📊 The data: We surveyed agents across the country, and found the average real estate commission cost to be 5.45%.
There are "typical" rates, but realtor commission isn't standardized or set in stone. Home sellers can always negotiate commission rates — doing so could save them thousands of dollars.
If you’re looking to save on realtor fees, Clever can help: we can match you with real estate agents who offer reduced rates of just $3,000 or 1%. Learn how Clever can help you save on realtor fees.
Typical real estate commission costs
To deliver home sellers the most accurate information on realtor commission rates, we conducted a comprehensive survey of active agents across the country.
We found that typical realtor commission rates were in the range of 5.06% to 5.85%.
Remember: these rates only represent averages. Commission rates aren't standardized in any official capacity and you can always negotiate realtor fees with your agent.
Get low rates without negotiating!
Clever can connect with top listing agents for pre-negotiated rates of just $3,000 or 1% for homes sold for more than $350k.
Average realtor commission for listing agents
According to our research typical commission rates for listing agents nationwide are in the range of 2.57% to 2.97% (2.77% on average).
For a home sold for $250,000 (which is around the national median home value), this translates to $6,431-7,417.
We also found that listing commission rates can vary by as much 32% depending on where you live. Here's how listing commissions differ in states with the highest and lowest typical costs.
|📖 Listing agent commission is portion of the total real estate commission that is paid to the agent that represents the home seller (also called the listing agent). This is often around half of the total commission that is paid out.|
Average buyer's agent commission rates
Nationwide, buyer's agents typically collect 2.49% to 2.88%, or 2.68% on average. This translates to $6,215-7,200 in buyer's agent commission costs for a home sold for $250,000.
These figures represent the national average, though we found that buyer's agent commission rates varied by 0.56 percentage points depending on which state you live in — which is a significant cost difference.
Below, we've included a breakdown of how buyer's agent commissions compare across the country:
|📖 Buyer's agent commission is the amount paid to the agent representing the home buyer during a home sale. This is paid from the proceeds generated by the home sale, and is often half of the total realtor fees.|
Our research found that commission rates can vary dramatically depending on your location. For example, we found that average commission rates in the District of Columbia were over one full percentage point lower than those in Missouri, with rates of 4.90% and 6.07% respectively. These areas had the lowest and highest average realtor fees according to our survey.
Find your state below to learn more about commission rates near you.
* Due to insufficient data, commission rates in these states were inferred from regional averages.
When you sell a home, there are typically two realtors involved: the buyer's agent and the listing agent. As the name implies, the buyer's agent represents the home buyer, and the listing agent represents the home seller.
The listing and buyer's agents get paid a portion of the home's price at closing, which is called the real estate agent commission — they are also referred to as realtor fees.
» LEARN: More about how realtor fees work.
Realtor fees are not typically paid upfront — instead they are factored into the sales price of the home, and are only paid out when the home's sale is finalized.
Here's how a realtor commission rate of 5.45% — which we found to be the national average — breaks down in terms of real dollars when you sell your house:
Home sale price
Real estate commission cost*
* Commission costs are calculated assuming a commission rate of 5.45%.
Real estate commission rates are commonly talked about as a single percentage (eg 5%). However this figure is actually split to cover the cost of both the buyer's agent commission and the listing agent commission.
For example, if the total commission cost is 5%, then each agent would typically get around 2.5%:
- Listing agent commission: 2.5%
- Buyer's agent commission: 2.5%
- Total realtor commission: 5% (2.5% + 2.5%)
Commissions are often split evenly between the buyer's agent and the listing agent, however this can vary based on what is customary in your area.
We found that depending on what region you live in, commission splits could range from 49-51% to 53-47% for the listing and buyer's agent respectively.
Who pays realtor fees?
Home sellers pay real estate fees for both their own agent, and the agent representing the home buyer.
Why would home sellers pay for the buyer's agent? Well, there are a couple of ways to look at it:
Buyer's agent commission is a marketing cost for your home
The buyer actually is paying for this cost, because it's baked into the sale price
Why are real estate agent commissions so expensive?
Realtor fees are a huge cost when you sell your home, so it makes sense to wonder why it's so expensive and if it makes sense to pay so much.
However, there are some justifiable reasons that agents charge what they do for their services:
- On average, agents help you sell your home for more money than if you were to sell without the use of an agent
- Agents don't get to keep all of the commission they earn from a home sale — they split it with the buyer's agent and their brokerage
- Realtors take on risk by covering home-marking costs upfront
Real estate agents help you get more for your home
In addition to helping you navigate your real estate transaction, one of the most important things that agents do is ensure that you get the highest possible price for your home.
Studies have shown that homes sold by real estate agents net 5.82% more than comparable homes sold without an agent. With that in mind, it's fair to say that many home sellers come out ahead by working with an agent, even after paying realtor fees.
Most real estate agents have to split their commission with their broker
Most agents don't get to keep all of their commission when a home sale closes. A portion of their commission is paid to their principal broker— which are real estate professionals that supervise real estate transactions done by agents that aren't qualified to process deals independently.
Principal brokers can get anywhere from 50% to 25% of an agent's commission on a home sale — meaning the amount your listing agent earns might be significantly less than you think.
For example, if a listing agent sells a home for $200,000 where the total commission rate is 5%, they may actually walk away with $3,000 after factoring in the commission split with both the buyer's agent, and their broker. This might still feel like a significant sum, but it is substantially less than the total commission cost of $10,000.
Listing agents pay for home marketing costs upfront
Real estate agents take on a significant amount of risk when they agree to help you list your home, which factors into the high cost of realtor fees.
This risk comes from the fact that agents commit their time without any guarantee they will be compensated.
Furthermore, agents often pay for marketing expenses such as photography, advertising, and staging up front and out of pocket. If they fail to sell your home, they don't collect any commission, aren't compensated for their time, and don't recoup any of the marketing costs they incurred.
Factors that influence commission rates
In addition to regional trends, there are a number of factors that influence how much you end up paying in realtor fees when you sell your home.
Most of the factors that affect how much an agent might charge for a given home sale stems from the fact that realtor fees are negotiable. Agents will lower or raise the amount they charge depending on:
- The home
- The client
- The current state of the real estate market
Based on our research, working with repeat clients is the most common reason that real estate agents agree to accept lower rates.
Here's a full breakdown of the most common factors that cause agents to lower their commission rates:
Conversely, our survey showed that the most common reason that listing agents negotiate for higher rates was that home sellers requested expensive marketing.
Below, we've included the full breakdown of all of the factors:
How home value affects typical real estate commission rates
Typically, realtors will be more willing to accept lower commission rates for homes that have high values.
Our study of commission rates found that in real estate markets where home values were high, realtor fees were typically lower than the national average. For example, commission rates averaged 5.15% across the states with the highest median home values — which is markedly less than the national average of 5.45%.
Based on our survey's findings, homeowners in the five states with the highest property values would pay 8% less in realtor fees when they sell their home than residents in the states with the five lowest home values — as a percentage relative to their home's sale price.
So why would high home values cause agents to lower their rates? Mainly, it's because the work that agents have to do to sell homes is not significantly different for high and low value homes.
Agent's earn commission based on the home's selling price, so they stand to earn a lot more money selling higher value homes — relative to their effort and time investment — than lower value homes.
Furthermore, even if they have to spend more time or money marketing a high cost home, it may be worth it for that agent.
Consider the following example, where the listing agent earns 57% more per hour selling a $500,000 home than they would selling a $250,000 home, even after factoring in the marketing costs and time commitment:
Home sale price
Time to sell
Out of pocket marketing cost
Time spent actively selling (eg showing, marketing, etc.) the home
Net commission earned per hour of time actively marketing/showing the home
Why realtors lower their fees for repeat clients
Having steady business is valuable for real estate agents — home sellers can use this fact to negotiate lower commission rates.
For real estate agents, having consistent streams of clients is crucial to their livelihood. Afterall, real estate agents typically only process around 12 real estate transactions per year— meaning that gaining a deal has a large impact on their income.
To agents, there is more value in having reliable repeat business, than there is in maximizing their commission they earn on any single deal. Because of this, agents often lower rates to attract clients that are likely to use them for future transactions.
Data on commission rates is based on a survey of 563 of our partner agents, in which we asked them to indicate the typical rates for both buyer's and seller's agents in their area.
The data featured on this page is not meant to imply that commission rates are fixed — commissions rates are always negotiable. These figures represent ballpark estimates of what home sellers can expect to pay in real estate agent fees when they sell their home.
In addition to data from our survey, we also utilized home value data from Zillow, which was current as of September, 2020.