One way for home sellers to maximize their proceeds from a house sale is by working with low commission real estate agents, who often charge 1–1.5% less than traditional real estate agents. That can save you thousands on your home sale.
But picking a low quality agent could do more harm than good — and you may not save as much as you could — so choosing the right agent is crucial. Our guide breaks down how to find, evaluate, and choose a discount real estate agent that saves you money and meets your needs.
» FIND A REALTOR: View our top low commission real estate agents and companies
1. Compare rates and services
Selling a house means navigating a maze of financial line items. Request a seller’s net sheet to estimate how much you’ll end up with when the sale is closed (your net proceeds).
A net sheet will clearly lay out your net proceeds by deducting common seller fees (including realtor fees) from the home’s sales price. With a firm grasp of the numbers, you’ll be able to make an educated decision about your agent.
When looking at the specifics, determine:
- How much the listing agent charges
- How much they recommend you pay of the buyer’s agent commission
The total agent fee could range 3.5–5% for a low-commission agent compared with 5–6% for a full-price traditional real estate agent. So for a $450,000 sale, you could save up to $11,250 on commission. Remember that the fee is deducted from your sale price at closing — so it’s coming out of your final proceeds.
💡 Pro tip
Ask if the agent has additional fees or charges outside of their commission. Some agents charge extra for photography, videography, staging, or 3D tours. It’s crucial to have the full financial picture so you understand exactly what you’ll need to pay.
How to compare real estate agent services
Every realtor is different — and so is their level of service. Standard services include listing your home and marketing it online, but other common offerings may also involve staging, open houses, virtual tours, and more.
What really sets an agent apart is personalized service. Find out how much customized support you’ll get throughout the home-selling process by asking your potential realtor about:
- Their communication preferences and typical turnaround times for requests or questions
- What kind of support staff they have
- How they customize their marketing efforts for each house and client
Remember to consider how much assistance you think you’ll need. For example, if you’re working long hours and you’re on a tight timeline, you might want your agent to have more autonomy and make decisions on your behalf.
2. Evaluate experience online
While the commission cost is one piece of the puzzle, you need to make sure the agent can sell your home at your desired price and within your desired time frame. Online reviews can provide a wealth of information in this area.
Spend some time on Zillow, Facebook, and Google Reviews to read about other clients’ experiences with your potential realtors. If you see any red flags — like numerous bad reviews, mentions of poor communication, lower-than-expected sales prices, or long sale time frames — you may want to steer clear.
You can also view their agent profile on Zillow to see how long they’ve been working as an agent, which is a great gauge of their experience. (For reference, the average realtor has a median of 8 years experience.) Check out their recent sales: Are they working on deals in your area? How many homes have they sold? What price points are they selling at?
Scrolling through a real estate agent’s online profile is also a beneficial way to see how they market homes. Take a look at their listing photos and descriptions to see if it’s in line with your expectations. You can also view key metrics like days on the market and time to close.
3. Interview potential agents
Interviewing your agent face-to-face (whether in person or in virtual meetings) is crucial for getting a feel for whether or not they’ll be a good fit. It also helps ensure you’re finding someone local.
Agents should be up front about their listing commission rates — compare them to national and local averages.
|New York City
It can feel intimidating to interview a real estate agent, but remember that the strongest way to find the best low commission realtors to sell your home is proper due diligence.
How to interview a low commission realtor
Here are some tips for interviewing low commission real estate agents:
1. Call agents to set up appointments
Think about the details that would help the realtor best understand your needs and home, and share them on your initial contact — whether that’s email, phone, or voicemail. Let the agent know how you found their information and what type of timeline you are hoping for with your house sale.
2. Meet with the agent
When you meet with the agent, prepare to discuss your home and goals for the sale. Make sure to ask about their real estate commission rate, any extra fees (better yet, a seller’s net sheet), and their marketing strategy for your home.
🖊 Take notes!
It’ll show the agent that you’re serious and hold them accountable for what they say in the meeting — and you can refer back to your notes when it’s time to sign a listing agreement.
3. Test the realtor’s market knowledge
Talk to the agent about neighborhood-specific information, such as recent sales and trends, average time on the market, sale-to-list price ratio, etc. Gain their insights into your home’s fair market value and potential sale price. Don’t be afraid to ask about their background, negotiation approach, and experience with homes in your price point and area.
4. Compare the agents you met
After you’ve met with a few agents, spend some time comparing and contrasting their experience, approach, and compatibility. Consider these key points:
- How did the commission rates and projected cost savings vary?
- Did they all say the same thing about current market trends? (If so, did they have a good reason for going against the grain?)
- Did they all offer the same advice and insights?
- Is one more (or less) available to give you the level of support you need?
» LEARN: The best questions to ask a realtor
I’ve chosen a low commission agent: What’s next?
Now that you’ve chosen a low commission agent, the next step is signing a listing agreement. The contract will outline the terms and conditions of your agreement, including the listing price, the duration of the agreement, the agent’s commission rate, and the services provided.
Remember to review the agreement carefully before signing – make sure everything accurately reflects what you discussed with the agent during your meeting. Don’t be afraid to clarify anything that’s confusing before signing.