What should I offer for commission on sale of my townhome?

I am listing my townhouse soon and am wondering what to offer for commission to the realtor. I know 5% is standard, but I would like to know if their are discount realtors who do a full service job. Any recommendations you have would be appreciated. My townhouse is located in Evergreen Area of San Jose and the price will be in the low 500ks. Thanks for any help you can give me.

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I think the standard now is 4%: 1.5% to the listing agent and 2.5% to buyer. I think you can get away with 2% to buyer or even 1.5%, so total is 3.5% or 3%.


I was under the impression that under 1m 6% was the std. A lot of it depends on your agent level, how well known are they? You could use redfin’s offering as a starting point for negotiations.

Nobody does 6% anymore. MLS lists how much the seller is offering the buyer agent, and most often it’s 2.5%. Sometimes I see 2%. I don’t recall ever seeing 3%. And listing agents will gladly take your business for under 2%. There is a dearth of deals out there and everybody is hungry for business.

Don’t sign anything with agents while you are shopping around. There is exclusive agreement and once you signed you have to go with that agent.


Absolutely. No point to doing 6% in a seller’s market. The house will sell even if the realtors do nothing. The only thing stopping houses from selling right now are sellers who want too much.

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I just did a casual checkup on MLS. There are 23 listings under 600K in San Jose. I clicked on a few and everyone is offering 2.5% to the buyer agent.

How much seller offers is entirely up to the seller. But listing agent doesn’t want to look bad to her colleagues by offering less than the going rate. So if seller says I only want to offer 2%, the listing agent will give some bogus reasons why that’s a bad idea. It may be a bad idea for the LA’s benefit, but not to the seller obviously.

So if you insisted 2% there is nothing the listing agent can do. If she insisted you should offer buyer 2.5% tell her to take that 0.5% from her side. She will get 1% and buyer 2.5%. See how she reacts.

The green banker offers less than 2% to the buyer. He’s still going strong. In this market anything will sell.


Manch is right on 4% standard now and almost everyone agrees with 4%. There are few people who charges 3.5% still do same good service. If you need 3.5% check with Paris & Bradley Wilson, they sent flier to me every month with 3.5%.

BTW: I have not engaged this team, but my friend used them as buyer agent.

You may need to evaluate many people, not simply based on commission alone.

I will share with my own example: If your house is 500k, many will approach you with sale price 550k or 600k just only to get your contract.

Normally, people hype 10% to 15% to get seller to sign up. Here, you need to be careful to choose a realtor who gives you realistic picture, around the range of 500k.

There is an additional cost involved in sales, like painting, staging, …etc. The realtor needs to guide you properly and take care of some of the work too.


Thanks everybody. People have come to expect the buyers agent to give them a discount to so you don’t want to cut it to thin.

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Choose a realtor who knows the area well and has ideally sold/bought in the same townhome complex or nearby. There might be one or more who fit the bill. Call each one and setup a meeting. Ask for a full commission breakdown and a listing of all the staging and painting costs. If you are going with one of the smaller individual realtors they could do 4%. If you are going with a big rainmaker realtor who works for Intero,etc it might be 4.5% and the realtor will find it hard to come down to 4% since they will have existing structures in place with the parent firm. Choose wisely and dont just go with the cheaper realtor. On a 600k sale, 3.5k is nothing if the other realtor can actually bring in 50k more in selling price.


It really depends on the specific situation of the house in question, so don’t automatically assuming that you are going to get a good deal with the lowest commission. There are houses out there that require extra leg work and the network of the agent. So paying that extra .5% commission might be well worth it in order to get your house to sell at an optimal price in a timely manner.

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If I remember right, the most productive agents in Evergreen are Frank Liu and Rebecca Lin.

Come on, Stanley Lo is your man! His last name is “Lo” for a reason…LOW COMMISSIONS!!!:slight_smile:

A word of caution when working with a discount / high volume agent.

Between 2008 and 2011, we did quite a few flips and many of them were listed by a certain agent, who back then already listed for 1.5%. Full service listing agent, I think a few times we only paid 1.25%. Those houses sold between $420k and $600k. I did not have a license at that time.

We had one SFR in West San Jose in contract for $480k and the buyer deposited the 3% earnest money. Our listing agent did not change the status to “Pending”. The buyer’s agent repeatedly requested that the status should be changed. The buyer’s agent even called me (the seller!) directly… I could not reach my listing agent either. The buyer then cancelled the transaction.

We relisted at the same price and got no offer. 2 months later, we got back in contract with the same buyer as the first time, but this time for $450k.

So, we lost $30k (and 2+ months of carrying cost) because the agent did not do the job.

A few months later I got my own license.

I’m telling this story because the name of our agent was listed on this thread. Be careful when working with high-volume agents.

p.s.: Did you notice how my narrative carefully avoided his/her? That’s not coincidence.


Never understood why high volume realtors are considered desirable. .They don’t have the time to provide quality service…Besides they spend 90% of their time marketing…The good ones have a transaction manager that actually does all the work on your deal. …So if you are going to hire a listing whore like Stanley Lo, interview the transaction manager…you won’t see Stanley after you sign.


When the wholesale realtors take on your case, you may see another realtor with less “name” coming to sell your home, which in this case would result on you better hiring anyone.

When the location is the famous “location”, you don’t need a top notch agent. The property will sell by itself. Good case for a Realtor to start his-her career.

I can get a 4.5% with a well respected agent. I may be there to help…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

What do you look for Elt?

You can come out now Pete. I too don’t like people with funky hairdos.

What’s wrong with Green Banker? I thought a lot of the houses he sold is pretty high and even way over market estimates.

I guess the person you mentioned here was seller agent when I bought my house in WSJ.
Let’s put it this way, I was very happy with my agent who did a great job on negotiation in hot seller’s market.
Yes, the listing agent was not the person who really worked on this transaction.
It was someone else who had very little experiences.
I would never use high volume agent.

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While I have made fun of Mr. Perm, he did do my buddy right in selling his Millbrae home a few years ago. Suggested he remodel modestly some parts of the home to make it look better for buyers and he did after all get him a high selling price. Not to say someone else wouldn’t have but my buddy ended up paying less which is important.