What Is a Listing Fee? (And How to Save!)

Ashley Simon's Photo
By Ashley Simon Updated February 21, 2024
's Photo
Edited by Steve Nicastro


A listing fee, also known as a listing agent commission or seller's agent commission, is the fee paid by the seller to their real estate agent from the proceeds of their home sale.

On average, the listing fee amounts to 2.83% of the final sale price, based on Clever's survey of over 600 real estate agents.[1] However, this percentage can vary based on factors such as location, market conditions, and if you can negotiate a lower rate with your agent. 

The listing fee usually makes up half of the total real estate commission, with the other half going to the buyer's agent. Sellers pay the listing commission upon selling their home, and the percentage is agreed upon when signing the listing agreement.

There are ways to cut down the cost of your listing fee. For example, you can work with a low commission real estate company, like Clever, which offers a 1.5% listing fee (compared to the national average of 2.83%). This would save you around $6,000 on a $400,000 home sale.

» SAVE: Find your perfect agent, sell for just 1.5%

How much does a listing fee cost?

Our study found that listing fees, or listing agent commission, ranges from 1.00% to 4.00%, with an average of 2.83% nationwide. 

Here's how that breaks down for homes at different price points at the average rate of 2.83%.

Home price Average listing fee
$100,000 $2,830
$150,000 $4,245
$200,000 $5,660
$250,000 $7,075
$300,000 $8,490
$350,000 $9,905
$400,000 $11,320
$450,000 $12,735
$500,000 $14,150
$550,000 $15,565
Show more

Your actual listing fee will vary depending on what's normal for your area, current market conditions (if your market favors sellers or buyers), and your realtor. 

Also, remember that this fee does not include the buyer's agent fee, which the seller usually pays at closing. On average, the buyer's agent commission adds an additional 2.66%.

💡 Is a listing fee the same as commission?

Yes, the listing fee is just another way of referring to the seller's agent commission.

The listing fee constitutes half of the total realtor commission, with the remainder allocated to the buyer's agent. For instance, if the total commission amounts to around 6% of the final sale price, the listing fee would be approximately 3%.

Based on our data, the average real estate commission is 5.49%, with the listing agent receiving 2.83% and the buyer's agent receiving 2.66%.

Can I lower my listing fee?


You can save money on your listing fee in a few ways. 

First, know that attempting to negotiate directly with your agent is an option, although success rates may vary. 

Alternatively, opting to sell your house without a realtor allows you to list your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for a flat fee through select companies.

Another option is to work with a discount brokerage, such as Clever Real Estate. Clever pre-negotiates low commission fees with top local agents. You'll receive full service from a traditional real estate agent.

1. Negotiate the listing fee

You can always try to negotiate realtor fees, as there are no strict regulations governing commission rates for realtors.

However, not all real estate agents are open to negotiation. According to an industry study, only 22% of home sellers engaged in discussions about commissions and successfully negotiated a lower rate with their agent.[2]

If you're just selling a house and not buying, you may not offer the potential for repeat business to the realtor. Agents are more inclined to negotiate if they anticipate repeat business, as they can rely on volume to compensate for lower earnings per sale. One exception may be if you can provide referrals, such as family or friends interested in selling or buying.

Another challenge in negotiating is that reducing the listing fee could diminish the agent's financial motivation to sell your property. Many realtors owe a portion of their commission to a brokerage, and lowering their rate may substantially reduce their earnings after brokerage fees.

How to win at negotiating

Negotiating a listing fee can be more successful if homes in your area are selling quickly. In such a scenario, agents may be inclined to accept a lower fee since they'll likely spend less time marketing your property, making it still profitable for them. If homes are slow to sell, agents may be less willing to lower their rates.

A local real estate agent or broker can provide insights into the market dynamics in your area. If you want to DIY, you can check Realtor.com to assess the median days on market and the market rating (buyer, balanced, or seller) to gauge market activity.

You might improve your negotiation position by being flexible with aspects of marketing or covering certain expenses yourself, such as staging or drone photography.

Remember that even if you negotiate a lower listing fee, you'll still need to pay a commission to the buyer's agent. A competitive buyer's agent fee, typically around 2.5% or more, can attract realtors to showcase your property to their clients.

2. Sell your home for sale by owner

If you sell your home without a realtor, you won't need to pay a listing fee. But, you'll still need to pay the buyer's agent commission fee, averaging 2.66% of the sale price nationwide. 

As a FSBO seller, you can list your home for free in a few places:

  • Craigslist
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • ForSaleByOwner.com
  • Trulia
  • Zillow

You can also put a FSBO sign in your yard and spread word of mouth. However, you'll need to pay a fee to list on the MLS.

It's crucial to weigh the potential losses of not working with a real estate agent. In 2023, for instance, FSBO homes sold at a median price of $310,000, much lower than the median price of $405,000 for homes assisted by agents.[3]

So, while you might save 2-3% by avoiding a listing fee, you could lose that several times over by listing on your own.

Flat fee MLS companies

Flat fee MLS companies allow you to list your home on the MLS for a flat fee. The model replaces the typical 2.5-3% listing commission rate with a flat fee, usually $100–500.

If you go with a flat fee MLS company, you'll have to market your home yourself. You may be able to upgrade to a higher pricing tier for additional services like marketing pictures of your home, for sale signs, etc.

Are there listing fees to post your home on Zillow?

There are no listing fees to post your home on Zillow if you're selling it FSBO. However, you may receive numerous calls from real estate agents attempting to persuade you to engage their services for the sale. 

Additionally, your listing won't automatically appear on the MLS, potentially causing it to be overlooked by many real estate agents.

» MORE: Is it Worth it to List My Home on Zillow?

3. Work with a low-fee commission brokerage

Another way to save money on your listing fee is by working with a discount brokerage. Look for a full-, medium-, or limited-service company.

Full-service discount brokerage

A full-service discount brokerage will give you a discount on the realtor commission, and you'll still get a traditional realtor experience. You'll work with an agent to help you set a listing price, market the home, and list on the MLS.

Some examples of full-service discount brokerages include Clever, Redfin, and Ideal Agent. These services can offer as low as a 1-1.5% listing fee, compared to the average listing fee of 2.83%.

Medium-service discount brokerage

You'll likely get a bigger discount on commission with a medium-service discount brokerage. But you won't get the same service or support from a real estate agent.

You may not have a dedicated agent to help you at a medium-service discount brokerage, or you may only receive virtual support. These services range from 1.1–2.5% listing fee.

Limited-service discount brokerage

Limited-service discount brokerages often operate with several tiers of service. Fees are usually flat-rate and range from $95–2,999 or more, depending on the level of service you choose.

The cheapest level of service generally allows you to list your home on the MLS. You may receive limited remote support from an agent for a higher rate.

Limited-service companies usually provide minimal service and benefits, leaving you responsible for navigating most real estate processes. They often have high fees for extra services, which can cancel out any savings you might receive.

» MORE: The Best Low Commission Real Estate Brokers

4. Use a 1% commission real estate agent

Some agents or brokers list your home for 1% of the sale price. You'll still have to pay the buyer's agent commission, ranging from 2-3% nationwide. So your total commission will usually be around 3–4%, instead of the average of 5.49%. 

Some 1% commission agents scale back their services to offer this lower fee, while others simply work with more clients to make up for the lower rate. Ask your agent what services they offer.

» MORE: What is a 1% Commission Realtor?

What am I paying for with a listing fee?

The seller's real estate agent pays the listing fee, covering all the realtor's services. Expect to receive the following services when you use a real estate agent.


Your listing agent will assist in finding a buyer for your home through various marketing strategies. One key step is listing your home on the MLS, a private database exclusively available to licensed real estate agents.

This data remains inaccessible to the public and includes sensitive information safeguarding sellers' privacy and security, such as seller contact details and times when the property is vacant for showings.[4] Agents also frequently offer professional photography services and provide yard signs to enhance the marketing of your property.

The realtor's experience

Realtors bring a wealth of experience to the table, having typically worked in the industry for over a decade, with the median experience of a real estate agent being 11 years.[5]

They possess in-depth knowledge of the rules, potential pitfalls, and home-selling expectations. When facing challenging situations, such as a low appraisal, your realtor can provide valuable guidance to navigate them effectively.


Many realtors have trusted relationships with title companies, professional photographers, other realtors, landscapers, interior designers, and more. These kinds of relationships often take years to build.

Using a real estate agent gives you access to a wide range of professionals in the community — and you won't have to worry about shopping around for the right professional on your own. They may also leverage their networks, which include other real estate professionals, to identify potential buyers for your home.


Your realtor is your skilled negotiator when navigating real estate contracts. Negotiating involves more than just the dollar amount—it covers contingencies, repairs, appraisals, timing, and more. With their expertise, your realtor ensures your interests are well-represented.

They negotiate with the buyer's agent to reach a mutually agreeable price and terms that align with your goals as a seller.

Market research

Most realtors do market research to set a listing price for your home. They use data from recently sold homes to determine the optimal listing price through a comparative market analysis (CMA) report. 

Some of this data is publicly available, such as recently sold properties found on Zillow. But many real estate agents also have insider knowledge of what goes on in other transactions in the area that may impact pricing. Perhaps there was an off-market sale, a buyer made an all-cash offer, or a seller agreed to make a large repair.

Direct access to your agent

You'll receive one-on-one attention and dedicated service from a single agent when you use a realtor.

Selling a home is a huge process, and most people will only do it a handful of times during their lifetime. That's why it's so important to have a real estate agent on hand to answer your questions every step of the way.

💡 Who is the listing fee paid to?

The seller will pay the listing fee to their real estate broker out of the proceeds of the sale when the sale of their home is complete.

Usually, the seller pays both the listing fee and the buyer's agent commission to the brokerage. The broker then splits that commission with the agents.

Average real estate fees when selling a house

The listing fee is just one of the costs that come with selling a home. Sellers pay a total average commission of 5.49%, including the buyer's agent fee. When combined with 1-3% in seller closing costs, total costs could exceed 8%. 

Numbers are approximations based on national averages. Total costs: $44,000, or 11% of the sale price for this house.

Real estate commission

Your real estate commission is generally about 5.50% of the final sale price of your home. This includes the listing fee and the buyer's agent fee.

Home price Average total real estate commission
$100,000 $5,500
$200,000 $11,000
$300,000 $16,500
$400,000 $22,000
Show more

The exact cost will depend on several factors, including your location, the market, and the percentage you negotiate with your agent.

Home inspection

As a seller, you're responsible for paying for a home inspection. A home inspection generally costs between $300–500, though the exact cost varies depending on your location, the size of your home, and the age of your home.[6]

Seller's closing costs

Closing costs for sellers are usually around 1-3% of the home's final sale price. These costs include:

  • Attorney fees
  • Escrow fees
  • HOA fees
  • Property taxes or transfer taxes
  • Title insurance

Though it's rare, the seller may be asked to cover some of the buyer's closing costs in a buyer's market.

Other costs to keep in mind

You'll likely need to budget for moving costs depending on where you're moving to.

The average cost for a local move is $80 to $100 per hour for a team of two movers, but it costs around $5,000 for a move that crosses state lines and spans more than 1,000 miles. Meanwhile, long-distance moving costs can range from a few thousand dollars to $10,000.[7]

Think about the costs you may face before putting your home on the market, such as cleaning (national average of $180), repairs (national average of $13,862), or temporary housing during any more invasive repairs (ranging from $156 to $392 per night in major U.S. cities. 

In rare cases, you may have to pay capital gains tax. This tax applies if you've lived in your home for less than two years or made a large profit on the home sale. You can exclude profit up to $250,000 if you're single, and $500,000 if you're married — as long as the home was your primary residence for two of the last five years.[8]

» MORE: What Does It Cost to Sell a House?

Related Articles

Article Sources

[2] National Association of Realtors – "Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report". Pages 131. Updated 2023.
[3] National Association of Realtors – "2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Highlights".
[4] National Association of Realtors – "Multiple Listing Service: What is it?".
[5] National Association of Realtors – "Quick Real Estate Statistics".
[6] U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – "Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector".
[7] Consumer Affairs – "How much do movers cost?".
[8] Internal Revenue Service – "Topic no. 701, Sale of your home".

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