Real Estate Commission Calculator: How Much Will You Owe Your Agent?

Written by Cara HaynesJune 28th, 202212 minute read

Commission calculator | How to save on commission| How commission works | Average commission rates by state | Quick summary | FAQ | Tiered commission calculator

Our real estate commission calculator will calculate your total realtor commission fees and net profit (after closing costs and loan payoff) when selling your home, based on your target sale price.

Real estate agent commissions are usually the largest cost associated with selling a home. The nationwide average commission rate for conventional realtors is 5.49% — approximately $27,450 for a $500,000 home! That total real estate commission is split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent (yes, the seller covers commission for both real estate agents).

» SAVE: Find top local agents through Clever Real Estate, save up to 50% on realtor commission fees

The good news is there are several ways to lower real estate commission costs. This guide — along with our real estate commission calculator — will help you better control your home selling costs so you can maximize your profits when you sell.

Real estate commission calculator

»LEARN: The best low-commission real estate companies (save thousands)

How to calculate real estate commission

You can calculate your real estate commission fees by multiplying the target commission rate (expressed as a percentage) and the target final sale price of the home (expressed in dollars). You apply real estate commission rates to the gross sale price before you subtract other expenses like loan payoff, taxes, and closing costs. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to calculate real estate commission using a 6% commission rate and $500,000 home sale:

  1. Determine your real estate commission rate. For example, total commission is often 6%. This fee is split by both agents, so each gets 3%.
  2. Divide the commission rate by 100 (or simply move the decimal point over two places). Using our example, this would give you .06 (or .03 for each agent).
  3. Multiply the commission rate by the final sale price. If you sold your home for $500,000, you would use the following formula: $500,000 x .06 = $30,000.
  4. Now you’ve got your total commission in dollars.

Here’s how to calculate real estate commission expressed as a single formula, using the same example:

(6/100) * $500,000 = $30,000

</p><ul><li><strong>Target sale price:</strong> Your estimated or desired final sale price for your home.</li><li><strong>Total commission</strong>: The combined commission percentage for both the seller’s and buyer’s agents who handle the sale (the seller typically covers both fees).</li><li><strong>Listing fee: </strong>The share of the total commission that goes to the seller’s agent for marketing and selling the home.</li><li><strong>Buyer’s agent fee:</strong> The share of the total commission that goes to the buyer’s agent for bringing a qualified buyer who ends up purchasing the home.</li><li><strong>Estimated closing costs:</strong> A rough estimate for other transactional costs — like taxes and transfer fees — that sellers typically cover with their sale proceeds at closing.</li><li><strong>Loan payoff amount:</strong> The seller’s remaining balance on their home loan, which they must pay off with sale proceeds at closing. (You can usually find this information on your monthly mortgage statement. Or you can request a payoff quote from your lender.</li><li><strong>Net to seller:</strong> Your estimated profit (or deficit) once all your home selling costs and outstanding debts have been deducted from your gross sale proceeds.</li></ul><p>

How does real estate commission work?

In a conventional real estate transaction, real estate commission works by two real estate agents splitting the total commission from the purchase price as specified in the listing agreement the seller signs with their agent.

  • The seller’s agent collects a listing fee for marketing and selling the home.
  • The buyer’s agent collects the buyer’s agent fee for bringing a qualified buyer to purchase the home.

Most real estate agents will split the total real estate commission fee roughly down the middle. The nationwide average total commission is 5.49%, but 5–6% is typical nationwide. That means both agents usually take between 2.5–3% of the final home sale price as a realtor fee.

Here’s how a 6% total commission might break down with a $500,000 home sale.

Commission fee
Listing fee
Buyer’s agent fee
Total commission paid
*Based on a $500,000 home sale.

Who pays real estate commissions?

The home seller pays the real estate commission fees for both their agent (listing agent) and the buyer’s agent — but most sellers don’t pay these realtor fees directly. Real estate commission fees are typically added into the asking price and taken out of the seller’s net proceeds at closing.

This commission structure makes the deal more affordable for both parties: buyers can cover their agent’s fee with their mortgage instead of out of pocket. And, assuming the seller is netting a profit, the seller won’t have to pay anything out of pocket either.

Why do sellers cover the buyer’s agent commission?

Sellers typically cover the buyer’s agent commission to attract more offers and sell their home faster, higher, and with the best possible terms. It’s considered a marketing expense that will benefit the seller in the long run.

Buyers have to pay a ton of money out of pocket to buy a house: down payment, inspection and appraisal fees, closing costs, and more. For many home buyers, adding another 2.5–3% out-of-pocket fee for a real estate agent could price them out from buying a home — or at least disincentivize them in a major way.

Most sellers bake that fee into their listing price, which allows the buyer to cover commission with their mortgage instead. In this sense, the sellers aren’t actually paying the buyer’s agent fee since it’s technically covered by the buyer’s mortgage. But offering to pay the buyer’s agent commission makes their home more affordable to buyers and attractive to buyer’s agents.

Why you should offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission rate

Buyer’s agents usually prioritize homes and showings based on their potential paycheck. By offering a competitive buyer’s agent fee, you’re incentivizing agents to show your home to their clients.

Even in a competitive market, incentivizing buyer’s agents is crucial: you’ll get more bids faster, which increases the odds of a bidding war and a higher sale price — it will also attract stronger offers and better terms. Nearly 90% of buyers work with an agent.[1] If you don’t offer a competitive buyer’s agent commission, it may significantly shrink your potential buyer pool and net you a worse outcome on your sale.

How much do real estate agents actually make in commission?

Most real estate agents make only a small fraction of their initial commission fee. All real estate agents work under and split their commissions with a parent brokerage (think RE/MAX, Century 21, and others).

How much of their commission check they have to share with their broker depends on the following:

  • The specific brokerage: different brands offer different commission structures
  • Their status and experience level: Newer agents typically have bigger splits (up to 50%)

So, out of a $10,000 listing fee check, a newer agent could realistically only end up with $5,000. And that money still has to cover additional expenses like things paid for during the sale (photography, marketing, gas) and recurring operational costs (licensing and MLS fees, taxes, association dues, and more).

When do real estate agents get paid their commission fees?

Real estate agents get paid their commission checks at or after closing. Commissions are typically deducted from the home seller’s net proceeds when checks are being cut and dispersed by the title company and/or attorneys at the closing table.

It’s common for seller’s agents to collect the check for the total commission then pay the buyer’s agent their portion. Or the title company and/or attorneys may cut two separate checks for both agents.

If the seller ends up owing more at closing than they’re netting on the sale, they may have to bring cash to closing and pay the agents directly.

A few exceptions
</p><p>Some discount real estate brokerages, like Redfin, collect commission directly at closing and pay their agents an annual salary instead. And some flat-fee brands — limited-service brokerages and flat-fee MLS services — charge their fees up front instead of at closing.</p><p>

Find the average real estate commission rate by state

Avg rate
District of Columbia
New York
New Hampshire*
Rhode Island*
New Jersey
West Virginia*
New Mexico*
North Carolina
South Carolina
North Dakota*
South Dakota*
National Average

How to save on real estate commission

Knowing how to save on real estate commission comes down to understanding your options. While the nationwide average total commission rate is 5.49%, here are two ways you can pay less than that.

Avoid FSBO
</p><p>Listing without a realtor — aka for sale by owner (FSBO) — could potentially help you save by cutting out the listing fee, but we don't recommend this approach for most sellers. FSBO sales require a huge amount of time and effort, and typically bring a lot of legal and financial risk. There's a good chance you'll take a bigger hit on the final sale price than you'll save on realtor fees! We recommend low commission brands to get the best of both worlds: expert guidance and service for a fraction of the typical rate.</p><p>

Hire a low commission real estate company

There’s a wave of new real estate brands offering the same listing services as conventional realtors for as little as 1% vs. the typical 2.5–3% fee. Although the percentage difference is small, this can add up to thousands of dollars in savings for home sellers. Different companies create these savings in different ways:

  • Full-service discount brokerages, like Redfin, use technology and team-based service models to lower operating costs and create savings.
  • Some agent-matching services, like Clever Real Estate, match you with local realtors from top brokerages (think RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker) and pre-negotiate lower rates for you.

At a glance: Top low-commission real estate companies (nationwide brands)

Listing fee
Avg savings*
Ideal Agent
Conventional agent
*Avg savings compared to 3% listing fee at four price points: $100k, $250k, $500k, $750k

</p><p>Clever Real Estate is currently our top pick. It offers the lowest rates and biggest average savings of any nationwide brand: 1% listing fees, or a flat $3,000 for homes below $350,000. You choose from multiple agent matches rather than just the single option you’ll get from companies like Ideal Agent. And Clever’s partner agents represent all the major brands and brokerages, like Keller Williams, Century 21, and more. That means you’re getting the same experience and support you’d expect from a conventional realtor — but saving thousands on commission. </p><p><strong>» MORE: </strong><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Try Clever today (100% free with no obligation)</a></p><p>Discount broker Redfin offers a slightly higher 1.5% listing fee (though minimum fees apply and vary by market). Redfin does have some solid agents, but it has less selection than Clever. The style of service and support is also a bit different than what you get through Clever and conventional realtors: expect a slightly more tech-driven, hands-off experience.</p><p>Ideal Agent is a savings-centric agent matching service like Clever, but its rates are twice as high (2% vs. Clever’s 1%). It also offers less selection: you get matched with only one agent (Clever customers can choose between 2–3 and even more than that if they want). Ideal Agent has about 2,000 agents nationwide versus Clever’s 14,000 agents.</p><p>

The bottom line
</p><p>If you're looking to save, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">try Clever Real Estate</a>: the service is 100% free with no obligation. If they find you an agent you like, the savings are truly best in class. That said, the most important thing is finding the best agent for the job. It's worth shopping around to see how agents from other low commission brands stack up to Clever agents.</p><p>

Try to negotiate a lower commission rate with a conventional realtor

You can absolutely negotiate real estate commission rates with conventional realtors. But it can be difficult — and even a bit stressful. You’ll have to negotiate with a professional negotiator, which isn’t very fun to do (at least for most people). And don’t expect a major price reduction — fractions of a percentage point are more realistic.

This is where agent-matching services like Clever and Ideal Agent can offer serious value: they have more leverage (a recurring source of new business for real estate agents at no upfront cost) to negotiate lower rates for you. For example, a one-off deal for a 1% fee doesn't make sense for an agent. But five 1% deals a month start to change the margins and make a big impact on the agent’s overall revenue.

The bottom line
</p><p>It's 100% worth trying to negotiate rates, especially if you've already found an agent on your own that you really want to work with. Just don't expect a major (or any) price reduction. If you don't have an agent lined up — or just want to compare options, which we recommend — definitely try the agent-matching service route.<br><br>Listing with Clever, for example, could save you thousands on commission fees compared to if you'd found the same agent on your own. Plus, these services are free with no obligation, so there's no risk in trying it out and seeing if you like who the agents Clever matches you with.</p><p>

Quick s

ummary: Calculating real estate commission

  • Calculate your real estate commission fees (F) in dollars by dividing the commission (C) percentage by 100, then multiplying it with the home’s sale price (P).
  • Formula for calculating real estate commission:(C/100)*P=F
  • Total commission includes fees for two agents: the listing agent fee and the buyer’s agent fee.
  • Sellers typically cover both agent’s commission fees out of their sale proceeds (not out of pocket).
  • The nationwide average commission rate for conventional realtors is 5.49% — but that varies by agent or brokerage, home value and type, and local market trends (5–6% is typical).
  • If you’re looking to save on commission, we recommend checking out a free low commission real estate brand like Clever Real Estate. Clever pre-negotiates lower rates with agents from top brokerages like Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX, and more.
  • You can also try negotiating commission rates with realtors on your own, but it will be harder to get a significant rate reduction.

FAQ about real estate commission

Commission is calculated for an agent based on a percentage that’s multiplied by the total sale price of the home. For example, if their commission percentage is 3% and you sold your home for $500,000, your agent would make $15,000. Use our <a href="#commission-calculator" onclick="globalTOCClick('#commission-calculator');" data-link-type="jump-link">real estate commission calculator</a> to easily compare commission costs.

Real estate commissions are calculated based on gross sale proceeds, not net sale proceeds. That means the total commission rate gets applied to the sale price of your home in the purchase agreement, before any closing costs or other expenses have been deducted.

Individual real estate agents make between 2–3% commission per home sale, which means you’ll pay a combined total of 4–6% total commission on the sale of your home. That translates to $10,000–$15,000 in real estate commission per agent on a $500,000 home sale. If a real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller of the home, they’d make $20,000–$30,000 on a $500,000 home sale. <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The 2021 median income for a real estate agent was $48,340</a>, and the highest 10% of agents earned more than $102,170.

A conventional realtor would make $2,000–$3,000 on a $100,000 sale if they took the standard 2–3% commission rate. As the value of the home sale went up, the realtor would make more money even though their commission rate stays the same.

The percentage most realtors charge is between 2–3% of the total home sale price. If you work with a low commission brokerage like Redfin or Clever Real Estate, your realtor will charge less (as low as 1% with Clever Real Estate).

</p><p>The cost of working with realtors to sell your home is calculated based on a percentage (usually 5–6%) of the total sale price of your home. If you’re selling your home, you’ll pay the realtor cost for both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. If you’re buying a home, you won’t be directly responsible for any realtor costs since the seller will cover both from the proceeds of selling their home. Use our <a href="#commission-calculator" onclick="globalTOCClick('#commission-calculator');" data-link-type="jump-link">real estate commission calculator</a> to quickly compare realtor costs.</p><p>

Tiered real estate commission structure calculator

Our tiered commission calculator provides five tiers to calculate a sliding scale commission.

Some discount and conventional brokerages and agents are adopting tiered commission structures (sliding scale) to offer more flexibility and competitive pricing for home seller clients — particularly those with more expensive homes.

Instead of a set percentage, the rate decreases as home values increase. After all, selling a $200,000 home is roughly the same amount of work as selling an $800,000 home. But a set 3% commission model means the agent is making much more commission on the $800,000 home — and potentially not making enough to even cover their marketing costs on the $200,000 sale.

Charging a slightly higher rate for less expensive homes ensures the agent nets a decent profit for their work. And lowering the rates for higher price homes ensures the agent isn’t being overcompensated.


National Association of Realtors. "2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers." Accessed May 11, 2022. Updated 2021.