How Splits Work in Real Estate

Written by Posted On Thursday, 02 December 2021 20:44
Real Estate Real Estate

While it’s not rare for homeowners to sell their homes without an agent, most choose to rely on the expertise of realtors. According to some estimates, 88% of buyers purchased their residence through a broker or a real estate agent.

How much do these realtors make? Well, that depends on a number of factors. The first thing to consider is the number of transactions completed. After which, it boils down to the commission received by the real estate agent and the commission split between the agent and broker when a property is bought or sold.

On average, the commission split typically ranges from 50/50 to 70/30. The percentage split depends on the brokerage involved and the market in which the deal takes place.

Understanding real estate commission splits is necessary for any aspiring realtor. Here’s everything you need to know.

How Commission Split is arranged between Broker and Agent

Government authorities issue real estate licenses to both agents and brokers. Agents are required to work under a broker and cannot function independently. On the same token, agents cannot receive fees or commissions directly from sellers and buyers.

Meanwhile, brokers are authorized to either take part in the purchase or selling of property or hire agents to carry out the work instead.

The broker receives all the commission and splits the money with the agents involved in the transaction. In case the broker is associated with a brokerage, they receive a share of the commission as well.

What’s the Share of All the Parties Involved?

Before the transaction, the broker and real estate agent negotiate a commission split based upon the percentage of total gross commission. This is the amount before the taxes or any other required deductions.

Typically, these two real estate agents are involved in working for the buyer and the seller, both of these represent a broker. When the transaction is completed, the commission money is first divided among the brokers who then further split their part with the agents. This happens based on the brokerage’s commission split agreement.

It’s important to remember that like seller-agent commission fees, buyer-agent commission fees are also negotiable. The experience and skill of the realtors determine the fees. If you can sell at a higher value to the consumer, this would mean you would get a better cut. 

Different Types of Commission Splits

Real estate is one of the most lucrative businesses across the world. According to research, it’s estimated that 32.9% of an average American family’s budget goes towards housing.

However, aspiring real estate agents need to understand different commission splits models to realize how they can get the most from the industry.

There’s no universal standard for commission splits. Every broker has a unique formula and the realtor's part of the commission grows with time as they prove their worth.

1.  The Graduated Split

One of the most commonly used compensation packages is graduated split. It starts with a simple 50/50 split that gradually increases in the favor of realtors to 60/40 and beyond based on how successful and productive they’ve been according to the company’s standards. For instance, if the gross commission from a transaction was $10,000 a 50/50 split would dictate both agent and broker will receive $5000 each.

At the start of their careers, agents agree to these splits as brokerage provides them assistance and support that would be otherwise hard to find. In return for providing a good part of the commission, the agents receive marketing services, training, and website maintenance among other things.

As realtors climb the ladder and gain more experience, their share of the cut gradually increases.

2.  The Graduated Commission Spit Capped

Many firms put an annual cap on the revenue they acquire from the graduated split agreement. When the established amount of company commission is collected, the rest ends up with the realtor. This type of commission is often accompanied by a per-transaction fee that doesn’t have any cap. Companies do this because they have to incur a per-transaction cost beyond the cap.

3.  100 Percent Commission

As the name suggests, this model has the agent getting all of the commission. This is made possible because the agent pays a desk fee or monthly office fee. The amount here could be significant but experienced professionals don’t mind paying it as their costs are capped while the income doesn't have any preset limitations.

Hardly any new agents take interest in this model as it involves a fixed monthly cost. Brokerages who utilize the 100 percent commission model generally avoid taking in new agents as well.

When applied, the agent might pay a fee ranging from hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. The amount is based primarily on the size and type of office space that the agent has been provided.

4.  Salaried Agent

In recent years, some firms have started paying their agents a salary and some other perks that are usually provided to employees. It goes with giving a rebate to the client for the brokerage’s part of the commission.

It’s one of the rare methods of compensation and not many companies take this route. Those that do either provide a small part of the commission to employees or none at all.

5.  Referral Fees


A referral fee is agreed upon between two brokerage firms. This fee is negotiated when a company sends a client, either as a buyer or a seller to another company. It is taken out before the broker and the agent split the commission.

When a brokerage has a client selling their home and leaving a certain area, they are referred to another brokerage. There’s a written referral agreement where the fee is determined to be a certain percentage of commission that the second brokerage will earn. Generally, the referral amount is around 25% of the gross commission.

Final Words

Commission split is one of the most fundamental parts of the real estate industry. Realtors need to understand how these could work in their favor and allow them to grow as professionals. In the end, it all comes down to what career stage you’re in and the value you can provide to the brokerage.

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