For those that aren't familiar with Realtors, in most instances, Real Estate Agents and Brokers typically don't charge buyers and sellers by the hour. Instead, they take a cut of the sales price—in the form of a commission.
The contracts buyers and sellers have with their agents determine the agents' commissions. The real estate fee is often split evenly between the buyer and seller agents, although a contract could stipulate that one agent receives more of the commission than the other. Bottom-line, unless there is some unique stipulation, Realtors only get paid when they successfully perform their service and a transaction is completed. These commissions are negotiated, but generally fall between 4%-6% of the sales price, and as mentioned that is split between the buying and selling agent. For example, on a $300,000 with a 6% commission split 50/50 between buyer/seller agents, then $9,000 would go to the seller agent and $9,000 would go to the buyer agent.
For most Realtors, this is their livelihood, they pay their taxes, feed their kids, heat their homes, buy their clothes, and fuel their car from these commissions. For other Realtors, they provide real estate services alongside other jobs or while retired, and the income generated by being a Realtor supplements their other sources of income. I am in the later category, I provide office management services for my brokerage Sundance Realty, I am a commissioned officer in the Army Reserves, and receive a modest amount of VA disability pay. These other sources of income provide for the needs of my family. So what am I doing with commissions produced through real estate services as a Realtor? Simple answer - charity!
I manage and write for a 501(C)4 non-profit organization called War Is My Business that seeks to help bridge the civil-military divide through the discussion of military concepts, principles, and tenets and how those relate to the business world. Around 70% of the commission will go directly into this account which will allow me to gather research materials, software, and support for the generation of content to reach a greater and greater audience, bridging the divide through discussion of conflict and commerce. I also offer the other 30% to go directly into a veteran/military charity of your choosing: Wounded Warriors, USO, Gold Star Families, VFW, homeless veteran organizations, whatever you desire as long as it is focused on veterans or the military.