Agent CommissionsBuyers and Sellers

Who Pays Realtor Fees in a Real Estate Sale?

Typically you can outline a contract with your buyer or seller and corresponding real estate agents to detail who pays realtor fees in a Real Estate transaction. Click here to understand who usually pays what so that you can know what to expect when you go to buy or sell a home.

Closing costs, real estate commissions, and escrow fees are just some of the terms that may come up as you’re trying to buy or sell a home.

But who is responsible for paying these? Who pays realtor fees? Who pays closing costs?

Keep reading to find out more about who pays what when buying or selling a home.

Who Pays Realtor Fees?

Real estate feesStrangely enough, the answer to this question is: depends on how you look at it!

While the commissions earned by the buyer and seller’s realtors are supposed to be covered by the seller, they often roll these into the price of the house. That means it’s the buyer that ends up covering the costs.

A traditional real estate commission is usually about 6% of the sale price of the home. This fee is then split between the buyer’s and seller’s real estate agent.

Who Pays Closing Costs?

In most cases, the buyer will cover the closing costs. However, if the seller finds themselves in a buyer’s market where there’s a lot of other homes nearby for sale, they may offer to pay these as well.

Closing costs can include:

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s association fees
  • Title insurance
  • Transfer taxes
  • Attorney fees
  • Brokerage fee
  • Courier fee
  • Escrow fee

The total cost of these is typically around 3% of the sale price.

Tips for Sellers

Here are a few tips for sellers to help you get the most out of your house:

Have your house professionally staged. This allows prospective buyers to imagine themselves living there and can vastly increase the sale value.

Make sure your house in good repair. If there are any repairs that need to be done on your home, this will either drastically drop the asking price or you’ll have to pay to fix them before selling.

Use a fixed-fee realtor. Rather than a commission-based realtor that will take a large percentage of what you sell your home for, a fixed-fee realtor gets paid the same amount no matter what you sell your home for.

Tips for Buyers

If you’re on the buying end of the house, here are a few tips for you:

Roll closing costs into your mortgage. You can also include realtor commissions into this loan which helps you avoid huge upfront fees. This way, you’ll have more money for repainting and other unexpected moving costs.

Offer to pay real estate fees. If you find yourself in a bidding war, offering to cover what the seller would normally have to pay can help set you apart and could win you the house. Ask your agent if this is a good strategy based on your situation.

Use a fixed-fee realtor. Paying your realtor a flat fee rather than a commission will help you get the best possible deal on a home since their goal is to make you happy, not get rich on a big commission.

Where to Find a Fixed-fee Realtor

While there are many realtors in Western Washington, few offer fixed-rate real estate services. However, we believe that your satisfaction is more important than lining our pockets, which is why we don’t take commissions.

In most cases, the seller will be the one who pays realtor fees, but with a smaller amount for most homes, they can pass those savings onto the buyer, making everyone happy.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you buy or sell your home.

2 thoughts on “Who Pays Realtor Fees in a Real Estate Sale?

  1. I love the movement toward fixed-fee realtors, but how does this work for buyers if it’s up to the seller to set/negotiate the realtor fees? For a buyer, isn’t it more like making sure you’re working with an agent who isn’t going to demand their typical 3 percent commission from the seller?

  2. Sellers set the commission the buyer’s agent gets. But that commission is ultimately paid by the buyer when they fund their home purchase. Given that, the buyer should have some input in what their agent gets paid. You are correct that the only practical way to accomplish this is cash back to the buyer. Buyer agents don’t demand anything from the seller. When the listing gets posted, it’s required that a commission is listed. Does that help?

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