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6 Pros and Cons of Discount Real Estate Brokers

High commission fees can put a damper on the excitement of selling your home, as those fees usually take a substantial chunk out of your home’s sale proceeds. But there is a way to put some of that cash back in your pocket — discount real estate brokers.
High commission fees can put a damper on the excitement of selling your home, as those fees usually take a substantial chunk out of your home’s sale proceeds. But there is a way to put some of that cash back in your pocket — discount real estate brokers.

You might think of the buyer when you consider who gets the brunt of the financial strain during the home selling process. They need to cough up a down payment, homeowners insurance, closing costs, moving costs, and a myriad of other fees they’d prefer not to think about.

But, as you’ve probably discovered as you watch your bank account slowly drain, you as the seller don’t get off the hook so easily either. The fees and upfront costs to sell your home can add up more quickly than you imagined, especially when it comes to commission.

Traditionally, the seller is responsible for covering both the seller’s agent’s and buyer’s agent’s commission fees which typically adds up to 6% total that is then split evenly between both agents so each agent receives about 3%.

To give you a clearer idea in real numbers, if you’re selling a house for $250,000, with a 6% commission fee you’re looking at shelling out $15,000 total to the real estate agents. That’s a decent chunk of change and why many sellers consider working with a discount broker instead of a traditional real estate agent.

What Is a Discount Real Estate Broker?

A discount real estate broker is a real estate agent who works for well, a discount. Instead of charging you the standard full seller’s agent commission of 3%, they’ll work for less, such as a 2% or 1% commission or a flat fee rate. And this reduced rate can save sellers a bundle.

So, should you go with a discount broker over a traditional real estate agent? To help you decide, here are six pros and cons if you head down the non-traditional route and work with a discount broker.


1. You Can Save Thousands

One of the biggest perks of working with a discount real estate broker is that you save big on commission.

Working with the previous $250,000 home example, you’ll still have to cover the full commission for the buyer’s agent, but, if your agent’s commission rate is reduced to 1%, this means your total commission adds up to 4% rather than 6%.

Instead of $15,000 in commission, you’re now paying only $10,000. Think of what you can do with that extra $5,000 — go on that vacation or get tickets to that concert you’ve always wanted to see. Or, go the more responsible route and put that extra money towards paying off debt or into a retirement or college fund.

2. Choose from a Variety of Services

Many discount brokers offer the exact same services as a traditional real estate agent. They will help you through the entire selling process including pricing your home, staging and taking photos, listing and marketing your home, scheduling open houses, handling paperwork, and managing buyer offers and negotiations.

While this is usually perfect for most sellers, some may not need the whole kit and caboodle. Some sellers may opt to skip the open house, take their own photos, or want to handle buyer negotiations by themselves.

With some discount brokers, they happily offer an à la carte option where sellers can choose from packages that limit the agent’s involvement and provide only the services they want and for an even cheaper price.

3. You’ll Have Access to the MLS

Just like a traditional agent, your discount broker will have access to the golden tool of real estate agents — the multiple listing service (MLS). The MLS is a database of active listings that are shared between buyer and seller agents.

Listing your home on the MLS is the best way to market your home and get the most eyes on it as possible, as not only will buyer’s agents see and recommend your home, but sites like Zillow and Trulia take listing data from the MLS to post on their own pages for the public.


1. Limited Service

Depending on which discount brokerage you decide to work with, they may only offer the bare bones such as listing your home on the MLS, printing out marketing flyers, and handing you a “For Sale” sign for your yard.

If you feel you’ll need more assistance to navigate the selling process you’ll want to do your homework and find a discount broker that will handle the detailed paperwork and buyer negotiations.

Additionally, the majority of discount brokers are limited in their pricing and contract flexibility. You won’t be able to negotiate for a lower price if all of a sudden you don’t want a certain service or aren’t satisfied with their work.

2. Less Personalized Attention

To compensate for the discounted rate, discount real estate brokers make up the difference in volume of clients. Discount brokers will be juggling far more clients than a traditional real estate agent meaning you might see slower response time to your emails or you have to schedule time with them well in advance.

Also be prepared for a more transactional relationship with your agent. You might have to manage your expectations with your discount agent. Don’t expect they’ll be sending you yearly treats around the holidays.

3. Less Experienced

Discount brokerages attract a lot of newer agents just starting out their careers who are willing to work for a lower price. While less experience doesn’t mean they’re not great or qualified agents, they may not have the years of experience needed for a more complicated or challenging listing.

Work with an Experienced Clever Partner Agent

When you work with Clever you can put aside your discount broker worries. All our Partner Agents are full-service, top-rated agents from major brands and regional brokerages, such as Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and Century 21 who bring years of experience and expertise to the table.

Your Partner Agent will help you throughout the entire selling process from pricing, marketing, and listing your home, to staging, managing paperwork, and tricky negotiations working to sell your home fast and for the best price possible.

And the best part? You’ll save more. Clever Partner Agents work for a flat fee of $3,000 or 1% if your home sells over $350,000 which saves you thousands on commission. Get in touch with Clever to connect with a Partner Agent.



Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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