Whether you are selling or buying real estate, you might be wondering what it costs to hire a real estate agent. You may be surprised to learn that sometimes, you do not pay anything for an agent's help. Here is more on how this works, so that you can decide for yourself if and when you want to hire an agent.
Looking for Houses/Properties
You can look for houses or properties all on your own. It is almost a part-time job to do the searching and research, but if you are married, your spouse and you can split the time up to do the hunting. When you want to view a house/property, the real estate agent associated with the property can show it to you, free of charge. You can repeat this process as often as you like, without ever actually hiring an agent.
However, if you do not have a lot of time to be hunting down homes and properties, or you would rather that a real estate agent spends his/her time looking for the perfect house for you, you can hire the agent to do it. Some agents charge a flat rate for "x" number of days, weeks, or a month of service, but others may charge an hourly rate. You will have to decide what your own time is worth in comparison to paying someone else to house-hunt through thousands of listings for you.
Selling Your Home Instead
If you are on the flip side of this buyer/seller coin, and you are selling your home, hiring a real estate agent is just good business sense. The agent makes sure your home is sold and uses a variety of marketing tools to do so. The fee for selling your home is the cost of the commission the real estate agent charges and is typically paid out of the profits on the sale of the home.
For example, say that you were selling a home for $200,000 and the profit on this home would be eighty thousand after you use the remaining money to pay off the remaining mortgage on the house. The real estate agent's cut is ten percent, a very modest amount. That means that once your home is sold, the agent gets eight thousand dollars of the eighty thousand in profit you were expecting to receive. You still receive a nice chunk of change, and the agent gets paid for services rendered.