How do agents get paid?

This is for California, where we are. How agents get paid can be a little different in other areas of the country.

There’s no one way to do it but traditionally how it works is a seller will call a real estate agent. The agent tells the seller that the broker commission will be let’s say 6% (which is a common amount). That 6% is taken out of the amount that the seller nets on their house, not paid up front.

Now if that agent wants to market the house on the multiple listing service (which is always a good idea), they’ll usually offer half of the total commission to a buyers agent. So 3% of that total 6% is paid to an agent that represents the buyer.

Commissions are not set in stone and they are negotiable. There are also different types of real estate brokerages out there who can give you the full marketing service down to more affordable ones who will put it on the multiple listing service for a fee but not do any marketing. So you get what you pay for in the end.