Working Paper

Real Estate Commissions and Homebuying

Abstract: We construct a model of home search and buying in the U.S. housing market and evaluate the commission paid to homebuyers' agents. In the model, as in reality, homebuyers enjoy free house showings without having to pay their agents out of pocket. Buyers' agents receive a commission equal to 3% of the house price only after a home is purchased. We show this compensation structure deviates from cost basis and may lead to elevated home prices, overused agent services, and prolonged home searches. Based on the model, we discuss policy interventions that may improve housing search efficiency and social welfare.

Keywords: Search and matching; Housing market; Real estate commission;

JEL Classification: D4; L1; L8; R3;

Access Documents


Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Part of Series: Working Paper

Publication Date: 2024-02-28

Number: 24-01