< Go Back to the iBuyer Blog

Real Estate Commissions in Maryland in 2024

Posted on Share:

Real estate commission in Maryland

Get Multiple Cash Offers in Minutes with an iBuyer.com Certified Specialist.

Real estate commissions play a pivotal role in how homes are bought and sold in Maryland. When a property changes hands, the real estate agents involved are compensated through commissions. Understanding how these commissions work in Maryland is crucial for anyone entering its real estate market.

Looking for an alternative to traditional real estate transactions? At iBuyer.com, we offer a quick, fair cash offer for your home, allowing you to avoid hefty commissions. Learn more about cash home buyers in Maryland and simplify your home selling process.

Real Estate Commissions in Maryland

Real estate agents don’t get paid a regular salary. Instead, their primary compensation comes from real estate commissions, which are fees based on the final sale price of the property they helped sell or buy.

Listing agents who help sellers market and sell their homes receive a commission percentage of the final sale price once the deal closes. Buyer’s agents working with homebuyers also get a cut of that commission for their efforts.

Compare Cash Offers from Top Home Buyers. Delivered by Your Local iBuyer Certified Specialist.

One Expert, Multiple Offers, No Obligation.

Typical Commission Rates in Maryland

Maryland’s average real estate commission is 5.34% of the final sale price. This commission is typically split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. The average listing agent fee is 2.76%, while the average buyer’s agent fee is 2.58%.

For some perspective, let’s look at an example:

  • Home Sale Price: $400,000
  • Total Commission at 5.34%: $21,360

In this example, the agents would split that $21,360 commission, with the listing agent netting $11,040 and the buyer’s agent receiving $10,320 for their roles in the $400,000 home sale transaction.

While those percentages represent statewide averages, actual commission rates can vary from one real estate transaction to another based on factors like:

  • The specific city/county where the home is located
  • The experience level and negotiating skills of the agents 
  • The sales price range and property type (single-family, condo, etc.)
  • The current housing market conditions at the time

Comparison with National Averages

Also from the same survey, the average real estate commission in the U.S. is 5.49% divided between the listing agent (2.83%) and the buyer’s agent (2.66%). Comparatively, home sellers and buyers in Maryland tend to pay slightly lower commission rates than the national averages.

Importance of Understanding Real Estate Commissions for Sellers

Understanding real estate commissions is essential for sellers. By researching local market trends, comparing rates, and considering agents’ value, sellers can make informed decisions and ensure a smooth and successful real estate transaction.

Components of Real Estate Commissions

When you sell a home, one of the major costs involved is the real estate commission you’ll pay to the agents and brokers who facilitated the sale. Let us break down how these commissions actually work.

Breakdown of How Commissions Are Split

The total real estate commission is typically expressed as a percentage of the final sale price of the home. The commission gets divided up between four main parties involved in a real estate transaction:

  1. The Listing Agent: This is the agent you hired to represent you as the home seller. They’ll receive a portion of the total commission, often the largest cut.
  1. The Listing Broker: In addition to the listing agent’s split, their employer (the brokerage firm they work for) also takes a share of the commission.
  1. The Buyer’s Agent: On the other side of the deal, the agent who brought the buyer and represented them during the purchase will get a piece of the commission as well.
  1. The Buyer’s Broker: Just like the listing brokerage, the buyer’s agent’s employing broker or firm also gets a percentage of the total commission.

Breaking It Down Further

But how exactly does that commission split work? Given that the National Association of Realtors(NAR) states that commissions remain negotiable, there are some typical practices. Given a scenario where the total commission on a $500,000 home sale is 6%, which equates to $30,000:

Of that $30,000 total:

  • The listing agent may receive around 2.5% ($12,500) 
  • Their listing broker would take another 1% ($5,000)
  • The buyer’s agent could get 2% ($10,000)
  • With the remaining 0.5% ($2,500) going to the buyer’s agent’s broker

The other key factor is that these listing and buyer’s agent commission splits get determined upfront. They are typically specified in the listing agreement the seller signs with the listing broker at the very start.

How These Fees Impact the Final Selling Price of a Home

Sellers often do take the expected commission into account when pricing their home initially. The higher that commission percentage, the more it will impact the listing price needed to still net the desired amount after paying all fees.

For example, on a home valued at $500,000:

  • Listing at 6% commission ($30,000) may lead to a $525,000-$530,000 asking price
  • Listing at 5% commission ($25,000) may mean a $515,000-$520,000 listing price

While a lower commission rate doesn’t directly raise the sale price, it can allow sellers to list at a relatively lower asking price while still netting their intended amount after commissions. This makes the home more attractive to buyers.

The commission percentage can also influence how aggressively buyer’s agents will show and market the listing to potential purchasers. Lower commissions may not incentivize agents as much to prioritize those homes.

Tax Implications  

One often overlooked aspect of real estate commissions is their impact at tax time for sellers required to pay capital gains taxes. A Real Estate Commissions and Homebuying report states that when reporting capital gains from a home sale, you’ll deduct selling costs, including the full commission amount paid, from the total sale proceeds before calculating your taxable gain.

For example: 

  • Home purchase price: $300,000 
  • Selling price: $500,000
  • Commission paid at 6%: $30,000
  • Net proceeds after commission: $470,000
  • Your capital gain would be the $470,000 net proceeds minus your $300,000 original purchase price, which is $170,000.

Ways to Reduce Real Estate Commissions

Selling a home is already an expensive endeavor between moving costs, potential renovations, and other fees. On top of that, you’re looking at paying thousands more in real estate agent commissions, a significant chunk of your home’s value.

While agent commissions are an expected cost, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck overpaying. Smart sellers can employ various strategies to reduce the amount spent on these realtor fees. Let’s explore some options for trimming commission costs.

Discount Brokers and Their Role in the Market

One avenue to lower commission rates is working with a discount real estate broker. This study concludes that, unlike full-service brokerages and agents, these firms operate on a different model that passes cost savings to sellers.

Discount brokers keep costs down by offering limited, bare-bones services and support compared to traditional realtors. You’ll typically just receive baseline essentials like:

  • Getting your home listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
  • Basic online listings and marketing materials
  • Paperwork handling and legal compliance

Beyond that, you’ll handle most other aspects of preparing, showing, and selling the home yourself without an agent’s usual hands-on assistance.

The upside? Significant commission savings over full-service realtors. Discount brokers may charge flat fees as low as $3,000 or percentage-based commissions of around 1% instead of the typical 3% or higher charged by traditional agents.

Flat Fee MLS Services

Another option for selling without a traditional realtor is using companies that provide flat fee MLS listing services. These allow you to post your home on the MLS (the main database realtors use) for a low, one-time flat rate.

Unlike discount brokers, who still provide some agent representation, MLS entry services simply make your listing available to realtors. From there, you are essentially representing yourself as an unassisted seller. This means you’ll be fully responsible for responsibilities like:

  • Preparing and staging your home
  • Setting an appropriate listing price 
  • Marketing the listing yourself online/offline
  • Hosting open houses and showings
  • Negotiating purchase offers and contracts

Benefits of Using Flat Fee MLS Services

Sellers able to handle all those duties themselves can potentially pocket major savings. Flat fee MLS companies charge anywhere from $100 to $500 to get you listed. Compare that to thousands in commissions for a full-service listing agent.

Technology and Online Platforms Changing the Landscape

Beyond the DIY routes, there’s another option trending in real estate, companies known as instant buyers(iBuyers), that simply buy your home directly from you. As one of the iBuyers companies, we use automated valuation algorithms to make home cash offers.

The process begins by providing some basic details about your property. From there, our algorithm analyzes similar recent sales and market data for your area to calculate a cash offer price. If you accept, we can close in as little as a week or two.

For sellers, the key benefits are speed, certainty, and convenience over a traditional listing process. There’s no need to prep the home, list it, host showings, or go through months of buyer negotiations.

There are no agent commissions to pay either when using our services. That cost reduction combined with the speed and simplicity makes our sales attractive, especially in slower markets.

Comparative Analysis

When selling your home, you have two primary paths: the traditional route using a real estate brokerage and agent or exploring some of the newer modern alternatives shaking up the industry. Each option comes with its own set of pros, cons, and tradeoffs to carefully weigh.

Traditional Brokerage Services

The conventional road is listing your home with a real estate broker who will provide you with a dedicated agent to handle your home sale. This has been the standard model for decades.

Real estate brokerages are typically local companies or franchise branches with a physical office location. The licensed real estate agents affiliated with that brokerage operate out of their main office when not showing properties or hosting open houses.

When you sign a listing agreement with that broker, they’ll assign one of their agents to exclusively represent you through the entire selling process. This full-service agent will be your main point of contact from start to finish. Their services include:

  • In-depth market analysis to optimally price your home  
  • Professional photography, listings, marketing and advertising
  • Advice and coordination for pre-listing repairs/staging
  • Hosting open houses and facilitating showings with prospective buyers
  • Negotiating all offers and contractual terms on your behalf
  • Managing inspections, appraisals, and paperwork through closing  

Some brokers may also provide additional auxiliary services like assistance with things like moving, temporary housing, handyman work, etc. Their entire business model revolves around justifying those high commission costs through comprehensive, attentive service.

Modern Alternatives

As an alternative to that traditional brokerage model, sellers now have access to a growing range of iBuyers aiming to streamline and expedite the home sale process.

We use high-tech valuation algorithms to provide sellers with quick cash offers on their homes. Our process involves:

  1. Sellers submit information about their property’s size, location, age, condition, and any upgrades or renovations.
  2. We run this data through automated valuation models(AVMs) to analyze recent comparable home sales in the local area.
  3. Based on those AVM valuations, we present the sellers with a firm cash offer for their home, with no inspections or negotiations needed.  
  4. If the sellers accept, we can close quickly in as little as 7-14 days.

The core value proposition of using our services and similar tech platforms over a conventional brokerage are:

  • Speed: Our typical sale can close in under 2 weeks instead of months
  • Convenience: As a seller, you will avoid listings, showings, open houses, and staging hassles  
  • Certainty: We purchase properties as-is with no negotiations post-offer
  • Cost savings: No 5-6% agent commissions to pay on the sale

Negotiating Commissions

These real estate commissions are certainly earned compensation for the work agents put in, but that doesn’t mean sellers are stuck paying sticker prices. With some savvy negotiating tactics, homeowners can often chip away at those hefty commission costs.

Strategies for Negotiating Lower Commissions with Agents

There are some situations where sellers tend to have more leverage in negotiating reduced commissions from listing agents:

Being a Repeat Client

If you’ve successfully worked with a particular real estate agent before on a previous home sale or purchase, that prior relationship gives you some negotiating power. Agents are usually motivated to retain past clients by providing more competitive commission rates.

Selling in Low Housing Inventory Areas

When the local housing supply is extremely tight, real estate agents have far fewer potential listing opportunities available to earn commissions from. In these low inventory markets, agents may be more willing to reduce percentage points off their typical commission rate just to land one of the few seller clients.

While an extreme sellers’ market gives listing agents the upper hand in many regards, smart clients can leverage that scarcity to their advantage during commission negotiations. Agents would rather accept a slightly lower payday than potentially no paycheck at all in those conditions.

Selling Higher-Valued Luxury Homes  

On the opposite end of the pricing spectrum, agents tend to have more flexibility in trimming commission rates for higher-end, luxury home sellers. While the listing commission percentage may get trimmed, the overall dollar amount stemming from an ultra-expensive property sale is still quite lucrative for the agent.

For instance, a $1 million home seller may be able to negotiate a 4.5% commission instead of 6%. That removes $15,000 off for the seller while the agent still pockets a hefty $45,000 payday, substantially more than they’d earn from a similarly-priced 6% commission on a $300,000 home sale.

Any commission negotiations must occur within legal and ethical boundaries governed by the (NAR). These boundaries include:

Realtors Have Duties to Clients

As outlined in the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics, realtors must uphold their clients’ best interests above all else in any dealings, including commission structures. They cannot self-deal or misrepresent facts surrounding fees and compensation.

Commission Negotiations Must Be Transparent

Both sellers and their listing agents must clearly express any commission offers, rebates, or adjustments in writing. All parties need full transparency into how much is being paid, to whom, and for what services rendered.

Recent NAR Commission Reforms 

A 2024 settlement between NAR and federal regulators altered some key commission dynamics to foster greater competition in the industry. Most notably:

  • Listing agents must provide sellers an upfront opt-out option for paying buyer’s agent commissions as a pre-condition of listing properties.
  • Buyer’s agents must secure written agreements with clients clearly establishing service charges and expectations.

The settlement effectively opened the door for more creative approaches to negotiating real estate fees and compensation structures, both on the buyer and seller sides of transactions.

Impact of Commission on Home Sales

These real estate commission fees paid to the listing agent and any buyer’s agents involved don’t just impact your wallet directly, they can have broader ripple effects on everything from pricing to marketing strategy. 

For some perspective, let’s look at an example:

Home Sale Price: $500,000

Standard 6% Commission: $30,000  

Additional Closing Costs at 2%: $10,000

Total Seller Costs: $40,000

In this scenario, even though the seller pocketed $500,000 from the buyer, their actual net profits after covering commission and closing fees are just $460,000. That’s over $40,000 less than the sale price simply due to realtor compensation and other expenses.

Case Study: Comparing Commission Rates

To illustrate this concept, let’s look at a hypothetical comparison:

Home A: Lists with a 6% commission(3% to the listing agent and 3% to the buyer’s agent) on a $500,000 asking price.

If it sells at the asking price, the seller would net just $470,000 after paying $30,000 in realtor commissions. Attempt to list even $10,000 higher at $510,000, and potential buyers may get scared off knowing that an additional $3,000+ in commission costs is built into the price.

Home B: Lists with a 4%(2% to the listing agent and 2% to the buyer’s agent) commission rate at that same $500,000 asking price.

At this lower 4% commission, the seller would net $480,000 after paying $20,000 in realtor fees. Even at $510,000, the $20,400 commission cost is still less than Home A’s costs at $500,000. Buyers are more likely to meet that $510,000 price knowing it includes less than $21,000 in realtor compensation.

The Home B seller sets themselves up to clear $10,000 more in profits by negotiating a 2% lower commission. Lower commissions incentivize buyer’s agents to show and market those listings more aggressively compared to higher commission properties.

The real estate landscape is transforming rapidly, driven by cutting-edge technological advancements. At the forefront of these emerging trends is the rise of generative AI (gen AI) technology. A 2024 report by McKinsey & Company highlights how gen AI capabilities are revolutionizing multiple aspects of the real estate process.

These sophisticated AI algorithms can now instantly analyze massive datasets to identify attractive investment properties based on specific criteria. This technology is being used to identify opportunities for investors, improve building and interior design, create marketing materials, and facilitate customer journeys while opening up new revenue streams.

Another major industry disruptor is the increasing reach of proptech, innovative property technologies aimed at enhancing all parts of real estate. This includes everything from virtual reality property tours to blockchain-powered smart contracts and transactions.

Virtual tour capabilities, in particular, are already impacting how buyers discover and assess potential properties. The ability to get an immersive 3D walkthrough from any location reduces the need for realtors to conduct physical showings.

The Role of New Real Estate Models

In tandem with these technological forces, new industry business models centered around cost disruption are also poised to shake up conventional commission structures.

According to the 2024 Swanepoel Trends Report, while most brokerages still follow a traditional commission-split model, the landscape is diversifying rapidly. Realtors and brokers embracing technology integrations, cost disruption models, and a flexible service-based pricing philosophy will likely thrive.

The future of real estate is moving towards streamlined efficiency, technological enablement, and consumer-centric affordability. Commission rates and realtor compensation models will need to evolve in parallel with those prevailing trends.

The key for buyers and sellers in Maryland is to understand how commissions work and keep up with how the real estate industry is changing. In an industry as dynamic and rapidly changing as real estate, staying well-informed is crucial for anyone striving to achieve their buying or selling goals.

Visit iBuyer.com today to request your no-obligation cash offer. Provide a few details about your property and let our technology do the rest. iBuyer.com provides you, as a Maryland homeowner, a modern alternative.

Instant Valuation, Confidential Deals with a Certified iBuyer.com Specialist.

Sell Smart, Sell Fast, Get Sold. No Obligations.

Sell Smart, Sell Fast with iBuyer.com
Discover Your Home’s Value in Minutes.