What is the typical agent commission on land sales?

Asked by Marty McWilliams, Spokane, WA Wed Jun 12, 2013

I know that agent fees are variable and negotiable, but that when selling a house a 6% commission, split between the seller's agent and buyer's agent, is fairly typical. What is a typical commission for sales of unimproved property, specifically close-in rural lots 5-10 acres in size? I've heard that for such transactions 10% tends to be the benchmark. Is that true?

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Dan Tabit’s answer
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Wed Jun 12, 2013
The question is reasonable, the answer is complicated. By law, if I tell you "the average commission is X%" I'm violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Some agents out of ignorance will answer broadly in a forum like this, and I've never heard of anyone getting in trouble for it, but I don't want to be the first.
The best answer is to start by seeing which agents are active and successful selling land in the area. Interview a few and ask about their services and their record of success, not their commission. If they volunteer what they charge, you have your answer. If after hearing what they provide you further inquire what they charge, that's fine too.
Here's the secret, not all higher commission agents/brokers are worth what they charge (the discount agent's love this) and not all discount agents are a bargain. If higher priced agents all did a good job, there may not be any discount agents. When a higher priced agent does the minimum (or less) in the hope of an easy check, they make all agents look bad.
Discount agents however must do a much higher volume to make a living however. Do you want to be one of a handful of clients the agent is working with, or one of hundreds?
I realize this is way beyond what you asked, so I apologize. My final words are find the best agent available. A great agent/broker is worth more than their commission, but a bad one will cost you more than just a commission. Best of luck.
0 votes
Joseph Roraff, Agent, Onalaska, WI
Wed Jun 12, 2013
You should contact agents directly in your area to get their rates and what they offer for your compensation.
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Dave Schmoe, Agent, Spokane, WA
Wed Jun 12, 2013
Scott in New Hampshire is correct.
Good luck
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Wed Jun 12, 2013
Licensed agents should not post commission rates in an open forum like this as it is against federal law. You should contact area agents, ask what they charge and what you will get for what you pay.
0 votes
Ok, after reading a few more posts on here, I think I see where you're coming from. Sounds like there's some concern from the DoJ about agents colluding to fix prices. Sounds reasonable enough.

With that in mind, agents are free to skip this question. But if there are any other property sellers out there who can share what they have found to be typical expectations, it would be much appreciated!
Flag Wed Jun 12, 2013
Really, it's against federal law to indicate what the longstanding tradition is for general ballpark fees? My sincere apologies, I didn't mean to spill the beans on the whole 6% thing. :-)

Seriously, though, I'm not asking anybody to disclose what their specific fees are or would be. By all means, preface any response with something appropriate like "Generally, you can expect...", or "It's highly variable, but as a general rule..."

Flag Wed Jun 12, 2013
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