The Best Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers + Agents

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By Ashley Simon Updated March 20, 2024

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In recent years, the real estate industry has seen a significant shift away from true full-service flat fee real estate brokers. As a result, sellers looking to save on realtor fees are typically left with two primary options.

If you want to save on realtor fees while still working with a dedicated agent, work with a full-service discount real estate brokerage.

  • Discount realtors charge a percentage of your home's final sale price, usually between 1-2%. That's half of what traditional realtors charge, so you will save thousands of dollars.
  • You'll receive full support from your agent: including pricing guidance, assistance with negotiations, and help navigating the closing process.

If you want to pay a true flat fee and sell your house without a realtor, use a flat-fee MLS brokerage.

  • Flat-fee MLS listing services charge a true flat rate, usually around $100-$400 for a basic package.
  • You won't receive any support from a real estate agent, so you'll essentially be selling your house for sale by owner.

Where to find the best flat fee real estate brokers of 2024

Here are the best flat fee real estate brokers of 2024, broken down by type:

Best full-service discount brokers

Company
Clever Rating
Listing Fee
Customer Rating
Availability
4.8
Our rating
1.5%
5/5 (3,180 reviews)
Nationwide
Find Agents
On listwithclever.com
Great savings, but some risks
4.5
Our rating
1.5%
4.8/5 (156,106 reviews)
26 states (select markets)
Learn More
On listwithclever.com
Good agents, but limited choice
4.5
Our rating
2%
4.9/5 (7,007 reviews)
Nationwide
Learn More
On listwithclever.com
Great savings, but less support
4.0
Our rating
1%
4.2/5 (51 reviews)
FL, MD, PA, NJ , VA
Learn More
On listwithclever.com
Best for buyers in high-end markets
4.0
Our rating
1.5%
5/5 (602 reviews)
CA, CO, CT, FL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, PA, TX, VA, WA
Learn More
On listwithclever.com

Best flat fee MLS listing services

Company
Clever Rating
Listing Fee
Customer Rating
Availability
Easy listing process
4.5
Our rating
$299–399
4.7/5 (60 reviews)
Nationwide (except ND)
Learn More
On listwithclever.com
Cost savings
4.0
Our rating
$99 to $599 upfront + 1% at closing
4.6/5 (587 reviews)
AL, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, MN, NC, SC, TX
Learn More
On listwithclever.com
Best value for most sellers
3.5
Our rating
$399 upfront + 0.1% at closing
4.9/5 (537 reviews)
Nationwide (except ND and WY)
Learn More
homezu.com
User-friendly platform
4.5
Our rating
$0 to $599 upfront + 0.5% at closing
4.5/5 (111 reviews)
Nationwide (except SD)
Learn More
On unrealestate.com
Additional marketing tools
4.0
Our rating
$95+
4.8/5 (112 reviews)
AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OR, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI
Learn More
On listwithclever.com

What are flat fee real estate brokers?

Flat fee brokers are companies or real estate agents that sell your house for a fixed fee. Traditional real estate agents charge a 2.5–3% commission, so the fee increases and decreases with the sale price.

Nowadays, there are very few true flat fee real estate brokers. Homie Real Estate, Help-U-Sell, and Assist-2-Sell are the only national real estate brokerages that charge a flat fee, and even many of their franchise locations have moved to a percentage-based model.

Flat-fee MLS listing services are often confused for flat fee real estate brokers. These companies charge a low fee, usually around $100-$400. But this price doesn't include support from a real estate professional.

Some flat-fee MLS companies do offer premium packages where you get a bit more support from an agent. But these usually come with high fees and can exceed the cost of working with a discount realtor.

How do flat fee brokerages work?

Flat fee realtors deliver some or all of the same services as a traditional real estate broker — but for a flat rate instead of a percentage of the final sale price.

Actual pricing models vary by company. Some, for example, charge a flat rate based on how much your house sells for. Others charge a mix of a flat rate plus percentage, depending on the services you order.

The biggest differences are between flat fee MLS listing companies (which offer limited services) and full service discount real estate brokers (which are similar to traditional realtors).

Flat fee MLS listing companies

Flat fee MLS companies will get your home onto the multiple listing service (MLS), a directory of homes for sale. The MLS is how buyers’ agents find homes to show their clients, and its listings are automatically reposted to websites like Realtor.com and Zillow.

Only licensed agents can post to the MLS, so you’ll need a flat fee MLS service to get on it without a realtor. Flat fee companies typically provide a few extra services and products, such as yard signs and lock boxes, usually for an additional fee.

Even with additional services, you’ll largely be acting as your own real estate agent. While flat fee MLS companies may save you money up front, homes sold without a realtor sell for a lot less on average. The difference in sale price usually negates any potential savings.

Cost

For just an MLS listing and little else, the cost is usually a few hundred dollars, though some plans go for as low as $100. Plans with lots of additional services can exceed $1,000.

Full-service discount brokers

Full-service discount brokers offer the same real estate services as traditional realtors, but they charge a flat rate instead of a percentage-based commission. The best discount real estate brokers, like Clever Real Estate and Redfin, provide all the same services as traditional agents.

Cost

Full-service discount realtors typically charge a reduced listing fee around 1-2% (compared to the traditional listing fee of 2.83%).

In the past, some discount real estate brokers charged a flat fee anywhere from $3,000-$8,000. But today, most discount brokerages follow the percentage-based model.

While discount realtors are pricier than flat rate MLS companies, they're also less risky. You’ll have an agent on your side, so your home is more likely to sell for market value.

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Pros and cons of flat fee brokers

Pros of flat fee brokers

You save money on commission

A flat fee agent usually costs less than hiring a full-service real estate agent. On a $400,000 home sale, for example:

  • Traditional listing agents charge 2.5–3%, which amounts to $10,000–12,000.
  • Full-service discount brokers can charge 1–2%, around $4,000–8,000.
  • Flat rate MLS listing services can charge just a few hundred dollars.

So you'll save money on real estate commission, though you’ll need to take your home’s potential sale price into consideration.

You’ll get the best savings if you’re selling a high value home. For example, a $5,000 flat rate on a $1 million sale represents just a 0.5% commission. However, on a $100,000 sale, that $5,000 fee equals a 5% commission.

You pay only for the services you need

Flat fee brokers, especially flat rate MLS services, are usually flexible about the real estate services they offer. If you need fewer services, you can choose a cheaper, no-frills plan. Or you can simply pick and choose the services you need and do away with the ones you don’t.

Tailoring your plan helps save your money for what matters most. For example, you may feel comfortable with pricing and marketing your home, but want help with negotiations. In that case, you can choose a package that includes negotiation assistance.

With a full-service flat fee realtor, being able to choose your own real estate agent is a major perk. Clever Real Estate, for example, lets you compare multiple agents so that you can see for yourself which one offers the services you’re looking for and who feels like the best fit for your sale.

You control the sales process

Flat-rate MLS services in particular are geared toward experienced sellers who prefer to handle most of the sales process themselves.

By using a flat fee MLS listing service, you’ll be able to set your asking price, your marketing strategy should be, and schedule for showings. You’ll also be able to negotiate directly with buyers and their agents instead of going through your listing agent.

Cons of flat fee brokers

You may make less money on your sale

If you use a flat fee MLS company, you risk selling for a lot less than you would with a real estate agent. Homes sold without real estate agents sell for much less than those sold without one. The lower sale price could more than wipe out any savings you’d otherwise get by paying a low flat rate.

Listing agents are experienced negotiators and know what buyers are paying for homes like yours. They can use that knowledge to push for a fair price. Also, a buyer's agent may try to avoid working with sellers who don’t have a real estate agent, fearing that it’ll be more work for them. The result is that there is less competition for your house, making it harder to get a higher sale price.

Some companies offer poor service

Many flat fee realtors offer excellent service that’s comparable to traditional brokerages. Many others have reputations for cutting corners and offering poor service quality.

Some companies, for example, take on more clients than they can handle. The result is that your flat fee realtor may be swamped with work and difficult to reach.

Other companies, such as Houzeo, assign different team members to handle different steps of your transaction. That increases the chances of miscommunication and mistakes.

Not all flat fee realtors sacrifice service! Clever Real Estate’s partner agents are top performers from name-brand brokerages, such as Keller Williams and Century 21. Because Clever pre-negotiates discounted listing fees with agents, you get a dedicated full-service realtor without paying traditional rates.

You’ll be largely on your own

While a DIY sale is enticing for some, the amount of work can be too much for many people. If you’re using a flat rate MLS company, you’ll largely be acting as your own realtor. The process can quickly become a full-time job.

Realtors are responsible for marketing, pricing, showings, negotiating with buyers, closing, paperwork, and more. Unless you already have a lot of experience with selling homes, the process can be intimidating and there are many opportunities for things to go wrong.

For most people, selling a house without a realtor is just too time consuming — plus it entails a heightened risk of legal problems or of selling for less. Having a full-service real estate agent is often worth the investment in the long run.

What is a reasonable realtor fee?

The listing fee for a traditional realtor is around 2.5–3% of the final sale price of a home, which equals about $10,000 to $12,000 on a $400,000 sale. Combined with the buyer’s agent fee of another 2.5–3% — which comes out of the proceeds of the sale — total realtor commission is around 5–6%.

Flat rate options, by contrast, can range from just a couple hundred dollars for an MLS listing to around $8,000 or more for a full-service broker.

Keep in mind that even with a flat fee agent, you’ll still have to offer a buyer’s agent commission, typically 2.5–3% of the final sale price of your home.

How to choose a flat fee broker

To choose a flat fee broker, determine what level of service you need. If you're an experienced home seller and don't need much help, then a flat fee MLS company like ISoldMyHouse or HomeCoin could be a good option.

Generally, a basic flat fee MLS package is good value when it includes these services:

  • 6–12 month MLS listing
  • 25+ photos
  • Unlimited listing changes
  • Buyer and agent lead forwarding
  • Free cancellation
  • Optional add-ons like a lockbox, showing management, and contract review

If you need more help with the selling process, look for a full-service low commission realtor. They provide these services:

  • Pre-listing consultation
  • Comparative market analysis and pricing recommendation
  • Professional photography
  • MLS listing, including a comprehensive property description
  • Marketing plan
  • Showing and open house management
  • Assistance vetting offers and buyer financing
  • Coordination of home inspections, appraisals, and title requirements
  • Support with negotiations and closing paperwork

You can find discount realtors at local as well as national brands. Sometimes local brokerages can provide more personal service and on-the-ground knowledge of what buyers want.

Also consider contacting traditional realtors who don’t advertise flat rates. Some agents are willing to work for a flat rate, especially if the house is high value or relatively easy to sell.

Regardless of where you source potential agents, make sure you interview several of them. Interviews are an opportunity to find out an agent's selling process and whether their experience and personality are a good match for you.

Calculate your effective rate to find the best savings

Whatever brand you choose, check to make sure you’re getting the best possible savings at your home’s price point. To do this you’ll need to calculate your effective real estate commission rate — your listing fee represented as a percentage of your home's sale price — and compare the flat fee to the percentage-based listing fee you could get elsewhere.

For example, if you pay a $5,000 flat rate to your realtor, your effective rate at different sale prices looks like this:

Sale price Flat $5,000 listing fee Effective rate
$100,000 $5,000 5%
$300,000 $5,000 2%
$500,000 $5,000 1%
$700,000 $5,000 0.71%
$900,000 $5,000 0.55%
Show more

In the above example, a $5,000 flat rate is a great deal if you’re selling above $500,000. However, below that you’ll pay more than 1% to your realtor. In that case, given that there are discount real estate brokers that offer fees as low as 1.5%, you'll usually save more if you go with one of them.

You can calculate your own effective rate by entering your desired sale price and a hypothetical flat fee below:

Watch out for hidden fees and misleading claims

Some flat fee companies are notorious for making misleading marketing claims and charging hidden fees. These are the two most common issues we’ve spotted:

1. Hidden fees for listing changes

Keep an eye out for hidden fees and extra charges when comparing flat-fee realtors and brokers.

For example, some flat fee MLS services charge more than $20 for each listing modification — meaning even a few changes could lose you hundreds of dollars.

Look for a flat fee realtor that lets you make free changes. Or work with a full-service real estate agent, who will typically handle changes to your MLS listing at no extra charge.

2. The claim that you'll pay no commission if the buyer doesn’t have an agent

Flat fee brokers often claim that you can set your own buyer’s agent commission or that you can even avoid paying realtor commission entirely if the buyer doesn’t have an agent. While technically true, the claim is misleading.

For one, sellers are always free to set whatever buyer’s agent commission they want, regardless of whether they have an agent or work with a flat-fee broker. But that doesn’t mean they should.

The standard buyer's agent commission is generally 2.5–3%. If you offer less than that, buyer’s agents will have little incentive to show your house to their clients since they won’t be getting paid much (if anything). And if prospective buyers aren’t seeing your house, it probably won’t sell very quickly.

Secondly, while you could avoid paying commission if your buyer doesn’t have an agent, the fact is that almost all buyers DO have agents. Trying to get out of offering a buyer's agent commission means your home could be listed for an extremely long time before it gets any offers — if it gets any offers at all.

Bottom line: Should you use a flat fee real estate broker?

Flat fee brokers can be an effective way of saving money on your next home sale. But you need to consider how much of the sale you want to handle yourself and how much your home is likely to sell for. Flat rate options make the most sense for experienced sellers or high-value homes.

If you want to do most of the work of selling a house without a realtor, a flat fee MLS option will save you the most money. But the risks are high and you could end up selling your house for way less than you would with a realtor.

The better option for most sellers is a full-service discount real estate broker like Clever. You still get a steep discount on your realtor commission, but you also get help from a top full-service agent in your area.

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Methodology

The Clever Team filtered and ranked the top low commission real estate brokerages based on the following criteria: 

  1. Service level: We only ranked full-service discount real estate brokerages, since they're the best option for most home sellers. These brokerages deliver the same essential services a traditional realtor provides, including in-person representation, showing assistance, and closing support.
  2. Pricing: We reviewed the fee structures of each company, cross-referencing current commission rates and home values to determine what companies offer the best overall value. We also identified hidden fees, high minimums, and up-front fees that could detract from overall seller savings.
  3. Customer reviews: Verifiable customer reviews were integral to our evaluation. We considered various factors, including the total volume of reviews, average customer ratings, key positive and negative themes, and the relevance of these reviews to prospective customers making decisions today.
  4. Sales activity: We examined available data regarding past transactions to gauge sales performance and activity levels in the market. We looked at the number of transactions and their recency to confirm each brokerage was still active. 
✍️ Editor’s note: We don’t disqualify a company based on limited or missing data, but we do lower the company’s overall ranking. We base our rankings on objective measurements and continuously strive to source missing data in order to update our rankings.

🔬 Our research process

Clever has helped thousands of home sellers find great low commission real estate agents and save on realtor fees. Our Editorial Team also spends hundreds of hours each year researching other discount brands and crafting in-depth reviews to help home sellers compare their options and find the right fit for their needs and price range, whether that's Clever or another service.

Our rigorous research process involves reading thousands of customer reviews, mystery shopping local offices to fact-check marketing claims and uncover details not listed on the company's website, and updating our rankings regularly to ensure we give consumers the best — and most accurate — information about low cost real estate agents available on the web.

Our primary goal is to empower you to make smarter real estate decisions, achieve your goals, and, ideally, save some money while you're at it. To that end, we strive to deliver highly objective, helpful guides that offer practical advice to sellers with different experience levels and with homes in different locations and price ranges.

Selling a house is one of the biggest financial transactions you'll ever make. We want to provide you with the information you need to have the best possible outcome, even if that means you ultimately choose to work with one of Clever's competitors.

Learn more about Clever's editorial policy.

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