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  • Writer's pictureSara Dalicandro

Commission 101 - What is it and who pays for it?


When a person is ready to sell their home and they hire a real estate agent, part of the contract that is signed between the agent and the seller includes language regarding the commission. The commission is the agreed upon payment between the seller and the agent if and when the house sells.


The commission covers the payment for the agent representing the seller AND the agent representing the buyer. Even though Massachusetts does not allow commission to be a set rate, the usual commission is typically between 5-6% of the sale price of the home. Once commission is paid (this happens at closing), the funds get divided between both Realtors.


For example, if a home sells for $500,000 the total commission paid by the sellers (assuming a 5% commission fee) is $25,000. Of that commission, $12,500 goes to the Realtor representing the seller and $12,500 goes to the Realtor representing the buyer.


So what does the commission cover? Well, that can vary from Realtor to Realtor and brokerage to brokerage.


When I sell a home for a client I provide essentially a concierge type service throughout the entire process meaning I am available day, night, and weekends to answer any questions/concerns/needs the client has.


Beyond that, I do the following:

  • Research and present a Comparative Market Analysis showing recent real estate activity and trends, to help the client determine a realistic listing price

  • Provide guidance in what needs to be done to the home to prepare it for sale and what types of renovations will reap the greatest return

  • Offer professional photos, staging, decluttering, yard work etc.

  • Create an effective marketing plan that is tailored to the property that will achieve maximum exposure to prospective buyers

  • Create and provide all print and digital marketing materials

  • Run print and online ads

  • Network with fellow agents throughout the metrowest area, New England and internationally

  • Run open houses and private showing

  • Review with the seller any offers that are presented

  • Negotiate offers and counter offers on the seller’s behalf

  • Vet potential buyers to make sure they qualify financially

  • Protect your financial interests throughout the inspection/mortgage process

  • Work with the buyer’s agent, lenders, and attorneys to make sure all requirements of the sale are met to the client’s satisfaction and on schedule

  • Be present for the final walkthrough

  • Follow up on any remaining details after the close of the sale

  • Provide any relocation assistance or services the seller may need


Selling a home is a complicated process. There are many potential potholes that can derail a sale in an instant so making sure you have the proper people by your side is crucial. Hire a Realtor and make sure the sale of your greatest asset (your home) is in the hands of an expert.


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