In response, you've accused me of just trying to solicit business, butting into a local question, being purposely elusive, and trying to keep our commissions secretive & backroom. You've also alluded that I don't want to give Tracey an honest answer, nor allow you to do so.
I recognize that you don't agree with what I've posted, and you're certainly free to disregard my advice, but I would hope you could keep it professional. The sarcasm, hyperbole and anger are unwarranted and undeserved.
If you want to rail against the Sherman Anti-trust laws, you go ahead. But before you do... do us all a favor, and invite your managing broker to read this thread, before you post again.
You have inspired a great debate. In my opinion, I have not seen any agent cross the line here. No Agent has quoted you a rate. It has simply been agents answering your question. In this forum we answer question for people. We have no idea who they are or if they are under contract with an agent or not. Some want to answer as many questions as they can to gain free marketing others take time to answer the questions that they have knowledge about (also to gain free marketing). While most answers are sincere and to the point, I always appreciate someone that is willing to put their name on their work. Again, It's just my opinion.
The fact is, that discussing commission, amongst ourselves or on national websites is a violation of the Sherman anti-trust laws (check with your local board, or your managing broker) and could easily be construed as an attempt on our part to "fix" prices at a certain percentage. And I think you'll agree that consumers would like that even less.
She makes RE agents look foolish.
Mark, I suggest you be careful you don't make yourself out to look like a commission chaser ... and, if you admittedly are, and still manage to maintain a strong influx of business, more power to you ( i guess ).
This is from our local Board Site regarding Sherman Anti-Trust Guidelines:
Do not discuss your business with competitors. At any time, in any place, or under any circumstances, do not have any personal, telephone or E-MAIL CONVERSATIONS with competitors CONCERNING COMMISSIONS, fees, charges or any other business practices of your real estate business or those of the firm with which you are associated. This applies at social gatherings, on the golf course, while hunting, in the bar, cocktail parties, board functions and at all times and in all places. At association or board meetings, confine discussions to topics of association or board business directly involved in the purpose of the organization and the meeting.
The listing agents commission is a negotiable item. Sometimes there are limits put on an agent by the firm that they represent. Keep in mind that the commission is first split with the buyer's agent and then what is left is split with the Real Estate Firm and that is all before Uncle Sam gets his share. As long as you are within the 4-6 range, you should be more concerned with the marketing plan that will get your home sold. Best of Luck!!
With that said, commissions are negotiable! Many Sellers are in a tight spot these days. With slow appreciation in most areas of the country, a lot of homeowners who are selling after just a couple of years of ownership cannot afford to pay a full commission.
I suggest you interview a couple of agents for the job of selling your home. Find out what they will do to market your home and get Buyers to your door. What are they doing that other agents are not? Are they proactive in selling your home or are they just listing it on the MLS and hoping it will sell. These days you want a proactive agent. So don't be afraid to ask these questions as well as what commission they are willing to accept.
When I list a home, Buyers can spot it on a minimum of 15 web sites, both national and local to my area. I also provide print and email advertising.
Please note that As stated below by many people the rate varies from 1.5 to 6 percent depending on the location and type of sale or many other factors!
I read the question and the entire thread over again (and again) and not one single agent replied with a specific commission, and furthermore we all disclosed that commission rates are entirely negotiable and never set in stone.
What I believe (opinion) Tracey was looking for was opinions from professionals in the field about what average commission rates were as perhaps a range. This is not a specific question and no specific answers were offered. I am hard pressed to believe that anyone in their right mind would find any kind of fineable offense within this thread.
By the nature of this forum, the personal e-mail of the person asking the question is not available (that's a GOOD thing for the consumer, to avoid spamming), so the only way we have to communicate and try to help is through posting. But I feel we all answered her non-specific question well within the reigns of Sherman anti-trust laws.
Elvis, I'm sorry if I've offended you. When you claimed in your very first post that yours was "the only acceptable answer" it simply rubbed me the wrong way from the get-go. This business is something I am passionate about and I responded. It's who I am. For that, I can't apologize.
Also, I never directly accused you personally of any of the things you claim I did. I think we can all agree there is a contingency of agents out there who operate outside of the public's best interest. If you feel I implied you belong in that group, my apologies, because that was never my intention.
Unfortunately this whole thread has moved away from the reason it was here in the first place - to try and help Tracey get her question answered. So I think we owe Tracey an apology as well. Hopefully you've been able to sort through the mess and get some answers to your question.
Best of luck with everything Tracey. We are a passionate group of professionals and we are all here to help.
While others seem to want to focus on all kinds of illegal discussions taking place on golf courses, at bars and at cocktail parties, a few of us here are just simply trying to honestly answer poor Tracey's question based on our local expertise in the area.
If a law passed in 1890, intended to bust up monopolies and cartels and eradicate price fixing, prevents real estate agents today from expressing their honest opinions in a public forum, with a healthy dose of disclosure (we all said the commissions are entirely negotiable and there is no "set" rate), then so be it. Drag me off to the stockades or stone me in the public yard. Heck, for that matter swing me from the gallows pole!
I think it's obvious that no one is trying to "fix" commissions here or create some kind of REALTOR monopoly to force sellers to pay a certain price for service. C'mon people, get real.
Tracey, I'm sincerely sorry for the hoopla your question has stirred. Senator John Sherman (R-Ohio, R.I.P. 10/22/00) and his devotees would like you to know that there apparently IS no mathematical average for the commission that a seller's agent receives. It is a private negotiation, entirely between the seller and the seller's agent, and not to be discussed outside the confines of that room. Hush hush.
"The first rule about commissions is you don't talk about commissions." -Tyler Durden (or something like that)
My only 2 cents is regarding Mike saying "If you want the buyers agent to include your home, u better go with a 6% split"
Are you kidding me? I am speechless (well, almost) ... This is just flat out not true and if anything it shows what your chasing: commissions. Maybe I speak for only my company, but this is not how we as a buyer agency do business. Our only focus is our clients and what they want, therefore we show any and everything - commission splits are irrelevant.
Anyway, good luck, Tracey ... I am sure these answers have given you insight into the way this industry does business (unfortunately).
I am not discussing my business with my competitors. I am discussing average commission rates in the area with a consumer.
And some of us are not hunting here.
I wrote a blog post today about the emerging trend of transparency in the real estate industry (link below). This is EXACTLY what I was talking about! Tracey asked a very simple question about average real estate commissions in the Tewksbury or Franklin areas of Massachusetts. Why do real estate professionals from different markets insist on being elusive about the very simple answer to her very simple question?
Trulia Voices is supposed to be a forum where consumers can come and ask questions to professionals in the real estate industry and ideally get honest, straight-forward answers without a heavy sales pitch! The curtain of secrecy in the real estate business is coming down. REALTORS (tm) used to hold the keys to the MLS. No longer. Anyone can get access to the MLS today. Why do some of us still insist on trying to confuse the public?
Tracey, the average commission percentage charged in Massachusetts is between 4% and 6%. Yes, it is always negotiable. Yes, it can be anything the listing agent and homeowner agree upon. You could have a one-on-one meeting with 100 agents in your area, tally all the commissions they quoted you and run the average if you'd like, but guess what? It's going to be between 4% and 6% and probably very close to 5%.
Sorry to vent a little, but a simple local question deserves a simple local answer.
That 5% is typically split equally between the listing agent and the buyer's agent (2.5% and 2.5%).
If the listing agent brings in their own buyer, or if a buyer comes in without agent representation, the listing agent would receive the entire 5%.
Assuming there are two agents are involved, the listing and buying agents then need to split that 2.5% with their brokerage. These splits vary from company to company and agent to agent.
So although it is complicated...the seller's agent (aka listing agent) would 9 times out of 10 receive HALF of the typical 5% fee, unless they are the only agent involved, then they would receive the full 5%. The agent then has to split that with their brokerage (splits can range from really anywhere to 50% to nearly 100%).
Boy, reading back on that it seems more complicated than it is. Hope that helps. I know I'm now a little more confused (than usual)!