How Do Home Buyers' Agents Get Paid: An Overview

Jan 21, 2024 By Susan Kelly

Asking how your agent would be compensated may seem odd during your first meeting with a real estate agent to sell your property. However, discussing and negotiating exactly how your agent will be paid before listing your home with any broker is important.

How real estate brokers get compensated is a mystery to many. Real estate agents are paid on a commission basis, which might confuse individuals used to hourly or salary work. Commissions are the most frequent payment source for real estate agents, varying by employer, region, and service.

Learning the ins and outs of commission is crucial whether you are new to real estate or are thinking about becoming an agent. Agents that take this step place themselves in a position to make more than they would have in a standard salary role.

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Most jobs pay either by the hour or a set income. These permanent positions pay a salary or a certain number of hours each week, so the money coming in is stable and reliable. Real estate compensation is unique. Agents often get paid a commission on every deal they close.

Brokers in the real estate industry typically receive a commission in exchange for their services when selling or buying property. It is usual for real estate agents to get a commission based on a percentage of the property's sale price, although commissions can also be set at a flat rate. Making money on commission might result in a fluctuating salary and a random influx of cash.

Nonetheless, this also implies that your earning potential is boundless. Your sales are the primary driver of your income. Your earnings are not limited by the number of hours you put in, as they would be in an hourly or salary position.

Selling more homes will increase your commission, but selling a higher-priced property will decrease it. But not all commissions are considered earnings. Money is set aside for licensing fees, and advertising since many real estate agents work independently under a sponsored broker.

How Much Does a Sales Agent Typically Make?

The total real estate commission the seller is responsible for paying in the sale of a residential property is between 5% and 6% of the transaction price. This sum is divided between the brokers or firms for whom the agents work, representing the buyer and the seller in the transaction.

After then, the commission received from the broker is divided into equal parts for each agent. According to the firm's website, the total commission is often between 4% and 4.5% of the sale price when working with a brokerage like Redfin, where agents are paid a salary.

It is because Redfin usually takes about 1% and 1.5% compensation in most regions. The remaining 3% goes to the buyer's agent and a broker. It varies from business to company, person to individual, and circumstance to circumstance, how much of the commission goes to the agent and how much goes to the brokerage.

Splitting Brokerage Compensation

A primary factor to consider when choosing a broker is the commission split. Although they are self-employed, real estate agents are required by law to be affiliated with a brokerage that has been licensed and is subject to rigorous regulatory oversight.

It's a safety mechanism to ensure salespeople know what they're doing and save customers from getting ripped off. Commissions earned by agents while working under the brokerage's auspices must be shared with the brokerage in exchange for the agents' ability to practice lawfully under the umbrella of the brokerage.

Your broker will take their cut of the commission money and send you the rest. Let's say you just started working as a real estate agent, and your commission is divided 50/50 with your client. You finally make your first sale just a few months after getting your license. The sale price is $300,000, and the commission is 5%.

For those keeping track, that's a fifteen thousand dollar commission. The brokerages share a total of $7,500. The broker will pocket $2,500, leaving you with $3,750. Broker commission splits can be anywhere from 30/70 to 90/10.

There are monetary and operational factors that each brokerage must take into account. It's common for an agent's commission to be proportional to the volume of sales they're able to close and the quality of support they receive from their brokerage. The greater the agent's sales volume, the larger the commission percentage they get.

What Do These Commissions Cover?

Others opt to engage with a real estate agent to discover a property, although many buyers in today's market prefer to conduct their house hunts independently. Those who decide to deal with a typical purchasing agency will discover that their agents spend most of their time gathering property listings, driving to tour properties, and completing price analyses to assist them in making competitive bids. It is the case for those who go this route.

Once an offer has been accepted and escrow has begun, the buyer's agent's time will be devoted to facilitating the scheduling of inspections and appraisals. Negotiating the prices of necessary repairs, overseeing the completion of all necessary documentation, and handling are some basic financial duties.


Realtors get their money through commissions. The rate is a proportion of the property's final sales price. Commissions are often shared between a broker working with the buyer and a broker working with the seller.

The seller normally pays the fee, but the buyer will see the deal's cost reflected in the asking price. Who pays the commission and how much each party is ready to take is a negotiation between the parties concerned.

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