Commissions Are Negotiable—for Those Who Ask

Consumer Reports finds that those who request a discount on an agent’s commission usually get it.

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Haggling over broker commissions became an interesting point of discussion in the Housing Rumble. And according to a recent Consumer Reports survey, the best way to get a discount on a commission is to ask for it.

From Consumer Reports:

The usual 6 percent commission that agents charge sellers has been standard for so long that many homeowners apparently don't realize it's negotiable. But 46 percent of the sellers in our poll attempted to negotiate a lower commission and roughly 71 percent of that group succeeded.RE/MAX and independent agents appeared to be a bit more willing to deal; 77 and 76 percent, respectively, of sellers who tried to negotiate with them were successful. Sixty-seven percent of Century 21, Keller Williams, and Prudential agents also lowered fees, as did 64 percent of the Coldwell Banker agents.We found that paying an agent a lower commission rarely had any effect on the sales price. And readers who paid commissions of 3 percent or less were just as happy with their brokers' performance as those who paid 6 percent or more. People who paid extra, in fact, were more likely to say they had regrets about the selling process. The biggest regret? Nearly one-third said they should have been more assertive in negotiating their agent's fee.