Few will deny the expense of living in Sydney, both in terms of real estate and the cost of living. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs and is the most populous city in the whole of Australia. Despite the higher cost of living, in 2014 Mercer Quality of living ranks Sydney tenth in the world in terms of quality of living – so it’s not all bad news for Sydney-siders.
Due to the high population and striving economy found in Sydney, commission and fees on selling your home are lower on average. We’ve also seen a trend of commission and fees lowering in Sydney so, it’s good news all round if you’re thinking of selling your home in Sydney. However, it’s also important to consider that the market in Sydney is set to cool with expert predicting a decline.
Below, we'll cover:
- How real estate agent commissions and fees work in Sydney
- Sydney's average commission versus other capital cities
- Negotiating fees and commissions
- Other fees to consider
- Additional selling tips
How do real estate commissions and fees work in Sydney?
Sydney house prices have soared over the last few years, and the city has seen some huge growth. With this growth comes increased competition between real estate agents. In Sydney, real estate fees are deregulated, and this means that agents are free to charge commissions and fees in whatever way they choose. This is usually created on the principle of supply and demand.
As Sydney is a capital city, this usually means that the demand for an agent is stronger (higher population, more homes and therefore more people buying and selling). This is particularly true for a city like Sydney where property is of high demand, and agents need to actively compete for the business of selling.
With so much competition, how can you take the necessary steps to ensure you are getting the best possible price for fees and commissions in Sydney? One of the best ways to do this is to ensure you fully understand what falls under each term “commissions” and “fees”.
Both of these terms get bundled together, so do you we really need to worry? It’s all money that you have to pay to our agent in the end, so does it matter? Yes, and here’s why. Agents will charge specific things under each these terms and it’s in your best interest to ensure there are no costs which may sit outside of these.
Getting to know fees and commissions:
Commission: Commission is the term that refers to the percentage allocation of the total cost of the property that the agent sells.
Fee: When it comes to selling, fees usually include advertising and auction costs.
Defining what cost allocation falls under each term will ensure there are no surprise costings allocated when the sale happens. It’s also good for you to take the time to ask about the costs associated with your marketing plan, what's included, and get to know the strategy your agent is going to roll out. Marketing plans are important and you should have every confidence in your agent's ability to market your home to the right audience.
Another great way to ensure you fully understand how commissions and fees work in Sydney is to find out the average rate. This means you can compare the commission rates of agents in your local area with the city average.
What is the average commission rate in the Sydney?
It’s interesting to note the most sought-after properties in Sydney are proving to be those with development potential. Properties with lifestyle factors are important too, with buyers also showing a keen interest in both houses and apartments close to amenities such as schools and supermarkets.
It’s good news for those who are selling in Sydney, as we see commissions in the city are the lowest of all capital cities in Australia. While the average real estate agent selling fees in Sydney vary, the average commission rate sits at 1.84%. Compared to the overall New South Wales average of 2.03%, Sydney agents tend to charge lower commission rates due to the increased competition.
Some of the lowest real estate agent fees in New South Wales are located in Southern Sydney in the St George area, including suburbs like Banksia, with an average commission rate sitting around 1.45% and Bardwell Park, with an average of approximately 1.8%. Competition to enter the property market is fierce in Sydney, and high market activity can somewhat account for the low agent fees in these areas. However, it is worth mentioning that some neighbouring suburbs such as Summer Hill are attracting higher real estate averages of around 2.2%.
The below graph illustrates how Sydney compares with the rest of Australians capital city. Sydney ranks lowest next to Adelaide and we can see the huge difference found between Sydney and Tasmania is very telling. Sydney’s competition amongst real estate agents we can then conclude is rife.
City Average Commission
Commission Rates May 2018 based on a $500,000 property sale
The amount your agent will charge you in commission is always going to be a consideration for you when choosing a real estate agent. However, we advise you to consider other factors that will contribute to making your agent the right person for the job. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better and this is especially true when it comes to selecting your real estate agent. You need to consider if the agent will meet your needs as a property owner. Information like an agent’s local knowledge, their previous history selling houses likes yours and their confidence in their ability to sell your home are important.
Negotiating fees and commissions in Sydney
As the rates of commission are fairly low in Sydney, negotiating may be easier. An agent will want to work harder for your business as competition is so stuff. Still, with that said, there are things you can do to make sure you are in the strongest position to negotiate.
It would be an advantage to anyone selling their home in the Sydney area to understand how commissions are calculated and the various commission methods that are available to you.
In general, there are two types of commission structures an agent will use:
A fixed rate method is a common type of commission. You agree to pay a fixed fee and as the price is fixed, it will never change. This certainty for both parties can create peace of mind and that’s a great thing when selling your home. However, the potential disadvantage of this is that some people may feel that this can encourage the agent to sell the house quickly and this may result is a lower price being secured for the property.
The tiered percentage method works on a sliding scale structure. Sliding scale structures are more commonly used if you are selling a larger property in a more popular area. For example, you may agree to a 2% commission rate if the sale price is $480,000 or less, and an additional amount if the property is sold for more than that. So, if the sale price is $500,000 you’ll pay 2% on first $480,000 (being $9,600) and, for example, 10% on the additional $20,000 (being $2,000). The total commission payable would be $11,600. This method is believed to incentivise the agent but with that, you must accept that you will have no control over the final amount of commission that you will pay.
Other real estate agent fees to consider in Sydney
As mentioned, it’s important to consider other fees such as marketing fees when you’re selecting a real estate agent to sell Sydney home. Why? Because marketing fees can vary significantly, and all real estate agents have different strategies that they roll out. You can generally negotiate these costs depending on what you’d like included in terms of advertising methods.
Marketing fees in Sydney
It’s a good idea to request a breakdown of marketing costs from your agent before you sign them on. Some real estate agents in Sydney will include marketing fees within their commission, and other agents will charge marketing fees in addition.
What’s included in marketing costs?
- Property listings on real estate websites
- Property listings in local print publications such as newspapers and magazines
- A sign board for your property
- Professional photography and videography
- Flyer and brochure creation for open for inspections
- Social media amplification of your property listing
How much are real estate agent marketing fees in Sydney?
Marketing fees can vary between $500 and $2000 in Sydney. In inner city areas and higher populated suburbs, marketing fees tend to be more expensive.
Similarly to marketing fees, some real estate agents will charge an auctioneer fee on top of the commission amount itself. This is for the services of the auctioneer on auction day. An auctioneer fee generally sits at around the $600 dollar mark in Sydney.
Home staging is the process of preparing your home for inspections, photography and selling day. It may involve simple styling tips, all the way through to furnishing your home for the duration of the selling campaign.
A good real estate agent will either be able to give you staging advice themselves, generally as a part of their commission, or may connect you with professional home stagers in your area.
Staging can cost you a few thousand dollars, but again can vary depending on the size of your property and the duration of the selling campaign. We recommend asking for tips from your real estate agent as a first step and hire a professional if they recommend to do so.
Should I choose a cheaper Sydney agent?
It's going to be tempting to choose an agent with a lower commission rate. However, we recommend comparing at least three real estate agents, including not only their commission rates, but the services included in that fee. It's also a good idea to look at sales history. This is so you can understand why they're charging the rate they are, so you can weigh up which real estate agent has a better deal.
By using our real estate agent comparison service, you can compare real estate agent commission rates as well as their sales history, marketing fees, independent homeowner reviews and more. A higher agent commission rate could put you off to begin with, but remember, the right real estate agent with the right strategy can add thousands of dollars value to your property sale. So it's worth looking into why the agents charge particular rates. You can do so by using our online comparison service.
Top Tips for selling your home in Sydney
Homeowners in Sydney will be aware that the market is set to cool, after seeing exponential growth in recent years. It’s looking like a good time to sell and so if you’re thinking about starting the process, we have some tips that will help make the process a little easier.
Real estate agents charge different fees based on a number of factors, and certain areas across Sydney will generally exhibit lower real estate agent fees. To get a better idea of what agent fees are the norm in your area, compare several local agents.
It’s important to choose an agent that has a good knowledge of your local area including its features and amenities; whether you live in Penshurst or Darling Harbour, the right agent will know how to market the strengths of your property.
Sydney is a property hotspot, but when it comes to selling your property it’s important that you take your time when finding the right agent for you. Have a list of criteria and questions at hand and use that as a basis for comparing agents.
While the most sought-after properties in Sydney are proving to be those with development potential, properties with lifestyle factors are important too, with buyers also showing a keen interest in both houses and apartments close to amenities such as schools and supermarkets.
At LocalAgentFinder we can help you begin the comparison of agents in your area, wherever you are based in Sydney. Our comparison tool is completely free for homeowners and the agent you choose will only pay LocalAgentFinder a referral free after successfully selling your property.
So, if you are selling and seeking some guidance in the Sydney region, take a look at LocalAgentFinder today and see if we can help. We also have a fully operational Australian based call centre, so if you have any questions, give us a call on 133 033.
Fees & Commissions by City
To determine the average commission by capital city, LocalAgentFinder took the average commission of all active agents in each city respectively on 21 March 2018. This included agents with tiered and fixed commission structures based on a $500,000 selling price.
This article was updated on 11th April 2018