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Realtor Commissions: How Much Should You Negotiate?

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By : Rob Thomson    99 or more times read
With the price of homes fallen so much over the past year or so, many home owners who're looking to sell their homes are warily eying up what they perceive as fat commissions that realtors are claiming.

The house prices have fallen for pretty much every area in the country and many home owners are struggling to get anything they can out of the sale of their home though they are almost all worth less than what home owners bought them for years ago. With so many loans underwater at this time, many home owners owe a lot more than their homes are worth and are struggling to get every cent that they can manage out of these homes.

It never hurts to negotiate with your realtor about their commission as long as you're being fair about it. Depending on the market in your area, realtors may be more than happy to cut their commission a bit to have the extra business. Don't imply that your realtor isn't a valuable part of the home sale process but let them know the reality of your financial situation.

Don't push too hard at a realtor to reduce their commission when you're working together to sell your home; remember that the realtor relies on his or her commission to pay their bills, feed their family, and run their business. If you push your realtor to reduce their commission, they may also reduce how hard they work at selling your home; things like advertising your home for sale come out of your realtor's pocket, after all. Many people have poor images of realtors either due to past associations that have left them with a bad impression or because they don't know what a realtor does; if you aren't aware of all the work that a good realtor does then it can be easy to be less willing to agree to the asked for commission rate. Don't ask a realtor to cut their rate because you don't think that they're a valuable part of the process, you're likely to either end up with no realtor or have yours not willing to work very hard for you.

Your best bet for success when selling your home is to shop around for realtors and take into account not only the commission that agents are asking for but also their qualifications, references, and expertise. A low rate of commission doesn't help you if a realtor takes a year to sell your home when you could be paying a little more for much more efficient service. Be prepared to strike a balance between the expertise of your realtor and the cost of having them work for you; this will help both of you be happy with the arrangement.
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