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What should I know about real estate commissions?

When navigating the world of real estate in Ontario, Canada, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of the realtor’s commission. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on various aspects of the commission, including its amount, who pays it, negotiation possibilities, coverage provided, the division between agents, implications for buyers, and its relation to closing costs. Additionally, we will explore scenarios when a home doesn’t sell, the concept of dual agency, its legality, and the responsibility toward your selling agent if the contract expires without a successful sale.

I. The Amount and Payment of Realtor’s Commission:
The real estate commission in Ontario is not fixed by law and typically ranges around 5% of the final sale price. However, it is negotiable based on factors such as the region, market conditions, and services offered by the agent or brokerage. The seller is responsible for paying the commission, which is agreed upon in the listing agreement. The seller’s agent then shares a portion of the commission with the buyer’s agent as an incentive for their services.

II. Negotiating Realtor’s Commission Fees:
Buyers and sellers have the ability to negotiate the commission fees with their respective agents or brokerages. While it may be tempting to opt for a lower commission, it’s important to consider the value and quality of the services provided. A lower commission might result in a lack of dedicated resources or reduced effort from the agent, potentially affecting the overall outcome. Striking a balance between commission rates and service quality is crucial.

III. Why a Lower Commission Isn’t Always the Best Option:
While a lower commission might seem appealing, it’s important to understand that real estate agents work on a commission basis. The fee they earn reflects their expertise, time, and effort invested in helping you buy or sell a property. A lower commission might discourage agents from investing significant resources in marketing a property or searching extensively for suitable options for buyers. It’s crucial to consider the overall value and quality of the services provided rather than solely focusing on commission rates.

IV. Coverage Provided by the Commission:
The real estate commission covers a wide range of services provided by the agent or brokerage. For sellers, this includes marketing the property, conducting open houses, and advertising, coordinating showings, negotiating offers, and providing guidance throughout the transaction process. For buyers, the commission covers services such as searching for suitable properties, arranging showings, providing market information, preparing and presenting offers, and guiding them through the purchasing process.

V. Division of Commission between Agents:
The commission is typically divided equally between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent, with each receiving 2.5% of the sale price. However, the specific division can be negotiated based on agreements between the agents and brokerages involved. It’s essential to have clarity on the commission split to ensure transparency and fairness throughout the transaction.

VI. Commission for Buyers:
Buyers do not directly pay the commission; instead, it is indirectly factored into the purchase price of the home. The commission is typically included in the listing price set by the seller. Therefore, buyers indirectly contribute to the commission through the price they pay for the property. It’s crucial to consider this when determining your budget and understanding the overall cost of purchasing a home.

VII. Commission and Non-Successful Transactions:
If a buyer engages in the services of a real estate agent but decides not to proceed with a purchase, they are generally not obligated to pay a commission. The commission is only payable when a successful transaction takes place, resulting in the transfer of property ownership. This ensures that buyers are not burdened with additional costs.

VIII. Dual Agency: Understanding its Concept and Legality
In the real estate industry, the concept of dual agency arises when an agent or brokerage represents both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. This means that the same agent or brokerage acts as a representative for both parties involved. While the dual agency can offer convenience and streamline communication, it’s essential to understand its implications and legality.
In Ontario, dual agency is legal but subject to certain regulations and disclosure requirements. When a real estate agent or brokerage engages in dual agency, they must disclose this fact to both the buyer and the seller. The agent must obtain informed consent from both parties, acknowledging their understanding of the potential conflicts of interest that may arise.

It’s important to recognize that in a dual-agency scenario, the agent cannot provide undivided loyalty to either the buyer or the seller. Their primary responsibility becomes facilitating a fair and impartial transaction while maintaining confidentiality. Both parties involved should be aware that certain information, such as price negotiations or motivations, may need to be shared with the other party.
Given the potential conflicts of interest in dual agency, some buyers and sellers choose to have separate representation to ensure their best interests are protected. Having dedicated agents representing each party can offer a higher level of advocacy and fiduciary duty, ensuring that their respective needs and objectives are prioritized throughout the transaction.

Understanding the intricacies of realtor’s commission in Ontario, Canada is crucial for both buyers and sellers in the real estate market. By grasping the amount, negotiation possibilities, coverage, and division of commission, individuals can make informed decisions and ensure a fair and successful transaction. Additionally, being aware of the concept of dual agency and its legal implications empowers buyers and sellers to make choices that align with their best interests and desired level of representation. With this knowledge, you can navigate the real estate process in Ontario with confidence and maximize the value of your investment.

We cordially invite you to reach out to us for any queries, assistance, or inquiries regarding our services. To get in touch, we recommend using our dedicated contact form or simply clicking on the following link: We look forward to hearing from you and providing the support you need in a professional and friendly manner.

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