100% Commission Real Estate Brokerages: A Comprehensive Guide for New Agents

100% Commission Real Estate Brokerages: A Comprehensive Guide for New Agents

Published by Kartik Subramaniam

Reading Time : 8 minutes

Real estate profession

Entering the world of real estate as a professional can be both exciting and daunting. The dynamic landscape offers numerous possibilities, but the thought of choosing a broker can be daunting. There are so many choices out there ranging from a team structure, to an independent company or even a national franchise - there are no shortage of options.

When it comes to commission splits, the 100% commission model stands out for its distinct structure and potential benefits among the available options. This model promises an attractive deal: the agent takes home their entire commission, hence the name '100% commission'. But like any other model, there are pros and cons.

As many of our readers are either enrolled in real estate license school or considering enrolling in license school I wanted to explore the nuances of 100% commission brokerages and assess whether it's the right choice for new professionals aiming to make their mark in our great real estate business.

In theory, a 100% commission brokerage allows agents to keep all their commission from a transaction. In other words, when an agent working under this model closes a deal, they retain the entire commission, hence the term '100% commission'. It’s important to read the fine print before joining such a company, however as sometimes “100%” isn’t really “100%”. Although some brokers may brand their compensation plans “100%” they can involve a nominal flat fee per transaction or a monthly or annual fee that the agent pays the brokerage rather than a commission percentage.

This starkly contrasts the traditional brokerage model, where an agent's commission is split between the agent and the brokerage. In a traditional model, the split is often a fixed percentage. It may range from a 50/50 split to a 90/10 split, depending on the agent's experience level, the brokerage's policies, and market standards. In a traditional brokerage model, the agent could take home anywhere from 50% to 90% of the commission from a transaction.

A simple example can illustrate the difference. If an agent closes a deal that generates a gross commission income (GCI) of $20,000 in a 100% commission model, the agent could keep the entire $20,000 (minus any flat fees or other costs associated with the brokerage). However, in a traditional 70/30 split model, the agent might take home let’s say $14,000, with the remaining $6,000 going to the brokerage.

This might seem like a no-brainer for the agent, but like anything there are pros and cons for the real estate professional in an environment like this.

The Downside of 100% Commission Brokerages

While 100% commission brokerages have gained traction for their potential benefits, they're not without their pitfalls. It's crucial to weigh these cons against the pros when deciding whether this model is right for you. Here, we'll explore some potential downsides of working with a 100% commission brokerage.

1. Lack of Support

One common criticism of 100% commission brokerages is the perceived lack of support. In traditional brokerages, part of the commission split often goes toward administrative support, training, and office resources. These brokerages might provide agents with access to a physical office, marketing materials, continued education, and more. In contrast, 100% commission brokerages typically operate on a leaner model, and you might find yourself largely on your own.

2. Hidden Costs

While keeping 100% of your commission can sound appealing, it's crucial to remember that this figure might only account for some costs. Some 100% commission brokerages charge a transaction fee per sale or even recurring monthly or annual fees. You should also account for costs related to errors and omissions insurance, marketing materials, and other business-related expenses. Therefore, it's essential to factor these into your calculations when determining potential earnings.

3. Less Structured Environment

The increased autonomy that comes with a 100% commission brokerage can be a double-edged sword. For some, this independence is liberating; for others, a less structured environment might lead to reduced motivation and productivity. Some agents may need the structure and community of a traditional office setting to stay focused and motivated.

4. Not Ideal for Newer Agents

Although the flat-fee model can be attractive to new agents from a financial perspective, the lack of support and guidance can make it a challenging environment for those just starting out. New agents often benefit from mentorship, training, and hands-on support to help them navigate the industry's complexities after they pass the real estate exam. With these resources, newer agents may find it easier to succeed.

5. Misleading "100% Commission" Terminology

Finally, it's worth noting that the term "100% commission" can be somewhat misleading. As noted earlier, this model's various fees and costs mean that agents rarely take home the full 100% of their commission. Understanding this can help manage expectations and make a more informed decision about whether this model is the right fit.

While the 100% commission model can offer significant benefits, it's essential to consider its potential downsides. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the industry, understanding these cons will help you decide and choose a brokerage model that aligns with your career goals and working style.


The Upside of 100% Commission Brokerages

In the fast-evolving real estate landscape, alternative brokerage models have begun to challenge traditional business methods. Let's talk about the promising upside of this model, as it holds potential to revolutionize an agent's income and autonomy in their real estate journey.

1. Greater Income Potential

The most obvious advantage of the 100% commission model is the potential for higher income. Agents can maximize their earnings from every transaction by keeping the entire commission minus a nominal flat fee. This approach can be incredibly lucrative for high-performing agents who complete many transactions.

2. Predictability and Transparency

One of the often-overlooked benefits of the 100% commission model is its simplicity. With a fixed fee structure, agents know upfront what their expenses will be, making it easier to budget and plan for the future. This clear-cut approach provides a sense of predictability and transparency that can be comforting in an industry often characterized by uncertainty.

3. Flexibility and Control

100% commission brokerages give agents more autonomy and control over their business. This independence allows agents to be more innovative with their marketing strategies and business plans, adjusting as they see fit without additional brokerage interference. This flexibility can lead to more effective personal branding and, consequently, better business growth.

4. Competitive Service Offering

Lastly, the 100% commission model allows agents to offer their clients competitive pricing in a crowded marketplace, possibly attracting more clients and driving more business.

Is the 100% Commission Model Right for a Newer Real Estate Agent?

Navigating the world of real estate can be complex for a novice agent, fresh from our real estate school. For new real estate professionals, the 100% commission model might seem appealing on the surface, but it's essential to understand what this model entails and if it truly aligns with your needs and career goals.


As mentioned earlier, 100% commission brokerages offer the allure of significant earning potential, allowing agents to retain the majority, if not all, of their commission. This can be especially enticing for those who are just starting and are keen on maximizing their income.

However, the primary challenge for newer agents under this model is more support and mentorship. Traditional brokerages often provide comprehensive training and resources that are beneficial for agents building their skills after passing the real estate exam. These resources can include hands-on training, marketing assistance, and access to experienced agents who can provide guidance and advice. The absence of these support structures in many 100% commission brokerages can make the initial stages of a real estate career more challenging for newer agents.

Furthermore, while the potential to earn 100% commission can be attractive, new agents need to remember that various expenses, such as transaction fees, marketing costs, and insurance often offset this. These expenses can add up and put financial pressure on agents, particularly those who are still trying to establish themselves in the industry and secure consistent transactions.

There is also the aspect of self-discipline and motivation. The high level of autonomy in a 100% commission model requires a substantial amount of self-direction. With the structured environment provided by traditional brokerages, some new agents might be able to maintain their momentum, especially during challenging periods.

So while the 100% commission model can offer greater income potential, it comes with challenges that may prove difficult for newer agents to navigate. It's vital for new agents to consider these factors and seek out a mentor or network of experienced agents for guidance. As with any career decision, it's all about finding the right fit for your goals, working style, and needs.

Becoming a real estate professional is filled with many decisions, and choosing the right brokerage model is an important decision. It's critical to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution - each model has its own unique characteristics and considerations. The 100% commission model, with its allure of potentially higher earnings and autonomy, is no exception.

It offers numerous advantages, including greater income potential, predictable and transparent fee structures, and more control over one's business. These benefits can be particularly appealing for seasoned agents with a solid client base and comfortable navigating the industry independently. For them, this model can be a financially rewarding alternative to the traditional commission split model.

As discussed, this model also has its challenges. The often-overlooked costs and the absence of supportive resources can pose hurdles, particularly for newer agents just starting their journey after real estate school. The lack of structured environment poses a challenge to maintaining motivation and discipline, crucial components for success in this industry.

Moreover, the decision should not be based solely on financial considerations. Agents, particularly those new to the industry, should also consider the level of support, mentorship, and resources they may need as they build their skills and client base. In this aspect, the traditional brokerage model with its training programs and support structures can often be more suitable for newly minted agents aiming to make their mark in the industry.

Ultimately, whether the 100% commission model is the right fit will depend on the individual agent's career goals, personal work style, and needs. It's critical to weigh the potential income benefits against the need for support, training, and resources. Agents considering this model should fully understand what it entails, assess their own needs and abilities, and seek advice from experienced professionals in the industry.

This decision marks one of the many milestones in the exciting journey of becoming a real estate professional. Choose wisely, as the right brokerage can pave the way for a rewarding and successful career in real estate - or not.

As always, if you are considering taking real estate license courses with us, visit www.adhischools.com or call us at 888-768-5285.



Kartik Subramaniam

Founder, Adhi Schools

Kartik Subramaniam is the Founder and CEO of ADHI Real Estate Schools, a leader in real estate education throughout California. Holding a degree from Cal Poly University, Subramaniam brings a wealth of experience in real estate sales, property management, and investment transactions. He is the author of nine books on real estate and countless real estate articles. With a track record of successfully completing hundreds of real estate transactions, he has equipped countless professionals to thrive in the industry.

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