Low Commission Real Estate Agents: How to Sell & Save 50%


Clever Real Estate


July 3rd, 2020


Real estate agents usually aren’t paid a base salary. Instead, the vast majority work on commission, i.e., a set percentage of the final price of the home being sold.

Low commission real estate agents offer commission rates that are considerably less than the nationwide average of approximately 6%.

Working with one of these low-cost agents could save you as much as 50% in commission fees.

Below we detail how low commission real estates work, how they can differ from traditional realtors, and how you can save on commission.

Connect with a top-rated, full service agent for a low commission rate!

Clever is a free service that can find you a local agent that will list your home for just $3,000 or 1%, if your home sells for more than $350,000.

What is a low commission real estate agent?

A low commission real estate agent will list and sell your home for a low cost, saving you up to half of the 6% fee agents typically charge in a real estate transaction.

* Based on a commission model of 3% for the buyers agent and $3,000 or 1% for homes over $350,000 for the listing agent.

If you’re looking for a low commission or discount real estate agent, there are a few different options to choose from:

  • Low commission brokerages who only do discount listings
  • Low commission agents who only list your house on the MLS and offer no additional services
  • Agents who run a traditional business but will also take a low commission listing if it’s referred by Clever

When you work with a Clever Partner Agent, you get the best of both worlds: full service and support from a top-rated agent for a significantly reduced commission fee. Clever Partner Agents can list your home for a flat fee of $3,000 — or just 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.

Our Partner Agents are all full-service realtors who have been identified as top performers in their local markets. The only difference is that they’ve agreed to offer their services to our clients for a fraction of their typical rate.

Want to learn more? Fill out the form below or call us directly (1-833-2-CLEVER) for more information and next steps.

Quick Tip: Don't choose between service and savings — get both!

Flat-fee and discount real estate services might seem like a bargain at first blush, but more often than not, sellers who go this route end up getting burned. Limited support and services usually translates to longer sale timelines, increased stress, and lower sale prices.

Now you don't have to choose between savings and service! Clever will connect you with a top-rated agent in your area from a major brand like Keller, RE/MAX, Century 21, etc. Our partners have agreed to offer full service for a fraction of their typical rates — saving you up to 50% on commission fees WITHOUT sacrificing the help you need to get a great outcome.

The results speak for themselves: Clever saves sellers an average of $9,000 per transaction — and gets them offers 25% faster. Sound too good to be true? We know, but there are no strings attached. Just savings. Lots of savings.

Sound interesting? Fill out the form below to learn more and interview top-rated agents near you. Our referral service is 100% free and there’s no obligation.

How are low commission real estate agents different from traditional realtors?

Just because you work with a cheap realtor, it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice on service — it all depends on which type of low commission agent you choose to work with.

When you work with a traditional real estate agent, you can expect to receive a comprehensive array of services and support in exchange for your full commission fee, including:

  • Pricing
  • Marketing
  • Home staging
  • Professional photos
  • Negotiating
  • Closing

In contrast, many discount and flat-fee brokerages will significantly limit the scope of their services and support to offset their reduced rates. Below, we've broken down the key differences between the different types of low commission real estate offerings.

Are realtor fees negotiable?

In a word, yes.

The idea that realtor commission rates are set in stone is a common misconception among home sellers and buyers. The reality is that everything in a real estate transaction is negotiable, including your agent’s fee.

That said, it is true that in most markets, traditional agents end up charging a similar fee for their services — approximately 6%, split between the listing and buyers' agents involved in the sale.

Your ability to negotiate your commission rate down will likely depend on two key factors:

  • The temperature of your local market
  • The quality of the property you’re trying to sell

Both of these factors will help your home sell quickly — which you can use to argue for a cheaper commission rate.

>> Learn more about how to negotiate real estate commission

Top Tips for Negotiating Lower Real Estate Commission Fees

1. Do your homework in advance

Before initiating the conversation, you should do some preliminary research. Look at recent sale prices for similar homes in your area, evaluate whether you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market — this will give you a good indication of how much bargaining power you have going in.

2. Consider your specific needs

Be upfront about what services you value — and which ones you don’t. When haggling on price, you may have to sacrifice certain services or types of support. Maybe you want to try handling the showings and open houses yourself, or you’re a professional photographer and don’t need assistance on that front.

That said, keep in mind that some agents may not want to sign a listing agreement if they’re not in the driver’s seat. They’re the experts and may not want you jeopardizing their ability to maximize their profit on the sale.

3. Work with a company that pre-negotiates rates for you

There are companies (Clever is one of them) that can connect you with traditional, full-service agents for a pre-established low commission rate. Oftentimes, it’s a whole lot easier to let someone else negotiate on your behalf, and these referral services can often get rates lower than you'd be able to get negotiating for yourself.

Think of it like the “Groupon Model” for real estate agents. When you approach an agent on your own, they may not be very open to negotiating rates — after all, you're just one client and they may rather choose listings that pay the standard commission rate. In contrast, when they work with a discount broker referral service, they’re getting a much higher volume of new business without having to invest any time or money up front.

How Clever can help you save on commission

Clever has a nationwide network of top-rated, full-service real estate agents, all of whom represent major brands and/or regional brokerages (Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX, and more).

Our Partner Agents run traditional, full-commission real estate businesses, but have agreed to offer a significant discount to any home seller who connects with them through Clever’s referral program. Despite the low commission rates, you can still expect to receive comprehensive, end-to-end real estate services and support. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Comparative Market Analysis
  • Expert Pricing Guidance
  • Home-Staging Tips
  • Professional Photos
  • Sign in Yard
  • Marketing Services & Support
  • Listing on the MLS, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and hundreds of other sites
  • Negotiation & Counteroffer Support
  • Home Inspection Coordination & Support
  • Title Transfer Support
  • Closing Services
  • Ongoing Expert Guidance & Support Throughout the Home Selling Process

In other words, unlike when you work with other discount brokerages, prospective buyers will have no idea that you saved thousands on your listing commission. That helps you avoid lowball offers and hard-line negotiations from potential buyers

When you list with a Clever Partner Agent, you’ll get all of the expert guidance, support, and exposure needed to sell your home quickly, and for top dollar.

Schedule no-obligation consultations with full-service, low commission real estate agents near you!

Sell or Buy a Home with Clever and Save Thousands

Enter your zip code to see if Clever has a partner agent in your area!

Why do real estate agents partner with Clever?

Real estate agents typically have to sink a ton of their time and resources into acquiring new business for themselves. Of course, they don’t get paid when they sign new customers — they get paid when they sell homes.

When agents work with Clever, they get a steady stream of new clients, meaning they can spend less time selling themselves and more closing deals.

In effect, they’re able to generate more revenue with less effort — and those savings get passed on to you in the form of a cheap commission rate.

Working with Clever supplements their traditional business, generates new connections, and increases awareness of their personal brand around town.

Our Partner Agents know that if they fail to provide our buyers and sellers with the best possible service and results, we’ll stop sending them referrals — and they’ll likely damage their professional reputations.

In other words, expect to receive the same treatment and care they’d extend to any of their traditional clients.

Find a top-rated, low-cost agent near you!

Let us match you with a top-rated, low commission agent.

Clever has a nationwide network of thousands of Partner Agents who have agreed to list and sell your home for a flat fee of $3,000, or just 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.

>> See what sellers are saying about their experience with Clever.

Get multiple proposals and interview as many agents as you’d like to find the perfect realtor to match your specific needs and circumstances.

Connect with an agent and save on commission!

Clever finds you local agents that will list your home for a low commission fee of just $3,000 or 1%, if your home sells for more than $350,000.

Top FAQs about low commission realtors

Is there a fee for using Clever to find a low commission agent?

No. Clever’s referral service is 100% free to home sellers. What’s more, you only pay your reduced commission fee if and when your home sells. If your Clever listing doesn’t work out, you don’t pay a dime.

What’s the average commissions savings with Clever?

As of 2019, sellers who listed with Clever saved an average of $10,000 per transaction — that’s compared to what they would’ve paid selling the same home with a full-commission realtor.
>> Find the average commission rate in your area.

Does Clever have low commission real estate agents in my area?

Clever partners with thousands of top-rated, low commission real estate agents all across the United States. Get in touch to find and connect with Partner Agents in your area. We’ll connect you with a local, full-service agent who can help you sell your home and save thousands on commission. The referral is free and there’s no obligation to sign!

What real estate company charges the lowest commission?

When it comes to selling a home and saving, there are plenty of options to choose from: discount brokers, flat fee MLS services, limited service real estate agents, low commission agents — all can help you sell your home in one way or another for less than the typical 6% commission rate.
That said, you shouldn’t be looking for the real estate company that charges the lowest commission; instead, look for the company that offers the most value. Many low commission real estate companies will offer limited services in exchange for the savings. Before you sign a listing agreement, make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for?
>> Learn more about which company has the lowest commission!

What if I already have an agent?

When you sign a listing agreement with an agent, the terms around termination will be specific to your contract. It’s always a good idea to discuss these terms before you sign. Some agents or brokers will allow terms or conditions for ending the contract early — some won’t.
Some contracts will require sellers to pay former listing agents a partial commission for services previously rendered, even if you close with another agent. Others will allow you to terminate if certain terms or conditions are not met in a specified period of time.
>> Learn more about terminating a listing agreement!

How do I list on the MLS without an agent?

Generally speaking, homeowners who want to sell their homes for sale by owner (FSBO) cannot get their listings on the MLS themselves. They can, however, negotiate with a realtor — or work with a flat fee MLS service — to get their homes listed on the MLS for a single, flat fee.
Of course, when you negotiate a deal like this with a realtor or work with a flat fee MLS service, the listing is all you’ll get. What’s more, you’ll still need to pay the buyer’s agent commission and for any legal support needed with the contracts and closing.

Why do real estate agents charge so much?

There’s a reason approximately 91% of home sellers choose to work with a realtor — simply put, selling a home is a complex, high-stakes process. Real           estate agent fees are what they are not because of how long it can take to sell a house, but how much time, effort, and expertise is required to do it right.
Realtors study and pay to get their licenses; they have advertising and marketing costs to cover; they work long hours and are constantly on the move, showing homes, fielding offers, negotiating, and filling out paperwork. What’s more, many agents have to pay dues, insurance, and even split their commission checks with their broker.
That’s where Clever comes in: Clever helps agents acquire new business opportunities without any upfront cost or effort, representing a massive reduction in their overhead. Those savings can then be passed along to you, the home seller, in the form of a reduced commission fee at closing.
>> Learn more about real estate agent commission rates!

Does the buyer pay realtor fees?

Typically, the home seller is responsible for the realtor fees in a real estate transaction. While there’s sometimes room for negotiation, that usually amounts to 6% of the final sale price, which is split more or less down the middle between the listing and buyer’s agents involved in the sale.
That said, many sellers will try to account for and bake these commission fees into the listing price of their homes. Of course, this strategy can backfire — if you set too high a listing price for your home or the current market conditions, you may have trouble getting an offer.
>> Learn more about realtor fees and closing costs!

Do you have to pay a realtor if the house doesn’t sell?

Most listing agreements will stipulate terms for expiration or termination. For example, if the home doesn’t sell within a specified window of time, the agreement will expire and you’ll be free to seek out new representation. In this situation, no fee or commission would be due to the previous broker or agent.
In rare cases, contracts will require sellers to pay a fee for services rendered by the agent regardless of whether they end up selling your home or not. As such, it’s always important to read listing agreements over carefully and ask plenty of questions before signing.
>> Learn more about listing agreements here.