May 28, 2024


When it comes to buying a home, there are often many questions that arise, and one of the most common is whether the buyer has to pay the real estate agent. In this article, we will explore the role of the real estate agent and clarify who is responsible for their commission.

Understanding Real Estate Agent Commissions

Real estate agents typically work on a commission basis, meaning they receive a percentage of the final sale price of a property. However, the way this commission is paid can vary depending on the circumstances.

Traditional Home Sales

In a traditional home sale, the seller is responsible for paying the real estate agent’s commission. This is usually a percentage of the final sale price and is negotiated between the seller and the agent before listing the property. The commission is typically split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent.

Buyer’s Agent Commission

The buyer’s agent, also known as the selling agent, represents the buyer in the transaction. While the buyer’s agent is not directly paid by the buyer, their commission is typically included in the listing agreement between the seller and their agent. This means that the seller ultimately pays both their own agent’s commission and the buyer’s agent’s commission.

Who Actually Pays?

Although the buyer’s agent’s commission is technically paid by the seller, it is important to understand that this cost is factored into the overall price of the home. This means that indirectly, the buyer does contribute to the payment of the agent’s commission.

Impact on the Buyer

While it may seem like the buyer is not directly paying the real estate agent, it is essential to recognize that the commission is often reflected in the purchase price of the home. This means that the buyer may end up paying a slightly higher price to cover the commission costs.

Benefits of Buyer Representation

Even though the buyer’s agent’s commission is indirectly factored into the purchase price, having a dedicated agent representing the buyer can provide numerous benefits. A buyer’s agent can assist with property searches, negotiations, and navigating the complexities of the home buying process, ultimately saving the buyer time and potentially money in the long run.

Exceptions to the Rule

While it is generally the case that the seller pays the real estate agent’s commission, there can be exceptions to this rule. For example, in some for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transactions, the seller may refuse to pay a buyer’s agent commission. In this scenario, the buyer may have to negotiate with their agent to determine how the commission will be paid.

Buyer-Agent Agreement

In certain cases, the buyer may enter into a buyer-agent agreement with their agent. This agreement specifies the commission structure and outlines the responsibilities of both parties. It is important for buyers to review and understand this agreement before entering into any real estate transactions.


While the buyer does not directly pay the real estate agent’s commission, the cost is typically factored into the purchase price of the home. It is important for buyers to understand the role of the real estate agent and the potential impact on their overall costs when purchasing a property. Working with a buyer’s agent can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the home buying process.