Only 31 percent of homebuyers or sellers try to negotiate a lower commission, but 64 percent of those who do succeed, LendingTree survey finds.

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Most homebuyers and sellers don’t try to negotiate a lower commission with their agent, but most who do are successful, according to a new survey by the loan comparison website LendingTree.

Although they’ve had some trouble making their case in a slew of recent court cases, Realtors have consistently said that commissions are negotiable and determined by the market.


LendingTree’s Jan. 17-19 survey of 2,034 U.S. consumers seems to lend at least some support to the National Association of Realtors’ contention that commissions aren’t set in stone.

The LendingTree survey found that only 31 percent of homebuyers or sellers tried to negotiate a lower commission, but that 64 percent of those who did succeeded.

Jacob Channel

“Like most things in life, you won’t know if your real estate agent will be willing to lower their commission fee until you ask,” LendingTree Senior Economist Jacob Channel said in commentary accompanying the survey.

LendingTree’s results are consistent with a 2008 analysis by Consumer Reports, which found that among the 46 percent of sellers who tried to negotiate a lower commission, 76 percent succeeded.

But only one in five of those surveyed by LendingTree think that sellers should pay the buyer’s agent’s fees — the issue at the heart of multiple antitrust lawsuits nationwide threatening to upend the industry.

LendingTree found that 84 percent of those surveyed think real estate agents should be flexible with their fees — a proportion that’s even higher among Baby Boomers (92 percent) and those with six-figure incomes (91 percent).

The good news for those making a living in real estate is that 64 percent of Americans surveyed by LendingTree see real estate agents as a necessary part of the homebuying process, and only 9 percent said they’re not needed.

Email Matt Carter

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