The Sellers Asked Who Pays the Buyer's Broker?

Real Estate Agent with Baird & Warner Real Estate


The Sellers Asked Who Pays the Buyer’s Broker?

I have a listing in Winnetka IL that I have been working to ready for market for quite some time. The sellers have lived in the home for over 40 years so were admittedly out-of-touch with current real estate ways of conducting business.


During one meeting, they asked, somewhat incredulously, “I heard  that we have to pay the broker who brings the buyer - is that possibly true.” 


It is true, although some try to make the case that since the buyer is paying the money for the house, they actually pay for their agent. As one Texas Realtor said, “while sellers pay the fees, but they usually wrap them up into the price of the home. In that sense, you could say the buyer pays the fees.” But I don’t go for that.


When you list your Winnetka or North Shore home, you negotiate a commission with the listing agent. It should be explained to you (as I did here but it didn’t register) that that total commission will  be split four ways:


  1. The listing brokerage

  2. The listing broker

  3. The buyer’s agent’s brokerage

  4. The buyer’s agent


Your closing statement will show the total amount of commission you will be paying. It will be Contract signinigdivided  upon closing in the four parts shown above. No one else pays it because no one else has agreed to it or signed a contract including it.


The Multiple Listing Service - where you home is listed and syndicated through online, must list the “co-op” fee to the participating agent. The co-op fee is what the listing brokerage has decided it will pay the buyer’s brokerage - generally half of the total amount.


It has been this way for many years and has worked well for all parties. There are some that criticize this arrangement saying that sellers would be better served if they only paid for their listing agent. No one has sufficiently found a way to pay the buyer’s broker however since buyers themselves are not inclined to do so. 


If you have more questions about commission fees for the sale of your property, please call me! 847-977-6024.



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Margaret Goss is a full-time real estate broker since 1998 working in the North Shore communities of Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, Glenview, and Evanston.

She can be reached at:

Phone:  847-977-6024


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Margaret Goss - Winnetka and North Shore Real Estate Broker
Specializing in homes for sale in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook, and Evanston.

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Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

Hi Margaret Goss , a lot of clients don't realize how this works.  I have had buyer clients ask me a few times how much I am going to charge them. 

Aug 23, 2019 02:09 PM #1
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Margaret - well-stated.  

Aug 23, 2019 02:15 PM #2
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Margaret. It comes down to making the dollars flow to allow the transaction to happen. So be it! Enjoy your day!

Aug 24, 2019 05:35 AM #3
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

On the flip side, I have clients that don't understand how, as Buyers, the whole commission payment thing works either, Margaret Goss  We keep educating via our blogs and conversations with clients. 

Very informative, much-needed post ...


Aug 28, 2019 08:42 AM #4
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Margaret Goss

Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
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