Fri. Jun 9th, 2023

Most real estate agents in Maryland 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 Maryland?

In this post, we’ll help you determine how much commission you might pay on your Maryland 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 Maryland?

According to James Weiskerger, a top Baltimore real estate agent with more than two decades of experience, you can expect to pay between 5% to 6% in agent commissions when selling a home in Maryland — with some variation based on location within the state and depending on the range of services provided. On a property worth the current statewide median home sale price of $380,000, that amounts to $15,200–$22,800 in commission costs.

Weiskerger further explains the range this way: “You have various brokerages — like discount brokerages — that probably charge around four and a quarter (percent), and you have full retail brokerages that offer a lot more services, that their commission is probably around six percent.”

Using an overall statewide average of 5.5%, here’s a breakdown of how much you might pay in real estate commissions based on what a typical home sells for in seven of the largest cities in Maryland:

Maryland city  Median home price Typical commission at 5.5%
Baltimore $206,500 $11,358
Frederick $429,900 $23,645
Gaithersburg and Rockville $535,278 $29,440
Bowie $415,000 $22,825
Hagerstown $295,250 $16,239
Annapolis $445,000 $24,475

Median home price source: Maryland Realtors®,

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 Maryland? Here are the answers to common questions about real estate agent commissions:

Who pays real estate commission fees?

The commission in Maryland is typically paid by the home seller, and from that commission, the seller’s agent typically offers what’s sometimes called a “buyer’s coop fee” — a percentage that will then be paid to the buyer’s agent upon the deal’s closing.

“That fee ranges between two percent on the really low end to as high as three-and-a-half percent,” Weiskerger explains. “It just depends on the property they’re selling, and if they’re trying to incentivize the buyer’s agent to bring the buyer.”

By state law, listing agents are required to say on a home’s MLS listing whether or not a buyer’s agent will receive a commission via a buyer’s coop fee and how much that would be. That way, the agent knows when taking a client to a house how much he or she might make from the transaction.

Do buyers ever pay commission fees?

Yes, that could happen, although it’s not typical. To ensure that they are compensated fairly — even if a listing agent offers a very low buyer’s coop fee — a buyer’s agent may ask a buyer to sign a buyer agency agreement stating that the buyer’s agent will be guaranteed a certain percentage of the sales price no matter what.

For example, “Let’s say (the seller is) only paying one percent,” illustrates Weiskerger, “but your buyer agency agreement says that the buyers owe three percent (to the buyer’s agent). In that case, the buyers will know in advance that they would owe (their agent) two percent of the sales price if they bought that particular house.”

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. In short, your listing agent typically doesn’t get paid unless they sell your home. And an experienced, motivated agent will ultimately help you walk away with higher proceeds.

If you’re curious about how much you might make on your home sale after paying commissions and other selling costs, try our Net Proceeds Calculator.

Does the agent get to keep the full commission?

Although the seller typically 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 2.5% to 3% goes to the listing agent, and the other 2.5% to 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.

“So every agent in Maryland has to work for a brokerage,” explains Weiskerger, “and every brokerage has different arrangements with their agents and what they provide. So, at our brokerage…, we take a portion of their commission. However, we offer a tremendous amount of support, marketing, and mentorship.”

There are brokerages in Maryland that take little or even none of the agent’s commission, he adds, “but they don’t offer you (the agent) really anything — they just give you maybe an office at a shared space. You don’t get admin support, you don’t get marketing, you don’t get mentorship. And so it just kind of depends on where the agent works that dictates how much money they’re gonna get after the commission’s paid.”

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 $380,000 with a 5.5% commission rate. You pay a commission of $20,900, and each agent has a 70/30 split agreement with their brokerage. Here’s how that might look:

  • Listing agent: $7,315 (70% of their $10,450 commission share)
  • Listing broker: $3,135 (30% of their $10,450 commission share)
  • Buyer’s agent: $7,315 (70% of their $10,450 commission share)
  • Buyer’s broker: $3,135 (30% of their $10,450 commission share)

Are Maryland 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 percent of agents are willing to negotiate the commission.

“There’s a little flexibility” with the commission rates, says Weiskerger. For example, “if you have a really savvy seller who knows their house is in a really desirable area and is gonna sell really fast, and maybe some of the extras — like staging or doing work to the property — are not necessary. Maybe they can negotiate from paying six percent to five percent.”

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 a lower commission could also translate into a smaller marketing budget for your property, an inaccurate list price, fewer home promotions, and a lower likelihood of selling.

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