✅When savings are your top priority | When you have an easy-to-sell home | When you need to sell ASAP | ❌When you need more personalized attention | When you have a challenging property to sell | Low commission alternatives
If you’re reluctant to pay the typical 2.5–3% commission rate charged by realtors, you may wonder if a low commission realtor is worth the discounted rate of 1–1.5%.
It’s okay to be skeptical. You wouldn’t automatically choose the cheapest doctor, dentist, or attorney. And selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions of your lifetime.
But low commission doesn’t always mean low service, and in some cases, it CAN be worth choosing the cheaper agent. Our guide explores when low commission real estate agents may be worth the savings — and when it’s better to shop around for full-price agents.
When low commission realtors are worth it
When savings are your top priority
While a 1% reduction in listing agent commission may not sound like much, it can translate into thousands of dollars saved (or lost). Assuming your home sells at the same price with any agent, a 1% commission savings on a $350,000 house, for example, adds $3,500 extra to your bank account at closing.
A low commission realtor can also be a wise choice if you value transparent pricing. Such agents usually offer a flat listing commission rate of 1–1.5% with no hidden fees. Their pricing structure can be easier to understand than some traditional agents, who may charge add-ons that push their bills beyond their advertised rates.
When you have an easy-to-sell home
Some homes will sell within days or weeks of being listed, regardless of an agent’s skills and experience.
If your home is move-in ready, located in a high-demand area, or part of a seller’s market (like the one the U.S. saw in 2021), you may get more value by hiring a realtor charging lower listing fees.
Just remember that you still need to make sure you’re hiring a quality agent who prices your home accurately and markets it effectively. Saving on commission doesn’t add up if your home ends up selling for a lower price than expected.
When you need to sell ASAP
Low commission realtors could help you sell your house quickly, if that’s your goal. It won’t be as fast as selling to a cash buyer, you may still be able to cut down the time it takes to receive an offer.
Here’s how a lower commission rate gives you more flexibility and speed:
- The agent may set a below-market price for your home — choosing not to sink a ton of time and resources into enhancing the home before listing.
- A lower price may generate more page views for your online listing since it falls within a wider range of buyers’ budgets.
- More page views lead to more potential buyer showings and interest.
- More buyer showing means more potential offers, possibly even sparking a bidding war — all of which contribute to a quicker home sale.
Keep in mind that your ability to sell fast may also depend on other factors, including your home’s condition and its layout, the strength of your housing market, and your agent’s marketing effectiveness.
When low commission realtors probably aren’t worth it
When you need more personalized attention
Some homeowners value the guidance and extra support of a full-service realtor over potential commission savings.
For example, first-time sellers may not want to risk slow communication or delays in your sale. A realtor with a proven track record and a strong referral network (of contractors, photographers, home stagers, etc.) may be worth the price.
Remember that you’re hiring the agent — not the brand they represent or their price tag. You still need to screen and vet agents carefully. Just because an agent labels themselves as “full service” doesn’t guarantee that level of support.
When you have a challenging property to sell
Fixer-uppers and homes in less desirable areas can benefit from the increased marketing provided by a full-service realtor: enhanced photography, videos, 3D tours, open houses, and home staging, for example.
Since some (not all!) agents who advertise low commissions offer reduced services, they might provide the basics — an online listing, simple photos, a “for sale” lawn sign — but not much else.
Ultimately, the level of service you get depends on each agent or brokerage, and some agents offer customizable packages that cater to your specific needs.
Low commission alternatives
For sale by owner
Selling your house without a realtor allows you to avoid paying listing agent commission entirely, potentially retaining more profit from your sale. But while you may save on commission, FSBO homes often sell for far less than agent-listed homes, negating any commission savings.
You’ll have more control over the transaction, but you’ll also be responsible for your home’s marketing, showings, negotiations, and contract paperwork. Consider FSBO if you’re confident you can sell your home quickly on your own, if you have prior real estate experience, or if you already have a buyer (like a friend or relative) lined up.
List with a flat fee MLS company
You can pay a one-time fee to list your home on the MLS (multiple listing service), which is how buyer’s agents find the majority of potential homes.
Like with FSBO, you have more control and gain more visibility by listing your home on the MLS. But you’ll still need to handle everything else, including dealing with buyer showings, and you could end up selling your home for less than desired.
Who Pays Realtor Fees (And How Much Is the Commission Rate)? This guide explains what you’ll pay (and how to get discounts) when working with a realtor.
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