Paying a 3% commission to your realtor has long been an industry standard when selling a home. But these days, you should probably consider other options before signing with a 3% listing agent.
Some real estate companies offer lower commission rates. These companies are a result of new technology and growing competition in the real estate industry.
The top companies provide the same level of service as the best traditional brokerages — but for a lot less.
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How does real estate commission work?
In a typical real estate transaction, a seller pays 5–6% of their home's sale price in realtor commissions. The total commission covers two fees: the listing agent's commission and the buyer's agent fee.
- The listing agent gets 2.5–3% for pricing, marketing, and selling the home.
- The buyer's agent gets 2.5–3% for bringing their client to buy the home.
While 2.5–3% for each real estate agent is typical, realtor fees are negotiable and vary by location, brokerage, and level of service.
Before signing a listing agreement with an agent, you should discuss their listing commission and how much they recommend offering a buyer's agent.
Why do realtors charge a 3% commission?
The traditional 3% commission model came from the need to:
- Relieve up-front costs for home sellers
- Reward agents for taking on risk
This model lets sellers pay their agent after the house sells. And the 3% commission is enough to incentivize realtors to invest in marketing the seller's home, despite having no guarantee of payment.
However, average commission rates have always fluctuated. And with technology and innovation that make selling a home more efficient, paying a 3% listing fee no longer makes sense for most sellers.
For example, Clever Real Estate pre-negotiates 1.5% listing fees with agents from well-known brokerages like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. When you find your agent through Clever, you get a top realtor's experience, service, and support while paying half the standard commission rate.
The "standard" 6% commission predates the internet, when realtors had to work harder to find clients and potential buyers.
At Clever, we connect top-rated real estate agents with sellers like you at zero upfront cost to the agents — so they’re willing to pass savings along to you.
You get full service for a pre-negotiated low listing fee (1.5% instead of the typical 3% rate), which can save you tens of thousands at the closing table.
Consider your options before choosing a 3% commission realtor
Most home sellers can avoid paying a 3% listing commission by working with a low-commission real estate broker.
The best companies charge listing fees as low as 1.5% — but still provide the same services as traditional realtors. Many also offer cash-back incentives when you buy your next home.
To save on the typical 3% real estate commission without compromising value, consider the following top companies.
How to save on realtor fees: Top companies to choose from
|Company||Clever Rating||Listing Fee||Availability|
1.5% (min. $3,000)
1.5% (min. fee varies)
Nationwide (select markets)
2% (min. $3,000)
1% (min. fee varies)
AL, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, KY, LA, MS, MO, NC, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WA
Clever Real EstateLearn More
Clever Real Estate is the best option for most sellers who are looking for a low commission realtor. Clever matches you with multiple full-service agents from local brokerages, including top brands like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. You can interview as many agents as you’d like until you find the right fit, or you can walk away at any time. If you choose a Clever agent, you’ll pay a low 1.5% listing fee.
- You get matched with top-producing local agents in minutes.
- You get a 1.5% listing fee (half the usual rate) no matter which real estate agent you choose.
- Clever’s agent matching service is free, with no obligation to commit to any realtor.
- Clever's network of 19,000 agents offers great selection compared to similar services like Ideal Agent and UpNest.
- There’s no guarantee you’ll get matched with a specific local agent or brokerage.
- Add-ons like professional home staging and drone photography may cost extra (agents will let you know exactly what’s included during listing presentations).
Clever Real Estate offers a lower commission without sacrificing quality. Through its free service, you can find top-rated agents in your area and sell for just a 1.5% listing fee (much lower than the average realtor commission rate).
How it works: You take a short online quiz (five questions) to help Clever understand your situation and preferences. Then Clever matches you with vetted agents in your market who are a good fit. If you don’t like the agents Clever recommends, you can request more matches until you find the right fit — or simply walk away.
Why it’s great: You can use Clever to compare top-producing local realtors from major brands like Compass, Century 21, and Coldwell Banker. Each realtor in Clever’s network has agreed to offer lower commission rates, which lets you focus on choosing the best agent instead of worrying about the price. You get the same savings no matter what.
Clever is available nationwide.
Redfin’s 1.5% listing fee is much lower than the traditional 2.5–3% rate, so the company can save you a lot of money when selling. If you also buy with Redfin, you could save even more. But its service model comes with risks.
Redfin agents handle a lot of clients, and they don’t always have time to provide as much hands-on service as you may need. At different stages of your sale, you’ll be handed off to another member of the Redfin team. This service model creates opportunities for errors and miscommunication.
Also watch out for minimum fees, which vary by market and can be high in some areas.
- Redfin's low listing fee of 1.5% offers excellent savings.
- Clients who buy and sell with Redfin can save even more.
- You can easily manage your listing online or via Redfin’s app.
- Agents provide limited one-on-one service.
- Customer reviews have recently become more negative.
Redfin is a discount real estate brokerage that offers a listing fee of 1.5% — about half of what realtors traditionally charge. If you buy and sell with Redfin, you can get a 0.5% rebate, bringing your listing fee down to 1%.
The company can offer these savings because of its team-based service model. Various members of the Redfin team handle different stages of the transaction, which allows agents to take on a high volume of clients. With this model, Redfin agents tend to provide less one-on-one service than traditional realtors.
Redfin is one of the largest brokers in the country, operating in 100 major cities across the US and Canada. But it has almost no coverage outside of large cities.
Redfin is available in major cities in most states, except ME, MT, ND, SD, VT, WV, and WY.
Ideal AgentLearn More
Ideal Agent is a solid option if you’re looking for a top agent. The company vets its realtors thoroughly, so you’ll likely get a quality agent.
However, you might not get to choose who you work with, since Ideal Agent usually has only one or two realtors in a given area. Even if you get a top-performing agent, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be the right fit for your sale.
Ideal Agent’s listing fee of 2% is a bit lower than the traditional rate. But if you want to save money, other brokerages offer even lower fees while still maintaining high-quality agents and service.
- Agents are vetted and meet strict performance criteria.
- The 2% listing fee is lower than the traditional rate.
- Customer service gets excellent reviews.
- You likely won't get to choose which agent you work with.
- There are no savings for buyers and limited savings for sellers.
- There's limited ability to manage your listing online.
Ideal Agent is a real estate company that matches buyers and sellers with real estate agents.
Compared to similar companies, Ideal Agent has some of the strictest performance criteria for the agents it lets into its network. This vetting process means you're more likely to be matched with a top agent, although it also means there are fewer agents overall to choose from.
The company also offers a discounted listing fee of 2% (min. $3,000) compared to the 2.5–3% that realtors traditionally charge.
While Ideal Agent’s primary service is agent matching, the company also has a cash buyer program. With this program, Ideal Agent solicits multiple cash offers for your home from various investors. While you’re unlikely to make as much as you would selling on the open market, a cash buyer provides the convenience of a fast closing.
Ideal Agent is available nationwide.
1 Percent ListsLearn More
1 Percent Lists provides legitimate savings, especially for sellers in the Southeast. Its 1% listing fee is lower than the 2.5–3% rate realtors traditionally charge, potentially saving you thousands. And because it’s a full-service brokerage, you’ll get the same range of services as you would with a traditional agent.
But watch out for minimum commission requirements and transaction fees. 1 Percent Lists is a franchise operation, so each office sets its own minimums and fees. Depending on where you sell and for how much, you could pay more than 1%.
Plus, agents may have to take on extra clients to make up for the low commission they’re making. You could get less hands-on support than you hoped for.
- The 1% listing fee is among the lowest in the industry.
- You get full-service support, including professional photography, an MLS listing, and contract negotiation.
- You can list on multiple MLSs for more exposure.
- There are minimum commission requirements and transaction fees.
- You may get less personalized service from your agent.
- The company doesn't offer any discounts or benefits for buyers.
1 Percent Lists is a real estate brokerage with franchises in 18 states, mainly in the Southeast. As its name suggests, it charges a 1% listing fee compared to the traditional 3%. However, some franchises may impose minimum commission requirements and transaction fees.
Its agents also represent buyers, but it doesn’t offer any buyer savings.
As a full-service brokerage, 1 Percent Lists provides all the same services as a traditional brokerage, including professional photography, MLS listings, and contract negotiation. The company claims it can offer low rates and full service because it doesn't have brick-and-mortar locations and relies on technology to sell homes.
Because the company is a franchise, service quality varies by location.
1 Percent Lists has franchises in select markets in AL, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, KY, LA, MS, MO, NC, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, and WA.
How much can I save with a 3% total commission?
Getting a 3% total commission rate could save you up to 50% compared with the 6% commission rate that sellers have traditionally paid.
Here's what you could expect to save at a few different price points:
|Home price||Standard 6% fee||3% commission savings|
In reality, your savings will probably be a bit lower. Average realtor commission rates vary by location, but in most places, sellers pay around 5–5.5%.
Your actual savings depend on how much less you'll pay compared with what a traditional agent in your area would have charged you.
Why do sellers pay the buyer's agent fee?
As the seller, you pay the buyer's agent fee for a couple of reasons:
- It decreases the out-of-pocket costs for the buyer. If buyers had to pay for their agent, many more people wouldn't be able to afford a home. Sellers covering the cost allows for a larger pool of potential buyers.
- It incentivizes buyer's agents to show your property to their clients. Buyer's agents are more likely to point their clients to your listing if you offer a competitive buyer's agent commission. The agents know they'll get paid well if one of their clients purchases your property.
Do I have to pay a 3% buyer's agent fee?
You have no legal obligation to pay a buyer's agent a 3% commission. But most listing agents recommend that you offer close to the local average (usually 2.5–3%).
If you want buyer's agents to show your house to their clients, you need to make it worth their while.
By offering a competitive buyer's agent commission, you'll likely have a larger pool of potential buyers. This can help you get multiple offers, sell for the price you want, and sell quickly.
What is a 3% commission on the sale of a property?
As a seller, your home's sale price determines the commission you pay. Here's the standard 3% listing agent commission at different price points:
|Home price||Standard 3% commission|
Unless you work with a low-commission realtor (which most sellers should do), you'll pay 3% to both the listing agent and the buyer's agent.
FAQ about real estate commission
What is a 3% commission realtor?
A 3% commission realtor is a real estate agent who charges listing fees that align with the industry average. Traditionally, a standard listing fee was 3% of the home's sale price. These days, many agents charge a bit less — typically in the range of 2.5–3%. Find the average commission rates in your area.
Is a 3% commission a lot?
What percentage do most realtors charge?
In the U.S., traditional realtors charge 4.45–6.34% in total real estate commission. This commission is split between the listing agent (who takes an average of 2.72%) and the buyer's agent (who takes an average of 2.65%). These rates can vary depending on your location. Learn more about real estate commissions rates by state.
Do all realtors make 3%?
No, many realtors charge less than the standard 3% listing fee. The average commission for a realtor in 2023 is 2.72% of the sale price. However, low-commission realtors charge MUCH lower rates than the industry average — while providing the same level of service and support as a traditional realtor.
What is the lowest commission a realtor will take?
The lowest commission full-service realtors accept is usually 1% of a home's final sale price. This discount is significant compared to the average real estate commission of 2.5–3%. The best way to pay less in realtor commissions is to work with a low-commission real estate brokerage. Top companies, like Clever Real Estate, offer listing fees as low as 1.5% and match you with the best local agents.
Can I get a 3% total real estate commission?
For most sellers, paying a 3% total commission is impossible. However, you can get close to this rate by listing your home with a low-commission realtor who charges a 1.5% listing fee and offering a 2% buyer's agent fee. The best discount brokers have found ways to lower their listing fees with few (or no) customer service trade-offs, which makes them a great option for most people. But whether it makes sense to offer a below-average buyer's agent fee depends on commission rate trends in your market and buyer demand in your local area.