Home Buying in Santa Clarita>Question Details

Lashai Payne, Home Buyer in 91306

what is typical commission for a buyer's agent in the Santa Clarita, CA area?

Asked by Lashai Payne, 91306 Thu May 10, 2012

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Kawain Payne’s answer
Buyer's agent gets a commision based on a split with the listing agent. It can range from 2% to 3% of the sales price.

Keep in mind the buyer does not pay their agent the agent gets paid from the listing agent.

Best of luck to you!

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 12, 2012
Oh please, all this talk of the buyer not paying the commission to the buyer agent and it coming from the listing agent.

DOUBLE TALK and then some. Look, there is no money, not one cent available to anyone until the BUYER gives money to seller. Say and twist it 10 ways from Sunday and it comes down to one simple thing, the money flowing into the buyer agents hands comes from the buyer.

When someone says the buyer agent is paid commission from the listing agent, that is 100% rubbish. That is like saying you give person A 10 dollars and person A then gives person B 5 dollars. Who believes that the 5 dollars did not come from person A?

The Buyer is paying for the commission, 100%. You can argue all you want but that is semantics and words games to make it sound like the buyer isn't paying for the commission. People are waking up, slowly but they are starting to figure this commission game out.

Agent commissions are little more than a drain on the transaction. Add up the total hours spent on a sale and divide it by the commission. Who makes that kind of money? Oh, the talk of months or even a year or two to get a sale for a buyer. Really? All that time, 8 hours a day every day was spent working that deal? The negotiations? Emails back and forth, a little research if any?

Rule #1. As a buyer, never NEVER sign an agreement with a buyer agent. Big mistake.

Rule #2. Always negotiate the buyer commission if you are the buyer. Refuse to pay more than 1.5%. Who makes 3 or more present on a 400-500k sale? Not even Donald Trump.

People buy cars that cost more than 40-50k everyday. They do their own research, figure out financing and insurance plus registration and licensing yet think because something is a house they need an agent taking 6% off the top?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
This is old, bad advice. You, the buyer, do not have the legal right to re-negotiate the listing agent's commission. The listing agent has a contract with the seller to sell their house and as the buyer you have no say in the matter. Demanding that they pay you part of it is tortious interference of a contract. You pay the agreed upon price and that's it. If they do pay you (not sure why the would) then you'd be guilty of practicing real estate without a license. And this isn't like buying a car (which is personal property). This is real property and the transactions are regulated by the state and require a license. If you want to get paid for buying your own house, get a license. If you follow this poster's advice you may end up in legal trouble. Buyer beware.
Flag Mon Feb 16, 2015
It's been a year and a half since you wrote this, but still worth responding too.

How can you say that the buyer is paying commission? If I ask a certain price for my house, the onyl way the buyer is responsible for paying buyer agent commission is if he makes me an offer ABOVE the asking price to account for the buyer agent commission. If he offers me the asking price (or less), then I am choosing to give up a portion of MY sale to the buyer agent for his commission - not the buyer. Think of it this way. My employer pays me my salary. I take a portion of my salary and buy a cop of coffee with it. I wouldn't go as far as saying that my employer bought that cup of coffee - but according to your argument they did.
Flag Fri Nov 15, 2013
Please remember that commission is always negotiable. I would say the average commission is 2.5% but there is listings on the market 1.5% - 4%.
When a seller agrees to pay a listing agent a commission sometimes it is split in half sometimes it could be more of less.
There is an agent in the area that usually takes listings at 7-8% yet only offers 2.5% to the selling agent.
For more info you can also read my commission post.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 10, 2012
The buyer does bring the money to buy the house and it goes to the seller. The seller now has the money who then...by prior agreement gives the commission to the agents in exchange for their services. They buyer is paying for the HOUSE not the commission, the commission comes out of the proceeds of the purchase (contrary to some answers given here).
If the buyer would like to further compensate the Buyer Agent they are free to do so via separate contract.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 6, 2015
And now to finish up from below:

So your buyer agent insists on telling you that you aren't paying the buyer agent/broker commission. Run away. Find a buyer agent willing to work on a sale commission basis. How does this affect you?


Say you negotiate to buy a house for $300,000. 3% of that is.... NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS. How much time do you think is involved in actual work on the part of your buyer agent? A few hours, maybe even a day or so of total accumulated time. Pretty good money isn't it?

So you have this $9000 of CASH to deal with. As I've said before, you with new found information have successfully negotiated this down to $4500. Still not shabby money for maybe two days of total accumulated work time. Remember, the time you spend looking at houses is time YOU"VE spent. Your agent is just showing the house but guess what? Anyone can do that and in fact, the listing agent will show you the house, just ask. On that note, if any listing agent refuses to show you the house, find out who the seller is (recorders office) and complain directly. There is no valid reason why a listing agent won't show you a house and the seller deserves to know.

back to the $4500 of new found CASH you get to keep. What can you do with that? Put it towards the sale of the house. How does that work? Simple.

The negotiated price assumes (assuming will always bite you) that that default commission rates apply. The seller won't know that you negotiated a lower buyer agent commission unless someone tells them. YOU are going to tell them. You will either tell them in the offer itself and when the offer is presented (here we go). At the offer presentation, the buyer agent is supposed to present your case, why you should be the buyer above all others. Guess what one of the reasons is? You got it, their commission is 1.5% instead of 3% so that 4500 dollars is retained by the seller.

Remember how all the agents tell you the listing agent pays the buyer agent? The listing agent gets the money from YOU if you follow the money chain. Well now, suddenly there is 4500 that would usually go to the buyer agent that now goes into the seller's pocket.

What does all this mean? Simple, your offer now results in the seller getting $4500 more than an equally priced offer from someone else who pays the default rate commissions.

How else could you work this? Ok, reduce your offer price by the $4500 but make sure that when the offer is presented that seller knows the amount they get is the same had your offer been $4500 more because you negotiated down the commission.

The whole thing now comes down the the offer presentation. How do you make sure what you are doing is actually getting to the seller? An offer letter. Not the offer contract but a letter from you to the seller, sealed in an envelope with a signature return indicating they got it. In that letter you clearly introduce yourself and identify the points you want to make about the commission. Spell it out very clearly, 1,2,3... Make sure that what you explain can be verified by the amounts in the offer contract.

If your buyer agent hesitates, find another buyer agent. Remember, I said not to enter into a written exclusive representation agreement with any buyer agent. Any such contract is for the agent's benefit, not yours. There are too many buyer agents out there to use one that isn't flexible and willing to work according to your style and requirements. Remember, IT IS YOUR MONEY!

Typically, you are buying one house and then not again for quite a while. Why would you need to sign a long term contract with a buyer agent for something you are going to do once? Hmm?

You can also negotiate a fixed price commission with the buyer agent. Offer an amount to work one sale transaction. You look around to your heart's content and when you find the house, you engage that buyer agent for a fixed sum if the sale goes through (after all, you pay for performance not effort). You can always offer a modest sum for actual expenses should the sale fall through to cover things like fuel, phone charges and any reports they might have paid to get but not for effort (time).

So there you go, a new perspective on the buyer agent commission. Now mind you, agents will chime in and try the double talk to confuse things and might even come up with regional or state differences. Unless it is law, none of that matters. Broker or agent policies don't matter either because guess who wrote those policies? THEY DID.

The only policies that matter are yours, YOU THE BUYER. Remember this: everyone wants YOUR money. Make them earn it and spend it wisely. There is always another house and always a better one you have yet to see. Remove the pressure from your house buying because if it isn't this one, it will be another. They didn't build just one house.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012
This is great advice! Thanks. I recently bought a home for cash and didn't use an agent. After our first offer wasn't accepted, we told the seller's agent that we wouldn't make any more offers unless the seller's commission was reduced from 5% to 3.5%. He argued but eventually we bought the home and the seller's agent/broker only received 4%. I believe we could have done better but my wife was not willing to "walk away" if the agent didn't agree.
What's more, we were told at the closing by the sellers that there was another offer. If this was true then we probably got the home partly because the agent earned a higher commission from us than another potential buyer with an agent.
If I had to do it all over again, I would present an offer letter to the seller discussing a lower commission as you suggest, and I would try to retain an agent for "closing only" at a reduced commission as you also suggest. I have learned that the commission is ALWAYS negotiable.
Flag Sun Aug 2, 2015
Lets clear this up once and for all.

There is no typical commission for any area. That answers the question directly, something an agent will rarely do.

Next, there is something unspoken of in real estate circles and it is called the default commission. A default commission is the commission you are paying (to a buyer agent or listing agent) if you fail to negotiate the commission specifically for the sale. What does this mean? Simple, if you have a buyer agent show you a house and then they assist you with such things as presenting the offer (another thing that is way overblown) you end up paying about 6% of the purchase price of the house in commissions. Here is how that breaks down:

1. The listing agent works for a broker. The broker is going to get 3% of the sale price in commission unless they also represent the buyer (buyer be very scared) in which case they get 6%. That is unless you negotiate.

2. If the buyer agent (supposedly your agent) is not associated with the listing broker, your buyer agent's broker gets 3%.

3. The individual real estate agent then gets a cut from the 3%. That amount is dependent upon what the buyer agent and their broker negotiate.

4. The listing agent (not broker) gets a cut of the 3% or whatever they negotiate with the listing broker.

Now notice how everyone is negotiating over how much of YOUR money they get? Isn't it strange that all the real estate agents are telling you that you don't pay the buyer agent's commission? That is where the double talk comes in.

The double talk works by getting you, the buyer to believe that someone else, not you the buyer, are paying the buyer agent commission. Now ask yourself one simple question. How can a buyer agent, supposedly being paid by the listing agent act for your benefit?

Confused? Try this. Your car is hit by another car. You end up going to court because the damages are so great. You show up in court and everyone tells you that you don't have to pay your lawyers fees because the person how hit you is paying for it. makes it pretty simple huh? Guess who wins in court?

So the double talk continues. You aren't paying the buyer agent directly see, you give the money to the seller who gives it to the listing broker who then gives some to the listing agent and buyer broker who then gives some to the buyer agent. Yet somehow, we are all supposed to believe that this money didn't come from your pocket right? It came out of thin air right?

But wait, it gets better. That money changing hands? It goes through escrow and those are all separate transactions. Really? If you tried to do this in a business it would be called money laundering or worse and the IRS and tax agency of any state in the union would get you convicted for tax evasion and fraud, yet it is tolerate in the real estate industry because the agents (both buyer and listing) are not employees of the broker.

So back to typical commission fees. First, as a buyer learn one thing. YOU the BUYER are paying for everything. Without your money there is no sale and without the sale there is no money to pass around. Learn this one thing and you will be ,way ahead in this game.

Next, negotiate the buyer agent commission. Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't paying it, we already know you do right? The default is 3% of the purchase price that goes to the buyer agent's broker. THAT is what you want to negotiate. How much of the negotiated price your buyer agent gets is between their broker and them, not you. In many cases, the money is split but don't concern yourself with that.

Do not simply pay the 3%. The commission is like a tip. Top commission for top service. Now, one word of caution. If you have been told you are a difficult person, in general be honest about it because someone (the buyer agent) has to put up with you. I'm talking about really difficult ok?

Don't start at 3% and work down, start at 1% and go from there. The buyer agent will take care of starting on their side at 3%. Somewhere in between those two numbers you'll come to agreement. But that is the way it is supposed to work, remember that.

How do you know what is fair and a good buyer agent commission? Simple. Are you going after a track home with no really complicated arrangements? Did you find the house or was this house found by your buyer agent? All these things affect how much work the buyer agent puts into the sale.

Remember, in this day and age, most buyer agents sign you up on some portal and then send you away to look at listings and then call them to see the house. YOU are doing all the work, not the buyer agent.. The most important aspect of buying a house is selecting the house, everything else is a process to be managed. The selection though, is something so important that if you buy the wrong house, a zero % interest rate won't matter much, you'll be paying for years on a dump.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012
Lashai, My commission for a buyer is zero. The commission is usually and most often paid by the seller. The closing costs are far less when buying a home since there is no commission fee. Let me know if you need my assistance in the Santa Clarita Valley as this has been home to my wife am me since 1980

Tony Lewis
RE/MAX of Valencia
Web Reference: http://www.TonyLewis.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 10, 2012
Commissions are negotiable with clients and agents. Agents should inform you of what they plan to do to market, sell, and close the escrow of your home. You will see the work that goes into a standard sale, a short sale, a foreclosure, or a relocation. You should not base the use of an agent solely on the commission they charge, yet on the relationship you can have with them, their integrity, professionalism, and the work they are going to do to get your property sold.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 10, 2012
Zi Criste
661-776-5 SCV or 661-290-3776
Keller Williams VIP Properties
Flag Thu May 10, 2012
Commission is paid to the listing agent and the listing agent shares a percentage of that commission. I strongly advise using a buyers agent. Buyer be aware, some of the big brand name brokerages do charge a " per side fee", or sometimes known as a " transaction fee" which in my opinion is nonsense. Buyers working with me have never paid any fees, even when the purchase was represented by a brokerage that does.
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 10, 2012
Hi Lashai:

The buyer's agent is paid out of the listing agent's total commission. It is up to the listing agent's discretion how much of a commission to offer the buyer's agent. This amount tends to fall somewhere between 2.5% - 3% of purchase price.

I work with a lot of buyers, and they appreciate the fact that they receive all of my services without any upfront investment.

If you are planning to select a buyer's agent in the near future, I would be happy to apply for the chance to work with you.

Good luck and thank you for your time.

Eddie Momeny
Realty Executives Newhall
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 10, 2012
The buyers agents commission is paid by the listing agent. So, depending on the house that you choose...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 10, 2012
Can someone make this plain and simple for me please, I plan on listing my home this month for 430k-440k. Would my out of pocket cost be 6% to the listing agent?
Flag Sun Nov 3, 2013
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