How Does A Realtor Get Paid When You Buy A House?

How Does A Realtor Get Paid When You Buy A House?

How Does A Realtor Get Paid When You Buy A House?

When you buy a house, you will typically negotiate the contract and complete the purchase through the services of your real estate agent.

There are several different ways that realtors get paid. They all depend on how much they negotiate into the contract and how much work they do beyond just helping you find and buy your new home or investment property.

Here’s an overview of how realtors can get paid when you buy a house, from most to least common.

Who is a realtor?

The real estate agent assists customers in purchasing, selling, or renting property. Most agents work for brokerages and are paid on a commission basis.

This means they only make money if they successfully help their clients buy or sell the property.

When you work with a real estate agent to buy a house, they typically earn a commission equal to a percentage of the home’s sale price.

All The Real Estate Fees Explained

When buying or selling a home, all sorts of fees and commissions come into play.

Here’s a quick rundown of the most common fees associated with real estate transactions, so you can be prepared for what’s to come.

The buyer’s agent is typically compensated in one of two ways: A flat fee, typically between $500-$1,000, or a percentage of the purchase price (typically 2-3%).

If they work on commission, they make around 1% on average. The seller pays a commission to their agent (typically 3%), plus additional charges related to closing costs such as appraisals and title insurance.

These fees vary by state but are typical $1,000-$2,000. Other various broker fees may come up depending on where you live.

For example, if you live in California, an extra good faith deposit of 1% of the purchase price goes to your broker at the time of offer acceptance.

Knowing these numbers before starting your real estate transaction is good, so you know how much money will need to be set aside at each stage!

Who pays the realtor fees?

A commission is often paid to a real estate agent for their services. This commission is often a percentage of the ultimate sale price of the home.

The agent’s commission is typically split with the buyer’s agent. Then the two agents split the commission with their broker.

So, if you’re buying a $200,000 home and the commission is 6%, your agent will make $6,000.

Suppose you hire an independent contractor to represent you in this transaction. In that case, they’ll receive a flat fee from you that usually ranges from $3,000 to $7,500, depending on where you live.

The person who pays the commissions varies by region. In some regions of the country, sellers pay for all or part of them. In other regions (like Florida), buyers pay for all or part of them.

Commissions are split between both parties in several parts of the country (such as California). Nonetheless, they are typically set at 5% rather than 6%.

Some agents charge flat fees, while others have different rates based on whether they represent buyers or sellers and where in the country they work.

The amount of the commission can also vary depending on where you live; it can be anywhere from 3-10% in most areas of the United States.

Agents can also negotiate a contingency agreement with the seller, which means that if the property doesn’t sell within a specified time frame, there won’t be any payment to either party involved.

Some people might assume that more homes sell faster than ever because of advancements in technology like e-signing, which allows documents to be signed electronically without ever having to print anything out or sign anything in person.

Why would someone need an agent anymore?

But many professionals still argue that no matter how fast transactions happen, there’s nothing like having a knowledgeable professional representing your interests throughout every step.

Even with electronic signatures, attorneys must still review contracts, and mortgage lenders must conduct thorough background checks before providing loans.

Countless situations can arise during a purchase process:

  • Disputes over inspections
  • Unexpected disclosures about the property
  • Disagreements over appraisal prices
  • Even title issues

Having somebody who knows what they’re doing to help navigate these challenges could save you thousands of dollars in legal fees down the road!

Real Estate Agent Responsibilities

Most people are unaware of the many duties a real estate agent must perform to get paid.

In addition to finding buyers for sellers and vice versa, real estate agents must also:

  • 1. Act as a mediator between buyers and sellers 
  • 2. Help clients fill out paperwork 
  • 3. Keep up with local market trends 
  • 4. Show properties to prospective buyers 
  • 5. Hold open houses 
  • 6. Negotiate on behalf of their clients 
  • 7. Ensure the transaction goes smoothly from start to finish

How do real estate agents get paid?

When you work with a real estate agent to buy a home, they typically receive a commission.

This is a percentage of the home’s sale price that is paid to the agent by the seller. The commission is usually split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents, with each agent getting a percentage of the total commission.

The commission is then used for advertising, office expenses, and the agent’s salary.

In some cases, an agent might also be able to take their commission in cash or as a portion of the down payment on your new home.

The amount varies from state to state, but it is generally around 2-3% of the home’s purchase price.

If you’re planning on purchasing a house shortly, contact your local Realtor Association for more information about commissions.

Real Estate Commission Example

In most cases, the home seller pays the real estate commission to the listing broker. The listing broker then splits the commission with the buyer’s broker.

The typical commission is 6% of the home’s sales price, split evenly between the listing broker and buyer’s broker. So, if a home sells for $300,000, the real estate commission would be $18,000.

The listing broker would keep $9,000 and give $9,000 to the buyer’s broker. The buyer’s agent would then give part of their commission (usually 50%) to their brokerage firm and keep the rest as their income.

When do real estate agents get paid their commission?

A real estate agent is typically paid a commission on the sale of a home. The commission is usually a percentage of the sale price and split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents.

In most cases, the buyer’s agent will receive 2.5-3% of the sale price. So, if you’re buying a $200,000 home, your agent would stand to make $5,000-$6,000 on the sale.

When you hire an agent, they will work with you to create a flat fee for the services rendered. If there are no negotiations, that fee may be either 1% or 3%.

You can also negotiate for less than 1%, depending on how much time the agency expects to spend on your case.

Do you pay a real estate agent if you are the buyer?

In most cases, the seller pays the real estate commission, typically a percentage of the home’s sale price. The buyer’s agent then splits that commission with the listing agent.

So, if you’re working with a buyer’s agent, they are usually paid out of the seller’s proceeds at closing.

This means if you pay your real estate agent, they will not be able to take their commission from the seller.

This also means it may take longer for your transaction to close because there will be less money from the seller.

Suppose you can’t afford to pay your buyer’s agent an upfront fee. In that case, it might be wise to work with an agent-for-hire who only gets paid once the transaction has closed and everyone involved has been compensated for their time and effort.

These agents can usually make up for their lack of experience by leveraging years of industry knowledge and relationships with other agents to negotiate the best possible deal on behalf of buyers.

They’ll also know how to help guide homeowners through the often complicated process of selling a property.

Working with an agent-for-hire means you won’t have to put as much cash down. Still, they don’t always have the same level of familiarity with the nuances of each area or type of property.

If you are buying, here’s why there are more fees than when selling

A home is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make. Realtors are involved in almost 90% of all home sales, so it’s essential to understand how they get paid.

In almost every real estate transaction, the seller pays the commission to the listing broker, who then splits it with the buyer’s broker. The standard commission is 6%, but that is negotiable. The buyer’s broker typically gets 3%, and the listing broker gets 3%.

The commission is generally paid out of escrow at closing but may be negotiated to be paid earlier.

If you are selling, here’s why there are more fees than when buying

A typical real estate commission is 6% of the home’s sale price, divided between the buyer’s and seller’s agents.

The seller agent typically pays 2.5% to 3% of the home’s sale price. The buyer’s agent is typically paid 3% to 3.5%.

However, remember that these are just averages, and commissions can vary quite a bit from one transaction.

For example, if a home sells for $300,000, the seller’s agent would make $9,000 while the buyer’s agent would make $10,500.

The commission percentages also vary depending on whether the listing broker charges a flat fee or receives a percentage of the selling price.

Buyer’s agents are typically paid more because they invest time and money into negotiating with sellers, showing properties, etc. Still, many prefer working with an agent representing them rather than buying independently.

Free Tools for Mortgage Pre-Approval

A mortgage pre-approval is a necessary step in the home-buying process. By getting pre-approved, you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to spend on your new home.

Plus, having a pre-approval letter in hand will show sellers that you’re serious about buying a home.

It will also assure them they won’t be dealing with someone who might change their mind during negotiations. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry!

Some free tools for mortgage pre-approval:

Bankrate: The folks over at Bankrate have a simple and easy tool called the Mortgage Calculator.

The calculator asks you four questions and then spits out an answer of what type of loan (conventional or FHA) you should apply for and how much you could borrow given your income and down payment.

You can even compare loans from different lenders by clicking on Compare mortgages.

Zillow: Zillow’s Prequalification Calculator is similar to Bankrate’s Mortgage Calculator.

After entering some basic information, like credit score and monthly income, it tells you which type of loan program (FHA or conventional) would work best for your situation and lets you know what size home you could afford based on your budget.

Do real estate agents get paid if they don’t sell?

If you’re working with a real estate agent to buy a house, you may wonder how they get paid. After all, if you’re buying the house,  real estate agents are only paid if and when they successfully help their clients buy or sell a property.

If an agent doesn’t sell anything, they don’t make any money. In most cases, agents charge fees upfront for their services.

So before you sign on with a real estate agent, ask what kind of compensation they charge and if that fee is negotiable.

Also, remember that many agencies have non-commission rates for first-time buyers to avoid charging upfront fees. Agents also typically earn money from selling properties by taking a percentage from the price as commission.


A realtor’s commission is typically a percentage of the home’s sale price and is paid by the seller at closing. In most cases, the buyer’s and seller’s agents split the commission 50/50.

However, there are some instances where the buyer’s agent may receive a higher percentage, such as bringing their buyer to the table. Some realtors also charge a flat fee, which is typically lower than a traditional commission.