In California How much does a real estate agent receive for selling a house?

Asked by Julie, Bakersfield, CA Wed Jul 29, 2009

I'm told by my Soon To Be X that an agent wants $10,000 to sell our house. A co-worker is telling me an agent gets 6% of the selling price. Who is most knowledgeable?

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Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Thu Jul 5, 2012
Real Esate Commissions are fully negotiable, between you and your agent.
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Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Thu Jul 30, 2009
Maybe this will help you.
When an agent and an owner negotiate to sell a property, the listing agreement in California has different options. Section 4 of the Residential Listing Agreement:
Part A. Commission percentage AND /OR a dollar amount

Normally the compensation is split equally between the listing and selling offices/agents, however it may vary.

The fact is that when you sell you want to sell for highest price, right? 90% of the time the buyer that purchases your home will be represented by another Realtor, not the listing agent, so you need to have a commission percentage that will attract other Realtors.

Just the same, there are "discount brokers" that may say "I'll do it for less". Sometimes that can cause a potential conflict because if your listing agent stands to make more money representing a buyer to purchase a home that is listed at a "normal" commission, might they not be as motivated to get your home sold?

Sometimes agents will suggest a percentage PLUS a bonus to get the home sold within a certain timeframe or under certain conditions, OR simply a flat fee.

How motivated to sell your home will an agent be if they have a flat fee? On a percentage basis if they can get more money for the sale, then they make more money. Isn't that motivation?

I would recommend interviewing three Realtors. If you'd like me to refer to Top Realtor to you contact me through my profile. Compare their proposals. Make clear your objectives.

Good luck.
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Grace Hanamo…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Wed Jul 29, 2009
Hi Julie and thanks for your question.

Please remember that the 6 percent commission, for example, pays both for your listing agent as well as the agent bringing in the buyer or the "selling agent." Often the fee is 3 percent for the selling agent, so the listing agent under a 6 percent commission would make 3 percent too.

There are discount agent who offer help if you wish to sell the home yourself or would like to add your own time to save money. I do that for clients up here in Northern California, but check out for a help selling your home on your own, and for a 1 percent sales agent in your area.

Good luck!

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
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Julie, Both Buyer And Seller, Bakersfield, CA
Wed Jul 29, 2009
Thank you to those who've responded! In my particular situation I will need someone to help sell our house.
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Robert and D…, Agent, Bakersfield, CA
Wed Jul 29, 2009
Hi Julie,

As already mentioned, the commission is negotiable with 6% being the norm.

Marketing a home well can be expensive and we typically take all of our listings at 6%, with the exception of sellers that are listing more than one property with us, or who are also using us to represent them in a purchase.
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April Tavares, Agent, Campbell, CA
Wed Jul 29, 2009
Hi Julie,

Commissions are negotiable and the negotiated commission is split between the listing agent, selling agent and their respective brokerage offices. The commission you pay covers the cost of your realtor's time used to educate you on the market, market and advertise your property, negotiate the sale, manage the transaction and help with any after close issues that may arise.

Even though our current real estate market is presenting some unique challenges, there are still buyers looking for homes, and there are things that you can do to make sure yours stands out from the rest. Marketing is the first and most important step to attracting buyers.

When negotiating your commission rate, be sure you understand exactly what you will be getting at the agreed upon rate. Set expectations early and no one will be disappointed. A realtor will simply not have the same dollars to spend on marketing and readying your home for sale at a commission rate of 4% versus 6%, which may work for your situation.

Good luck!
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Debra Evans, Agent, Minden, NV
Wed Jul 29, 2009
By law, commissions are negotiable. You should be interviewing several agents for listing your home. Agents should always consider an invitation for a listing interview as a job interview and be prepared to discuss what they offer for their fee. Discuss their marketing plan, market statistics, and home value. I must caution you to NOT make a decision based solely on their fee; make sure you ask for references and check them. You need someone who is knowledgeable, aggressive, and familiar with possible court proceedings. Debra Garber, Broker Owner Garber & Garber A Real Estate Brokerage
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Joan Braunsc…, , Morris County, NJ
Wed Jul 29, 2009
Keep in mind that a commission is always negotiable but yes 6% is a common percentage. It is split between the buyer's agent and the listing agent and each of them have to split with their brokers.
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