3% Commission Realtors: Should You Use One?

Josiah Wilmoth

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Josiah Wilmoth

March 16th, 2022
Updated March 16th, 2022

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Paying a 3% commission to your realtor has long been an industry standard when you sell your home. Since sellers typically cover the realtor fees for both agents, commission traditionally costs a total of around 6% of your home's price.

But these days, most budget-conscious home sellers can avoid paying a traditional 6% real estate commission. It's even possible to get a 3% total commission rate by working with a top discount brand that offers full service for a lower price.

For example, Clever Real Estate pre-negotiates 1% listing fees with top local agents from traditional brokerages like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. Those savings let you offer a competitive buyer's agent fee and still get your total commission rate close to 3%!

SAVE: Find top local agents, get a 1% listing fee today!

How to get a 3% total real estate commission rate

To get your total commission rate down to 3%, you'll likely need to pay both agents less than the nationwide average. The best strategy for most sellers is to try to get your listing fee as low as possible (without compromising on service), then offer a buyer's agent fee comparable to the typical rate in your area.

Working with a low commission real estate broker that offers reduced listing fees is the right option for most people. The top discount brands charge listing fees as low as 1% — but still provide the same services as traditional realtors. If you sold with a 1% commission realtor, you could afford to advertise a 2% buyer's agent fee — which is close to the average in some markets — and still get your total rate down to 3%.

💡 Always offer a competitive buyer’s agent fee

Offering a competitive buyer's agent commission rate is important because it incentivizes other agents to show your home to potential buyers.

Lowballing buyer's agents could deter them from showing your home, reducing your odds of getting multiple offers or sparking a bidding war. Realtors we've spoken with say that it's risky to advertise a buyer's agent fee over 0.5% less than the local average.

Real estate brokers that can get you a 3% total commission rate

Company
Listing fee
Locations
1% or $3,000
Nationwide
1% (min. fees vary)
East Coast
1.5% (min. fees vary)
Nationwide (select markets)

Most home sellers looking to pay 3% total in realtor fees should work with a 1% commission real estate broker. Several nationwide and regional brands that charge 1% listing fees offer full service, which means they provide a similar customer experience — and the same basic services — to what you'd get from a traditional agent.

Practically speaking, selling with a 1% commission realtor is your best and only option to get a 3% total commission, unless you're willing to make some big service compromises. If your listing fee is any higher, you won't be able to afford a competitive buyer's agent commission rate. And we haven't found any full-service discount brokers with rates lower than 1% — all the cheaper brands have huge service trade-offs that make them a bad fit for most sellers.

Clever Real Estate

Clever Real Estate

Clever Real Estate

Learn More

💲 Listing Fee

$3,000 or 1%

💰 Buyer Savings

Up to 0.5% cash back

⭐ Avg. Customer Rating

4.9/5 (1,512 reviews)

✍️ Editor's Take
Pros
Cons
Reviews
Locations

Clever is a quick, easy, and free way to find a top-rated local agent. And, unlike many similar companies, Clever pre-negotiates big discounts on your behalf, so you can save thousands without sacrificing on service.


Try Clever for free — save thousands on commission

  • Free, nationwide agent-matching service that partners with full-service local agents from conventional brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX
  • Provides multiple agent matches so you can interview, compare marketing plans, and choose the best fit
  • Pre-negotiates low rates on your behalf — you get full service for a flat $3,000 listing fee, or just 1% if the home sells for more than $350,000
  • If you buy with Clever, you could get a check worth up to 0.5% of the home price
  • You may not get matched with an agent from your preferred real estate brokerage.
  • Agents may not provide premium services like drone photography and professional home staging.

As of March 11, 2022, Clever has a 4.9 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, based on 1,512 reviews.


Read reviews from real Clever customers here.

Clever has pre-negotiated low commission rates with top agents in all 50 states and Washington, DC.

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If you're hoping to sell your house for as close to a 3% total commission as possible, Clever Real Estate is likely your best option. Clever's 1% listing fees are the most affordable rates of any nationwide brand, and its best-in-class service matches what you'd get from a conventional brokerage.

Clever's free, nationwide service connects you with top-rated, local real estate agents from trusted brands like Keller Williams and Coldwell Banker. Your agent will provide the same, full-service experience you'd expect from a traditional realtor, but you'll pay a third of the typical rate — saving you thousands in commission fees.

You can try Clever for free with no obligation. Interview as many agents as you like until you find the right match, or walk away at any time if you find another local realtor who's a better fit for your situation.

👋 Find top agents, sell for a 1% listing fee

Clever has saved thousands of happy customers over $50 million — we can help you keep more money in your pocket too!

With Clever:  

 ✅ Sellers pay only 1% in listing fees

 ✅ Buyers get up to 0.5% cash back on eligible purchases

 ✅ You'll work with a local realtor from top brokers, like RE/MAX and Keller Williams

Clever's service is 100% free, with zero obligation. You can interview as many agents as you like, or walk away at any time. Enter your zip code to find a top local agent today!

1 Percent Lists

1 Percent Lists

1 Percent Lists

💲 Listing fee

1% (min. fees vary)

💰 Avg. Savings

$8,000

⭐ Avg. Customer Rating

5/5.0 (498 reviews)

✍️ Editor's Take
Pros
Cons
Reviews
Locations

1 Percent Lists is one of the better discount real estate brokers available in the Southeast, but other companies provide better hands-on service for the same price.


Read the full 1 Percent Lists review.

  • 1 Percent Lists offers one of the lowest listing fees on the market at 1%.
  • Sellers will receive comparable service to a traditional realtor.
  • Limited agent selection may mean you have to work with an agent who isn't a good fit.
  • Agents handle more customers than traditional realtors, so you may not get as much one-on-one support.

1 Percent Lists has a 5 out of 5 rating (498 reviews) across popular review sites like Google, Trustpilot, and Zillow.


Read reviews from real 1 Percent Lists customers here.

1 Percent Lists is available in the following areas: FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, RI, SC, TN.

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1 Percent Lists is another 1% commission broker that's worth a look — if there's an office in your area. It's currently available in a handful of states on the East Coast, primarily in Florida and Louisiana.

Like many discount brands, 1 Percent Lists offers the same general services as a traditional brokerage (minus open houses). But its agents handle more customers at once, which could mean a bit less hands-on service than you'd get from a typical realtor.

Those potential service trade-offs are worth it for most sellers. But we think Clever is a better option overall since it offers the same 1% listing fee but still lets you work with a traditional agent from a top local brokerage.

» MORE: Read the full 1 Percent Lists review

Redfin

💲 Listing Fee

1.5% (min. fees vary)

💰 Avg. Savings

$5,550

⭐ Avg. Customer Rating

3.9/5 (416 reviews)

✍️ Editor's Take
Pros
Cons
Reviews
Locations

Redfin offers real savings and a proven brand. But sellers could compromise on service — especially agent experience and availability.


Read the full Redfin review.

  • If you buy and sell with Redfin, you'll get a 0.5% listing fee discount
  • Redfin gives its listings premium placement in its popular home search app
  • If finding the right agent is a top priority, you'll have limited options Redfin only has a few agents in each of its markets
  • Redfin agents handle more customers at once than the average realtor, so they may not be able to provide as much personalized service

Redfin has a 3.9 out of 5 rating (416 reviews) across popular review sites like Google and Yelp.


Read reviews from real Redfin customers here.

Redfin is available in 80+ U.S. markets (see all locations).

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It's possible to get a 3% total commission with Redfin, but only if you also buy a house with a Redfin agent around the same time you sell your old one.

Redfin's standard listing fee is 1.5%. It offers a discounted 1% rate to sellers who recently purchased a house with a Redfin agent. If you sell your old house before buying your new one, Redfin will issue a 0.5% refund after you complete your purchase.

If you're not planning to buy with Redfin, it's still worth considering if you're more comfortable selling with an established brand. Although the 1.5% listing fee won't be your cheapest option, it offers solid savings at most price points. Redfin offers less hands-on service than traditional realtors — customers work with a team instead of just their assigned agent — but the experience should be fine for the majority of sellers.

» MORE: Read the full Redfin review

Flat-fee real estate brokers may be worth considering if you're selling a home worth close to $1 million or more. Flat-rate realtors charge a fixed dollar amount rather than a percentage of the sale price. Since the fee you pay doesn't depend on what your home sells for, the savings really add up at higher price points.

For example, if you sold a $1 million home and paid your agent a flat $5,000 listing fee, your "effective commission rate" would be just 0.5%. Those savings would let you offer up to 2.5% to the buyer's agent and still get a 3% total commission.

However, companies that charge flat listing fees aren't a great option for sellers with lower-priced homes. On a $300,000 home sale, that same $5,000 listing fee works out to a 1.7% commission, which isn't a great value compared with other top discount brands.

Only a few flat-fee brokers offer genuine full service, and they're typically only available in a handful of states. Watch out for companies that advertise rates that look too good to be true — most of the time they offset their low fees in ways that could negatively affect your customer experience.

» MORE: The best flat-fee real estate brokers (2022 rankings)

Other ways to get a lower commission rate

Working with a discount real estate brand that offers full service is typically the best (and easiest) way to save on realtor fees. But it's not your only option. You could also try to negotiate directly with a traditional agent — or even sell your house without a realtor.

Neither of these approaches is a great strategy for the average seller. Negotiating probably won't get your listing fee low enough to get a 3% total commission rate. Selling without an agent might get you to 3%, but it's extremely risky and could cost you a lot of time, money, and frustration in the long run.

Like most things in real estate, commission is negotiable. Although a 3% realtor commission rate is a longtime industry standard, sellers and agents are free to negotiate whatever fee they think is fair.

In today's seller's market, negotiating a discounted listing fee is easier than ever. But the reality is that most agents won't drop their standard rates low enough for you to get to a 3% total commission rate. Getting your listing fee down to 2–2.5% is entirely possible for many sellers — 1% probably isn't.

That said, your best chance to get close to a total 3% commission rate is to offer to buy and sell with the same agent in exchange for a deeper discount on your listing fee. You still probably won't get down to 3%, but this approach may get you in the ballpark. Just make sure to discuss this with your agent before you sign a listing agreement.

» MORE: Learn how to negotiate realtor commission

Selling without a realtor is the most straightforward way to pay a 3% total commission. If you list your house for sale by owner (FSBO), you can afford to offer the full 3% to the buyer's agent.

We don't recommend this approach for most sellers. Selling without an agent is a lot of work, and doing it well requires expertise the average seller doesn't have. You'll face lots of potential pitfalls, including mispricing your home, bungling a negotiation, or mishandling a bidding war.

At the end of the day, most FSBO sellers fail to find a buyer — and those that do sell for about 6% less than if they'd used a realtor.

» MORE: How to sell your house without a realtor

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
$200,000
$12,000
$6,000
$350,000
$21,000
$10,500
$500,000
$30,000
$15,000
$1 million
$60,000
$30,000

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.

3% total real estate commission calculator

To estimate how much a 3% total real estate commission rate would save you in your area, enter your estimated sale price into the calculator below and select your state.

How the traditional 3% commission realtor model works

In most conventional real estate transactions, the seller offers a 3% commission fee to both agents involved in the sale:

  • The listing agent gets 3% for selling the property
  • The buyer's agent gets 3% for bringing their client to buy it


Because each agent gets about 3%, the total commission rate is roughly 6%.

Why do real estate agents typically make a 3% listing fee?

The traditional 3% commission model evolved as a way to let home sellers avoid paying realtor fees out of pocket while rewarding agents for taking on a lot of upfront risk.

This model helped sellers by letting them wait until their house sold before paying anything to their agent. And the 3% commission was large enough to incentivize realtors to invest time, money, and effort in marketing the seller's home despite having no guarantee of payment.

While 3% has been a longtime industry standard, commission rates have always fluctuated over time. And these days, paying a 3% listing fee — or 6% total — really doesn't make much sense for many sellers. Home prices are at record highs, and inventory is tight — often resulting in quick and easy sales.

💰 Never pay the full 6% commission again

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'll get full-service support for pre-negotiated listing fees of just 1% or $3,000, saving you thousands!

Do sellers have to pay the buyer's agent a 3% fee?

No. Sellers are not required to pay the buyer's agent a 3% commission fee, but most agents recommend that sellers offer a fee that's competitive in their local market.

The seller pays a buyer's agent commission to incentivize other agents to show the home to their clients.

Buyer's agents point their clients to different listings and talk to them about the pros and cons of each one. These agents are your allies — they help sell your home to their clients (which is why they're sometimes called "selling agents").

But if you want their help, you have to make it worth their while. Offering a competitive buyer's agent commission rewards buyer's agents for helping you sell your home.

» MORE: Why do sellers pay buyer's agent commission?

FAQs about real estate commission

A 3% commission realtor is a real estate agent who charges listing fees that are in line 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.

No. In fact, many realtors charge less than the standard 3% listing fee. The average real estate commission rate in 2022 is 5.49%. This fee is split between the two agents — often down the middle — which means each realtor earns around 2.80% of the sale price on each transaction. There are also low commission realtors who charge MUCH lower rates than the industry average, despite providing a similar level of service and support.

Probably. On average, sellers in the U.S. pay 2.80% to listing agents and 2.69% to buyer's agents for a total commission rate of 5.49%. But realtor fees vary based on location, home price, and market conditions.

The total commission rate that comes out of the seller's proceeds is split between the seller's agent and buyer's agent. In a conventional home sale, each side earns about 3%, resulting in a total commission cost of 6%. But commission isn't always split directly down the middle — especially when the seller lists with a discount brokerage. For example, a seller who lists with a 2% commission realtor may offer a standard 3% fee to the buyer's agent, which adds up to 5% in realtor fees.

Yes. It's possible to get a 3% total commission by listing your house with a 1% commission realtor and offering a 2% buyer's agent fee. The top 1% real estate 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. Learn more about how to get a 3% total commission rate.

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