Where does the commission go?

Where does the commission go?

The commission paid on a real estate transaction is usually a percentage of the purchase price. Traditionally, commission is paid by the Seller to the Listing Broker. Any co-operating agents involved in the transaction are paid through the Listing Broker. Each Broker then “splits” the commission with the agent according to their contract.

From time to time, and mostly from people who don’t know us, we get an email or a phone call where the commission question comes up front and centre:

“Can you tell me what your commission rate is?”

It is obvious that this consumer has decided that commission is the most important issue. It’s not that we have not dealt with the question before, but it seems that the consumer’s assumption is clear that “all Realtors provide the exact service but for different fees”. That assumption is very wrong.

Each agent develops a style with services that they include when selling property. This is the first question a consumer should ask:

“What services will be included in the commission that I will be paying?” 

Before the discussion begins please realize that the listing agent, who collects the commission from the Seller, usually offers half of that commission to the Buyer’s agent. That agent needs to be out in the marketplace daily, viewing listings, guiding and presenting successful offers for their clients. Please note that no commission gets paid to either until the property closes. Not many business models exist where all the work has to be completed before any money changes hands.

We cannot speak for what other Realtors provide but we suggest a service fee of 5 percent, half going to the Co-operating Broker. And here are the services that Torontoism includes for our half of the commission:


  • We are big believers in staging, so we offer all our clients a written staging consultation with a home stager at our expense.

See an example of our staging here.


  • Floor plans allow a prospective buyer to imagine their furniture in the property so we pay for the property to be measured. Some Buyers can only justify asking price in relationship to square footage.

See Floor Plans here


  • Professionally taken property photos are hugely important in today’s marketplace so all of our listings are professionally photographed at our expense, featured with Virtual Tours and HD Video on our YouTube Channel. 
  • We will use Drone photography/video and professional voiceover for videos for the listings that we feel require them.
  • Your property will be on TorontoMLS and on REALTOR.ca but they will also have virtual tours and at least 20 professional photos as well as professional floor plans attached to the listing for both Realtors and the consumer to view.

See examples of photos and videos from our listings.


  • At Torontoism, we also include colour brochures and feature sheets.

See an example of our brochure.


  • We are known for providing Agent Open Houses with food served at our expense. It encourages the Realtors to spend more time, look around, feel comfortable and engage with each other.


  • Announcements of new listing and their Open Houses are broadcast on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and sent out via email.

See examples of our Facebook posts here and here


  • We have often been surprised at the power of “neighbour marketing” so we send out Just Listed and Open House invitation cards to the surrounding 2000 homes at our expense.

See example of our postcard here. 


  • We long ago realized the importance of the Internet, so not only are properties placed on the TorontoMLS system, they are on REALTOR.ca, shared on the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Internet Data Exchange or IDX, they also appear on our site Torontoism.com, as well as our Company sites sothebysrealty.ca and sothebysrealty.com. They will also appear on big websites such as nytimes.com, wsj.com, jamesedition.comjuwai.com and more. These sites are optimized professionally to be on the front pages of the Search Engines in the top 30 categories of search terms for Toronto Real Estate.

  • Our listings are featured in the e-galleries of all our 640 Sotheby’s International Realty offices around the world.

  • Our sellers get a password protected VIP account where they can check on the status of their listing anytime and anywhere. 



  • We do advertise in the Globe and Mail on Fridays, but we find that a banner ad sending interested parties to the web is the best way to go. Very few contacts have ever come from print ads today. 90 percent of buyers are now searching on the Internet.


  • We are always available and we have a great group of back-up staff and marketing specialists who handle extraneous appointments, database and follows up with showings and updates on your property. 
  • Over the years, property marketing has become much more complicated and a consuming time commitment leaving us frustrated when trying to search for Buyers at the same time. That’s why we are a team at Torontoism. Our salespersons have been excellent in helping our Buyers find the best available in today’s marketplace because they focus on that task.
  • We have a 50 step workflow process of getting a property ready to list to successfully sold.
  • We use the latest technologies such as Docusign, which allows you to sign documents online, to make the whole process as easy and efficient for our clients as possible.
  • We happily work with other agents in facilitating offers on your property to get you the best price possible in today’s market.


  • Recognizing that today’s buyers have changed the way they shop, we suggest Open Houses for the public on every possible weekend.

We are a full-service brokerage who take the stress and time out of selling a property for busy professionals, who would rather spend their valuable time elsewhere. Our goal is to achieve the highest sale price possible, which at the end of the day will make the “how much commission do you charge” question moot.

This list should provide some clarity about how we handle our business model, but remember that each of us bring a different set of services to the table and those services may be offered to the consumer for different commission rates. Our suggestion when shopping for a Realtor would be to ask them to list the services that they provide when listing a property.

When you know what is involved, then it is up to you to decide whether the value is there to commit to that Realtor. If not, you have over 100,000 other options in Canada and over 1,000,000 in the United States.


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