Real Estate Commission Calculator: How Much Will You Pay?

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By Steve Nicastro Updated January 12, 2024

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Planning to sell your home? Our real estate commission calculator is a handy tool to estimate potential realtor fees and your net proceeds, considering closing costs and loan payoff.

Commission fees are often the largest expense in selling a home. Most sellers (71%) who use real estate agents report spending 5% or more on commission, and the national commission average is 5.49%. This means on a $500,000 home sale, you could be looking at nearly $30,000 in realtor fees.

However, commission rates are not set in stone. They can vary significantly based on your market, property type, and location. Plus, you have the power to negotiate these rates.

Some full-service brokerages, like Clever Real Estate, negotiate lower commission rates with real estate agents for you, which could save you thousands on your home sale.

Clever pre-negotiates a 1.5% listing fee with top agents nationwide. By choosing Clever, you can enjoy the expertise of a local, experienced agent while potentially cutting your listing fee in half.

💰 Get a 1.5% listing fee — no negotiating required

Real estate commission calculator

Note: Results from our calculator are for estimation purposes only. They should not be considered 100% accurate or a final guarantee of what you'll pay a real estate agent in your transaction. 

How to use our real estate commission calculator

1. Enter your home's sale price or estimated value. Start by inputting your home's expected selling price. If you're unsure of this figure, you can get a rough estimate using online tools like Zillow's home value estimator. 

2. Factor in your mortgage details. If you have a loan, add your outstanding loan balance shown on recent mortgage statements. This remaining principal gets paid off at closing.

3. Input a listing agent and buyer's agent commission. Most real estate agents are paid a percentage of the home's final sale price, as opposed to a flat fee. If unsure, check the average commission rates for your state. Our calculator defaults to the national standard. 

Steps to calculating real estate agent commission 

Here's how to calculate real estate commission in three easy steps. 

Estimate your home value

Start by determining your home's projected selling price or its current estimated value. Here are your options:

  1. Home value estimators. Quick and easy, these real estate websites offer an instant estimate based on algorithms. However, they are generally the least accurate.
  2. Comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA report is more time-consuming but offers greater accuracy, because it gives you a tailored estimate based on the specific details of your home and the dynamics of the surrounding real estate market. CMAs are usually free and come with no obligation, meaning you can get one without having to sign an exclusive listing agreement with a real estate agent.
  3. Professional appraisal. The most accurate but also the most costly and time-consuming option, costing between $350-500 and taking 2-3 weeks. It's best if you're planning to sell soon.

» Find out what your home is worth! Get a free valuation from a real estate agent 

Determine the total commission rate

The total commission rate is the combined rate you pay to both the seller's agent and buyer's agent. 

If you're uncertain about the commission rate to input, consider using the average rate from Clever's average commission rate survey as a guideline. This survey gathered insights from over 600 experienced real estate agents across the country, providing a reliable reference for average rates in your area.

Note that this figure does not include other seller closing costs, which could add 1-3% to your expenses.

Perform the calculation

Multiply the sales price by the commission rate to find the total commission. 

For example, a $500,000 sale at a 6% commission equals $30,000 in total fees, typically split evenly between the listing and buyer's agents. Each agent would earn $15,000.

Maximizing accuracy in your home sale calculations

Consider requesting a seller's net sheet from a local realtor for more precise estimate of your potential earnings from a home sale. 

This document offers a detailed breakdown of what you could potentially earn from the sale. It's a more comprehensive analysis that includes:

  • The sale price or estimated value from a CMA report or pre-listing appraisal. 
  • Deductions for all costs - including total commission and seller closing costs - based on the agent's analysis of your local market. 

A seller's net sheet gives you a clearer picture of your net proceeds, while also helping you make informed decisions about your sale. Most realtors provide this service for free, without any obligation. 

However, be prepared for a sales pitch, as the realtor will likely use this opportunity to showcase their services.

Real estate agent commission split breakdown

In a typical $500,000 real estate transaction, the total 5-6% commission pays both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. 

  • Buyer’s agent. Earns a share for bringing a qualified purchaser, handling negotiations, and guiding the buyer through the transaction process.
  • Listing agent. Earns commission for marketing the home, facilitating the sale, coordinating showings, and completing paperwork. 

Commissions are generally split 50/50 between selling and buying agents. However, Clever's nationwide data shows sellers' agents average slightly higher earnings than their buyer counterparts.

For example, on a $342,941 with a national average commission rate of 5.49%:

  • Total commission (5.49%): $18,827
  • Buyer's agent (2.66%):  $9,122. 
  • Listing agent (2.83%): $9,705

Though averages are usually split evenly (or close to it). While agents negotiate their own rates, discount brokerages like Clever offer reduced set commissions, saving clients thousands.

Who pays the buyer's agent? 

In most housing transactions, the seller pays commissions for both the listing agent and buyer's agent. This has been standard practice for years, with sellers essentially subsidizing buyer representation.

Selling agents compensate buyer brokers for bringing eager, qualified purchasers. Industry groups argue this benefits sellers by expanding their home’s market exposure.

However, this payment structure faces growing legal challenges. A November 2023 antitrust lawsuit found the National Association of Realtors guilty of manipulating sellers into inflated buyer agent fees. Critics argue the current norms unfairly burden sellers with costs that advantage buyers.

The ruling signals a potential industry shift towards purchasers paying their own agent commissions. For now, longstanding practices continue pending appeals. We'll provide updates if compensation models change.

» READ MORE: Backgrounder Q&A: National Association of REALTORS

How to reduce real estate agent commissions

1. Try to negotiate a lower rate

You can try to negotiate a lower realtor fee with any real estate agent. But, the process can be tricky, and stressful, with low success rates. Only 22% of recent sellers successfully negotiated reduced fees after discussing commission rates with their agents.

2. Hire a low commission realtor

Some brokerages offer standard listing services at significantly lower rates, sometimes as low as 1–2%, compared to the usual 2.5–3%.

Even a modest reduction of 0.5% in commission can lead to substantial savings. For instance, Clever Real Estate offers a competitive 1.5% listing fee with top-rated realtors, which is below the national average and can save you thousands without sacrificing service quality.

» The best low commission realtors 

3. Sell directly to a cash home buyer 

Another option is to sell your home directly to a company that buys houses for cash

Selling directly to a cash home buyer eliminates the need for agents, thus avoiding commission fees. This option also promises a quick and straightforward sale process, without inspections or appraisal requirements. 

However, the trade-off is that cash buyers typically offer less than the market value, often around 70% of the home's value after repairs, minus the repair costs. 

While you save on realtor fees, the overall profit might be lower. For the best results, compare offers from multiple cash buyers, either independently, through a realtor, or via a service like Clever Offers.

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