Compensation Plans for Real Estate Agents


Are salaries a better idea than commissions? What's the best way to modify your compensation plan?


We've already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Compensation Structures for REALTORS®

Compensation Structures for REALTORS® (2017 National Association of REALTOR® Member Profile)

Compensation Plan Basics

Who Pays the Commission to the Real Estate Agent? (The Balance, Mar. 2018)

Methods of Compensating Real Estate Agents (The Balance, Feb. 2018)

Real Estate Agent Fees: Who Pays the Bill? (, Jun. 2017)

How to Negotiate a Realtor Commission (, Apr. 2017)

IRS Requires Reporting of Cooperative Commissions (National Association of REALTORS®, January 2016)

Cyclical Determinants of Brokerage Commission Rates (Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Jan. 2014) E

Agent Performance, Incentives, and Ownership (Journal of Housing Research, 2012) E

Don’t underestimate the role of individual agents in disruption in the real estate industry (Inman, May 1, 2014)

Compensation model crucial when creating real estate team (Inman, Apr. 24, 2014)

Why real estate’s agent-centric broker models are doomed, (AG Beat, Mar. 18, 2013)

Compensation Tips for Management Personnel (REALTOR® Magazine)

Salaries or Commissions?

Commission Splits of Real Estate Agents with Affiliated Firms (Journal of Housing Research, 2013) E

How Real Estate Agents earn 100% Commission at Keller Williams (Active Rain, Mar. 2013)

Common Commission Options (REALTOR® Magazine)

Pay Structures and Commission Split Shares (Economists' Outlook Blog, National Association of REALTORS®, Sept. 12, 2011)

Methods of Compensating Real Estate Agents - Commissions and Splits (

Compensation and Short Sales

HAFA Commissions Policies (Government Affairs, National Association of REALTORS®)

Freddie Mac Short Sales Commission Policy (Government Affairs, National Association of REALTORS®)

Fannie Mae Short Sales Commissions Policy and Appeals Process (Government Affairs, National Association of REALTORS®)

eBooks & Other Resources

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Ready-Made Employment Contracts, Letters & Forms (Kindle, eBook)

What Your CEO Needs to Know About Sales Compensation (Kindle, eBook)

Beyond 401(k)s for Small Business Owners: A Practical Guide to Incentive, Deferred Compensation, and Retirement Plans (Kindle, eBook)

Compensating the Sales Force (eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

The Retention Tool Kit (REALTOR® Magazine Tool Kit) — See “Structuring Compensation” section

REALTrends Broker Compensation Report (Castle Rock, CO: Real Trends, Inc., 2011) HD 1375 R22b

The real estate entrepreneur: everything you need to know to grow your own brokerage (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2007) HD 1375 P41

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The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.