Updated June 18, 2019
Buying or selling a home and getting a bargain is easier said than done.
You could try overpricing your home to maximize your margins or negotiating with your real estate agent on their commission fee — however, there’s no guarantee any of these tactics will work.
The most straightforward approach is to partner with an agent or broker who’s willing to work for a discount from the get-go.
The problem is, most discount realtors and brokerages aren’t really a bargain. Their discount comes at a steep price: limited services and support during the home buying or selling process.
Luckily, there are options out there that allow you to work with full-service agents for discounted commission rates.
Clever connects buyers and sellers with top-rated, local agents from major real estate brands and brokerages (e.g., Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX, etc.)
The only difference is that our Partner Agents have agreed to sell our clients’ homes for a fraction of the traditional cost — a flat fee of $3,000 or 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.
> and a Clever representative will get in touch to answer questions and connect you with a local Partner Agent for a no-obligation consultation.
Read on to learn more about discount brokers: how they work, how they differ from a traditional brokerage 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 agent will offer some — or in rare cases, all — of the 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 when a seller is looking to save money while listing their own home.
Some sellers put their home on the market themselves (FSBO), but want to be listed on the MLS (multiple listing service).
They would pay a discount broker (or a listing service) a fee to list it for them.
Some discount agents will provide a full range of services for a lower listing fee than a traditional agent. Although that amount varies, it is typically between 1% and 2% of the final sale price.
Looking for a discount real estate broker?
Instead of negotiating rates yourself, save with Clever from the start.
Services for Home Buyers
Usually, the buyer doesn’t pay a real estate commission at all. The seller typically pays both agents’ commissions out of the money from the sale.
Why use a discount buyer’s agent, then? For a home buyer rebate (in states where it’s legal).
Some discount agents will give buyers a kickback from their commission of $1,000 or more, 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 2.5% and 3.5% 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 charge less as part of their business model.
Beyond that, discount real estate brokers vary in the services they provide. Some will only list your home on the MLS (multiple listing service). Others will help with paperwork and 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 of their full commission-paying clients. Those are agents who will not only list your home; they’ll advertise your property, schedule open houses, shuffle the paperwork, and bring you over a closing gift to boot!
Great discount agent take the time to get to know you and help you 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 startup 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 $1,000 back in their pocket after closing.
- You get a local agent who 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.
- There are 10 states where home buyer rebates are illegal.
- Our network is still expanding, so coverage in more remote, rural areas may be difficult.
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 or $4,500 (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.
- Discount Redfin sign in your yard.
- Not a full-service experience.
- Slightly higher commission than other discount brokerages.
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 sliding scale between $3,000-$10,000+ for listing commission.
- You get a virtual 3D tour of your house.
- Agents are in-house, not from major brands or brokerages, with a Purplebricks sign.
- Limited coverage — only available in six U.S. states, but slowly growing.
- Agents may not have local experience.
Partner With the Best Discount Broker
While each discount broker has its unique advantages and drawbacks, Clever offers 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, .
A Clever representative will be in touch to answer questions you have and lay out the next steps for connecting with a local Partner Agent for a no-obligation consultation. You’ll save money and get a full service experience with no compromises.
FAQS about Discount Real Estate Brokers
1. What is a discount realtor?
A discount real estate agent offers lower pricing than a traditional agent. While pricing differs across the U.S., total commission for a transaction is ~6%. A discount realtor either charges a flat fee to list or a lower listing commission. Learn more here.
2. Which real estate agent has the lowest commission?
A low commission real estate agent charges less than the typical commission rate of 6%. They may charge a total commission closer to 4-5% or offer fewer services, in some cases. There are low commission real estate agents, however, who offer full service, at Clever. Keep reading here.
3. Can real estate agents give discounts?
Real estate agents can give discounts on their commission, though it’s at the discretion of their broker. Some agents will be more likely to give you a discount if you both buy and sell with them at the same time. With the prevalence of discount realtors and online real estate models, more real estate agents are giving discounts than ever before.
4. How can I lower my realtor fees?
There are several tips and tricks you can use to lower your realtor fees. Shop around between agents to create competition between brokerages, attempt to negotiate commission from the jump, or use a discount realtor.
5. Can you negotiate your realtor’s commission?
Real estate agent commissions differ slightly by state and city and are often seen as a status quo item. In reality, however, it is possible to negotiate commission down from the standard 6%. Especially in a seller’s market, you can work with your realtor and come up with a lower total commission.