San Francisco Listing Agent Fees Explained


Typically when clients ask Realtors about their fees they are referring to what it will cost them to sell their house. This article will break down all listing agent fees.


When it comes to selling your home there are many fees and taxes that you will be responsible for paying. It is always good to walk into a meeting with an agent armed with the knowledge of what you are facing.



When choosing to buy or sell a home an important factor worth consideration is the real estate agent fees. The commission paid to the agent is negotiable making them vary greatly. A 2019 Effective Agents report showed the average agent commission in the U.S. is 5.7%. That percentage is a percentage of the sale price. The listing agent will negotiate the commission with the seller. This fee is split between the listing agent and the buyerś agent unless the listing agent is working as the buyerś agent as well; this is called dual agency. We don´t work as dual agents, we only represent the seller.


Transfer Tax

The transfer tax, also known as the deed tax or the mortgage registry tax depending on where the property is located,  is a fee that is paid to the city where the property is located. In San Francisco this a negotiable fee between the buyer and seller as to who and how much of it each party pays. However, typically the seller pays this fee There is however an exception when it comes to new construction. In the small print of the purchase contract for new developments, it will frequently state the buyer is responsible for the transfer tax. The transfer tax is calculated at a percentage of the sale price or appraised value of the real estate. The following is a San Francisco transfer tax calculation:


  • $250,000 but less than $1 million equals $3.40 per $500
  • $1 million but less than $5 million equals $3.75 per $500
  • $5 million but less than $10 million equals $11.25 per $500
  • $10 million but less than $25 million equals $13.75 per $500
  • 25 million or more equals $15.00 per $500



There are a variety of reports that are necessary for the sale of San Francisco properties.


3R Report

When a residential property is listed in San Francisco, a 3R Report is required. The 3R Report is the Report of Residential Building Record Report. This is a mandatory report required by the City of San Francisco and must be included in the disclosure package. The cost for this report is $152 and is the responsibility of the seller.


Natural Hazards Report

The Natural Hazard Disclosure Report (NHD) is specific only to California sellers. Sellers are required to obtain this report for buyers to be in compliance with the 1998 Natural Hazards Disclosure Act. A natural hazard zone alludes to a zone where homes are at a greater risk for destruction or damage due to natural disasters. This fee is $124 and the responsibility of the seller.


Tank Inspection

The tank inspection is included in your disclosure package and provides proof that no underground storage tank is located at the property. This fee is $90 and the responsibility of the seller.


Energy and Water Inspection

The Energy and Water Inspection can potentially lead to additional costs. For example, in older homes, the energy inspection may uncover energy efficiency upgrades required by San Francisco. The maximum amount the city can require in upgrades is $1300. The water inspection may expose the need for low flow toilets or low flow showerheads, for example. The fee is $300 and is the responsibility of the seller, although, in real estate, everything is negotiable.


Contractor Inspection

The contractor inspection involves a licensed home inspector that will possibly recommend specific contractor inspections such as a licensed roofer or plumber. The fee is $750 and typically the responsibility of the buyer.


Pest Inspection

A pest inspection is a full inspection of the property for any evidence of termite activity, dry rot damage, or moisture conditions that could potentially lead to a welcoming environment for wood destroying organisms or termites. The fee is $550 and is the responsibility of the seller.


Escrow Fees

Escrow fees are the costs charged by the title/escrow company for managing the escrow and title insurance. These fees vary and are typically the responsibility of the buyer in San Francisco.


Garbage Fees

Garbage fees is the term used for the various small fees that accrue during escrow. These include:


  • Notary Fee- Signatures on the deed must be notarized and will cost you $15 per signature.
  • Reconveyance Fee- This $65 fee paid to the lender to issue a Deed of Reconveyance show that a mortgage was paid off in full.
  • Recording Fee- This $30 fee is charged for recording the new deed with the City of San Francisco.
  • Pay Off Demand- This $30 fee is paid to receive the amount still owed to the lender and includes any interest.


Keep in mind this is a very brief rundown on the fees associated with selling a home in San Francisco. If you have any questions or would like information on what it takes to sell your home please contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions.