The Secret of Buyer’s Agent Commission That Could Save You Thousands of Dollars

As a seller, you control the total real estate agent commission to be paid when your home sells. It’s actually at the very front end of your sale, when you sign a listing agreement with an agent that you decide how much commission the listing agent is going to receive and how much commission the buyer’s agent will receive.

Sellers oftentimes don’t know that they control the buyer’s agent commission percentage, and you might be surprised to know that there’s a good chance you’re offering too much.

When a Realtor signs a listing agreement with you to sell your home, you’ll agree upon a number of items that form the basis for that listing agreement. That might include the listing price of your home, how long the listing agreement will be valid, and one of the biggest points of contention, how much commission the Realtor will charge you to list (and hopefully sell) your home.

When you agree upon the real estate agent commission to be charged, you’re actually agreeing on not just the total commission to be paid, but also, the split between the listing broker and the buyer’s agent, presumably the real estate agent that will bring a buyer to the table to purchase your home.

You’ll notice in a listing agreement, the one below is the official exclusive right to sell listing agreement furnished by the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB), that there’s first a clause that in essence calls for you as the seller to grant the listing broker the authority to offer compensation to a buyer’s agent, while there’s a second clause that dictates the total commission you will pay on the sale of your home.

Did you get that? When signing a listing agreement, you’re agreeing to pay a listing broker an overall real estate agent commission to sell your home, and as part of that, you’re also granting that listing broker the authority to offer compensation to a buyer’s agent.

Secret of Buyer's Agent Commission

Sellers Pay Buyer’s Agent Commission

Invariably, when you agree to provide a total real estate agent commission, let’s just say for example, of 5% when listing your home for sale, the listing agent will plug into the listing agreement 5% for the total commission, and 2.5% for the amount that you are granting them the authority to offer a buyer’s agent.

The listing agent will do a 50/50 split on the total commission nearly 100% of the time.


It’s simply common practice in the market, and it’s rarely ever challenged.

The listing agent actually incurs more expense to list your home for sale than a buyer’s agent would bringing a buyer to the table. Just think of some of the expenses that a listing agent might incur to list your home for sale as part of the marketing plan that they have for your property. That could include building a property specific website for your real estate listing, real estate staging, sending out postcards to the local neighborhood, hosting a broker’s open with food and refreshments, and creating and printing professionally designed real estate flyers for use during both open houses and private showings.

Clearly the listing agent incurs more cost than a buyer’s agent, why do both parties get the same commission?

Why and How to Lower Buyer’s Agent Commission

What if you were to ask your listing agent to tell you the most common buyer’s agent commission for your market. What if you were to ask your listing agent whether keeping their commission the same, but lowering the buyer’s agent commission would have any adverse effect, statistically speaking, on the sale of your home.

You can ask your Realtor those questions, however, they won’t know the answers, but by all means you can ask. The only true study of how much buyer’s agents get paid was conducted by Entry Only New England, it was a first of its kind study, and it revealed some exceptionally interesting facts about the nature of buyer’s agent commission rates in real estate transactions.

So, why not ask to lower the buyer’s agent commission when signing a listing agreement. You as the seller are in control of the percentages and/or amounts that get written into your listing agreement. What would an additional 0.5% mean to you?

The average list price of the most recent Boston condos to hit the market for sale over the past three days is $691,899. Just imagine if you were able to shave 0.5% of commission off your sale price – by keeping the listing agent’s commission at the level they proposed, but reducing the buyer’s agent commission that was originally proposed by 0.5%. That would equate to an additional $3,000 that would go into your pocket at the closing table!

The secret of buyer’s agent commission might just be that you as the seller are in control of buyer’s agent commission and that it’s reasonable to ask about decreasing that amount. Sellers oftentimes don’t know that they’re in control of buyer’s agent commission and you very well might be offering too much and could save yourself thousands of dollars in real estate commission by asserting control over the buyer’s agent commission percentage.

5 Simple Boston Home Staging Tips

When it comes to getting your home sold, you need to do everything possible to set it apart from other homes that are on the market. Furthermore, you need to present your home in the best light possible, which means adding a few extra touches that will make your home more appealing to potential buyers. This process of creating a more appealing home is known as staging and here are 5 simple things you can do to help your home sell.

Home Staging Tip #1: Create Curb Appeal

The first time a potential buyer drives by or up to your home, you want it to leave a good impression. Therefore, you should take steps to make the exterior of your home stand out and look great. To do this, you might need to make a few minor repairs, such as applying a fresh coat of paint if the current paint has become faded or chipped or repainting the shutters, door and trim to create a neutral color scheme. You should also remove any clutter from your driveway and yard while also making certain the lawn is neatly mowed and edged. Adding fresh mulch to your flower beds and placing some potted plants outside of your front door will also make your home seem more inviting.

Home Staging Tip #2: Make the Entryway Welcoming

Your entryway, which is the area the potential buyer will first see when opening the door to your house, will also play a strong part in creating a first impression. Therefore, care should be taken to make certain it is both attractive and inviting. To accomplish this goal, you should keep the entryway free of clutter while also making certain it is well-lit. This way, your home will appear larger while also feeling warm and inviting.

Home Staging Tip #3: Depersonalize the Space

Personal knick-knacks and portraits scattered throughout the house make it difficult for potential buyers to visualize anyone other than you living in the home. Remember, you want the buyer to be able to picture him or herself living in the home, so you should remove those personal touches before your Realtor takes the buyer for a tour of the home. In addition to removing personal belongings, you should also paint walls with a neutral color so the buyer can more easily envision the colors that he or she might like.

Home Staging Tip #4: Update and Upgrade

Spending a little money in order to upgrade or update parts of your home, particularly your kitchen and bathrooms, is always a good idea. If your cabinets are outdated, simply purchasing modern knobs and handles can go a long way toward making your home more attractive to potential buyers. Similarly, upgrading to a water-efficient faucet will appeal to today’s eco-friendly buyers.

Upgraded Boston Kitchen

Home Staging Tip #5: Create a Comfortable Space

As part of the staging process, you want to make every room in the house appears as comfortable as possible. You can accomplish this by limiting the amount of furniture placed in rooms such as the living room and bedrooms while also arranging the furniture in a way that is easy to walk around and is conducive to conversation.