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True Cost of Real Estate Commission Calculator

Created by Dawid Siuda and Mateusz Mucha
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024

Discover the hidden costs behind real estate commissions with our intuitive calculator. Our tool demystifies the traditional commission structure, clarifying the actual expense of buying or selling your property and empowering you to make informed financial decisions in the real estate market.

What is a real estate commission?

A real estate commission is a fee paid to real estate agents for their services during the sale of a property. This fee is typically a percentage of the property's sale price. In the United States, the commission rate has historically hovered around 6%, commonly divided equally between the buyer's and seller's agents. However, it's important to note that while these rates are standard, they are not fixed and usually can be negotiated. Explore our mortgage calculator, too, for detailed loan calculations and selecting the optimal mortgage deal.

Traditionally, the property seller is responsible for paying the commission. This cost is often considered when setting the asking price, thus indirectly affecting the buyer. While the buyer does not pay the commission directly, the commission is embedded in the property's sale price. This means that the buyer, in effect, pays for the commission through the purchase of the property.

Understanding the structure of real estate commissions is crucial because it influences the final cost of the property. The split commission model encourages cooperation between buyer's and seller's agents, but it has also led to discussions about the true nature of these costs.

🙋 Interested in other types of commissions? Try our commission calculator to see costs and our sales commission calculator to estimate your potential earnings.

How to use this calculator

Our calculator is easy to use and flexible. Just change the numbers, and it updates right away. Here's how to start:

  1. Enter the property price and down payment first. Once you enter these values, the remaining variables will be automatically displayed.

  2. Adjust the seller and buyer commissions if needed. The default is set at 6% for the seller, a typical rate in the industry.

  3. In the Mortgage section, you'll find the needed loan amount; below this value, you can check how much of your loan will pay off the commission.

  4. In the same section, you can see the loan term in years and/or months and the interest rate. The default value for the interest rate is set at 7.83%, but you can adjust it to match the interest rate of your loan agreement.

  5. The results will include your monthly payment. Below is the loan amount that will be contributed to paying off the commission, and the last value is the total payment amount.

  6. Finally, the Commission cost section illustrates the significant impact of commissions by displaying three variables:

    • Apparent commission — This shows the theoretical commission you pay. In practice, you're also responsible for the seller's commission, detailed in the following field.

    • Commission amount — This field displays the actual commission you pay at the time of the transaction.

    • Real commission cost — Here, you'll see the actual cost of the real estate commission, accounting for the borrowed amount and the interest accrued during the loan repayment period.

Why is it important to know the true cost of real estate commission?

Understanding the true cost of real estate commissions is vital because it can represent a significant portion of the property's sale price.

The recent Missouri court verdict against the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and two major brokerage firms, which resulted in a staggering $1.8 billion in damages for conspiring to keep commissions high, shows the potential for inflated costs in home selling. Moreover, the scandal involving NAR, with the resignation of its president amid harassment allegations and the departure of Redfin, an internet real estate company, from the association, has cast a shadow over the organization's ethical practices. It's a stark reminder to consumers to be aware of unfair agents and practices in an industry.

Buyers and sellers should know the true costs of real estate commissions. It is important to scrutinize these fees, negotiate them where possible, and remain informed about industry changes that could affect their financial decisions during one of the most significant transactions of their lives. This awareness could be the key to unlocking a fairer, more competitive real estate market that benefits all parties involved.

When you buy a home, remember that the price often includes the agent's commission, which means you're the one paying it in the end. So, keep an eye on these fees and try to lower them if possible. Knowing about these costs and talking them over can help you save money and improve the whole process.

Future of the housing market

This recent legal battle has brought to light the oft-hidden mechanics of commission-setting and the impact it can have on the overall cost of real estate. Real estate agents have traditionally charged a commission of around 6% of the home's sale price, typically split evenly between the buyer's and seller's agents. This setup might seem a standard industry practice, but the plaintiffs in Missouri successfully argued that it artificially elevates commission fees, impacting the affordability of homes. They contended that commission sharing as a requirement for access to Multiple Listing Services (MLS) is unfair, suggesting that buyers should negotiate their agent's fee directly and sellers should not be automatically responsible for it.

The potential reduction of these fees could lead to a decrease in home prices, allowing for more accessible real estate transactions. However, immediate changes are unlikely, as the defendants have vowed to appeal, and real estate commissions are deeply ingrained in the industry's structure. This landmark case could herald a significant shift, pushing the housing market toward a more transparent and buyer-friendly era. As litigation continues and awareness grows, we may see a separation of buyer and seller commissions, potentially leading to more competitive pricing and innovative service offerings. This change could empower consumers, giving them more leverage in negotiations. Additionally, the move towards transparency may encourage new business models, further disrupting traditional brokerage practices.

Tech is changing old business habits, and legal rulings might speed this up. If judges order new rules, they could change the way agents get paid, bring new faces into the industry, and alter the way people buy and sell homes.

The future isn't set, but change is definitely coming, and everyone involved needs to get ready for it. What happens in this case could be the start of a fairer, better housing market where the real costs match the services you get.

Dawid Siuda and Mateusz Mucha
Related calculators
Property purchase details
Property price
Down payment
Seller's commission
Buyer's commission
Loan amount
...of which the commission is
This amount shows how much of your loan will be used to cover the commission fees for the property.
Interest rate
Monthly payment
...of which the commission is
Total payments
Commission cost
Apparent commission
Commission amount
Real commission cost
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