6% Real Estate Commission Explained

Ashley Simon

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Ashley Simon

April 19th, 2022
Updated April 19th, 2022

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Typical realtor commissions | Why would a realtor accept a lower commission? | Are 6% commission real estate agents worth it? | How to save thousands on realtor fees | FAQs

Young couple shakes hands with a real estate agent at the closing table

What is a 6% real estate commission?

A 6% real estate commission is when a seller pays a total of 6% in realtor fees on the sale of their home. This usually means paying 3% to your listing agent and 3% to the buyer's agent.

For example, if you sell a $350,000 home at a 6% commission rate, you would pay a total of $21,000 in realtor fees:

6% commission on a $350,000 house
Fee
Cost
Listing fee (3%)
$10,500
Buyer's agent fee (3%)
$10,500
Total 6% commission cost
$21,000

A 6% real estate commission has long been considered the industry standard. But in today's market, many sellers pay less. On average, U.S. home sellers pay 5.49% in real estate commissions, based on a survey of 915 real estate agents.[1]

There are also discount real estate brokerages that charge much lower rates than the typical 6% commission. The top brands save you thousands on realtor fees — and you still get full service from a top local agent.

The easiest way to save on commissions is to find your agent through Clever Real Estate. Clever negotiates listing fees of just $3,000 or 1% with local agents from top brokerages like Keller Williams and Century 21. You’ll get the same experience as working with a traditional realtor — but pay a third of the typical price!

» SAVE: Sell with a top local agent for just $3,000 or 1%!

How does a 6% real estate commission work?

A 6% real estate commission typically involves working with an agent or brokerage that charges a 3% listing fee. In most home sales, the seller also offers a 3% commission to the buyer's agent, bringing their total commission cost to 6% of the sale price.

The seller is usually responsible for paying the entire commission, including the buyer's agent fee. You'll typically pay your realtor out of your sale proceeds at closing, and your listing agent will split their commission with the buyer's agent.

If your real estate agents charge a 6% real estate commission rate, here's how much you'd pay at different home price points:

Home price
6% real estate commission
$100,000
$6,000
$250,000
$15,000
$500,000
$30,000
$750,000
$45,000

What percentage of the commission does each realtor get?

Most of the time, real estate commissions are split equally between both agents involved in the sale:

  • The listing agent, who represents the seller
  • The buyer's agent, who represents the client purchasing the property

In a real estate transaction with a 6% fee, each agent's brokerage would collect around 3% of the home's sale price.

While commission fees are often split equally, one agent sometimes earns more than the other. This typically happens when a seller negotiates a lower listing fee, or offers a smaller rate to the buyer’s agent.

» MORE: What's a fair commission rate for a real estate agent?

Do most real estate agents charge a 6% commission?

A 6% commission rate has been a long-standing industry standard, but most sellers pay less today. Currently, the average U.S. home seller pays an average of 5.49% in realtor fees.

However, real estate commissions are not standardized or set in stone. They're always negotiable, and rates can vary by state and city. To find the average commission rate in your area, check out our complete guide to average real estate commissions by state.



Why would a real estate agent accept a lower commission?

A real estate agent will generally only accept a lower commission if they think the payday is still large enough to make the sale worth it. Here are the most common situations where a realtor might accept a lower commission:

  • You're selling an expensive home and the agent believes it will sell quickly.
  • You can provide repeat business — for example, you're willing to buy a new home with the same agent.
  • The agent already charges discounted rates to attract new business.

However, it can be difficult for a single individual to negotiate lower rates with an agent. The majority of traditional real estate agents (73%) refuse to negotiate their commission at all.[2] And most realtors who are open to negotiating generally won't reduce their listing fee below 2.5%.

If you're looking for a bigger discount, the best way to save money and still receive full service is to find a brokerage that already charges reduced rates. For example, Clever Real Estate partners with realtors from well-known brokerages like Berkshire Hathaway and RE/MAX. Clever sends these agents new business at no upfront cost, so the agents can pass on the savings to you.

With Clever, you'll still get to work with a top-rated realtor, but you'll pay just $3,000 or 1% in listing fees — a fraction of the typical price. Interview as many local agents as you want until you find the right fit — or walk away at any time with no obligation.

💰 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!

Should I use a realtor who charges a 6% real estate commission?

In today's real estate market, the average home seller doesn't need to pay the full 6% in real estate commissions. You may have to pay the full 6% commission fee if you live in a state where the average commission rate is higher, like Kansas and New Mexico. But most U.S. home sellers should be able to sell with a full service realtor for closer to the nationwide average of 5.49% — depending on your location and home price.

The top conventional realtors provide great overall value for their clients, offering marketing and hands-on service and support throughout the selling process. They will be able to help you set the right listing price to get top dollar for your home, making the full real estate commission worth it.

That said, there are plenty of ways to find a top local realtor who charges a lot less than 6%. We recommend exploring your options so you can find a great agent without overpaying on commission fees.

👉 Jump to: How to pay less than 6% in realtor fees

How to choose a 6% commission realtor

The best way to find a great 6% commission realtor is by interviewing local agents from a few different brokerages. This allows you to compare your options and choose the best fit for your priorities and budget.

We recommend using an agent matching service like Clever or HomeLight to build a list of realtors to interview. These services match you with pre-vetted local agents and tailor their recommendations to your situation and needs.



How to pay less than 6% in realtor fees

If you're looking to save money on the sale of your home, there are a number of ways to save on real estate commissions. The best methods allow you to pay reduced fees without sacrificing service and support from your agent.

Here are some of the most common ways to save on realtor commissions:

Negotiate realtor commission

Real estate commissions are always technically negotiable. Even if your agent agrees to lower their rate by a small margin, that can translate to real savings. For example, if you're able to negotiate your total commission from 5% to 4% on a $500,000 home, you'd save $5,000!

That said, your realtor may not be willing to budge on commission — especially if your home is less expensive than the area average, or comparable homes in your area are selling slowly. In addition, many realtors work for brokerages with set minimum requirements, so they may not be able to lower their commission.

» MORE: 10 tips for how to negotiate realtor commissions

Work with a low commission realtor

The most reliable way to save money on realtor fees is by working with a real estate brokerage that offers built-in savings. There are many low commission companies that offer discounted listing fees in exchange for full service and support from a high quality realtor.

Listing with a low commission realtor can save you big bucks when you sell your home. For example, if you sell a $450,000 home at a 1% listing fee and offer a standard buyer's agent fee, you'd save $9,000 compared to what you'd pay with a 6% commission real estate agent!

In addition, the best full-service low commission brokerages provide a very similar experience to working with a traditional agent while charging much lower rates. They're able to create savings in ways that have little to no impact on the customer experience, such as reducing overhead and operating more efficiently.



Sell your home for sale by owner (FSBO)

You can completely eliminate your listing fee by selling your home without using an agent. However, you'll need to handle the entire sale process yourself — setting your own listing process, marketing to potential buyers, and navigating negotiations and the closing process. While the potential savings are real, there are quite a few risks involved with selling FSBO.

» MORE: How to sell your house for sale by owner

Next steps: Interview local agents

When you're looking for a realtor, you should start by interviewing a few agents from different brokerages. The agent you choose can make or break your experience, and it's important to find someone who makes you feel comfortable during the home selling process.

A free agent matching service like Clever Real Estate is one of the best ways to find top-rated agents in your area and save on realtor fees.

Clever matches you with experienced agents from well-known brokerages like Coldwell Banker and Century 21. You can interview as many agents as you'd like, or walk away any time if you don't find the right fit.

👋 Get a better agent AND bigger savings

Why pay more in commission fees for less service? Clever offers you bigger savings without sacrificing the service you expect from a traditional realtor.

With Clever:

 ✅ You'll only pay $3,000 or 1% to list your home

 ✅ You'll work with a full-service realtor from a top broker

 ✅ It's free, with zero obligation — you can walk away at any time

Saving on realtor fees doesn't have to mean sacrificing service. Find a top local agent today!

FAQs about 6% commission real estate agents

Many sellers in the U.S. feel that real estate commissions are too high, and it's easy to see why. If you pay a traditional 6% commission on the sale of a $500,000 home, you'll pay $30,000 in realtor fees!

However, all that money isn't going into one agent's pocket. Real estate commissions are split between the listing agent (who represents the seller) and the buyer's agent. Typically, both agents need to split their commissions again with their respective brokerages. Out of a $30,000 commission, each agent may only take home around $7,500.

Also, realtors only get paid when the home is sold — meaning that they're not paid for any upfront work, such as looking for new clients or performing a comparative market analysis on your home.

That said, there are ways to save on real estate commissions while still receiving full service and support from a high-quality agent. Low commission companies, like Clever Real Estate, provide listing fees as low as 1% to sellers, so you can save money on realtor fees without compromising on service. Learn more about the best low commission real estate brokerages near you!

Yes, for most realtors, commission is their only source of income. Most traditional realtors work as independent contractors and are only paid when a real estate transaction is successfully completed. However, there are a few real estate brokerages, like Redfin and Houwzer, that pay their agents a set salary instead of commission. Learn more about how realtors get paid in this guide.

If you sell your house for sale by owner, you won't need to pay the listing fee — but you'll likely still be responsible for paying a competitive buyer's agent commission (around 2.5–3% of the final sale price). You'll also need to market your home on your own and pay an attorney to handle the paperwork. All these fees add up and can limit your actual savings. Here's what you need to know before you sell your house for sale by owner.

No, sellers are almost always responsible for paying the commission to both the buyer's agent and the listing agent. However, realtor fees are typically paid at closing out of the proceeds of the home sale. Because the buyer pays for the home, they share in the fees indirectly. Learn more about how realtor fees work.

Yes, as a seller, realtor fees are usually considered part of your closing costs. They're typically deducted out of the sale proceeds at closing. In most cases, you'll pay the total real estate commission fee to your listing agent, who will then split the commission with the buyer's agent.

Aside from realtor fees, which can range from 4–6%, seller closing costs generally add up to 1–3% of the final sale price of your home. Sellers may have to pay attorney fees, escrow fees, HOA fees, property taxes or transfer taxes, and title insurance. In some cases, such as a buyer's market, the seller may also cover some of the buyer's closing costs. Learn more about real estate closing costs (and what you'll need to pay).

On average, traditional realtors in the U.S. charge between 4.54% to 6.32% in real estate commissions. These fees are split between listing agents, who charge an average of 2.80%, and buyer's agents, who charge an average of 2.69%. However, these rates can vary depending on your location. Learn more about real estate commissions rates by state.

Methodology

Data on commission rates is based on a survey of 915 of our partner agents, in which we asked them to indicate the typical rates for both buyer's and seller's agents in their area.

The data featured on this page is not meant to imply that commission rates are fixed — commissions rates are always negotiable. These figures represent ballpark estimates of what home sellers can expect to pay in real estate agent fees when they sell their home.

Keep learning

ARTICLE SOURCES
[1]

Clever Real Estate. "Average Real Estate Commission Rates by State." Accessed 04/18/2022. Updated 12/21/2021.

[2]

Consumer Federation of America. "New Research Shows That Real Estate Commissions Are Hidden and Poorly Understood By Consumers." Accessed 04/18/2022. Updated 10/28/2019.

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