At a Glance
Real estate agents usually aren't paid a base salary. Instead, the vast majority work on commission, i.e., a set percentage of the final price of the home being sold.
Nationwide, the average real estate commission rate is approximately 6%.
This fee is typically paid by the seller and split evenly between the listing and buyer's agents involved in the transaction.
When you work with a low commission agent, you'll pay a fraction of that price — sometimes as much as 50% less.
What Is a Low Commission Real Estate Agent?
A low commission real estate agent will list and sell your home for a reduced rate, saving you up to half of the 6% fee agents typically charge in a real estate transaction.
If you're looking for a low commission or discount real estate agent, there are a few different options to choose from:
- Low commission brokerages who only do discount listings
- Low commission agents who only list your house on the MLS and offer no additional services
- Agents who run a traditional business but will also take a low commission listing if it's referred by Clever
When you work with a Clever Partner Agent, you get the best of both worlds: full service and support from a top-rated agent for a significantly reduced commission fee.
Our Partner Agents are all full-service realtors who have been identified as top performers in their local markets. The only difference is that they've agreed to offer their services to our clients for a fraction of their typical rate.
Here's how Clever stacks up against other low commission agents:
As you can see, unlike other discount realtors, Clever Partner Agents offer full listing services and support for a flat fee of $3,000 — or just 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.
Want to learn more? Fill out the form below or call us directly (1-833-2-CLEVER) for more information and next steps.
How Are Low Commission Agents Different from Traditional Realtors
It all depends on which type of low commission agent you choose to work with.
When you work with a traditional real estate agent, you can expect to receive a comprehensive array of services and support in exchange for your full commission fee.
That means help with pricing and marketing, home staging, professional photos, negotiating, closing, and more.
In contrast, many discount and flat-fee brokerages will significantly limit the scope of their services and support to offset their reduced rates.
Clever offers home sellers the best of both worlds: access to top-rated, local real estate agents who have agreed to provide full listing services for a fraction of the typical cost.
Here's how listing with Clever saves you thousands:
To put this all in perspective, let's say you sold your home for $400,000 with a traditional listing agent — you'd end up paying approximately $24,000 in commission.
By selling the same home with a Clever Partner Agent, you'd get the exact same level of service and support, but you'd walk away with an additional $8,000 in savings!
Are Realtor Fees Negotiable?
In a word, yes.
The idea that realtor commission rates are set in stone is a common misconception among home sellers and buyers. The reality is that in a real estate transaction, everything is negotiable, including your agent's fee.
That said, it is true that in most markets, traditional agents end up charging a similar fee for their services — approximately 6%, split between the listing and buyer's agents involved in the sale.
Your ability to negotiate your commission rate down will likely depend on two key factors: the temperature of your local market and the quality of the property you're trying to sell.
But even if you're selling a great property in a highly desirable neighborhood, you're still probably going to have a hard time talking a prospective agent down from their standard rate. After all, they know what their services are worth and they have a bottom line to look out for.
However, the bigger question is: should you talk them down?
Chances are that if you negotiate a reduced rate with a traditional agent yourself, you're going to sacrifice something in return: communication and responsiveness, specific listing services, advertising spend, etc.
The good news is that this doesn't have to be your problem!
When you list with Clever, we negotiate a reduced commission fee for you — all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the savings.
Top Tips for Negotiating Realtor Commission Fees
1. Do your homework in advance
Before initiating the conversation, you should do some preliminary research. Look at recent sale prices for similar homes in your area, evaluate whether you're in a buyer's or seller's market — this will give you a good indication of how much bargaining power you have going in.
2. Consider your specific needs
Be upfront about what services you value — and which ones you don't. When haggling on price, you may have to sacrifice certain services or types of support. Maybe you want to try handling the showings and open houses yourself, or you're a professional photographer and don't need assistance on that front.
That said, keep in mind that some agents may not want to sign a listing agreement if they're not in the driver's seat. They're the experts and may not want you jeopardizing their ability to maximize their profit on the sale.
3. Get help from a trustworthy real estate referral company
Oftentimes, it's a whole lot easier to let someone else negotiate on your behalf. When you work with Clever, you'll get teamed up with a full-service agent who has already agreed to list and sell your home for a fraction of their typical rate.
Think of it like the “Groupon Model” for real estate agents. When you approach an agent on your own, they're probably not going to be very open to negotiating rates. In contrast, when they work with Clever, they're getting a much higher volume of new business without having to invest any time or money up front.
They're willing to negotiate with us because of the higher volume and the increase in exposure that brings. When agents accept Clever listings, they get more signs in yards, more satisfied customers, and higher sales numbers. More visibility and a better reputation helps them grow their business and get more referrals for traditional, full-commission clients.
How Does Clever Work?
Clever has a nationwide network of top-rated, full-service real estate agents, all of whom represent major brands and/or regional brokerages (Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX, and more).
Our Partner Agents run traditional, full-commission real estate businesses, but have agreed to offer a significant discount to any home seller who connects with them through Clever's referral program.
Importantly, when you work with a Clever Partner Agent, you will get the exact same experience as any of their traditional, full-commission clients — and that includes the use of their branding on listings and the “for sale” sign in your yard.
In other words, unlike when you work with other discount brokerages, prospective buyers will have no idea that you saved thousands on your listing commission. That helps you avoid lowball offers and hard-line negotiations from potential buyers
When you list with a Clever Partner Agent, you'll get all of the expert guidance, support, and exposure needed to sell your home quickly, and for top dollar.
Schedule a no-obligation consultation with a full-service, low commission agent near you!
What Services Do Clever Partner Agents Provide?
Our Partner Agents work for low commissions, but you can still expect to receive comprehensive, end-to-end real estate services and support.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Comparative Market Analysis
- Expert Pricing Guidance
- Home-Staging Tips
- Professional Photos
- Sign in Yard
- Marketing Services & Support
- Listing on the MLS, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and hundreds of other sites
- Negotiation & Counteroffer Support
- Home Inspection Coordination & Support
- Title Transfer Support
- Closing Services
- Ongoing Expert Guidance & Support Throughout the Home Selling Process
If it sounds like we're describing a full-service listing agent, that's because we are!
Clever Partner Agents provide the exact same level of services and support as traditional realtors — the only difference is that you'll save as much as 50% on commission.
Got questions? We've got answers! Get in touch to learn more and connect with one of our top-rated Partner Agents in your area.
Why Do Real Estate Agents Partner With Clever?
Real estate agents typically have to sink a ton of their time and resources into acquiring new business for themselves. Of course, they don't get paid when they sign new customers — they get paid when they sell homes.
When agents work with Clever, they get a steady stream of new clients, meaning they can spend less time selling themselves and more closing deals.
In effect, they're able to generate more revenue with less effort — and those savings get passed on to you in the form of a reduced commission rate.
Working with Clever supplements their traditional business, generates new connections, and increases awareness of their personal brand around town.
Our Partner Agents know that if they fail to provide our buyers and sellers with the best possible service and results, we'll stop sending them referrals — and they'll likely damage their professional reputations.
In other words, expect to receive the same treatment and care they'd extend to any of their traditional clients.
Top FAQs About Low Commission Real Estate Agents
1. Is there a fee for using Clever to find a low commission agent?
No. Clever's referral service is 100% free to home sellers. What's more, you only pay your reduced commission fee if and when your home sells. If your Clever listing doesn't work out, you don't pay a dime.
2. What's the average commissions savings with Clever?
As of 2019, sellers who listed with Clever saved an average of $10,000 per transaction — that's compared to what they would've paid selling the same home with a full-commission realtor.
3. Does Clever have low commission real estate agents in my area?
Clever partners with thousands of top-rated, low commission real estate agents all across the United States. Get in touch to find and connect with Partner Agents in your area. We'll connect you with a local, 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 real estate company charges the lowest commission?
When it comes to selling a home and saving, there are plenty of options to choose from: discount brokers, flat fee MLS services, limited service real estate agents, low commission agents — all can help you sell your home in one way or another for less than the typical 6% commission rate.
That said, you shouldn't be looking for the real estate company that charges the lowest commission; instead, look for the company that offers the most value. Many low commission real estate companies will offer limited services in exchange for the savings. Before you sign a listing agreement, make sure you know exactly what you're paying for.
5. What if I already have an agent?
When you sign a listing agreement with an agent, the terms around termination will be specific to your contract. It's always a good idea to discuss these terms before you sign. Some agents or brokers will allow terms or conditions for ending the contract early — some won't.
Some contracts will require sellers to pay former listing agents a partial commission for services previously rendered, even if you close with another agent. Others will allow you to terminate if certain terms or conditions are not met in a specified period of time.
6. How do I list on the MLS without an agent?
Generally speaking, homeowners who want to sell their homes for sale by owner (FSBO) cannot get their listings on the MLS themselves. They can, however, negotiate with a realtor — or work with a flat fee MLS service — to get their homes listed on the MLS for a single, flat fee.
Of course, when you negotiate a deal like this with a realtor or work with a flat fee MLS service, the listing is all you'll get. What's more, you'll still need to pay the buyer's agent commission and for any legal support needed with the contracts and closing.
7. Why do real estate agents charge so much?
There's a reason approximately 91% of home sellers choose to work with a realtor — simply put, selling a home is a complex, high-stakes process. Real estate agent fees are what they are not because of how long it can take to sell a house, but how much time, effort, and expertise is required to do it right.
Realtors study and pay to get their licenses; they have advertising and marketing costs to cover; they work long hours and are constantly on the move, showing homes, fielding offers, negotiating, and filling out paperwork. What's more, many agents have to pay dues, insurance, and even split their commission checks with their broker.
That's where Clever comes in: Clever helps agents acquire new business opportunities without any upfront cost or effort, representing a massive reduction in their overhead. Those savings can then be passed along to you, the home seller, in the form of a reduced commission fee at closing.
8. Does the buyer pay realtor fees?
Typically, the home seller is responsible for the realtor fees in a real estate transaction. While there's sometimes room for negotiation, that usually amounts to 6% of the final sale price, which is split more or less down the middle between the listing and buyer's agents involved in the sale.
That said, many sellers will try to account for and bake these commission fees into the listing price of their homes. Of course, this strategy can backfire — if you set too high a listing price for your home or the current market conditions, you may have trouble getting an offer.
9. Do you have to pay a realtor if the house doesn't sell?
Most listing agreements will stipulate terms for expiration or termination. For example, if the home doesn't sell within a specified window of time, the agreement will expire and you'll be free to seek out new representation. In this situation, no fee or commission would be due to the previous broker or agent.
In rare cases, contracts will require sellers to pay a fee for services rendered by the agent regardless of whether they end up selling your home or not. As such, it's always important to read listing agreements over carefully and ask plenty of questions before signing.
John and Mary found out they were having a baby. They decided it was time to sell their current home and move into a larger one with more space for their growing family.
With a baby on the way, money was tight. John and Mary knew they'd need to maximize the profits from the sale in order to afford the down payment on their next home.
They started looking for a top real estate agent in their area, but they found themselves in a bind: there was no way could pay a full 6% commission and still afford a larger home in the neighborhood they wanted.
John and Mary found out about Clever Real Estate, who teamed them up with a top-rated, local Coldwell Banker agent who listed their home for a lower commission than normal.
Their home sold quickly and the extra $6,000 they saved on commission helped them afford the down payment on their new home.
Their real estate agent also gave them a small commission rebate, allowing them to buy points on their mortgage. When all was said and done, they even had some money left over to furnish their baby's new room.
- John and Mary's Clever Partner Agent helped them find qualified buyers quickly and get an offer for their asking price
- They avoided high commission fees and got a commission rebate on their new home
- John and Mary were able to buy a larger house in a better school district to raise their growing family
Joe bought a condo at the peak of the real estate bubble back in 2007. When he got a new job in a different state, he knew he'd have to sell his home fast, but was worried it was still worth less than he initially paid for it.
Joe knew that he'd need cash to cover his next down payment, his move, and some minor renovations on his new home. As such, he needed to maximize the profits on his condo sale in order to cover his selling costs and avoid bringing cash to the closing table.
Joe was worried that paying a full 6% commission could be the difference between selling his home for a profit and having to dip into his cash savings to cover his closing costs. With his slim margins in mind, Joe began searching for low-cost ways to sell his home.
After evaluating a number of different flat fee and discount real estate services, Joe discovered Clever Real Estate and decided to give us a call. Joe connected with a top-rated, local real estate agent from RE/MAX who listed his condo for a low, flat fee.
Joe's agent provided the full service and support needed to market his condo properly. She brought in a professional photographer, put his listing on the MLS and hundreds of other real estate sites, and ran ads on social media targeting local buyers.
Her efforts attracted tons of qualified, prospective buyers in the first week. She helped Joe choose the best offer and negotiate favorable terms on the sale.
Not only did Joe get his asking price quickly and painlessly — the $9,000 he saved in commission enabled him to cover his closing costs and walk away with a small profit on the sale.
- Joe was able to sell his property quickly and for a good price
- He didn't have to bring cash to the closing table
- His profit on the sale enabled him to cover his down payment, moving, and some of the renovation costs for his new home
Next Steps: Find a Low Commission Agent In Your Area
Clever has top-rated, local Partner Agents nationwide!
To get connected with a top-rated agent in your area who will list and sell your home for a low commission, fill out the form below, or give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER.
Full service. Flat fee. Now that's Clever.
Page Updated June 20, 2019.