How to Negotiate Your Real Estate Agent's Commission When Selling a Home

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How to Negotiate Your Real Estate Agent's Commission When Selling a Home. Most commission rates are not set by the state or any governing body and a company is free to charge what they want, but not all companies will negotiate.

Things You'll Need

  • Yellow Pages
  • Calculators
  • Real Estate Ads
  • Real Estate Agents

Get a good idea of what your home is worth before you start meeting with agents. Check out other homes for sale in your neighborhood, find out what similar homes have sold for, and consider having your home appraised.

Learn as much as you can about the local market - does it favor sellers or buyers? (If the market favors sellers, you will generally have more negotiating power with agents.)

Establish precisely what price or percentage you're willing to pay before going into a negotiation situation.

Determine your agent's qualifications before you start negotiating. It may be that you'll feel your agent is worth what he or she charges. Also note the agent's apparent weaknesses and use these in bargaining.

Explore payment options (beyond just straight commissions) with agents. For example, you can discuss a flat fee; a dual fee in which you pay 5 percent if the home is sold with a buyer broker and 3 percent if sold only by the listing broker; or pay consultant fees on an as-needed basis.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shop around and interview as many agents as you feel you have time to speak with. Two out of three sellers hire the first agent they contact.
  • If you can't find an agent who will sell your home for a commission you are willing to pay, consider a real estate firm that charges a flat rate to sell your home - instead of a percentage of the selling price. You may find a bargain.
  • If any of the following conditions exist, you may hold a negotiating edge: an assumable interest rate that's good; a good location; a house in immaculate condition; other properties you may want to sell (for a volume discount); if you're willing to take on some of the burden of selling; or if the agent has a buyer at hand.
  • Remember that most likely you will be dealing with an agent and not the broker. Agents cannot negotiate a commission without the consent of their broker.
  • Beware of agents who say they can get an inflated price for your home. Some do this just to get the listing but end up selling at a much lower price - after wasting a lot of valuable selling time. Alternatively, be wary of agents who suggest an overly low price just to get a quick sale.

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