The average total real estate commission in Massachusetts is 4.85%. This includes a 2.58% listing agent commission and a 2.27% buyer’s agent commission. In Massachusetts, sellers typically cover the real estate commission fees for both agents out of their sale proceeds at closing.
Massachusetts sellers pay an average of $27,078 in realtor fees, based on the average Massachusetts home price of $558,313.
Realtor commission rates vary considerably by region, city, or even neighborhood. The agent and brokerage you choose, as well as the specifics of your sale — like your home’s value, location, and condition — are also factors.
This guide breaks down how much commission sellers can expect to pay in Massachusetts. We’ll also explain why Massachusetts commissions are what they are (and offer up some tips that could help you save).
Massachusetts real estate commission: How much will you pay?
Here’s what you can expect to pay in realtor commission based on the average home price of $558,313.
|Listing agent commission||2.58%||$14,404|
|Buyer’s agent commission||2.27%||$12,674|
|Total realtor fees||4.85%||$27,078|
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How much are realtor fees in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, the average total realtor commission is 4.85%, which is than the U.S. national average of 5.37%.
Commissions can vary depending upon the home’s location. For example, an agent may take a lower commission to sell a house in an urban neighborhood with a high price point because it will sell quickly and the fee will be substantial even with a reduced commission.
A rural home that needs some work could be more difficult to sell, so an agent might be hesitant to reduce their commission to sell it.
Market conditions also play a role in determining commissions. In Massachusetts, home prices are up 3% from one year ago, but the number of homes sold has gone down nearly 31%. Therefore, realtors are generally making a little more for each sale, but they aren’t selling nearly as many homes as they were one year ago. This could make some agents reluctant to lower their fees by too much.
How real Massachusetts agents and brokers set commission rates
In general, realtors set their rates based on what competing agents are charging in their service area. But real estate agents usually leave a little room for negotiations.
Isadora Sarto, of eRealty Advisors in Boston, says she generally sets her listing agent commission at 2–2.5%, adding up to a total of 4.5–5%. Sarto says she’ll base her rate on how communicative the seller is, as well as the condition of the home.
It’s important to remember that agents don’t pocket the entire commission. Instead it’s split four ways: the listing fee is between the listing agent and their broker, and the buyer’s agent fee is split between the buyer’s agent and their broker. So on a 6% total commission, each party would take only 1.5%.
Realtors also need to take on a lot of upfront expenses on their own. Sarto says she spends around $1,000–1,500 on marketing per listing.
“I pride myself on my marketing,” says Sarto. “I always take professional photos. I often do videos and drones. I work with a professional staging company, and I spend a lot on social media and online marketing as well as postcards.”
Here’s a breakdown of some typical real estate agent overhead costs:
- Taxes: Most real estate brokers and agents are considered self-employed and must pay taxes on their transaction earnings each year
- Association dues: $600 yearly
- Multiple Listing Service (MLS) fees: $300–600 yearly
- State license fees: $103–142 every two years
- Administrative staff: Assistants can help with bookkeeping, scheduling, and other day-to-day operations
- Marketing costs: Professional photos, advertising, open houses, and staging
How can I save on realtor fees in Massachusetts?
While it may take some outside-the-box thinking, there are a few ways you can save on realtor fees:
- Negotiate with a traditional real estate agent or broker
- Work with a discount real estate broker
- Sell without a realtor
Negotiate with a traditional realtor
If you can convince your agent that your home will sell quickly with little effort, they might be more willing to reduce their fees.
Sarto says she will sometimes reduce fees for clients, depending upon their circumstances.
“I might lower the rate if the seller is in a really tough situation financially,” says Sarto. She’ll also consider a lower rate “if they have more than one property to sell, or if they are looking to buy, or if they were referred by a really great past client.”
Negotiating can be awkward and uncomfortable. If you’d rather avoid it, you can find an agent through Clever Real Estate. They’ve already pre-negotiated a 1.5% listing fee with experienced agents in Massachusetts, so you don’t have to. Find a Massachusetts agent for less.
Work with a discount real estate broker
Some brokerages offer discounted realtor fees up front. These companies can help you save money, but some come with risks or worse-than-average customer service. Do your research to understand what you’ll get for the discounted fee. See how we ranked discount real estate brokers in your area based on savings, customer reviews, and our experience mystery shopping with each company.
To save an average of $7,000 on your listing fee without sacrificing service, Clever Real Estate is your best option.
Sell without a realtor
The ultimate way to save on realtor fees is to sell without a realtor — though we don’t recommend this to most Massachusetts sellers.
You’ll avoid paying a listing commission, but you’ll have to do all of the work of a listing agent on your own. Plus, you’ll still want to pay a full buyer’s agent commission to incentivize other agents to show your home to their buyers.
Other FAQs about Massachusetts real estate commissions
How much commission does a realtor make in MA?
A Massachusetts listing agent typically makes 2.58% in commission, and a buyer's agent earns a commission of 2.27%. These fees are then split with each of the agents' brokers. Learn more about how real estate commission works in Massachusetts.
Who pays realtor fees in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, the seller pays for both the listing agent and the buyer's agent. All fees are taken out of the sale proceeds at closing. Learn more about how real estate commission works in Massachusetts.
We regularly survey our pool of 14,000 partner agents nationwide on the commission rates they use for buying and selling. These data points are averages based on responses we’ve received from 15 agents across Massachusetts.
We also interviewed Isadora Sarto of eRealty Advisors in Boston, MA.