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How Much Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid? Fees House Sellers Should Know

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Real estate agent commissions take the biggest cut of your house sale. Is it worth it then to even hire an agent or realtor? Or should you sell your house for sale by owner (FSBO)? Here is a rundown of real estate agent fees to help you decide.

What Are You Paying a Real Estate Agent to Do?

Seller agents may do the following:

  • Assign a fair, accurate price to your house.
  • Market your house across the MLS, social media, and print marketing.
  • Schedule walkthroughs.
  • Advocate for you when dealing with house inspectors and appraisers.
  • Help negotiate terms of sale between you, the buyer, and buyer’s agent.

How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Get Paid?

An agent earns commission upon sale of the house. Typically, their cut is 6% of the sale price, though a recent survey shows the national average is 5.45%. This downward trend is attributable to competition and a shortage of houses for sale in certain markets.

You can negotiate agent fees by arguing these points:

  • Time it takes to sell: if the house sells fast (in less than a month).
  • Anticipated sales price: if your house is priced high (e.g., $500,000s and up), a low rate is still a good chunk of change.
  • Buyer’s agent: if there is no buyer agent for the commission to be split with.
  • Agent’s workload: if you take on some responsibilities in the home sale process.

 An Agent Does Not Keep What They Earn

An agent does not keep all of the commission because they do not act alone. Most agents work under a real estate broker. The broker, then, takes half of the agent’s commission.

The seller agent then splits the commission with the buyer agent, and they with their brokerage. If we do a quick calculation, as an example, here is how it might play out:

  • Your house sells for $250,000;
  • 6% of the sale price is $15,000;
  • each brokerage gets $7,500; and
  • the brokers each pay their agents $3,750.

Once paid, your agent has to cover expenses. These include membership dues to real estate institutions and technology, but also money spent to market your house. You can see then that an agent does not make a huge profit. That is why they handle multiple house sales at a time.

Who Pays the Real Estate Agent?

You, the seller, pays both the buyer and seller agents. True, the buyer is purchasing your house, but it is out of your profit that the 6% is paid to these agents.

Instead of an Agent, Sell to an Investor

If you want to forgo agents and commission rates, consider selling to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer on a house, regardless of how it looks and without a buyer agent. You, then, only pay your share of closing costs. You enjoy a quick closing and a profit which you then use as a down payment on your next house.

Closing cost of selling a house

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House?

Home » fees house sellers should know


Selling a house can be a costly venture. Sellers often have no idea just how much money goes into selling a home till closing day. Some expenses are negotiable, and others might be waived. Here is an overview of the costs to sell a house so you can plan and budget for them.

Real Estate Agent Commissions

Realtors often receive 5% to 6% of the selling price on a home, and this commission is divided between the seller and buyer agents. An agent does a lot of work, from arranging tours to updating listings to handling paperwork to negotiating with buyers. Sellers can sell without an agent, but this means more work, as well as the loss of leverage that comes with an agent’s knowledge of the market.

Seller Concessions Cost

Seller concessions are buyer expenses a seller agrees to pay, such as a portion of the closing costs, appraisal fees, or inspection fees, to help sweeten the deal, so a buyer is more likely to close on the house. Their loan type often limits the amount a buyer can ask for, but concessions help offset the cost of a higher offer in a competitive market.

Home Repairs

Most buyers do not want to purchase a fixer-upper, which will cost them more money in the long run. For this reason, if issues are found during the home inspection, buyers will ask the seller to make repairs as part of the ongoing negotiations to close the deal.

Home Improvements

Sometimes a home needs a facelift. This could be minor cosmetic work, such as painting the interior, or large upgrades like remodeling the bathroom or kitchen. These changes not only enhance the appeal of a home but its value as well.

Staging

When visiting, buyers want to envision themselves in the home. Sellers can hire a professional to stage the home for greater appeal. They can rearrange furniture, declutter and depersonalize rooms, and repurpose spaces in ways you never imagined. Professionals have their fees, and even if a seller does not hire a stager, they might still pay for professional cleaning services.

Closing Costs

Buyers and sellers pay closing costs. Sellers closing costs can reach 8% to 10% of the sale price. These can include the closing fee paid to the closing agent, property taxes, attorney fees, a transfer tax, title insurance, and the remaining balance of the seller’s original mortgage, as well as any interest accrued.

If you would like to save money, consider selling your home to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer with fewer negotiations for the terms of sale, and regardless if a property is old or needs repairs. You can enjoy a quick closing, with fewer expenses, and keep a fat wallet.