Understanding the Upcoming Changes in Real Estate Commissions: What Sellers and Buyers Need to Know

Buyer's Agent Commission

News is swirling about upcoming shifts in how real estate commissions are structured. These developments could be a game-changer for you, whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home. Headlines scream about “cut commissions” and “cheaper home sales,” promising a new era of real estate transactions. Yet, you might find yourself puzzled about what these changes truly mean, how they’ll unfold, or the benefits they might bring.

Even the savviest real estate agents are in the dark, struggling to provide clear answers. The reforms were announced abruptly, catching everyone off guard without prior consultations. As a result, the media’s enthusiastic claims about halving commissions or saving buyers and sellers money are speculative at best. The reality could see commissions dip or, conversely, rise, highlighting the unpredictable nature of government or judicial interventions.

For now, despite your eagerness for detailed insights from local agents, precise information is scarce. The reforms are tied to a proposed settlement not yet green-lit by the courts, with potential enactment not expected until July.

Key Takeaways for Home Buyers and Sellers

If digging through court documents or the nitty-gritty of the settlement isn’t your cup of tea, here’s a concise overview of the anticipated impacts:

  • A notable change from the National Association of REALTORS® involves a new rule within the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This rule bars the listing of broker compensation offers, aiming to shift such discussions off the MLS. This could democratize professional representation, lower the entry costs for buyers, and broaden the market for sellers, all while aligning with state-sanctioned real estate practices.
  • Additionally, a fresh mandate will require agents working with buyers to establish written agreements, specifying the services provided and the associated costs. This move seeks to enhance transparency and understanding between buyers and their agents, set to take effect in mid-July 2024.

In simpler terms, sellers and their agents can no longer list commission offers within their property listings. This doesn’t block the possibility of compensating buyers’ agents; such arrangements just won’t be publicly disclosed.

Buyers will need to sign written agreements with agents, potentially setting a fixed compensation. This setup doesn’t necessarily mean buyers pay out of pocket; the cost might be woven into the home’s selling price.

For sellers, this opens a path to negotiate buyer agent commissions privately, possibly leveraging better sale conditions. For buyers, it represents a shift towards formalizing agent relationships, although the core aim of facilitating fair and efficient home purchases remains unchanged.

Things to Consider:

  • Offering a commission to buyers’ agents is still possible, just not publicly. Privately negotiating these terms can still be advantageous for maximizing your home’s exposure and fetching the best offers.
  • Even if not explicitly listed, buyer agent commissions are often covered through the sale, maintaining a longstanding practice.
  • Selling without an agent could prompt buyers to seek price reductions, anticipating savings on your end.


  • The tradition of sellers offering a commission to buyer’s agents was originally designed to protect buyer interests. The new setup doesn’t fundamentally alter this but formalizes the payment structure.
  • Expecting significantly lower commissions might not be realistic given the existing market rates and the workload agents handle.

For both buyers and sellers, navigating these changes independently could be challenging, underscoring the value of professional guidance.

As we stand on the cusp of these changes, reaching out to a trusted local agent for their perspective and advice is wise. They can offer tailored insights, help you navigate the evolving landscape, and keep you informed as the situation progresses.

Questions? Contact Us!