does a buyer ever have to pay the real estate agent?

Asked by Sheena, South Point, OH Sun Oct 14, 2012

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Thu Aug 8, 2013
Typically the seller will enter into an written agreement to sell their home with a listing agent. The buyer does not directly have to pay the real estate agent that is listing the home, nor does the agent, representing you have to collect a fee from you.

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Gordon Simle, Agent, Minneapolis, MN
Sat Apr 19, 2014
It is very rare that a Buyer would have to pay the real estate agent's commission. Typically this is paid by the Seller, unless for instance, the Seller is selling their home as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), and refuses to pay any commission. Your Buyer Representation agreement should state that any commission not paid by the Seller will be covered by you, the Buyer.
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Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Fri Mar 14, 2014
Yes there are occasions when a buyer will be responsible for part...or all of the commission. This is outlined in the Exclusive Buyer/Broker agreement.
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Steve Vennem…, Agent, Pine Springs, MN
Fri Mar 14, 2014
Most of the time the seller pays the listing company who pays the buyers agent.
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Susan Hoffla…, Agent, Shoreview, MN
Tue Oct 16, 2012
Hi, Sheena!
Oh, I LOOOOOOOOVE this question!! This does vary from state to state on how this process works, but here's what we do here in MN. MOST OF THE TIME, the buyer's agent is paid from the proceeds of the transaction. That means YOU as the buyer, would not have to pay the commission for the sale out of your own pocket.

Sometimes, there are agents/companies who DO charge an upfront retainer fee and sometimes there are buyers who WANT to pay their agent themselves so they know the negotiations for the property can proceed without their agent's fee being tied to the price. BUT, more often than not, the scenario in the previous paragraph is how it goes.

NOW, here's what I want ALL buyers to know!! YOU are the one paying ALL of the commissions!!!! Think about it, YOU are the only one bringing money to the table. Unless the seller is upside down, they are not bringing money to the table, the agents aren't either. YOUR mortgage or the cash you're paying for the property is how EVERYONE associated with the transaction gets paid! If that's the case, why not have someone that's there to represent your best interests??

This is why it's a great thing that this paradigm shift has occurred in our industry to allow agents to represent the buyer as opposed to the way it used to be that we ALL represented the seller, no matter what.

Ask me about it if you want to know more........

Good luck!
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Lenny Frolov, Agent, Brooklyn Park, MN
Mon Oct 15, 2012
When you sign a Buyer Representation agreement with an agent it will specify that amount of commission that YOU will owe to them, it will generally also say that anything they receive from the listing broker or seller will reduce your obligation to pay. If the commission you agreed to pay is greater than what you agent receives from listing broker or seller you may have an obligation to pay the difference owed.
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Terry McCarl…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Sun Oct 14, 2012
Generally no but some agents do charge the buyer fees so discuss this with agents you interview to represent you.
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Chris Block, , Saint Paul, MN
Sun Oct 14, 2012
Only time I see where it is possible is in the seller financing world where seller is not willing to pay a commission or FSBO. Even then they usually do, and in a case where they do not most buyer agents will charge very little to the buyer.

99% of real estate the seller will always pay our commission.

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Nina Harris, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sun Oct 14, 2012
Only if there is a buyer broker contract in place and the listing does not compensate for the commission due.
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Suzanne MacD…, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Sun Oct 14, 2012
The only time the buyer ends up paying the real estate agent is in the very rare situation where a buyer, sometimes an investor, signs a buyer representation agreement with the agent and agrees, in writing, to pay them a commission to help them find a home. This permits the agent to approach anyone, including home owners who have not even considered selling until the agent approaches them, for sale by owner sellers, etc., in order to find a home for the buyer and still be paid for their services. Even then, the buyer generally will reduce their offer to compensate for the commission they are, technically, paying the agent. It's a technique that is not frequently used, but it may actually be a good tactic. But, like Tim, even though I have heard this recommended by various real estate investment gurus, I have never actually seen it used.
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Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Sun Oct 14, 2012
Normally NO, but there are rare cases where they might, but it is very rare. I have sold homes for 25 years and never known any cases where it happened.
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