An extra cost in American home sales

image01By Anna Bernase | The New York Times

In a typical year, real estate brokers in the United States sell more than $1 trillion worth of homes, making a total average commission of 5.4 percent on each sale. What many home buyers may not realize is that real estate commissions are negotiable and are far lower in some other countries.

In Britain, for example, average real estate commissions came in at 1.8 percent of the selling price in 2011, according to Which?, a British consumer website, and on high-end properties the commission could have been as low as 0.75 percent. That’s much lower than the average in the United States in the same year, as reported by the research firm Real Trends. So at average rates on the sale of a $500,000 house, an American homeowner would pay $18,000 more in commissions than a homeowner in Britain.

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