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Real Estate Commission Fees? What Every Consumer Should Know



Real Estate Commission Fees? What Every Consumer Should Know


Real estate transactions can be complex and overwhelming, but working with a REALTOR, can make the process smoother. One aspect of this relationship that both buyers and sellers should be well-versed in is the commission structure that most REALTORS currently use. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of the current commission structure employed by most agencies in the real estate industry, and what value an expert in the field can provide you with.

Pros for Buyers:

1.       Expertise and Guidance: Prospective homebuyers benefit from the expertise and guidance of real estate agents who have a deep understanding of the local market. Agents can help buyers make informed decisions, ensuring that they find the right property for their needs and budget.

2.       No Direct Cost: The commission structure often doesn't require buyers to pay their agent directly, although Buyers should have a thorough discussion with their agent to understand any potential obligations to pay. Instead, the buyer's agent's commission is usually deducted from the Seller’s proceeds, making it a cost-effective way to access professional services and expertise, allowing the Buyer to qualify to buy homes with less money out of pocket.

3.       Negotiation Skills: Real estate agents are skilled negotiators, working to secure the best possible deal for buyers. They can negotiate on price, contingencies, and other terms, ultimately helping buyers save money and protect their interests. Buying a home without a dedicated professional in your corner could cost you money in the long term.

4.       Efficient Transaction Management: Agents handle the logistical aspects of the transaction, reducing stress and ensuring a smooth process, from scheduling viewings to managing paperwork, coordinating inspections and closings.

Cons for Buyers

1.       Perceived Conflict of Interest: Some Buyers may worry that the commission structure creates a conflict of interest for their agent, as they are paid based on the sale price and indirectly from the Seller’s agency. However, REALTORS prioritize their clients' best interests and work diligently to find properties that align with the buyer's needs and budget. A professional agent is more concerned with establishing long term relationships with their clients through a focus on providing a quality service rather than just “Making a sale”.

2.       Seller Perspective: It is possible that the Seller’s asking price for their home will be higher knowing that a portion of the commission they pay will go to the agency representing the Buyer, thus increasing the sale price that the Buyer will pay.

Pros for Sellers

1.       Marketing Expertise: Real estate agents invest in marketing and exposure for your property, helping it reach a broader audience. This can lead to higher property values and faster sales.

2.       Negotiation Skills: Seller's agents are experts at negotiating offers, helping sellers secure favorable terms and maximize their profit.

3.       Pricing Strategy: Agents assist sellers in pricing their properties competitively, ensuring that they receive the best possible offers in a timely manner.

4.       Industry Knowledge: Agents stay updated on local market trends, providing sellers with valuable insights to make informed decisions.

5.       Increases Buyer Activity: By offering compensation to a Buyer agency, it will increase the incentive for a Buyer to see your home. In the absence of an offer for compensation to a Buyer agency, the Buyer simply might not have the available funds to be able to afford your home and still maintain the necessary professional guidance, thus the Buyer might choose not to view your home altogether, limiting your potential Buyer pool. Increasing your buyer pool will ultimately increase your net proceeds.

Cons for Sellers

1.       Cost: The commission structure involves a percentage of the sale price, which is deducted from the Seller's proceeds. This cost can reduce the net profit from the sale since the Buyer agency fee is currently built into the commission that the Seller pays.

2.       Perceived Incentive: Some sellers may worry that they may need to pay a higher commission to give incentive to a Buyer agent. It is illegal and unethical for a Buyer agent to not show a home based on the offer of compensation from the seller’s agency. You will want to address this possible concern with your agent. The goal would be to incentivize Buyer’s to see your home, not their agents.


The current commission structure in real estate has its pros and cons for both buyers and sellers. The critical element to remember is the essential role real estate agents play in facilitating successful transactions. Their expertise, negotiation skills, and industry knowledge bring undeniable value to the process. Ultimately, the decision to work with a real estate professional should be based on the understanding that their role is to act in your best interest, whether you're buying or selling a property and that the commission you pay should be in line with the level of skill and value your agent brings to the table. By collaborating with an experienced agent, you can decide what commission fee structure works best for your particular situation.  Remember, although real estate agencies likely have a policy on commission structure for Seller and Buyer representation, those fees are negotiable. Transparency is key, who is getting paid and by whom should not be a mystery and are questions you deserve to have answered.


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