The Real Estate Agency & Commission

Who Pays the Commission

Does it cost the homebuyer more to be represented by a buyer's agent who serves their interests exclusively? No, because the listing agent splits the sales commission, which is customarily paid by the seller of the home, with the buyer's agent. The sales commission split is usually 50-50, but the listing agent and buyer's agent will sometimes make another agreement and split the commission unequally.

There is one very unusual circumstance in which the homebuyer might pay a commission to their buyer's agent. The real estate agent might show the buyer a local "for sale by owner" (FSBO) home which the client decides to purchase. In most cases, the FSBO seller who is presented with a qualified buyer is glad to pay the buyer's agent a reduced fee of about 3 percent, or half of a normal sales commission. But the FSBO seller could stubbornly refuse to pay the buyer's agent any commission whatsoever. In that case, the buyer's agent would legitimately expect the buyer to pay the sales commission, in fair exchange for the agent finding the FSBO home and negotiating a successful transaction

A Full Service Professional

Home sellers may be lured by the promises of agents that offer to list and sell your home for a discount commission. But consider the advantages of using a full service broker who will represent your best interests in the transaction without cutting corners.

A full service real estate broker will be informed about the current trends in your local market. He or she will share valuable information about the selling price of comparable properties, to help you determine a realistic price for your home. If your home needs repair prior to listing, a reputable local contractor will be recommended. Buyers will be pre-qualified and personally escorted through your home. After showing your house, your broker will give you feedback from buyers and agents, negotiate the price and terms of the purchase contract when an offer comes in, schedule the home inspection and coordinate the closing.

You may not receive adequate professional or personal attention if the agent feels they owe you less because you are paying them less. It is to your advantage to engage the full services of a real estate broker who will give 100 percent to guide you through the complex process of selling your home.

Real Estate Agent Representation

Which party in a real estate transaction is represented by the real estate agent--the buyer or the seller? Until recently that question was never asked because the answer was always the same. Traditionally all the marketing professionals involved in real estate transactions were legally and ethically obligated to conduct business on behalf of the seller. They may have aided the buyer in certain situations, but their client was the seller. Today that is not necessarily the case.

In a time of increasing specialization, buyers can be represented by a real estate agent who functions solely as a buyer's broker. In this case, the sales professional helps the buyer locate a home, negotiate the price, and is responsible to the buyer only, for an agreed-upon fee or a percentage commission.
In any real estate transaction, you have the right to know which party the real estate agent is representing.