What Is Real Estate Agent Commission and Why Should I Pay For It?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

I don’t know exactly where you are from, but a common question among buyers and sellers in Henry County GA,Fayette County GA and the surrounding areas is “How much is typical real estate commission?” Along with this question people often ask, “What do real estate agents DO to earn their commission?” This question may be followed by “What exactly do real estate agents do for ME?” or “Why should I pay a real estate agent commission?” These are fair questions. After all, this is YOUR money we are talking about. In the following paragraphs I will try to answer what real estate agent commission is, what real estate agents do to earn their commission with buyers, and what real estate agents do to earn their commission with sellers.


In short, real estate commission is the fee you pay to your agent for helping you sell a home. Although this is not a set amount, typically the fee you will pay in Henry County and the surrounding areas is 3% of the sale price to the buyer’s agent and 3% of the sale price to the listing agent. Although there is no set rule, the seller is normally the one responsible for paying the real estate commissions.




What exactly does a real estate agent do to earn their commission with buyers, or another way of putting it is what does the buyer’s agent do to earn his commission? To start with, if you are a buyer that has not been preapproved then the buyer’s agent will point you toward a few trusted lenders you can choose from in order to get a preapproval letter. You can read more about preapproval letters here. Once a preapproval letter is obtained explaining in what price range you have been approved, the agent will find out what exactly what you are looking for in a home or what the items are on your wish list are. This can include area, square footage, lot size, style of home, and amenities such as granite countertops, hardwood floors, etc. Then the agent should begin using MLS or FMLS, which are the multiple listing services used by real estate agents to advertise and display their clients’ homes that are for sale. Once the agent has found some homes he or she thinks you may be interested in they can email them to you for you to look through and decide which ones you would like to see. Of course, if you have found homes on your home you want to look at, you can add those to the list as well. After you decide which homes you want to see, your agent will set up a day to drive around with you and show you the homes. Once a day is chosen, your agent will need to call the listing agent of each home you want to view and ask them to verify with their clients to make sure that date and time works for the sellers. After all the calling is completed, your agent will typically plot out a course for the homes you want to view. This includes putting all the addresses in the best, most logical order for you to visit them in. As you probably already know, you most likely will not find “the one” on your first trip out to see homes. If you do not, you and your agent will have to continue watching for other homes you may be interested in, and the process of searching for homes, setting up times, and going out to see the homes will be repeated as many times as necessary for you to find the home of your dreams!

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Once you find a home that you want to put an offer in on, you have to decide what price you would like to go in at. Your agent can give you great guidance in this area. Also, if you want the seller to pay for a certain percentage of closing costs, you can put that in your offer. If you want the seller to leave the refrigerator and dining room table, you can ask for that in your offer as well. Along with this, you have to think about closing date. Do you only need a month before closing, or does your lender think he will need longer? Do you need to put a contingency in your offer that you cannot buy the house unless your current home sells? Your real estate agent should have the knowledge and experience to help you in all of those areas. I know some people don’t think they need an agent, and you are not forced to use one; however, you have to think about who is going to represent you and your interests as the buyer? If you ask the listing agent to write your offer for you, they are already obligated to the seller. So yes, they could write the offer, but legally they are not allowed to represent both the buyer and the seller. In other words, the seller’s agent is going to do what is best for the seller, not what is best for you. Sometimes, when an offer is submitted the seller accepts it, and you are under contract. Other times, the seller may come back with a counter offer. Then you along with your agent have to decide if you are going to counter again, or if you are going to accept the seller’s counter. If you are finally able to come to an agreement then you will be under contract, but the process doesn’t stop there.

As a buyer, after you are officially under contract your lender will begin requesting documentation from you to process your loan. Also, after you are under contract, you will have a certain number of days that are specified in the contract to have an inspection done on the home. If you are using an agent, he or she will remind you of the time period you have for the inspection and more importantly will be able to provide you with a list of trusted, recommended inspectors. Once you choose an inspector, the inspector will tell you what day and time he can do the inspection. If you are using an agent, your agent will work with the seller’s agent to verify the date for the inspection works okay for the sellers. After the inspection is done and you as a buyer see the report, you may want to request that the sellers perform some repairs. If this is the case, your agent will put the specified requested repairs on an amendment to send to the seller’s agent. From this point, the seller can agree to do the repairs, agree to do only some of the repairs, or say they will do no repairs. The negotiations between parties regarding repairs can take a lot of expertise, patience, and negotiating skills so having an agent on your side is a great advantage! If all parties agree to the certain repairs and the amendment is completed then it is a matter of waiting for the lender to complete the loan process. The lender will be asking you as the buyer for more documents and information during this time. If you have chosen to use a real estate agent then your agent will be working during this time to make sure all of your contract paperwork and amendments are completed correctly with all required signatures. He or she will also be working to get the closing scheduled at a time that is convenient for all parties. A day or the same day of the closing if you use an agent, he or she will do a final walk through with you so you can make sure everything in and outside the home is as it should be with any repairs completed. Your agent typically attends the closing with you as well in case any problems arise or any questions come up. As you can see in most cases, a buyer’s agent spends a large amount of time with and for his clients including finding homes, setting up times with agents to look at homes, spending time previewing homes with clients, writing offers, negotiating paperwork, answering questions and providing clients with information and paperwork, ensuring inspections and appraisal are completed, negotiating repairs, ensuring all contract documents are complete and submitted to the appropriate parties, communicating with the lender, closing attorney, and listing agent, scheduling closing, and many other tasks not listed here. Hopefully this list has given you an idea of just how much work a buyer’s agent should and hopefully DOES perform for his clients.




Not only do agents assist buyers, but they assist sellers as well. If you are a seller or potential seller, don’t feel left out. Your agent should be working very hard to earn his commission as well! Once you choose an agent to list your home for sale and sign the listing paperwork if you live in Fayette or Henry County GA, he will list you home on MLS or FMLS which are two multiple listing services agents use to list their for sale houses. This way, other agents can easily see which homes are listed if they have buyers looking for homes. Of course your agent will also put a lockbox on your door and a sign in your yard. Depending on which agent you choose, now many listing agents will advertise your home on various places on the internet such as Facebook,LinkedInTwitter, Pinterest, ActiveRain, Blogger, Brivity, their broker’s website such as kw.com and the agent’s own personal website. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. We run paid Facebook ads for each of our listings, and these ads typically receive 200 to 700 clicks, meaning within just a few days that many people have seen your listing. Not only will your agent do social media marketing, but typically agents will send out an e-flyer with pictures and description of your house to their list of agents in the area. This could easily be a list of 500 people. Many agents now also send out postcards to certain areas near your home advertising your house and the great features of it. In addition to advertising, your agent will also help to set up showings for your home when agents call with clients who want to see your home. You should also make sure your agent is requesting feedback from the buyer’s agents who show your home so you can have an idea of what areas people love and what areas may need some work. Once you receive an offer on your house, your agent will represent that offer (in some cases there is more than one offer) and can give you an idea of what your net proceeds will be after paying off your mortgage, closing costs, and commissions. You can choose to accept the offer, send a counter offer, or not accept the offer. Once you do accept an offer the buyer’s agent will work with your listing agent to set up the inspection and appraisal, and if repairs are requested your agent will work with you to determine which if any repairs you agree to complete. Most of the time agents have a list of trusted contacts that you could use to help you complete any repairs. Your agent should also complete any amendments regarding repairs. The buyer’s lender will also order an appraisal to determine the value of your home. If the appraisal comes in lower than the sale’s price your agent can send in information to the appraiser about recently sold homes in your area that sold for a price similar to yours in order to ask him to reconsider the lower appraisal value. Once the appraisal is complete the buyer’s lender will be working to process the loan. Your agent will be working to ensure all the contract paperwork is completed and sent to the appropriate parties, to communicate with all involved to make sure everything is happening on time, and to schedule the closing when the lender gives the okay. Your agent should also attend the closing with you to answer any questions you may have and to be there to support you if there are any issues that come up. Hopefully you can easily see that if you have chosen a great agent, he will definitely be doing plenty of work to earn the commission.


Hopefully this info has given you some insight into a few of the many activities and tasks that agents carry out on behalf of their clients. Whether you are buying or selling a home these are both big decisions not to be taken lightly, and during the process many issues can arise where it would be more than beneficial to have a professional on your side. If you are selling and choose to use an agent, your agent will spend a good amount of money just in marketing your home, not to mention the time spent in setting up showing, negotiating contracts, writing addendums, completing contract and closing paperwork, setting up closings, and taking care of any other issues that arise. If you are buying and choose to use an agent, your agent will spend hours searching for properties, setting up showings, showing you the properties, submitting offers, working with your lender, helping you navigate through inspections and appraisals, negotiating repairs, completing paperwork, scheduling closing, and doing various other tasks. Taking a look at what real estate commission is and what an agent can and should offer to you can help you decide whether or not you want to work with an agent and why you should pay commission if you do use an agent to help you.

If you enjoyed our blog and found it valuable, please share it on Facebook! If you are interested in buying a home orselling a home here in Henry County or any of the surrounding areas, Adamson and Associates would be thrilled to assist you! Please contact me with any questions or needs you have! You can reach me by email at barbara@metrobarb.com, by phone at 770.692.6706, or by Facebook message at https://www.facebook.com/AdamsonandAssociates.

Have a great day, and we look forward to talking with you soon!

Raising the Bar of Your Real Estate Experience,

Melissa Volante
Marketing Manager
Adamson and Associates 
Barbara Adamson – Keller Williams Realty Atl Partners
Direct: 770.692.6706 Office: 770.692.0888

Posted by

Barbara Adamson, Realtor

Adamson and Associates

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners





Comments (1)

Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Barbara - This is a pretty detailed explanation of what real estate agents do for both home buyers and sellers. Great resource for anyone looking for an agent to help them buy or sell.

Aug 14, 2015 02:20 PM