Special report: Why real estate agents don’t compete on commission rates

We dig into the 'why' behind the commission rate question

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Just 14 percent of the 725 agents and brokers participating in an online poll from Oct. 8 to Nov. 7 said they compete for listings by publicizing their willingness to negotiate their commission and provide services at a reduced commission rate or on a fee-for-services basis (click to download full report and charts as PDF file).

Among those who don’t compete for listings on price, only a handful (8 percent) said they already have all the business they can handle.

So what’s stopping them? About 1 in 4 (23 percent) said their profit margins are already slim and they can’t afford to charge less. Roughly the same proportion (25 percent) said they fear that if they represent a seller at a reduced commission, other brokers might not promote their listings to their buyers.

But the most often cited reasons for not competing for listings on price was that it simply doesn’t work (41 percent), and that agents and brokers are philosophically opposed to commission discounts (55 percent).


“It goes against my grain as a 28-year full-time agent to stoop to that level,” said one survey respondent. “Agents who undermine (commissions) only hurt the industry (and the) profession. Isn’t dangling that kind of bone similar to prostitution?”

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