Redfin agents “share a portion of their commission” says Redfin.com

How does Redfin calculate its refund?

At Open Listings, we’re often asked how our 50% commission refund for homebuyers compares to other real estate companies who refund commission — specifically Redfin. This question is difficult to answer because after gradually reducing its refund amounts*, Redfin no longer discloses exactly how they are calculated**.

The answer is further confused by the fact that Redfin agents do not service every buyer. Instead they refer users to “partner” agents who work for other companies and offer a 15% commission refund. Also, Redfin does not service buyers of lower-priced properties in some markets and displays no agents or savings.

1,200+ for sale California listings examined

We randomly sampled*** listings throughout California in markets where Open Listings also operates and calculated the refund amount for each listing that also appeared on Redfin.com.

Key takeaways:

  • Redfin agents offered an average commission refund of 29.6%. The average refund dropped to 23.4% when including partner agents.
  • Redfin agents serviced only 5% of the median priced CA homes ($400K–500K). They offered an average of a 24% commission refund on a median priced home, about $1,600 savings.
  • The majority of homes sampled (70%) were serviced by partner agents.
  • In San Francisco, Redfin agents did not service homes under $1M.
  • No properties under $159,000 were serviced by either Redfin or partner agents.

What % commission do Redfin agents refund?

Here’s the average commission refund we found by price:

Average Redfin commission refunds for homes throughout California

When does Redfin refer you to a partner agent?

This varied by location and price point.

Los Angeles County:

  • $0–399,000 → Partner agent support only
  • $400–800,000K → 89% partner agents; 11% Redfin agents
  • $800,000+ → 45% partner agents; 55% Redfin agents

San Francisco:

  • $600K–$999,999K → Partner agent support only
  • $1,000,000+ → 11% partner agents; 89% Redfin agents

How does the Open Listings 50% refund compare to Redfin?

We found that the Open Listings commission refund is about twice as large as the average refund offered by Redfin and partner agents

In conclusion

We’re fans of Redfin and all other real estate companies using technology to innovate on the homebuying experience. However, this graph on Redfin’s homepage suggests up to a 40% refund, which we were unable to verify in our sample.

In the markets we sampled, you will never receive a refund amount as high as Redfin’s widget calculates. The closest we found was a 32.9% refund for this $980,000 home in El Cerrito, California.


* Since its launch 11 years ago, Redfin has decreased its commission refund (or rebate) from 75% to 66% to between 45% and 25%. In a recent video their CEO talks about how Redfin considered removing them entirely.

** Redfin’s terms provide some information but no way to calculate the actual refund amount: The savings calculations displayed are estimates based on the Redfin default refund rate by price point. Savings vary by market and are dependent on several factors including the price of the property, the market minimum commission, and the buyer’s agent commission. The estimates are not a guarantee or an offer from Redfin to provide a refund or savings on a specific property. Redfin reserves the right to make changes to the refund and savings calculation at any time while honoring all agreements commenced prior to any change. Refunds are not available where prohibited by law. The refund is subject to lender approval as well as possible restrictions of VA or FHA loans. If the transaction includes a short sale, additional restrictions may apply. The estimates are not representative of Redfin partner agent transactions.

*** Methodology: Open Listings randomly sampled 1,200+ for-sale properties (excluding land) found on both redfin.com and openlistings.com on September 9, 2015 in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside and Ventura Counties.