A selling agent is the real estate agent you hire to sell your home. This agent is paid for by you, by the sale of your home, and by possible shared commissions. If you are curious as to how much your agent may charge, you will have to look up state- and city-specific information regarding these agents, but you can expect the following in general to be true.
The Hourly Rate
This is typically atypical in terms of paying a selling agent because he or she is not working for you in the sense that you are the sole customer for whom he or she works a forty-hour work week. However, he or she may charge you an hourly rate pro rata (i.e. when hours are actually worked) if and when he or she spends a full hour here and there working on the sale of your home. For example, if your agent spends an hour staging your home for an open house, three hours showing the house during an open house, and another hour taking the staging down again, he or she may charge you an hourly rate for those five hours. Likewise, other blocks of time consumed by showing the house, drawing up paperwork for buyers, etc. may be billed to you as hourly wages.
The Main Commission
The main commission is the percentage of money made on the sale of your home. For the agent, this is skimmed right off the top of the final sale price of the home. What is left is what you receive after your home is sold. Other commissions may be involved, such as a very small percentage going to the title agency, a small percentage to advertising costs, and another small percentage to any agent who was responsible for showing the home to the people who eventually bought it when your agent was not the one to show the house to these buyers. Once your own agent gets his or her cut and everyone else involved gets their cut, the remainder is made out in a bank check to you to cash.
There may be special circumstances or joint cooperative measures between your agent and other agents that lead to extra commissions paid to your agent. Most selling agents are transparent about this in their contracts with you. If you are not sure, ask an agent before you sign the contract that secures his or her services as your home sales agent.