UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Can I Negotiate My Agent’s Commission?

by Mark Wellborn


In this week’s installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader who is thinking about selling her condo inquires about a real estate agent’s willingness to negotiate their standard commission.

I’m thinking of selling my condo, and a friend recommended that I negotiate the commission with my agent. How do recent market conditions affect an agent’s willingness to negotiate? If 6 percent is the market standard, what’s a good starting point for negotiations? 5 percent?

Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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* UrbanTurf Reader Asks: What Are the Chances That My Landlord Will Reduce My Rent?
* Ask an Agent: What is the Deal With Fair Housing Laws?

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_can_i_negotiate_my_agents_commission/1645


  1. SimonF said at 4:14 pm on Monday January 4, 2010:

    I have not had any experience with this, but I imagine that agents would be open to some negotiation. I think 6 percent is on the high side for agent commissions anyway, with most transactions being a five percent split between the buyer’s agent and listing agent.

  1. chris said at 4:29 pm on Monday January 4, 2010:

    I noticed that Redfin (when representing the buyer) will split its commission (half of 6% or 3%) with the buyer at closing.  Have buyer’s had success asking their agent to give a similar deal?

  1. John Nugent said at 5:00 pm on Monday January 4, 2010:

    Relatedly, if a buyer does not have agent representation, can the buyer get the buyer’s agent commission negotiated into a lower purchase price?

  1. SageAdvice said at 6:28 pm on Monday January 4, 2010:

    Of course you can negotiate anything.  On the house we just bought, sellers paid their agent 2.25% and my agent 3%, except that my agent was giving me 2 of the 3%. 

    I would think negotiating a bit of seller’s agent fees might be reasonable when you’re north of 500K but I would also be wary of imposing a cap on buyer’s agency fees, since buyer’s agents may ultimately or even subconsciously avoid your property because they are being paid less.  Put it this way, all things being equal if a choice between two properties and the only difference is how much the agent will get paid…  well, I think we know what will happen

  1. Brandon Green said at 7:39 pm on Monday January 4, 2010:

    Depends on the agent. Almost everything—even taxes—can be negotiable.

  1. bes said at 12:50 pm on Tuesday January 5, 2010:

    I think there is a lot of truth in “you get what you pay for”.  I am always amazed at people trying to negotiate a commission on a lower priced living unit.  It can take just as much energy, advertising,expense, and footwork on the part of the agent to sell the lesser priced one.  I think the real question is would you negotiate with your physician or attorney?  If you choose a good realtor, he/she makes a living as a realtor and spends time on the profession and brings to the forefront an expertise that you don’t have.  I think you also have the right to ask for the service inherent in a good listing when you honor the expertise and acknowledge that this is not a hobby.  And, for the record, I am not a realtor nor engaged in real estate in anyway.

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