Realtor fees in Washington cost an average of 5.30%, which equates to a total commission fee of $29,836 for a typical home in the state. This includes the fees for both the seller’s agent and buyer’s agent, with each realtor earning around half the total commission amount.
In this article, we look at what affects realtor fees in Washington and who pays them. This information can help you when selling a house: you can avoid overpaying a realtor and budget properly for your sale.
But if you’re like many Washington home sellers, you might think 5.30% is too much to pay a realtor. Luckily, there are lots of ways to save on realtor fees in Washington.
The best option for most people is to find a realtor through a free service like Clever Real Estate. Clever negotiates 1.5% listing fees with top local realtors at trusted brands like Keller Williams and RE/MAX. You’ll get guaranteed full service, but pay a fraction of what real estate agents typically charge.
What is a fair realtor commission in Washington?
A fair realtor commission in Washington is whatever rate a typical seller with a home like yours would expect to pay in your local market. But what’s most important is that you and your agent agree on a rate you’re both comfortable with.
Most Washington realtors expect a total commission rate of around the statewide average of 5.30%. But you may be able to persuade your agent that a lower fee is reasonable if:
- Your home value is higher than the area average
- You’re in a seller’s market where bidding wars are common
- Your home is in excellent condition
- Properties like yours are selling quickly
- You’re also buying a house with the same agent
If you’re looking to save on realtor fees, it’s also possible to find Washington real estate agents with low commission rates. The top discount brands offer reduced listing fees (as low as 1.5% in Washington!), but still provide all the expertise and hands-on service you’d expect from an experienced local agent.
How much do realtor fees in Washington cost?
|Average realtor fee|
|Buyer's agent fee||2.63%|
|Total Washington realtor fees||5.30%|
The average Washington realtor commission rate is 5.30%, with 2.67% going to the listing agent and the remaining 2.63% going to the buyer’s agent.
Washington realtor fees usually don’t vary too much from agent to agent — the majority of agents charge rates close to the area average. Our data found that most Washington sellers end up paying between 4.50%–6.09% in total real estate commission fees.
The table below shows an example of how realtor commission costs would affect a seller’s net profit on an average home in Washington:
|Seller closing costs||$12,423|
Realtor fees come out of the sale proceeds at closing and are typically set and paid by the seller. As the seller, you’ll need to set your list price high enough to cover the realtor fees, but you shouldn’t need to pay your realtor upfront or before your house sells.
What factors affect realtor fees in Washington?
Average realtor fees in Washington are affected by conditions in the local housing market. Key factors include home price trends, the number of active real estate listings, and how quickly houses are selling.
Home price trends
|Median home value||Annual increase|
Source: Zillow. Last updated: March 2023.
Realtor commission rates are affected by home prices. Areas with high or rising home prices tend to see lower realtor fees. Areas with low or declining prices tend to see higher realtor fees.
Realtors can often make more money charging a lower rate on an expensive home than they can charging a higher rate on a cheaper home. This is why areas with increasing home prices typically see lower realtor rates.
In Washington, the current median home value is $613,674. If your home is worth more, you may find a deal on realtor fees more easily. But if it’s worth less, realtors are unlikely to budge on their standard rates.
How many homes are for sale
|United States||up 67.8%|
Source: Realtor.com. Last updated: February 2023.
The number of homes currently for sale — also called inventory — affects realtor fees as well. When inventory is tight, fewer homes are for sale. This usually leads to lower realtor fees since realtors are competing for a smaller pool of listings.
When inventory is rising, more homes are on the market. Realtor fees often increase during this time because realtors don’t have to compete as aggressively for listings.
Active listings in Washington are up 97.9% since last year. Nationwide, inventory is up 67.8%.
How quickly homes are selling
|Average days on market*|
|United States||48 days|
*12-month rolling average. Source: Realtor.com. Last updated: February 2023.
How quickly homes sell is another factor affecting realtor fees. When homes sell quickly, realtor fees tend to decrease. When homes sell slowly, realtor fees tend to either increase or stay the same.
When homes spend fewer days on the market, it’s often due to strong buyer demand. Realtors can lower their fees because they know most listings will sell faster, making each one an easier paycheck.
When homes take longer to sell, realtors have to work harder to sell each house. Since each paycheck will take longer to earn and require more effort, realtors are less likely to lower their fees.
Across Washington, homes sell in an average of 34 days, but selling times can vary between markets. For example, the average selling timeline in Seattle is 17 days, but homes in Othello average 35 days on the market.
But not every home conforms to market conditions. For example, even if homes are selling slowly, your home may sell quickly if it has features buyers are looking for. In this case, realtors may be willing to lower their rates because your listing is more likely to buck market trends.
How are realtor fees split in Washington?
Realtor fees in Washington are typically split down the middle between the two real estate agents involved in the transaction — often 50/50. On average, the seller’s agent earns 2.67% of the home price and the buyer’s agent earns 2.63%, for a total commission of 5.30%.
But there’s no rule that says to split realtor commission evenly between the two agents. It’s up to you as the seller to decide how much to give each realtor.
Think carefully about what rates you set. You don’t want to set them too low; not all agents will agree to work for a low rate, and it’s usually in your best interest to offer a competitive rate to buyer’s agents. Offering a competitive buyer’s agent commission incentives agents to show your house to their clients, which will make it easier for you to find a buyer.
Brokerage commission is another factor to consider. Realtors rarely keep the full commission you offer. Instead, they often split 50% with their brokerages. While you may think your listing agent is getting a 3% commission, for example, in reality they may take home only 1.5%.
The table below breaks down an example of a typical Washington realtor commission split.
|Seller's agent take home||1.335%|
|Seller's agent's broker split||1.335% (~50% of the seller's agent's commission )|
|Buyer's agent take home||1.315%|
|Buyer's agent's broker split||1.315% (~50% of the buyer's agent's commission )|
Who pays realtor commission in Washington?
The seller typically pays the realtor fees in Washington for both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. The fees come out of the sale proceeds at closing, so as the seller, you don’t need to worry about paying the fees upfront or if your house doesn’t sell.
Why does the seller pay the buyer’s agent commission? Because it’s essentially a marketing cost. When you set the buyer’s agent commission, you influence how much buyer’s agents want to show your house to their clients.
Plus, if buyers paid the buyer’s agent commission, fewer buyers would be on the market. Most buyers can’t afford the expense and risk of paying a buyer’s agent upfront. Having the seller pay ensures more buyers can enter the property market. This, in turn, increases the pool of potential buyers for your home.
How to save on realtor fees in Washington
If you’re selling a house in Washington and want to save on realtor fees, you have a few different options. Most sellers get the lowest rates (and best experience) by working with a full service realtor who charges lower rates, but you could also try to negotiate a lower realtor fee on your own or sell your house by owner.
Find an agent who charges lower rates
Most Washington home sellers who want to save on realtor fees should work with a local real estate agent who offers full service for a lower rate.
Our top pick is Clever Real Estate, a free service that matches sellers like you with top local agents — and negotiates lower realtor fees on your behalf. (See our full low commission real estate agent rankings for more local options.)
Clever is the best choice for most people because it negotiates 1.5% listing fees with experienced agents from trusted brands like Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and Berkshire Hathaway. You’ll get 100% full service from your agent (guaranteed), but pay a fraction of the 2.67% listing fee that most Washington agents charge.
Negotiate a lower realtor fee on your own
As a Washington home seller, you can always try to negotiate realtor commission rates yourself — you don’t have to just accept whatever listing an agent quotes you.
If you want to negotiate a lower rate with your realtor, see if you can incentivize them by making your house easier to sell.
You can make your house more appealing in several ways, from a relatively affordable solution like a new coat of paint to something more involved like a renovated kitchen or a new roof.
Before investing in these projects, find out whether your realtor is actually willing to negotiate. Many realtors won’t budge on their fees,. and those that do usually don’t lower them more than 0.25%–0.5%. If getting a lower rate on realtor commission is a priority, you’ll likely have more success using a low commission realtor or broker that charges the same low rate to all clients.
Sell without a realtor
Selling your home for sale by owner (FSBO) in Washington lets you avoid paying the listing agent’s fee, effectively halving the cost of commission compared to working with a traditional agent. Most FSBO sellers still end up paying a conventional buyer’s agent fee, around 2.63% on the average Washington home sale.
While the potential savings from avoiding listing fees look great, there are many risks you’ll encounter when you try to sell your house without a realtor.
FSBO sellers take on a lot more work than regular home sellers. You’ll have to attract buyers, negotiate offers, pay extra fees to list your home on the MLS, and navigate legal paperwork. You’ll also miss out on the local market expertise that top real estate agents provide, which is critical when trying to price your home strategically to get the highest sale price possible.
In fact, research shows that FSBO homes sell for 5.5% less on average than similar properties listed with an agent. So while you may save 3% by cutting out the listing agent’s fee, you could lose more than that if your home sells for less than its full market value.
FAQs about realtor fees in Washington
Are realtor fees negotiable in Washington?
Yes, realtor fees are negotiable in Washington. That said, many realtors refuse to lower their rates. The few that do are unlikely to discount them by more than 0.25%–0.5%. A better way to get lower realtor fees is by using a discount broker. Find out which discount broker is best and how much you can save.
What percentage do most realtors charge in Washington?
The total average realtor commission in Washington is 5.29%, split between the listing agent (2.67%) and the buyer’s agent (2.63%). To pay less, consider working with a low commission agent or brokerage. Check out our list of the best low commission real estate agents.
Who pays the realtor commission in Washington?
The seller pays the realtor commission in Washington for both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. The commission comes out of the proceeds of the sale, so the seller doesn’t pay upfront or if the house doesn’t sell. Learn more about who pays realtor commission and why.
How much are realtor fees for a home buyer in Washington?
Home buyers typically don’t pay realtor fees in Washington. Usually the seller pays the realtor commission, which comes out of the sale proceeds. As a buyer, however, you may be eligible for a home buyer rebate that could put money in your pocket after closing. Find out how buyer rebates work and if you’re eligible.
How much do realtors make on a typical sale in Washington?
The average total realtor commission in Washington is 5.29%. Based on the average home price in Washington, $624,275, the commission on a typical sale is approximately $33,000. However, that amount is split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent, both of whom split their share with their brokerage. In reality, realtors often take home about a quarter of the total commission, or approximately $8,250 on a typical Washington home sale. Learn more about realtor commission and how to save.
How much do realtors earn in Washington per year?
The average annual salary for realtors in Washington is $66,710, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries vary widely depending on experience and location. About 10% of realtors in Washington make less than $38,550 per year, while 10% earn above $100,790. Find out more about how much realtors make.
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