A flat-fee real estate agent or brokerage will list and sell your home for a predetermined, fixed-rate instead of the traditional model where the listing realtor takes 2-3% of the final sale price.
One important distinction among flat-fee brokers is whether they offer full or limited service to their clients:
- Full-service, flat-fee agents: These are agents that typically charge a standard commission, but offer discounted rates to sellers who often are connected through an agent referral network, like Clever Real Estate.
- Limited-service, flat-fee agents: These brokers provide a-la-carte services and support, such as MLS listing, home valuations, and help negotiating with buyers. The price of working with these agents will go up or down depending on the service level you opt for.
With a full-service, flat-fee agent you get all of the amenities associated with working with a traditional realtor, which includes help with all aspects of your home's sale, while paying a fraction of the cost.
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What is flat-fee real estate?
Simply put, flat-fee real estate agents charge a set fee instead of a percentage-based commission. If you are selling a home, listing with a flat-fee realtor can result in significant savings.
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. With a flat-fee agent, you still have to pay a buyer's agent commission of around 3%, but instead of paying another 3% to your agent, you pay them a flat-fee — typically a few thousand dollars.
How real estate commissions work:
- Listing with a traditional realtor: 3% for buyers agent + 3% for listing agent
- Listing with a flat-fee realtor: 3% for buyers agent + flat-fee for listing agent
Example is based on a typical 6% realtor commission rate
Flat-fee agents can deliver the same level of service as traditional realtors, however, you should make sure you know exactly what your agent is offering before you agree to list your home with them.
Some flat-fee brokers will only offer limited services, such as MLS listings, while others handle every part of the home selling process — these agents are known as flat-fee, full-service realtors.
Why do agents agree to work for a flat-fee?
Real estate brokers are willing to work for a flat-fee because they can save the time and money they would typically spend generating new business for themselves.
A lot of flat-fee realtors partner with real estate referral services, where they offer their services for a set rate in exchange for being connected with home sellers near them. By doing this they can increase their overall sales volume, without having to spend the time and effort that is often associated with finding new clients.
The marketing expenses associated with finding new clients make up roughly 70% of most realtors' operational costs. Additionally, they avoid the time spent trying to drum up business for themselves, and can focus all of their energy on the only thing that actually makes them money: closing deals.
How are flat-fee agents different from traditional realtors?
With flat-fee and traditional agents that offer full service — meaning they handle every part of the home selling process — the only difference is the cost. Most home sellers can save a lot of money by choosing a flat-fee real estate agent over a traditional agent.
For example, if you are selling a house for $200,000, you could save as much as 25% on the total cost of realtor commissions by choosing a flat-fee agent instead of a realtor that charges a commission-based percentage. Another way to look at it is that you save 50% on listing agent commission fees.
|Category||Flat-fee agent||Typical 3% listing fee agent|
|Home sale price||$200,000||$200,000|
|Listing agent commission||$3,000 (flat fee)||$6,000 (3% of sale price)|
|Buyer's agent commission||$6,000 (3% of sale price)||$6,000 (3% of sale price)|
|Total commission cost||$9,000||$12,000|
Flat-fee agents aren't the only way to reduce commission fees when selling your house, as realtors can choose to lower their rates for certain sellers.
In other words, commission fees are not set in stone — you can typically negotiate with full-service listing agents to bring down their commission percentage below than the typical 3%.
Find a flat-fee realtor
Clever can match you with a top-rated, flat-fee listing agent in your area — helping you sell your home for top dollar while saving thousands on commission fees.
How Clever Works
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.
Clever has helped thousands of home sellers find the right agent and save big on commission. See what our customers have to say about their experience working with us.
Flat-fee real estate brokers vs flat-fee MLS listings
Some realtors offer flat-fee MLS listing services to homeowners looking to list their home for sale by owner (FSBO) to save on commission costs. Generally, these brokers are known as limited-service realtors.
- Flat-Fee MLS Listing: These companies will list your home on the MLS (which only licensed agents can access) for a flat, upfront fee. This ensures that local buyers see your home, however, there is often no additional support.
- 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.
FLAT-FEE, MLS ONLY
|Listing on local MLSs||Listing on local MLS|
|Listing posted on Zillow, Trulia and other listing sites||Listing posted on Zillow, Trulia and other listing sites|
|No additional services||Professional HD photography and comprehensive marketing|
|Comparative market analysis to determine the right listing price|
|Open houses and showings|
|Yard sign and lockbox|
|Negotiating for the best offer|
|Handling paperwork through closing|
FAQs about Flat-Fee Real Estate
Can realtors lower their commission?
Yes. Real estate fees are negotiable and it is a good idea to ask your agent if they are willing to lower their commission. They are not obligated to do so, but may choose to lower their commission if you are selling a high-value house, you agree to buy a home with them after they sell your house, or you are listing your home in the off-peak season.
What is a typical realtor fee?
The typical realtor fee when you sell your home is 6% — 3% for the listing agent and 3% for the buyer’s agent. However, commission rates can vary by region. Make sure you do some research on the average realtor commission rate near you.
Do realtors avoid flat-fee listings?
No. As long as a competitive buyers agent commission of 2-3% is being offered, there is no reason a realtor representing a potential buyer would avoid a flat fee listing — they make the same amount whether it is a flat-fee or full-commission listing.
Are flat-fee realtors good?
Just like traditional realtors, there are good and bad flat-fee realtors. The best advice is to thoroughly vet multiple agents, before making your decision.
Additionally, there are referral services, like Clever Real Estate, that only work with experienced agents with positive reviews that can help ensure you find the best realtor for you.