Full disclosure: The Tim was employed by Redfin (is just a shareholder as of October 2013) and WaLaw Realty and Quill Realty are Seattle Bubble advertisers.
A reader wrote in with the following question about real estate agent commissions:
In the near future my wife and I are going to need to sell our respective homes and then buy a new home. This means a lot of money exchanging hands with these 3 upcoming home sales/purchase. This also means a nice piece of commission for whoever we choose as our real estate agent.
A friend recommended we ask our prospective agent to give us a break on their commission and only take 2% in stead of the customary 3%. This may amount up to $15k in savings for my wife and I, which is very appealing. My question then, is this common practice, for an agent to give a break on their commission to secure business?
While there are certainly agents out there who are willing to do that sort of thing, if you’re interested in saving money, why not just use a brokerage that offers a discounted price up front?
Here in the Seattle area there are lots of options:
- Redfin – Up to 50% commission rebate on the sell side and the buy side
- WaLaw – Flat fee buy and sell side service, big rebates, plus legal council
- Quill Realty – Option of 2% commission or a flat fee (1 tour/offer), plus legal council
- 500 Realty – Flat fee sell side, up to 75% commission rebate on the buy side
Findwell – Up to 50% commission rebate on the sell side, up to 33% on the buy side.
[2015 Update: Findwell no longer offers discounts, and Quill’s fee structure has been updated.]
If you already have an agent that you are comfortable working with and would just really like to stick with them, go ahead and ask, but be prepared for them to take offense. Some “traditional” agents are more than happy to negotiate the price of their services, but others find even the suggestion to be appalling. It’s really hit and miss.