Usually the way it works is like this: I give you example with numbers so it is easier to understand:
1) The seller hires an agent to sell his/her home. The seller and his/her agent will sign an agreement which determines the commission. Lets say 6%.
2) The seller's agent put the home on the market and offers a portion of his/her commission to the buyer's agent. Usually they go 50/50. So the seller's agent gets 3% and the buyer's agent gets 3%.
The way the seller's agent splits his/her commission with the buyer's agent is specified in the original contract the seller signs with his realtor.
So usually the seller will pay the commission for both agents (here in Florida).
Of course the buyer's agent could sign an agreement with the buyer to charge him/her for his services. That is of course an agreement between the buyer and his/her agent.
Hope this helps to clarify your questions.
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