Brokerage commission: The ordering principle for real estate

The customer principle – does not apply to sales

Since 1 June 2015, the ordering principle applies to the rental of living space. Anyone who hires the broker, tenant or landlord, must also pay the brokerage fee. However, this amendment does not apply to the purchase or sale of a property.

The maximum amount of the brokerage commission is regulated when purchasing or selling real estate at the state level. On the one hand, it varies from state to state, and on the other hand, the division between buyer and seller is not uniform. The following table gives an overview of how it behaves depending on the state:

This overview shows that there are only a few federal states left, which unload the commission alone on the shoulders of the buyer. In most regions of Germany prevailed even before the introduction of the purchaser principle for rented apartment in a sale of objects greater justice. But even in these cases, the buyer does not necessarily have to pay the full commission.

The numbers listed here are the legal upper limits that brokers may charge as brokerage fees. Buyers and sellers are free to negotiate with the broker for the actual fee to be paid.

Buyers should not be blinded, however, when the famous word “commission-free” appears, but still a real estate agent is turned on. Common sense says that the commission of the broker, however high, is in the purchase price.

The commissions for brokers are not without. In order to be able to process this cost better, inclusion in the overall financing makes sense. Use our calculator and play your own individual scenario:

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When is a commission claim for the broker?

The commission claim exists if the broker has demonstrably presented the property to the buyer and it comes to the purchase contract. If the seller had commissioned a broker, but the purchaser demonstrably received information about the planned sale and contacted the seller himself, the commission claim is void. Calculation basis for the brokerage is usually the purchase price specified in the purchase contract.


If the broker has demonstrably presented a property during the term of the brokerage contract, but the prospective buyer only goes to the seller after the order has expired, the broker still has a claim to the commission.

Two brokers – the double nuisance

If both sellers and buyers have appointed a broker, it can happen that both parties have to pay the broker they hired. Buyers should clarify in advance or have the broker clarify whether another party is involved and then push for sharing the simple commission. In the US, two brokers are not uncommon, but from the beginning, the commission sharing.

No commission from private – the real alternative?

The real estate acquisition of an object with a purchase price of 300,000 euros beats in Hesse for the buyer with 17,850 euros to book – an amount that one would like to save. So why should a broker be turned on? Brokers are generally regarded as friends of easy money, but a serious and clean broker also offers added value.

The purchase or sale of a property is for the majority of Germans a process that is not commonplace and often combined with a six-figure amount. A reputable estate agent is a mediator between the parties and represents not only the interests of one side, the customer. Of course, a broker wants to sell – he lives off. However, the brokering of home ownership is quite more demanding than the brokering of rental real estate.

Before a broker is turned on, it makes sense for the tenant to compare whether an apartment for rent or the purchase makes more economic sense. Our calculator gives you valuable insights:

Why a broker can be worth his money

From a seller’s perspective, the use of a broker is useful, among other things, because:

  • The broker rather than the owner can estimate an objective market value of the property.
  • The broker knows how a higher sale price can be achieved with the use of a few hundred euros for a little renovation.
  • A little sales rhetoric is one of them. For example, there are no small kitchens, but kitchens of short distances.

From the buyer’s point of view, a broker initially costs money and possibly lowers the already tight equity anyway. On the other hand, a reputable broker offers the following advantages:

  • He helps with the preselection and saves time.
  • Brokers know the weak points of the individual object types and can protect against wrong decisions, for example, noise bridges in terraced houses.
  • He presents a complete exposé, which may make a time-consuming visit in advance superfluous.
  • As part of the financing, he ensures that all the necessary documents are available and relieves the buyer in discussions with the bank.
  • He will explain the details of the purchase contract to the parties upon request and possibly ameliorate in conversation with the buyer and the seller.
  • The buyer has the choice of the notary. Brokers can recommend a notary upon request.


While the ordering principle in the area of ​​rental real estate should create financial equality between tenants and landlords, this same level of eye is already valid in many states regarding the purchase or sale of real estate.

Reputable real estate agents are quite a support for amateur buyers and sellers, and nobody says that services must be free.

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