Are you getting ready to sell your home in Washington? The costs of selling property are not always obvious — and they can add up quickly. Understanding the average real estate commission in Washington is important. You’ll have a better idea of what kind of fees to expect, as well as how your location and current trends can affect those numbers.
Washington’s average real estate commission in 2022 was 5.30%, just under the national average of 5.37%. It’s likely to be similar, or slightly higher, in 2023. When you’re selling your home, it’s a good idea to review the commission fees in your state and local areas. Because commissions aren’t fixed by law, you may be able to shop around or negotiate for a better rate. Knowing the average commission rate gives you a key advantage when selling your property.
Realtors make it easier to sell your home faster—and for a higher price. In exchange, they charge a commission fee. In 2022, the average Washington commission was 5.30%, which is just under the national average. Commissions are expected to rise across the board in 2023, especially if the nation heads into an economic recession.
Although you can sell your home on your own, working with a reputable real estate agent typically offers better results. Realtors can provide important market information about buyer behavior in your city and neighborhood: What are they looking for? What are some of the key features you can leverage for higher prices? Which neighborhoods are hot, and which are declining?
A good real estate agent will also provide superior marketing services — their networks allow them to reach more buyers than what the average seller can accomplish on their own. They’ll also give you a good idea of how much your home should sell for, and how to make it more attractive to potential buyers. This provides good value for your commission payment.
However, it’s important to note that commission rates fluctuate by time, location, and even individual real estate agents. Agents in major metropolitan markets, such as Seattle and the surrounding areas, may command higher rates. On the other hand, because home prices are higher there than in rural areas, your agent may be willing to lower their percentage. Understanding local, statewide and national rates will ensure that you sign a competitive listing agreement.
Different factors will affect your real estate commission rate. For example, the national economy has an intense effect on home prices and, as a result, real estate commission fees. Your specific real estate market and property type will also affect how much your Realtor might charge. Typically, however, the average home cost in your area has the greatest impact.
You might expect that commissions would be lower in areas with lower home prices. The opposite is true. Because commissions are percentage-based, instead of a fixed number, the amount a real estate agent can make varies wildly. For example, Washington’s 2021 average home price was $560,400. A 5.30% commission would net $29,701 in commission, whereas the same percentage on a $300,000 home would garner just $15,900. Agents are more likely to lower their commission rates on higher home prices, since the overall commission potential is much higher than less desirable areas, which may not sell as quickly.
However, The Seattle Times forecasts that home prices will drop in 2023 by 4 to 5.5%. Seattle homes could drop as much as 10% this year. This could put many homeowners underwater, which will have even more of an impact on the overall market.
Although these numbers look high, there’s good news. The commission is typically paid out of your sale price, rather than out of pocket. Buying and selling agents split the commission, then pay their own percentage to their brokerage.
Still, paying nearly $30,000 in commission, on average, is a massive amount of money to most people. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on agent fees, if your agent is amenable to negotiating. When finding the right Realtor for you, consider the following:
While there’s no guarantee that your Realtor will be willing to lower their rates, it’s always worth shopping around and negotiating, based on the factors above. The average real estate commission in Washington may vary, but you should expect to pay about 5.30%. Homeowners in hot markets may be able to lower the rates. However, those rates may climb if we face an economic recession. As long as you remain informed, and talk to multiple agents, you may be able to leverage your property’s features — and your newfound knowledge — to get a better deal.
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