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how to: buy a home

Ready for a new nest? Whether you’re looking for your very first place, or it’s time for an upgrade, we’ve got guides on renting or buying a home that will help ease you through the process. Start with the basics -- condo, co-op, or house? Our home buying help will give you the pros and cons of every option. After deciding what you want, you’ll need to settle on where to live. Our tips on how to find a home will help you pick the right neighborhood and even tell you how to give it a test drive! If you’ve already narrowed in on a neighborhood, you’ll want a real estate agent, and we’ve got the questions you must ask before you hire one. Once you’re on the house hunt, our Q&A can help you through every step of buying a home. From dealing with agent fees, how much to bid, managing mortgages -- even when it’s smarter to rent. You’ll find home buying help for every sticky situation. In addition to tips on buying a house, we’ve also got advice on selling your old one. Take a peek at our advice on organizing an open house, the dos and don’ts of selling it yourself, and our handy selling your home checklist. Our tips on buying a house will take you right through to the end, from dealing with inspections to making an offer. Once you’re ready to make your move, check out our moving checklist and the first things you should do in your new space. Welcome home!

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Real Estate Q&A: Real Estate Agent Fees?

Q.

Who pays the real estate agent fees?

A.

The bulk of the fees are the seller's responsibility. When a house is put on the market, the sellers usually sign a contract with a real estate broker -- fees are typically from 3 to 6 percent of the purchase price -- to take care of advertising, showing the property, and negotiating with the buyer. The bright spot: Realtors and real estate agents used to deal only in exclusive listings, but with web-based databases and other multiple listing services, you can sign nonexclusive deals for lower rates.

If you're a potential buyer, most brokers will not charge you fees to show you properties. However, depending on what state you live in, some brokers require a flat administrative fee from you upfront or a "retainer" that gets paid out against their commission --- which is a percentage of the seller's proceeds -- at closing.

-- The Nest Editors

See More: Buying a Home , Just Moved , Money , Real Estate , Real Estate Q&A