Who Pays Real Estate Agent Fees in Oregon, the Buyer or Seller?

July 25, 2018
Last updated:
October 14, 2021
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Ready to buy your Oregon dream home? There’s just one question that needs to be answered before you start your house hunt: who pays the real estate agent fees?

Working with a real estate agent is important, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, and or purchasing a home in an area you’re not familiar with. But who pays the real estate agent fees in Oregon? While it’s negotiable, it is usually the seller who pays these fees.

Sellers Pay Real Estate Agent Fees in Oregon 

In Oregon, as in most states, the person selling the home typically pays both real estate agent commissions. The money for this comes out of the proceeds from the sale — at least in those cases where the seller is making a profit.

That’s usually how it works. But like many aspects of the real estate process, this is all negotiable. These and other details will be spelled out within the real estate purchase agreement and contract.

Listing Contract Between Sellers and Agents/Brokerages

Before a home is listed for sale, the seller and real estate agent sign a listing agreement in which they both agree to a specific commission fee. That way, the seller will be well-informed of what their fees are before they commit to a working relationship with their agent and brokerage.

This contract is separate from the real estate contract or purchase agreement. The former is signed only by the seller, the listing agent, and the listing brokerage. The latter is an agreement between the seller and buyer on the sale of the property in terms of price, closing dates, and terms of the deal. 

The real estate agent commissions are already decided upon before the purchase agreement is signed by all parties. 

Buyers in Oregon Don’t Usually Pay Realtor Commissions

Home buyers can benefit from this customary practice. When you buy a home, you can get professional help from a licensed agent without paying for it out of pocket. So there’s really no reason for buyers to “fly solo.”

Buyers will be able to take advantage of all the perks that come with having a real estate agent represent them in a real estate deal without having to worry about paying any commissions. 

Dual Agency: One Brokerage Involved

The traditional way to buy and sell real estate is to have both a listing and buyer brokerage involved. The listing agency represents the seller, and the buyer agency represents the buyer. This is the ideal scenario, as each party involved in the transaction will have their own representation.

But there may be some cases in which one agent and brokerage will represent both the buyer and the seller. In this case, that one brokerage will be paid the commissions and will not have to split the fees with another brokerage. Both the buyer and seller are required to sign a dual agency disclosure form prior to any real estate transaction taking place.

It should also be noted that not all states permit dual agency.

Are Real Estate Agent Fees Tied to the Home Sale Price?

Typically, in Oregon, average real estate agents fees are around 6% of the home sale price. The real estate agent commission is split around 50/50 between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent, but the entirety of the real estate commission is paid by the seller.

If you buy a home with a sale price of $200,000, expect that the seller will be handing out around $6,000 each as the real estate commission owed to the local agents. These costs to the seller and may make it difficult to negotiate the price of Oregon real estate.

You might be approached to see if you’d be willing to use the same agent as the seller instead of having two separate real estate agents. While this is technically legal in Oregon, provided both parties sign off that they are willing to use the same agent, there really cannot help but be a conflict of interest. 

The real estate agent stands to make thousands of dollars and can find it hard not to be biased on behalf of the seller.

How Much Are These Commissions in Oregon?

This leads to another common question among home buyers and sellers. How much are real estate agent commissions in Oregon?

This too can vary. As mentioned, the traditional commission for a real estate transaction is 6% of the purchase price. This amount is usually split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents, with each receiving 3%.

Breaking Down Real Estate Agent Fees in Oregon

The commission structure can vary depending on the agent’s (or agency’s) business model and the specific services they provide. The customary 6% figure is often used when the agents are providing comprehensive services for their clients. Some real estate companies provide more limited services in exchange for lower commissions or fees.

Real estate agents must work for a broker, who then takes a cut of the commissions paid out by the seller to cover a variety of expenses, including office space, advertising, sign rentals, administrative fees, and other costs. 

Each broker involved in a real estate deal then splits the commissions with the real estate agent. There are variations of commission splits that can occur that must be agreed upon between the broker and agent. 

Other Factors That Impact Real Estate Agent Fees in Oregon

Real estate market conditions can also affect these fees. In a sluggish housing market where sales are few and far between, agents might be more inclined to offer reduced fees to attract clients. In a more active market, these competitive commissions might become more of a rarity.

Flat Fees in Place of Commissions

The overwhelming majority of real estate deals in Oregon involved a commission based on a percentage of the sale of a property. However, there may be cases in which the agents involved are paid a flat fee instead.

For example, the real estate contract agreement between the seller and agent may involve a numerical figure to complete the deal. The amount can be any amount, as long as both parties agree to it. 

A flat fee scenario may be beneficial to sellers in terms of savings, but this type of arrangement typically involves limited representation. Flat-fee or discount real estate brokerages might not cost as much as traditional brokerages, but sellers may not get as much in terms of services.

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Typical Services Provided by a Buyer’s Agent

So that answers the primary question: Who pays real estate agent commissions in Oregon? In a typical transaction, it’s usually the seller who pays these fees. But it can be negotiated.

What about the services you receive, as a buyer? What does a buyer’s real estate agent do for his or her clients?

Here are some of the primary services they provide:

  • Find a suitable home by using MLS, networking, major listing sites, etc.
  • Evaluate the seller’s asking price based on recent sales and market data.
  • Advise the buyer on how much to offer, what contingencies to include, etc.
  • Negotiate with the seller over price and other terms of the sale.
  • Ensure that all paperwork is completed and distributed to third parties.
  • Make sure that everything remains on track for the scheduled closing.

This is a basic overview of the services provided by real estate agents in Oregon. Some agents might offer additional services that are not shown above or fewer services in the case of discount brokerages. Homebuyers in Oregon should find out exactly what services are going to be provided, before deciding to work with a particular agent.

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At Sammamish Mortgage, our loan officers can help you get preapproved for a home loan so you can house hunt with confidence, agent or not.

Sammamish Mortgage has been in business since 1992, and has assisted many homebuyers in the Pacific Northwest. If you are looking for mortgage financing in Washington State, we can help you get preapproved. Sammamish Mortgage offers mortgage programs in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Contact a loan officer if you have any mortgage-related questions or concerns. If you are ready to move forward, you can view rates, obtain a customized instant rate quote, or apply instantly directly from our website.

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