Good morning Sharon,
In the Northern Cali/Sacramento area the average compensation for the sellers agent (listing agent) and the buyers agent is 3% each. Now that's what I typically see. Keep in mind that these commissions are negotiable by law, but also keep this in mind. If you employ an agent to list your home on the market you obviously want the greatest exposure and the highest price for your home. To get the highest price it would be nice to attract several buyers at the same time to bid on your home. This is done through a good marketing plan.... and this costs your listing agent good money.
If you are trying to attract the most amount of buyers it may be helpful to offer a greater commission to the buyers agent. This gives him/her a greater incentive to show your home to his/her buyers. And what most people don't know is... Buyers agents bring in the buyer to homes a majority of the time.
I know, I know... this sounds kind of bad because it is all based on money, but it is true. But in the long run, most sellers wind up netting more even after these commissions because they fetch a higher price for their home.
Next, if you work with a buyers agent, they are traditionally paid by the seller . it costs you nothing to have a buyers agent to represent you in this case, so why not? You have someone that is looking out for only your best interest.
(To be more specific, if the home seller agrees to list their home for 6%, then usually they agree to pay their listing agent 3% and then any buyers agent 3% if they bring in a buyer)
I hope this answers your question and I hope I was able to shine light on this matter for you.
have a great week.