What are the rules regarding Realtor's commision and percentages from a buyer's perspective in Georgia?

Asked by Rich, Atlanta, GA Wed Aug 8, 2007

I've heard that in some states, paying the realtor's commission can sometimes be the responsibility of only one party, whereas in other states it's a 50/50 split.

How is it in Georgia and what are typical commission percentages? Thanks.

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J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Wed Aug 8, 2007
Okay, how come EVERYBODY got a thumbs down? I don't understand what motivates individuals to be this way & if you disagree with ALL the postings, how about giving a reason and posting what you think is the "BEST" answer? Whoever the "thumbsdown" faerie is... please stand up

And BTW Rich:
When you said 50/50 I assumed you meant the buyer paid 50% of the commission and the seller the other half of the commission. If not please clarify - because I really have never heard of a "typical" situation of this sort.
2 votes
J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Wed Aug 8, 2007
The only rule regarding commission is that there are no steadfast rules. Commissions are negotiable from the onset; and a seller will typically set the "rule" or rate he/she will pay upon the successful closing of the sale.

In California - I sold a home where I agreed the listing agent would receive a commission of xx and the selling agent would receive xx.... as time went on - I agreed to up my xx to the selling agent as an incentive to bring more buyers to the property...

Georgia like any other state is regulated by the federal anti-trust laws; and you wont get any agent to speak in "typical" or "standard" terms where commission is concerned. It isn't really necessarily 50/50 across the board in the other states either. But hopefully we will get some clear feedback from the forthcoming postings to your inquiry.

However, from a buyers perspective - it's pretty much the same. The buyer can typically expect the seller to pay commissions as set forth in the initial listing contract or be advised otherwise once negotiations begin. Again, typically - this would be with a for sale by owner seller; or limited brokerage listing situation.

If a buyer has a strong interest in a property - he/she/they should establish who is paying the commission right up front. Sellers should also note that if they are not paying the commission - buyers could go looking elsewhere... just a little reminder for those thinking of going FSBO.

What states actually have a 50/50 split? I haven't heard of one.
1 vote
Paul Renton &…, , Atlanta, GA
Sun Aug 26, 2007
This is simple, in GA the buyer pays nothing the Seller pays the commission. All I ask of my buyers agents is to make sure the buyer is pre-qualified through the lender and state law requires an exclusive buyers agreement to be autorized by the buyer. This protects both parties and gurantees the buyers agent a commission at sale. So you can now find the Best agent for you, for free.
Web Reference:  http://www.teamrenton.com
0 votes
Kathy Drewien…, , Atlanta, GA
Wed Aug 15, 2007
Wow, Rich, with answers as varied as these it is no wonder confusion arises! I think the better question is: "What alternatives are there to the traditional cookie cutter commission based approach?"

Historically, real estate agents work on behalf of buyer prospects in the hope this will translate into the purchase of a property. And, that the Listing Broker has negotiated a commission that will fairly compensate the Selling (Buyer's) Broker for their time and expertise. (In Georgia, Brokers - not agents - are paid commissions.) All too often, these home tours do not result in a purchase and no commission is earned.

I believe I should be compensated for my time, expertise and gasoline (not to mention the daily email updates provided to prospects). It is our policy to collect a nominal retainer during the initial buyer consultation. This fee is earned at the time of the appointment and not dependent on an outcome outside of my control.
0 votes
Ruthless, , 60558
Tue Aug 14, 2007
Jeannette: I must agree. I saw 3 thumbs down on your answer and thought, What?!!! Your comment about anti-trust was golden!!!

But since I'm not a real estate agent, I can answer that!!! Rich, the "typical" is dropping from about 6% to about 5%. This is the commission the seller pays and is split with the buyer's agent. However, that is a national figure and I don't know the local figure. Here is my post from another person's question about selling.

"You need to know what they put in the MLS for the co-broke. If they charge you 6% commission and only put 2% in the MLS as the co-broke, very few other agents will show your home. If they put 4% in as the co-broke, you are getting your listing agent for very cheap and should have more buyers agents showing your home than usual but probably less marketing dollars spent than usual. Don't just assume that if you list for 6% that the fee is split 50/50. Also, do NOT take their word for it that the "standard" commission is 6%. If they say that, make them show you all the listings in your area and in your price range. If it is anything like Oak Park, 16 listings had a co-broke of 2.5%-x, 2 listings had a co-broke of 2.5%, one listing had a co-broke of 3% and one listing that had been on the market for over a year had a co-broke of 2%."

Rich, as a buyer, if you want to your agent to show you that house that has been on the market for a year with only a 2% co-broke, you might have to pony up the additional .5%.

Please also keep in mind, commission might be 10% for lots or condos. When you meet with a Buyer's agent, they can explain all of this to you. Even if they are a buyer's agent that charges YOU to show the property, they will NOT charge you to find out the rules and fees. For the most part, as a buyer, this isn't something you need to worry about. Just make sure you know what your signing before you sign anything.
Good luck,
Web Reference:  http://www.oak-park-il.com
0 votes
Susan Mccann, Agent, Marietta, GA
Tue Aug 14, 2007
Everything in a transaction is negotable. From price, household items,repairs, to commission and closing costs.

Typically it is the seller, but you see new scenarios all the time!
0 votes
Joshua Jarvis, Agent, Duluth, GA
Wed Aug 8, 2007
In Georgia, 9 times out of 10 the seller pays the commission and most of the time the agents split it. This is is less and less common as the buyer agent usually gets more commission. The reason for this is two fold. More sellers are opting for FSBO - JUST MLS type companies and selling it themselves. Secondly, the buyer's agent typically will do more "leg" work, negotiations and coordination of services.

While overall commissions can vary widely, the buyer's agent will typically get 50% or more of the commission.

Feel free to contact me anytime.
Web Reference:  http://www.jrjarvis.com
0 votes
Alex Wilkins…, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Wed Aug 8, 2007
In Georgia the seller generally pays the commission to the buyers agent. The listing agent offers a co-op commission to the agent who brings a buyer, so as a buyer you don't have to worry about paying commissions. If it is a "buyowner" then your agent will have to negotiate the commission with the seller. If you have any questions feel free to contact me any time, I specialize in working with buyers, and would be happy to send you a list of properties to look at online. For my contact info you can visit my website at http://www.alexwilkinsononline.com
0 votes
Kim Chitwood, Agent, Fayetteville, GA
Wed Aug 8, 2007
In GA (usually) the seller pays commission. If it is a listing found in the MLS they have already agreed to pay for both the listing and selling commission. Now FSBO is another story. Sometimes they will pay and sometimes they won't. I always negotiate that before I even take my buyer out to see the house.
0 votes
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