It is a common sentiment among buyers and sellers that real estate commissions are too high. Traditional commission structures pay about 5-6% to the agents. The buyer’s and seller’s agents then split the total commission. Since homes cost so much, commissions make up a considerable sum of money.
While these fee structures have been around for decades, there is change happening in the industry. This post will look at trends affecting the commissions of real estate professionals.
Changing Trends of Real Estate Commissions
Buyers and sellers are looking for ways to save money. As mentioned, traditional commissions are about 5-6% of the sale price. However, these numbers have been going down. Part of this reduction is due to the rise of low-fee brokerages. It is also important to note that commissions vary in different parts of the country.
Most industry professionals love their percentages. They can make a considerable amount off one sale. If a seller’s agent gets 2.5% on the sale of a $500,000 house, that’s a commission of $12,500. Some brokerages are attracting sellers by offering services for a flat fee. Let’s say they offer selling services for a flat fee of $2,500. That’s all the seller pays their agent, regardless of the sale price. There’s still the commission for the buyer’s agent, but it is still considerable savings.
Many brokerages are starting to account for the fact that some buyers and sellers need less help. For example, a buyer might already know which house they want. They might just need an agent to help them get the purchase across the finish line. In that case, the agent might offer a package that only covers the services the client needs. The same principle could apply to sellers willing to do more work.
Real estate agents have a tendency toward opacity when it comes to their fees. Most do not advertise their commission rate. Even if you look on their websites, you are unlikely to find the information there. Some argue that this practice is intentional and helps to perpetuate high commissions. However, we are starting to see more agents willing to advertise fees. With transparency, there could be more competition and stronger downward pressure on commissions.
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