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How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid in USA?

How do real estate agents get paid? Many agents earn millions of dollars a year if they sell expensive properties. For example, an agent who sells eleven properties each worth $5 million earns $1.65 million in commissions. Of course, this amount will increase as more properties are sold. Commission percentages can vary based on the seller-agent agreement, but have generally been around 6%. Commission rates can vary significantly because real estate is a complicated business with multiple parties and terms.


Traditionally, how real estate agents are paid is through a commission split between a broker and an agent. The split is based on the amount of money generated by each transaction, with the listing agent typically receiving a percentage of the commission. In some cases, the commission split is even greater, with a top agent taking up to 100% of the commission pie. The commission split is a standard practice for brokerages, although agents sometimes charge a “desk fee” to a broker in order to work less closely with the brokerage.


Not all real estate agents earn the same salary. While the number of homes sold in a particular market determines real estate agents’ annual income, they are usually paid significantly more than those who are simply agents. Real estate agents with bachelor’s or master’s degrees can expect to earn more than $93,675 per year. However, the average income for agents with these degrees is still relatively low. The top 10% of earners earn more than $112,000 per year.

Salary vs commission

While most real estate agents get paid via commission, some brokerages charge a flat fee. Real estate commissions vary by state and are negotiated with brokers. Generally speaking, commissions will be around 6% of the sales price of a home, but can be higher or lower depending on the type of property and the real estate market. However, there are no federal laws that mandate the percentage of commission, and commissions are generally negotiable between buyer and seller.

Split of commissions

The split of commissions between real estate agents in the USA differs depending on the broker or company. Some brokers and companies offer 50 percent commission splits for their salespeople. Others don’t. Some brokers and agents choose a more arbitrary split, based on their own business philosophy and performance. However, most real estate brokerages and agents in the USA agree that a 50-50 commission split is the best way to ensure a good working relationship and fair compensation.

Average commissions

A study conducted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that the average commission for real estate agents is 2.43 percent. In contrast, in other developed nations, agents tend to charge less than four percent. This is due to the fact that consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet and online portals to help them find the perfect home. The highest commissions for real estate agents were found in California and Texas, which were both ranked among the top ten states for property value.

Reasons for commissions

Commissions are a part of the real estate industry and are usually negotiable. The Consumer Federation of America interviewed 200 real estate agents in 20 U.S. cities and reviewed 260 real estate agents’ websites. They also surveyed 2,000 Americans. The survey results were surprising, and consumers should not be afraid to negotiate a lower commission rate with their real estate agent. Moreover, negotiating with your realtor should not hurt your credit score, and you should not be afraid to take advantage of a low commission rate.

Earning a commission

Real estate agents earn a commission when the sale of a home closes. This fee is usually taken out of the seller’s proceeds. In some cases, the buyer covers part of the commission to make the sale more appealing to the seller. Buyers usually pay closing costs in full, and the seller often adds the cost of the commission to the home’s price. However, buyers can also choose to cover the commission themselves.

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