The National Association of Realtors® 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers states approximately 8% of homeowners opted to put their homes up for sale in 2017 without using a real estate agent or Realtor®. A handful of For Sale By Owner (FSBO) transactions dealt with sellers and buyers who previously knew each other or were directly related; 87% of buyers chose to work with a real estate agent or Realtor®, on the buyer’s side. Real estate agents and Realtors® — unlike professionals in different categories who bill by hourly rates or earn a salary — get paid through a transaction (commission) at the end of each sale. For example, if an agent has worked with a seller or a buyer for months, they don’t get paid for the time spent if there is no transaction during that period. Agents receive a commission once the transaction goes through to settlement (closes) based on the selling price of the home. At that point, the commission is earned. The commission itself is negotiated — in most cases, between the seller and the agent. Typically, an agent will earn a commission of 6% from the sale price, but some brokerages have commission discounts for the sellers with whom they work. Essentially, the listing agent and the buyer’s agent will split the commission. That can bring forth some issues. For example, sometimes the split might not be negotiated evenly. A seller could have agreed to pay a commission of 5.5% that, if further divided, the buyer’s agent would receive 2.5% while the listing agent receives 3% of the commission.
Even though some agents are associate brokers, or brokers in
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