Real Estate Commission
Realtor fees are paid by the seller. When a home is listed for sale, the listing agreement between the seller and his agent outlines the real estate commission to be paid at closing.
All members of the Board of Realtors have an agreement that commissions will be split between the listing and selling companies. The broker collects the commission at closing and pays the agent based on the agreement between the broker and agent.
As a buyer, you have no obligation to pay real estate commission when purchasing a home that is listed in the Multiple Listing Service. Some buyers believe they will get a better deal by using the listing agent to buy a home. Since the commission is already negotiated between the seller and the listing agent, this is not usually a good idea. Having a buyers agent gives you representation with your own agent. The listing agent represents the seller.
For Sale By Owner
If you are interested in a For Sale By Owner property, you can still have a buyers agent. Most sellers are happy to offer commission to buyers agents since agent would be more likely to show those homes. It is important to have the agent contact the owner for showing information and to discuss the commission arrangement prior to you seeing the home.