Written by 2:28 pm Lead Generation, REAL ESTATE ADVICE

How Do Realtors and Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

How Do Realtors and Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Whether you’re buying or selling a property, you’ve probably wondered how realtors and real estate agents earn their living. It’s a valid question, considering the vital role they play in the real estate market.

Realtors and real estate agents are generally rewarded in commission, which is a fraction of the total sales price of the property.

While this commission serves as their primary source of income, it is subject to fluctuation and can be influenced by various factors that affect its variability and overall amount.

Keep reading as we explore the intricacies of how do realtors and real estate agents get paid.

How Do Realtors and Real Estate Agents Get Paid? How Does the Commission-Based Model Work?

 How Does the Commission-Based Model Work?

Most real estate agents work on a commission-based model, which means they earn a percentage of the property’s sale price. This arrangement incentivizes agents to secure the best deal possible for their clients, as their income is directly tied to the sale’s success.

Who pays the commission?

Generally, the seller pays the commission, although in some cases, such as buyer’s agents, it may be negotiated differently.

The Listing Agent’s Commission

The Listing Agent's Commission

When a property is sold, the listing agent, who represents the seller, receives a commission based on the agreed-upon percentage.

The commission is typically a percentage of the final sale price, ranging from 5% to 6% but it can change depending on the local market and specific circumstances. For instance, luxury properties may have a higher commission rate.

The Buyer’s Agent’s Commission

The Buyer's Agent's Commission

The buyer’s agent, on the other hand, receives a share of the total commission paid by the seller. This percentage is negotiated between the buyer’s and listing agents, usually before the property search begins.

It’s important to note that the buyer’s agent’s commission is typically paid by the seller through the listing agent.

Splitting the Commission

Within real estate brokerages, the commission is further divided between the agent and their brokerage. This division is usually predetermined by an agreement between the agent and the brokerage.

The specific split can vary widely, ranging from 50-50 to a higher percentage going to the agent, depending on factors such as experience, sales volume, and the resources provided by the brokerage.

Additional Factors Affecting Compensation

Additional Factors Affecting Compensation

While the commission-based model forms the foundation of real estate agent compensation, there are additional factors that can influence their earnings. Let’s explore some of these factors:

1. Market Conditions

Real estate markets can be volatile, with fluctuations in demand and property values. During a seller’s market, where demand exceeds supply, agents may have higher chances of securing sales at higher prices, increasing the commissions.

Conversely, agents may face tougher competition in a buyer’s market, where supply exceeds demand, potentially impacting their income.

2. Experience and Reputation

Experienced agents who have built a strong reputation in the industry often attract a larger clientele. With a history of successful deals and satisfied clients, these agents can command higher commissions and may even have the flexibility to negotiate their split with the brokerage.

3. Additional Services and Specializations

Some agents offer additional services beyond the traditional buying and selling of properties. These may include property management, real estate investment advice, or specialized knowledge in niche markets.

Agents could increase their income and differentiate themselves from competitors by providing value-added services.

What is the typical commission percentage for real estate agents?

The typical commission percentage for real estate agents varies, but it often falls within the range of 5% to 6% of the final sale price.

Let’s say you’re selling a property with a final sale price of $300,000. If the agreed-upon commission rate is 6%, the real estate agent’s commission would be calculated as follows:

Commission = Sale Price x Commission Rate

Commission = $300,000 x 0.06

Commission = $18,000

The real estate agent would earn a commission of $18,000 for facilitating the property sale. Remember that commission rates can vary, so discussing and agreeing upon the specific percentage with your real estate agent before entering into any contractual agreements is essential.

Final Thoughts

Real estate agents and realtors play a crucial role in the real estate transaction process. Their compensation primarily stems from a commission-based model, with the seller covering the costs.

The commission is divided between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent, and further splits occur between the agent and their brokerage. Market conditions, an agent’s experience and reputation, and additional services can all impact an agent’s earnings.

By understanding how real estate agents get paid, you acquire insight into the financial aspects of working with them. This knowledge allows you to appreciate the value they bring to the table, enabling you to recognize their expertise and dedication to helping you achieve your real estate goals.


1. Are real estate agent commissions negotiable?

Yes, real estate agent commissions are negotiable. While there are industry norms, commission rates can be discussed and adjusted between the agent and the client, depending on various factors such as the property type, market conditions, and the level of service provided.

2. Do buyer agents always get paid by the seller?

In most cases, buyer’s agents are paid by the seller through the listing agent. However, there may be instances where the buyer’s agent charges a fee directly to the buyer for their services. This should be discussed and agreed upon before engaging the services of a buyer’s agent.

3. Do real estate agents receive a salary in addition to commissions?

Typically, real estate agents do not receive a fixed salary. Their income is primarily derived from commissions earned on successful property transactions. However, some brokerages may offer certain agents a draw against future commissions or a base salary, especially when starting out or in special circumstances.

4. Can real estate agents work independently, or do they have to be part of a brokerage?

Real estate agents can work both independently and as part of a brokerage. Working under a brokerage provides agents with support, resources, and a network, but some agents choose to operate independently. The choice depends on individual preferences, resources, and the level of autonomy desired.

5. How can I find a reputable real estate agent?

To find a reputable real estate agent, consider seeking recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have had positive experiences. You can also research local agents online, read reviews, and interview multiple agents to assess their experience, expertise, and compatibility with your needs.

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Last modified: July 5, 2023