The sale of a home through a realtor costs money in the form of fees and commissions. The good news is that in a challenging market paying fees for the services of a realtor might make the difference in selling the home or having it languish on the market for months or years.
The industry standard for a realtor commission is six percent. The percentage is carved up in a few ways that helps sellers understand their negotiating power and what the commission returns to them in the way of services. The six percent is chopped up once, with half going to the selling realtor and half going to the buyer's realtor. From these three percent pieces, the realty company takes half. So keep in mind that a realtor is not making a full six percent off the sale of a home. Typically they are bringing home 1.5 percent. If a realtor serves as the selling agent and the buying agent for the same client, they can sometimes take home double the commission.
In the case of having a realtor for both buying and selling, negotiating for a discount on the commission is a possibility. Clients have realized a savings of around one percent on commissions using "double dipping" as negotiating leverage.
Most sellers that have worked with quality realtors often say it was worth the commission price. For the money, the realtor brings experience and savvy to the table that most sellers lack. The mountains of paperwork create tons of obstacles for "for sale by owner" listings. A realtor not only sells the home but sees the sale all the way through every potential pitfall.