July 20, 2024
How Real Estate Commission Works Who Pays What?

The Truth Behind the Buyer Paying the Real Estate Commission

When it comes to buying a home, one of the confusing aspects for many people is the concept of the buyer paying the real estate commission. It may seem counterintuitive, as the buyer is already investing a significant amount of money into purchasing the property. However, understanding the logic behind this practice can help clear up any misconceptions and shed light on the reasoning behind it.

The Role of Real Estate Agents

In any real estate transaction, there are typically two agents involved: the listing agent, who represents the seller, and the buyer’s agent, who represents the buyer. These agents play a crucial role in facilitating the transaction, providing guidance, negotiating terms, and ensuring a smooth closing process. Both agents are compensated for their services through the real estate commission.

The Listing Agent’s Commission

When a seller decides to list their property on the market, they sign a contract with a listing agent. This contract specifies the commission rate, which is typically a percentage of the final sale price. The listing agent then lists the property on multiple platforms, markets it, and handles inquiries and showings.

If a buyer’s agent brings a potential buyer and successfully negotiates a deal, the listing agent splits their commission with the buyer’s agent. This split is often predetermined in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system, which is a database used by real estate agents to share property listings.

The Buyer’s Agent’s Commission

As mentioned earlier, the buyer’s agent represents the buyer’s interests throughout the home buying process. They help the buyer find suitable properties, arrange showings, and provide valuable insights and advice. In return for their services, they are entitled to a commission.

However, it’s important to note that the buyer’s agent’s commission is typically paid by the seller. The commission is deducted from the proceeds of the sale, meaning that the seller indirectly covers the buyer’s agent’s commission. This is why some people mistakenly believe that the buyer doesn’t pay any commission.

Why the Buyer Pays the Commission

While the buyer’s agent’s commission is technically paid by the seller, it ultimately comes out of the buyer’s pocket. This is because the cost of the commission is factored into the listing price of the property. The seller considers the commission when determining the asking price, and therefore, indirectly transfers the responsibility of paying the commission to the buyer.

Benefits for the Buyer

Despite the buyer paying the real estate commission, there are several advantages to having a buyer’s agent represent you throughout the home buying process. Firstly, they have access to a wide range of properties, including those that may not be listed publicly. They also have the expertise to negotiate favorable terms and conditions, ensuring that you get the best deal possible.

Additionally, having a buyer’s agent can save you time and effort. They will handle the paperwork, coordinate with other professionals involved in the transaction, and guide you through the entire process. This can be especially beneficial for first-time homebuyers or those unfamiliar with the intricacies of buying real estate.


Understanding why the buyer pays the real estate commission can help demystify this aspect of the home buying process. While it may seem counterintuitive, the logic behind it is rooted in the role of real estate agents and the way commissions are structured. By having a buyer’s agent represent you, you can benefit from their expertise and guidance while navigating the complex world of real estate.