What’s the Average Georgia Real Estate Commission Rate?

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

Editor’s note: On March 15, 2024, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced a landmark lawsuit settlement that will change the way real estate agent commissions are handled in the future. These changes will “decouple” seller and buyer agent compensation. Industry experts predict that this decoupling will likely lower agent fees and give buyers the ability to negotiate commission amounts directly. Learn more.

Most real estate agents in Georgia get paid through commissions. Commissions are typically calculated as a percentage of a property’s sale price, though some brokerages will charge a flat fee. The average agent commission rate nationwide is 5.8% of the home sale price, according to HomeLight’s real estate transaction data of thousands of home sales each year. But how does that compare to the average real estate commission rate in Georgia?

In this post, we’ll help you determine how much commission you might pay on your Georgia home sale and what options are available to earn the highest proceeds possible.

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What’s the average real estate commission in Georgia?

According to top Georgia agent Madalyn Suits, who has 26 years of experience, you can expect to pay 6% in agent commissions when selling a home in The Peach State, with some variation based on location. On a property worth the current statewide median home sale price of $348,000, according to the Georgia Association of Realtors, that amounts to $20,880 in commission costs.

Using an overall statewide average of 6%, here’s a breakdown of how much you might pay in real estate commissions based on what a home sells for in six of the largest cities in Georgia:

Georgia city  Median home price Typical commission at 6%
Atlanta $399,880 $23,993
Columbus $211,335 $12,680
Augusta $220,000 $13,200
Savannah $317,725 $19,064
Athens $362,670 $21,760
Sandy Springs $639,960 $38,398

Median home prices calculated from multiple public sales data sources.

HomeLight gathers agent commission data from cities throughout the U.S. To see if we have commission rates for your city, try our Agent Commissions Calculator. You might also be interested in our Home Value Estimator.

Still curious about commission rates in Georgia? Here are the answers to common questions about real estate agent commissions:

Who pays real estate commission fees?

The commission is typically paid by the home seller, and the seller’s agent will then split the commission with the buyer’s agent.

“It’s all gotten a little bit convoluted over the past couple of years, but I would say, typically, the commission is split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent,” Suits says. “What we have typically seen in Georgia is that the seller pays the commission, and the listing agent shares half of that with the buyer’s agent and or whoever brings the buyer. But on occasion, we’ve seen situations popping up when the listing agent will give whoever brings the buyer less.”

When is the commission paid?

The real estate commission will automatically be deducted from the sale proceeds at the time of closing. Until then, you won’t owe any money to the real estate agent. If you’re eager to find out how much you might make on your home sale after paying commissions and other closing costs, try our Net Proceeds Calculator.

Does the agent get to keep the full commission?

Although the seller pays the entire commission, the listing agent, who is representing the seller in a transaction, doesn’t keep it all. Part of their commission will go toward marketing your property with professional photography, open houses, offline marketing, and more.

The commission is also typically split 50/50 with the buyer’s agent to compensate them for bringing a buyer to the sale and coordinating the buy side of the transaction. So, around 3% goes to the listing agent, and the other 3% goes to the buyer’s agent. Both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent will then share a percentage of their commission with their sponsoring broker.

These split rates can vary; however, it’s common for the listing agent to give their broker anywhere from 30%-50% of their commission, depending on the agent’s level of experience, their market size, and brokerage agreement.

How is the commission divided between agents?

The commission that’s paid by the seller will typically be split among each agent and the brokerages through which they hang their real estate license. Let’s say you sell your home for $200,000 with a 6% commission rate. You pay a commission of $12,000, and each agent has a 70/30 split agreement with their brokerage. Here’s how that might look:

  • Listing agent: $4,200 (70% of their $6,000 commission share)
  • Listing broker: $1,800 (30% of their $6,000 commission share)
  • Buyer’s agent: $4,200 (70% of their $6,000 commission share)
  • Buyer’s broker: $1,800 (30% of their $6,000 commission share)

But after all the splits and marketing costs, Suits explains what percentage the listing agent might actually bring home. “Usually, the listing agent comes home with 1% of the original 3% commission, she says. “Generally, what happens is that 1% is spent on marketing and advertising, and then usually 1% is given to your office if you have staff and different things; this can depend on your brokerage,” says Suits. “Then the other 1% is usually what the agent is really putting in their pocket, and there are taxes and things out of that.”

Are Georgia commission rates negotiable?

You can negotiate real estate agent commission rates, but don’t be surprised if your agent holds firm on how much they charge. A Consumer Federation of America report found that only 27% of agents are willing to negotiate the commission.

One reason agents often don’t lower their rate is that it may reduce their ability to negotiate a higher sale price for the seller. An agent’s services often include photography and pricing analysis, so working with a lower-commission agent could also translate into a smaller marketing budget for your property, an inaccurate list price, fewer home promotions, and a lower likelihood of selling.

“On the listing side, we have definitely seen that you get what you pay for. Generally, if [an agent has] discounted their commission upfront, they’re also gonna discount what they’re willing to do for you,” Suits says. “Are they still using their best photographer? Are they marketing the home? Are they willing to drag the listing out to get 20 offers versus getting three offers, or do they just want it done with it?” So, we’ve seen that on the listing side.”

In her opinion, Suits believes agents who are discounting are likely also doing less business. “Which means they do not have a pulse on what is going on in the market right now. You are probably not getting your best expert. . . and again, I don’t want a surgeon that only does one or two surgeries. I want the surgeon who does a lot.”

If you’ve found your own buyer

Exceptions can occur if you’ve already found a buyer. Let’s say you’re selling your Georgian Cottage-style home common in Georgia] home to a friend or have decided to sell to a family member, in that case, the agent would likely be willing to play the role of transaction coordinator and independent go-between for a reduced commission rate.

Overall, commissions in Georgia are negotiable but do your research first. When asking an agent to lower their pay, you’re limiting the pool of agents willing to work with you. And the downsides to working with a low-commission agent can be steep. Without a top Georgia agent in your corner, you could dramatically undersell your home, have a rough selling experience, or fail to sell the home at all.

What is included in a real estate agent’s commission?

A full-service real estate agent in Georgia will provide a high level of offerings that go toward giving you a great selling experience and boosting exposure to your home.

An agent’s services fall into a few main categories:

Guidance on pre-sale improvements

Agents see a lot of houses in their Georgia markets. They will have an eye for the small but impactful improvements you could make to help it sell for more. The best agents will go above and beyond to help their clients get the job done.

To help prepare a sale for success, Suits sends out and pays for a stager to advise the homeowner on what presentation methods and improvements can help the house sell.

“We’ve picked out light fixtures for clients,” Suits says. “But we look at all these items, and we base [recommendations] off the return on investment, so, we’re not going to ask [a seller] to paint the whole house if we don’t think they’re going to get that money back and then some.”

“However, though, [sellers] do need to realize that the homes that are priced right and look right sell faster and so for more money,” she adds.

Suits has also paid to virtually stage or physically stage vacant homes, do floor plans, and outsource professional photography. “It just depends on the property,” Suits says. “We’ll do floor plans if we think that’s important; we will do drone shots; and we do videos for all of the properties.”

Pricing strategy

An agent will put together a comparative market analysis in the form of a thick packet featuring charts, facts, figures, and photographs of houses. The analysis will show you what your home is worth based on comparable sales in the neighborhood, market trends, and local price per square foot. This key tool helps you set a realistic price that can attract offers right off the bat in a fraction of the time it would take a non-professional to determine.

Marketing services

As part of their commission, at a minimum, Georgia agents should offer expert home prep and staging, professional photography, marketing flyers and pamphlets, direct mail, automatic postings of your listing on major home search sites, local advertisements, exclusive previews for other brokers, and open house coordination. Advanced agents may also offer the development of a virtual tour.

Offer management and negotiations

When you receive one or multiple offers, an agent will help you determine the strength of the offer and work with you to proceed with responding to buyers. They’ll advise on whether to accept, reject, or make a counteroffer while putting together offer spreadsheets to identify the best offer in bidding war situations.

If a buyer requests repairs after the inspection, an agent will help you push back where appropriate and advise on when to concede. Should the appraised value be lower than the contract price, an agent can help you determine whether to ask the buyer to make up the difference or if you should lower your price.

Market knowledge and neighborhood expertise

Great Georgia real estate agents know what local buyers seek in homes and which of your home’s attributes to highlight. An agent will skillfully incorporate key features into your home’s listing description and immediately be able to recognize what makes your house or the surrounding area special.

What is a fair real estate commission in Georgia?

As noted above, the average commission rate in most Georgia markets is 6% to hire a full-service real estate agent. This rate should mean you have an agent who is dedicated to selling your home for the best possible price, who is available and communicative, and who is willing to shepherd the transaction from start to finish. If an agent isn’t willing to offer all or the majority of services listed above, you should interview more candidates.

What if my Georgia house doesn’t sell?

Real estate agents only get paid commissions if and when your home sells successfully. Most real estate contracts include an exclusive right to sell, which gives the real estate agent the sole rights to market the property, list the property on MLS, and receive the commission if the sale closes in a determined time frame. If your house remains on the market beyond the time period outlined in the listing agreement, you are not obligated to pay your agent.

However, keep in mind that your listing agreement may contain a protection clause, also known as a “brokerage protection clause,” “safety clause,” “extension clause,” or “tail provision.” The protection clause states that if a buyer who the listing agent introduced to the property purchases the property after the listing agreement expires, the seller still must pay the agent a commission.

How can you avoid paying Realtor fees?

There are two main ways to avoid paying Realtor® fees. You can either sell your Georgia home without an agent’s help, or sell it directly to a cash buyer without ever going on the market.

For Sale By Owner

Without a real estate agent, you’re responsible for preparing your home for sale, marketing, negotiating, and navigating legal and financial documents. When selling a house on your own, you’ll need to hire an attorney, at a minimum, to make sure the paperwork is right.

Typically, For Sale By Owner (FSBO) makes the most sense if you already have a buyer. As of 2022, 50% of FSBO sellers knew their buyer.

This indicates that while the FSBO route is rare, making up just 10% of sellers, it’s even more rare to forgo a real estate agent’s help when you don’t already have a buyer lined up and ready to go. In addition, according to a 2022 National Association of Realtors report, the median FSBO house sold for $225,000, compared to a median of $345,000 for agent-assisted sales. That’s a significant loss of proceeds in an effort to save 6% on commissions when selling a Georgia house FSBO.

Sell to a cash buyer

Cash buyers — including iBuyers, investors, and house-buying companies — are individuals or entities that purchase your home outright, without the need for lender financing. These buyers typically make off-market purchases and can provide speed and convenience to sellers. Another benefit of selling to a cash buyer is you can sell your Georgia house as-is without the need to do repairs.

Just be aware that the price offered by most cash buyers may not match what you could receive on the open market with the help of a top agent.

If you’re interested in a cash sale, you can receive a no-obligation offer through HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform, with no hidden fees or agent commission. Simple Sale connects you to the largest network of cash buyers in the U.S.

Now you know how Georgia agent commissions work

Sellers pay real estate commissions in exchange for an agent’s expertise and services throughout the sale process. If you’re worried about the cost of the commission, consider that targeted upgrades, stellar marketing, and savvy negotiations can help you maximize your sale price. With a performance-proven Georgia agent to guide you, you also avoid the stress of navigating this complex process without professional oversight.

The key is finding a qualified local agent who provides the highest amount of value for their commission fee. In fact, our transaction data shows that the top 5% of agents in Georgia sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average agent.

HomeLight can connect you with top Georgia agents with experience tailored to your needs. Whenever you’re ready to get started, HomeLight would be happy to put your commission worries to rest by introducing you to several agents in your area who are well worth it.

Writer McCoy Worthington contributed to this story.

Header Image Source: (Jessica Furtney / Unsplash)