April 13, 2024

Understanding the Financial Aspects of Real Estate Transactions

When it comes to buying or selling a property, one common question that often arises is, “Who pays the real estate agent?” This is an important question to consider because it affects both buyers and sellers. In this article, we will explore the dynamics of how real estate agents get paid and who is responsible for covering their fees.

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Real estate agents typically work on a commission-based system. This means that they only get paid when a transaction is successfully completed. The commission is usually a percentage of the final sale price of the property. The specific percentage can vary, but it is typically around 6% of the purchase price.

It’s important to note that the commission is usually split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. This means that each agent receives a portion of the commission based on their involvement in the transaction.

Who Pays the Agent’s Commission?

In most cases, the seller is responsible for paying the real estate agent’s commission. This is because the agent’s services primarily benefit the seller by helping them find a buyer and negotiate the best possible price for their property. The commission is typically deducted from the seller’s proceeds at the time of closing.

However, it’s important to remember that the commission is ultimately included in the sale price of the property. This means that the buyer indirectly pays for the agent’s commission through the purchase price.

Buyer’s Agent vs. Seller’s Agent

It’s worth mentioning that there are two types of real estate agents involved in a transaction: the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. The buyer’s agent represents the buyer’s interests and helps them find the right property, negotiate the price, and navigate the buying process. The seller’s agent, on the other hand, represents the seller’s interests and helps them market the property, find potential buyers, and negotiate offers.

Both the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent play crucial roles in a real estate transaction, and both are compensated through the commission paid by the seller.

Exceptions to the Rule

While it is the norm for the seller to pay the agent’s commission, there can be exceptions to this rule. In some cases, the buyer may choose to hire a buyer’s agent and agree to pay their commission directly. This can happen when the buyer is looking for exclusive representation and wants to ensure that their agent is working solely in their best interests.

Additionally, in certain situations, such as for-sale-by-owner transactions or when a buyer purchases a new construction directly from the builder, the seller may not be represented by an agent. In these cases, the buyer’s agent may negotiate with the seller to have their commission paid by the buyer.


The question of who pays the real estate agent is an important one to consider when entering into a real estate transaction. While it is typically the seller who covers the agent’s commission, it is important to understand that the commission is ultimately included in the sale price and indirectly paid by the buyer. It’s also crucial to recognize the roles and responsibilities of both the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent in a transaction and the value they bring to the process.

Ultimately, working with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent can help ensure a smooth and successful transaction for both buyers and sellers.