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How Real Estate Commission Splits Work?

How Real Estate Commission Splits Work?

The real estate commission splits between agents and brokers is fundamental to understanding the financial aspects of property transactions. This arrangement determines how the total commission earned from the sale of a property is divided. These real estate commission splits are pre-agreed percentage that can vary greatly depending on the agreement between the real estate brokers and agents. Typically, these splits are intended to compensate the agent for their efforts in selling the property, while also providing the broker with a portion for the support and resources they provide.

Real estate agent divides commission with partner

Negotiated real estate commission splits can take various forms, including a straightforward 50/50 split or more complex structures with a 70/30 division. There may also be variations in how caps are implemented, capping the amount an agent contributes to the broker in a fiscal year. It’s crucial for both agents and brokers to carefully consider these real estate commission splits, as they can significantly impact their income. Understanding these splits is key for new real estate agents and clients alike, as they affect both the service provided by agents and the overall cost of selling a property.

Additionally, these real estate commission splits are not just an internal agreement but have broader implications on the market and industry standards. Knowing that a typical real estate agent commission is 5% to 6% of the home sale price, with this amount often shared between the seller’s and buyer’s agents, provides insight into the overall compensation structure within the industry. It’s a balance of incentives that ensures agents are motivated to provide high-quality service while the brokerage is compensated for its part in the business arrangement.

What are Real Estate Commission Splits?

An image showing a real estate agent holding up some money depicting the real estate commission splits that agent shares with their broker.

Real estate commission splits are fundamental aspect of how brokers and agents earn their income, with various structures dictating the percentage of revenue they receive.

Basics of Real Estate Commission Splits

Real estate commission splits are a predefined way to distribute the earnings from a real estate transaction. Typically, real estate agents and the brokers they work for share the commission that is paid by the seller of the property. The standard commission rate can vary, but it often hovers around 5% to 6% of the property’s sale price.

These real estate commission splits can be structured in several ways:

  • fixed percentage split, like a common 60/40 division, meaning the agent receives 60% while the broker gets 40%.
  • graduated split that varies based on performance levels or sales volume.
  • 100% commission split where agents pay a desk fee or monthly office fee but keep all of the commission they earn.

Role of Brokers and Real Estate Agents

The real estate broker plays a pivotal role in overseeing transactions and ensuring legal compliance. They often provide support, training, and resources to their agents and, in turn, receive a portion of the commissions as remuneration for their services. In contrast, real estate agents focus on the ground tasks: buying, selling, and facilitating real estate transactions. While they rely on the infrastructure provided by their brokerages, they are the ones who typically cultivate client relationships and work to close deals.

Agents can negotiate their real estate commission splits with brokers. These negotiations may be influenced by factors such as the agent’s experience, sales history, and the value they bring to the real estate brokerage. Additionally, in some larger brokerages or franchise operations, there may be a franchise fee deducted from commissions before the split is calculated.

The dynamics between agents and brokers are crucial as they dictate the profitability and financial health for both parties involved in the real estate transaction process.

Determining Real Estate Commission Splits

Real estate agents discussing commission splits at a conference table with paperwork and calculators

Real estate commission splits are pivotal in defining the earning potential of agents. These splits are agreements on how commissions are divided between brokers and agents once a property is sold.

Factors Influencing Commission Splits

Several factors affect how real estate commission splits are structured within a brokerage. The experience of the agent is often a significant determinant, as new agents in real estate companies typically earn a smaller share compared to their seasoned counterparts. The split commission model used by the brokerage also plays a role; traditional splits may offer a straightforward 50/50 division, while graduated splits increase an agent’s share based on sales milestones. Additionally, some brokerages may implement a commission cap, which once met, allows the agent to keep 100% of their commissions for the remainder of the year.

  • Experience Level: New Agent (Less Share) vs. Seasoned Agent (Greater Share)
  • Commission Model: Traditional Split vs. Graduated Split
  • Brokerage-Type: Conventional Brokerages (Fixed Splits) vs. Progressive (Flexible Splits)
  • Commission Cap: Fixed Upper Limit on Broker’s Share

Common Split Structures

Brokerages adopt various compensation models to incentivize agents. The traditional split typically involves an even division of the commission. For instance, a 50/50 split would mean both the agent and the brokerage each receive half of the commission earned. On the other hand, the 100% commission structure allows agents to take home the full commission rate with a higher split, often in exchange for monthly desk fees or transaction fees. Another model, known as tiered splits, divides the commission into tiers based on performance metrics, with different percentages allocated to agents and the brokerage at each tier.

Split TypeDescriptionExample
Traditional SplitA fixed percentage split between agent and brokerage.50/50 or 60/40 split
Graduated SplitAn agent’s share increases with more sales.50/50 split up to a sales target, then 70/30
100% CommissionAgent receives all commission, pays fees to brokerage.100% to agent, minus fees

Such structures are designed to match the commission structure to the business model of the brokerage and the individual agent’s contribution to sales. Whether the models are traditional, graduated commissions, or otherwise, these structures all aim to balance the interests of the agent and the brokerage.

The Impact of Brokerage Models

A real estate agent stands between two scales, one labeled "traditional model" and the other "flat-fee model." The traditional side is weighed down with heavy commission fees, while the flat-fee side is balanced and stable

Brokerage models significantly influence the financial structure and operational approach of a real estate business, delineating the earning potential and resources available to agents.

Different Types of Brokerages

Brokerages come in various forms, each presenting unique real estate commission splits structures that impact an agent’s income. Traditional brokerages often operate on a split commission model, where agents share a portion of their commission with the brokerage, typically ranging from 30% to 50%. In contrast, 100% commission brokerages allow agents to retain all of their commission, charging only a flat fee or a monthly fee for the brokerage’s support services and office amenities, known as a desk fee.

On the other hand, some brokerages charge a transaction fee per deal rather than a set percentage split or monthly rate. This model can be particularly appealing to high-volume agents as it affords greater income predictability and often reduces the overall cost compared to percentage splits. Choosing the right model depends on an agent’s sales activity, financial goals, and need for brokerage support.

Franchise vs. Independent Brokerages

Franchise brokerages, such as RE/MAX, are part of a larger network with widespread brand recognition but often require franchise fees in addition to standard real estate commission splits or desk fees. These fees contribute to the use of the brand, marketing materials, and national advertising provided by the franchise. Independent brokerages do not bear the name of a national chain and usually offer more customizable commission structures and localized benefits, potentially reducing the associated costs of using a recognized brand’s name.

The choice between franchise and independent brokerages can also depend on reputational factors. For instance, franchise brokerages are typically associated with the National Association of Realtors and benefit from its widespread network and reputation. However, independent brokerages offer a degree of autonomy and flexibility that might better suit certain agents.

Agents must weigh the cost implications of these models and consider how the brokerage’s market presence, or lack thereof, could affect their own real estate practices and potential for success.

A New Type of Brokerage Model

In recent years, the real estate world has seen a new type of brokerage model emerge on the scene, the independent cloud based brokerage. An independent cloud based brokerage is not a franchise, thus eliminating all franchise related costs and fees for agents, but it is still a national or even International brand with agents operating in every state and country in the world!

These brokerages leverage a cloud-based operating system to allow agents to dominate in their local market while connecting with resources, systems, and other agents on a global basis, giving real estate agents the “best of both worlds”, a brokerage platform with low splits and high value resources.

To learn more about how you can take advantage of a brokerage platform that will allow you to keep more of your commissions while providing you with resources and a network of agents on a global scale click the button below!

Contract and Negotiation of Splits

A real estate agent and a client sit at a table, discussing and negotiating the split of the agent's commission for a property sale. The atmosphere is professional and focused

Real estate commission splits are a significant aspect of a real estate agent’s income and form a crucial part of the contractual relationship with their broker. Successful negotiation of these splits can lead to a more favorable income structure.

Negotiating Commission Splits

Real estate agents may have varying levels of leverage when it comes to negotiating real estate commission splits, often influenced by their experience and previous sales success. New agents typically start at lower splits, such as 50/50 or 60/40, with their broker, but as they close more deals, there’s room for negotiation. For instance, understanding the common industry standards and what constitutes a fair split given their production levels is crucial for an agent entering negotiation talks. Moreover, some agents have the ability to negotiate a split up to a cap, where after contributing a certain amount to the brokerage, they retain the remainder of their commissions for the year.

Contractual Agreements

Contractual agreements outline the specifics of the commission splits. These contracts detail the percentage of commission agents receive from transactions, the duration of the agreement, and any conditions or thresholds that apply. Typically, these terms are revisited annually or upon the agent reaching certain performance milestones. Clear terms in these agreements avoid future disputes and set expectations for both parties. It’s essential for agents to scrutinize these contracts and potentially seek legal counsel before signing to ensure they understand the terms and are protected.

Additional Fees and Expenses

A real estate agent's commission split with additional fees and expenses being calculated and divided

Real estate agents not only to deal with real estate commission splits but also manage additional fees and expenses affecting their net income. These costs, encompassing transaction and administrative fees to marketing costs, impact an agent’s financial landscape.

Understanding Brokerage Fees

Brokerage fees go beyond the basic commission split. Agents may incur a transaction fee for each deal closed, sometimes based on a percentage of the sales price. Administrative fees cover back-office support, technological resources, and other infrastructure provided by the brokerage. Equipment fees often apply for office space usage, printers, or specialized software necessary for agents’ daily operations.

Impact of Expenses on Income

Expenses directly influence agents’ take-home pay. Marketing costs, including advertising properties and personal branding, can fluctuate greatly depending on the agent’s marketing strategies. Monthly recurring costs, such as monthly expenses for desk fees or subscription services, add a fixed overhead. Some brokerages charge a risk reduction fee to cover liabilities, which further reduces the agent’s income. Agents must strategically manage these expenses to maintain financial stability.

Income and Revenue Streams

A real estate agent receives a commission split from various income and revenue streams

The primary financial rewards in real estate for agents stem from commission-based earnings, which are contingent upon sales. However, alternative revenue models offer supplementary income opportunities that can diversify an agent’s cash flow.

Commission-Based Earnings

Real estate agents traditionally earn income through commission-based earnings. When a property is sold, a real estate agent typically receives a percentage of the sale price as their gross commission. This percentage can vary, but a common rate is around 6%, which is then split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents. Real estate commissions are often shared with the agents’ respective brokerage firms according to predetermined real estate commission splits. For instance, a 60/40 commission split might leave an agent with 60% of the commission while the broker receives 40%.

Sale PriceTotal Commission at 6%Agent’s Share (60%)Broker’s Share (40%)

Some brokerages cap the commission amount an agent is required to share with the brokerage each year. Once an agent has generated enough sales to reach this cap, they may keep 100% of their commission thereafter. For instance, at eXp Realty, agents have an 80/20 commission split until they reach their cap.

Alternative Revenue Models

Aside from commission-based income, some agents might work under a salaried model where they receive a consistent salary and possibly a smaller share of commissions or bonuses. There are also scenarios where agents can earn through referral fees for referring clients to other agents, typically when a client is looking to buy or sell outside of the agent’s market area.

Agents can also offer buyer rebates—returning a portion of their commission to the buyer—as a competitive strategy to attract clients. Fixed commission rates may also be used by some brokerages, which propose a set amount versus a percentage of the sale price. For example, a flat fee of $5,000 per transaction regardless of the home’s selling price. This is less common but can be attractive to sellers looking for cost certainty.


  • Salaried Model: $50,000/year salary + 1% bonus on sales
  • Referral Fees: 25% of earned commission on referred sales
  • Buyer Rebate: 0.5% of agent’s commission rebated to the buyer
  • Fixed Commission: $5,000 per transaction, irrespective of sale price

By understanding the variety of income and revenue streams available to real estate agents, professionals in the industry can craft the business model that best suits their goals and market dynamics.

Marketing and Lead Generation Strategies

A graphic that shows real estate agent marketing and lead generation to find new clients.

In real estate, strategic marketing and robust lead generation play pivotal roles in determining an agent’s commission split. These components are essential for driving sales and influencing the sales price, ultimately affecting the agent’s and the brokerage’s bottom line.

Role of Marketing in Commission Splits

Marketing is the lifeblood of real estate sales success. Effective marketing campaigns can significantly increase the visibility of properties, which in turn attracts more prospective buyers. The cost of marketing often factors into commission splits, as some brokerages may provide comprehensive marketing support, justifying a higher share of the commission. Conversely, agents who shoulder their own marketing efforts might negotiate for more favorable splits. For instance, brokerages that offer extensive customer service and marketing tools may opt for a traditional 50/50 split, expecting agents to contribute a portion of their commission towards these services.

Attracting Leads for More Sales

The ability to attract high-quality leads is directly correlated with the volume of sales an agent can close. Agents who excel at lead generation often command higher commission splits due to their track record in closing deals which boosts the overall sales price average. There are multiple methods to harness leads, from traditional networking and referrals to leveraging digital platforms. Real estate professionals focus on targeted online advertising, search engine optimization, and social media engagement to capture leads that are likely to convert, such as individuals actively searching for homes in a specific locale. By increasing the number of potential buyers, agents improve their chances of making a sale, consequently influencing the commission split.

Remember, an agent’s income is highly dependent on the capability to market properties effectively and to generate a steady stream of leads. An agent’s value proposition to a brokerage often includes their proficiency in these areas, which can be a strong bargaining chip when discussing real estate commission splits.

Advancement and Growth Opportunities

A graphic showing real estate agents advancing in their careers for more earning potential and better commission splits as they develop as entrepreneurs and professionals

In real estate, advancement and growth opportunities are crucial for agents aspiring for success. These opportunities often hinge on the quality of mentorship and training provided, as well as the strategies they implement to increase sales.

Mentorship and Training

Effective mentorship and training are essential for agents to gain the experience needed to excel in the real estate industry. Seasoned professionals can offer guidance, helping newer agents navigate complex transactions and legal requirements. Many successful real estate teams prioritize mentorship, understanding that it can lead to growth and expanded business opportunities. It is often reported that a 50/50 commission split between agent and brokerage is typical, which underlies the importance of comprehensive training provided by the brokerage.

Strategies for Increasing Sales

To increase sales, real estate agents need to adopt robust sales strategies. These might include staying current with market trends, using advanced CRM tools to manage relationships, or exploring niche markets. Education in modern marketing techniques and leveraging data analytics can lead to more targeted sales efforts. Moreover, being motivated to continually educate themselves and adapt to new sales strategies can result in agents securing a higher commission split, thus boosting their income.

Additional Income Streams for Agents

At some brokerages, commissions from selling real estate is not the only way agents can earn income. Many brokerages provide agents with multiple streams of income for their efforts to produce sales and help grow the company. New brokerage platforms like eXp offer agents ownership and equity in the company through stock awards as well as a leveraged residual income stream through revenue share where agents can recruit other agents to join the company and earn income every time they make a sale!

To learn more about how you can take advantage of these income streams and become an eXp agent, click the button below to explore how the eXp brokerage platform can benefit you!

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Two real estate agents discussing commission split in an office setting. Papers and contracts on the desk, with a tense but professional atmosphere

When engaging in real estate transactions, agents must navigate a complex landscape of legal requirements and uphold high standards of ethical conduct. Careful adherence to laws and ethical guidelines is essential for maintaining the trust and integrity crucial to the profession.

Complying with Real Estate Laws

Legal Considerations in Commission Splits: Real estate commissions are subject to negotiation between the parties involved in the transaction. It is crucial for agents to stay informed about the National Association of Realtors (NAR) policies, which highlight that commission rates are not fixed and must be established through mutual agreement. Agents and brokers widely recognize that adhering to the NAR’s guidelines is not only a matter of compliance but also of professional integrity.

Regulatory Compliance: Every state has its own real estate laws, and agents must comply with these regulations when establishing commission agreements. These laws are designed to protect consumers and ensure fair practices. In the course of a real estate transaction, it is critical that the agents clearly communicate the commission split to all involved parties and formalize this agreement in writing, thus ensuring full transparency and legality.

Ethical Practices in Commissions

Upholding Ethical Standards: Beyond legal compliance, ethical behavior is paramount in all real estate transactions. The NAR’s Code of Ethics provides a framework for the ethical conduct expected of Realtors, which includes honesty and fairness in all dealings. When negotiating real estate commission splits, it is essential that agents act truthfully, avoid misleading clients, and disclose all pertinent information.

Ensuring Fairness in Transactions: Ethical real estate professionals prioritize the interests of their clients above their own financial gain. Real estate commission splits should be agreed upon in a manner that preserves the integrity of the transaction and protects the consumer’s investment. This often entails open discussions and clear agreements that are mutually beneficial and considerate of all parties’ professional contributions to a transaction’s success.

Technology and Real Estate Commissions

A real estate agent uses technology to calculate commission splits for a property sale

With the ever-evolving landscape of technology, real estate commission splits have experienced transformations in how they are structured and shared. The introduction of sophisticated Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and tech tools has streamlined transactions, impacting the traditional fee splits between agents.

Leveraging MLS and Tech Tools

The use of MLS systems enables real estate professionals to efficiently share and access property listings. It promotes a level playing field where top agents and newcomers alike can showcase their properties to a wider audience. Transaction fees may be influenced by these platforms, as they can lower the costs of marketing and accessibility. By utilizing these technologies, agents have the opportunity to enhance their service delivery while potentially offering more competitive commission rates.

Technological Impact on Commission Strategies

Technology has allowed for more innovative commission plans and strategies to emerge. These strategies often lead to more personalized and performance-based compensation models. For instance, an agent who leverages technology to automate their services may operate with lower overhead costs, allowing them to offer lower transaction fees. Alternatively, tech-savvy agents could justify a higher commission rate by delivering enhanced marketing strategies and exposure via MLS and other digital tools. The commission split still typically remains a negotiation between the involved parties, but technology has opened the door to new frameworks and discussions regarding value and service.

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