What’s the Difference Between a Flat-Fee Agent and a Discount Agent?

Is it wiser to list your home with a flat-fee agent or a discount agent? Here are some of the differences:

  • Flat-fee agents charge a set dollar amount.
  • Discount agents charge a percentage, usually around 1.5 percent.
  • Flat-fee agents offer unbundled, a la carte services.
  • Discount agents offer a broader array of basic real estate services.

Learn more by visiting Sold.com.

When it comes to selling a house, homeowners have a number of options available to them. At Sold.com, our mission is to bring some clarity to those options—helping homeowners understand what each method entails and to make a wise, informed decision about how they wish to proceed.

Two options that many home sellers consider are flat-fee agents and discount agents. Both options can represent major cost savings over a traditional real estate brokerage, with the trade-off of some curtailed services.

Beyond that, though, how do these two options differ? Here are some home selling tips from the team at Sold.com.

Differences in Services

The first thing to understand is that discount agents will generally offer you a greater array of services than flat-fee agents.

A discount agent works in roughly the same way as a traditional agent—meaning you can anticipate some basic help with marketing, hosting open houses, and of course setting up an MLS listing. A few extra services, such as staging and photography, may not be included.

A flat fee agent, meanwhile, completely unbundles the traditional agent’s service offerings, allowing the seller to select from them a la carte. This will generally mean getting slightly fewer services than you’d get with either a traditional or discount agent—in fact, it will often mean getting an MLS listing and nothing more.

Differences in Price

The other big distinction comes in the pricing structure.

Understand that traditional brokerages charge you commissions—that is, a percentage of the total sale value. As such, you won’t know exactly how much you’re paying the agent until the sale is finalized.

A flat-fee agent doesn’t charge a percentage, but rather a flat dollar amount—allowing for greater clarity about how much their services will run you.

Discount agents, like traditional brokers, will charge you a percentage of the total sale price—but that percentage is greatly discounted. Indeed, where a traditional agent usually charges 6 percent, discount agents often go as low as 1.5 percent.

Deciding How to Sell your House

As you decide how to sell your house, both flat-fee and discount agents offer some advantages. And, compared to traditional agents, they also offer some cost savings. The caveat is that you simply won’t get as much personal time, attention, or expertise.

The ultimate questions to ask are: How much work are you really willing to do yourself? And, how much are you willing to pay for someone else to do that work for you?

As you consider your options and your real estate goals, make sure you take advantage of all the data that’s available to you. That includes the reporting available from Sold.com.

By answering just a few questions about your home, you can claim your free, independent Sold.com report—which gives you a specific recommendation about how you should proceed with your listing.

Get the right information to make a prudent decision; generate your Sold.com report today.