Updated August 13th, 2019
If you’re looking to sell your home and avoid paying the standard 6% real estate commission, a discount broker is definitely an option worth considering.
Many of these companies will offer specific real estate services in exchange for a smaller percentage or flat fee. The potential savings are huge. Unfortunately, so are the drawbacks.
When you list with a typical discount broker, you’re getting fewer services, less support, and potentially a lower price for your home.
If you want to save on realtor commission without sacrificing service, Clever can help.
Clever partners with thousands of top-rated real estate agents across the country from major brands like Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Century 21, and more.
Our agents have agreed to provide our clients with full listing services services and support for a fraction of their typical rate — saving you up to 50% on commission fees.
Get in touch to learn more and interview full-service, discount agents in your area. Our referral service is 100% free and there’s no obligation to sign with any of our agents.
Read on to learn more about discount brokers: how they work, how they differ from a traditional broker or real estate agent, and the advantages and drawbacks of working with one.
What is a Discount Broker?
First things first: what is a discount broker?
As you might imagine, a discount broker offers some or all of the same services and support as a traditional real estate brokerage, but for a reduced rate.
You may see them advertising their services on social media or billboards. Some are new agents trying to get some experience under their belts.
Others are brokerages that only offer their services at a discount. Although they are all called discount brokers, it’s important to remember that not every discount broker provides the same number or quality of services.
Why Use a Discount Broker?
Discount brokers can be an option for both home sellers and buyers. That said, they’ll offer a very different array of services for each — here’s how it breaks down:
Services for Home Sellers
Discount brokers typically get called in when a seller is looking to save some money while listing their own home.
Some sellers are listing their home on the market themselves, but want to be listed on the MLS. They would pay a discount broker (or a listing service) a fee to list it for them.
Some discount brokers will provide a full range of services for a smaller fee than a traditional agent. Although that fee varies from broker to broker, it is typically between 1% and 2% of the final sale price.
Services for Home Buyers
Usually, the buyer doesn’t pay a commission at all. The seller typically pays both broker’s commissions out of the money from the sale.
Why use a discount broker, then? For the Home Buyer Rebate, of course.
Some discount agents will give buyers a kickback from their commission of up to 1% of the final sale price, depending on the level of services provided and how many homes you visit during your search.
Discount Broker vs. Real Estate Broker
Discount brokers and regular real estate brokers differ in one central aspect: the price of their services.
Most real estate agents charge between 3% and 4% on the home transaction as a listing agent, and between 2% and 3% of the transaction price as a buyer’s agent — unless you negotiate.
Discount agents typically charge much less.
Beyond that, discount real estate brokers vary widely in the services they provide. Some will only list your home on the MLS. Others will help with paperwork and/or the closing process, but offer little-to-no support with anything else.
Clever is different in that our Partner Agents are all full-service, traditional real estate agents, but they’ve agreed to offer our customers a significantly discounted rate.
If you’re selling, that means you get help with your home valuation, staging, marketing and listing, showings and open houses, negotiations, paperwork, closing, and more — all for a flat fee of $3,000, or 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.
If you’re buying, you’ll get help with the house hunting process, walk-throughs, offer letters, negotiations, paperwork, and closing — plus you could get up to 1% back in your pocket when all is said and done.
What to Look for in a Discount Broker
If it’s a good deal you want, then don’t just settle for someone who will stick your home on the MLS and draw the line there.
You should also try to avoid online or automated services, as they lack the support and local market expertise you need to get a good price.
Look for a discount broker who treats you like any one of their commission-paying clients. Those are the ones who will not only list your home; they’ll advertise your home, schedule open houses, shuffle the paperwork, and bring you over a closing gift to boot!
They are also the ones who will take the time to get to know you and find your dream home. Choose a discount agent who isn’t thinking about the money you saved on them, but how they can best serve you.
List of Discount Real Estate Brokers
There are several discount real estate brokers worth mentioning. We've also made it easy for you to compare by adding a few pros and cons of each.
Clever Real Estate
We would be remiss if we didn't add this one in, don't you think? Clever Real Estate is a homegrown start-up that saves buyers and sellers thousands on commission.
- Sellers get a top-rated agent for a flat rate of $3,000 or 1% if the house sells for more than $350,000
- Buyers can qualify for a Home Buyer Rebate, which puts up to 1% of the final sale price back in their pocket after the closing
- You get a local agent that knows your market well
- Each agent is full-service, meaning they'll take pictures, list the home on the MLS, hold showings, and communicate with buyers
- While we’re adding new Partner Agents to our Network every day, we’re still growing, meaning that our depth of coverage may vary from region to region.
- Use our Zip Code tool (below) to find out how many agents we have near you!
Redfin is a discount brokerage that claims to be redefining the industry through its tech-forward, “customer-first” approach.
- You get a local, full-service agent
- A lower commission rate of 1.5% commission (unless you live in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C., where you get 1% commission rate)
- Top placement on their website when you list with them
- A commission rate of 1.5% in most areas is not the lowest on this list
PurpleBricks (no longer available in the U.S.)
PurpleBricks lets sellers list their homes using a combination of automated tools and in-house agents for a flat fee.
- You get an experienced, full-service agent
- A flat fee of $3,600 no matter the price of the home
- You get a virtual 3D tour of your house created
- Agents are in-house, not from major brands or brokerages
- Limited coverage — only available in six U.S. cities
Partner With the Best Discount Broker
While there each discount broker has its unique advantages and drawbacks, Clever overs the best overall value: full-service, local agents from major brands willing to help you sell or buy your home for a significantly discounted rate.
If you’d like to learn more about how Clever works or get connected with a top-rated agent near you, fill out our online form.
A Clever representative will be in touch to answer any questions you might have and lay out the next steps for connecting with a local Partner Agent for a no-obligation consultation.