fee agents near you.
7. Can you get on the MLS without a realtor?
Technically speaking, only licensed realtors can post a listing on a local MLS. That said, if you're looking to gain MLS access without hiring a full-service agent, you can negotiate with a realtor — or hire what's known as a flat-fee MLS service — to get your home listed on the MLS for a low, flat fee.
If you're considering this route, however, remember that the MLS listing is all you get. That means every other aspect of the selling process — e.g., pricing, fielding offers, negotiating, preparing paperwork, closing, and more — will be on you.
Also, the savings aren't necessarily as great as they might seem on the surface. There are a number of additional costs you'll likely need to cover, such as staging, professional photos, legal fees, title fees, lockbox, showings, marketing, and more. And don't forget about the buyer's agent commission.
8. Do I still have to pay my realtor if my home doesn't sell?
Most of the time, the terms for expiration or termination will be outlined in the listing agreement you sign with your agent. For instance, if your home doesn't sell within a designated period of time, your agreement will expire, which means you're free to seek out a different agent. In this situation, you wouldn't have to pay any fees or commission percentage to the unsuccessful agent or broker you're parting ways with.
In rare instances, some contracts will stipulate that sellers must pay a fee or percentage to the agent regardless of whether they're able to sell the home. To that end, it's vital that you read any listing agreement over carefully, ask plenty of questions, and potentially consult with a lawyer before signing.> Learn more about listing agreements here.
When Brian and Sarah found out they were going to have a daughter, they decided it was time to sell their starter home and move to a bigger house in a better school district.
With a baby on the way, money was tight. They knew they'd need to maximize their profit margins on the sale to afford the down payment for a larger home.
Fearing the standard 6% realtor fees would gobble up their margins and derail their plans, they started researching options that would allow them to sell their home and save on commission.
After hearing about Clever Real Estate from a friend, Sarah reached out and got matched with a top-rated, local agent who listed their home for a flat, $3,000 fee.
They got their asking price in 12 days! The extra $7,000 they saved because of the flat fee allowed them to make their down payment on their new, larger home — and there was even some leftover to help with moving costs.
Sarah and Brian ended up buying their new home with Clever as well. Their agent helped them find an amazing deal on a three-bedroom home in a great school district within walking distance of stores and public transportation options.
What's more, because they bought with Clever in a participating state, they qualified for an automatic $1,000 home buyer rebate, which allowed them to buy points on their mortgage and reduce their monthly premiums.
Brian and Sarah were able to afford a larger home in an ideal area for raising a family
The flat fee helped them hold onto more of the equity they'd built in their starter home
Because they bought with Clever, they got a commission rebate, which they applied to their mortgage to reduce their monthly premiums
When Joe got a new job in a different state, he knew he'd have to sell his house fast.
Unfortunately, Joe bought his home at the peak of the real estate bubble back in 2007 and its value hadn't fully recovered yet. He was worried he might not have enough equity to pay off his mortgage and afford a new home.
As such, he knew that maximizing his profit margins on the sale was vital so that he could avoid bringing cash to the closing table. He needed all the cash he had to make his next down payment and pay for his move.
He started looking into ways to avoid typical home selling costs and fees.
Joe started reading about Clever Real Estate online and decided to give us a shot.
He set up a consultation with a top-performing agent in his neighborhood. The agent came and visited Joe at his home for a no-obligation consultation.
She prepared a comparative market analysis (CMA) and a net sheet to give Joe a good sense of his home's value, how long it would likely take to sell, and how much he could expect to walk away with after closing.
Joe decided to list with her, and it turned out to be a great decision. He got a qualified offer in 10 days and the $9,000 he saved in commission actually provided a small profit at the closing table.
Joe was able to sell his house quickly so he could move for his new job
He didn't have to bring any cash to the closing table
The profit Joe earned — thanks to the reduced commission fee — allowed him to make his down payment on his next home
Next Steps: How can Clever help me find a flat-fee agent?
Clever can connect you with top-rated, flat-fee agents nationwide!
To interview a full-service, local agent who will list and sell your home for a flat fee, give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our form below!
Remember, our referral service is 100% free and there's never any obligation to sign. Interview as many agents as you'd like until you find the perfect match.
Page Updated September 17, 2019