Real estate agents work on the basis of sales commissions. Home sellers do not pay the agent until the house is sold. The agent’s commission is taken from the proceeds of the sale as a percentage of the selling price. In some cases, flat fees may be agreed upon in advance, but this is not typical. Sellers should check with prospective agents about their commission rates while, at the same time, checking on the agent’s record of success.
To get a license, real estate agents pass a rigorous state examination that covers both proper marketing practices and the numerous legal considerations in the sale and transfer of property from one person to another.
Additionally, real estate companies and local associations of agents establish ethical practices that contribute to the standards of professional conduct. This gives reasonable assurance to sellers that an agent is reputable, and the ethical standards enhance the reputation of this high-stakes business profession.