The majority of real estate agents get paid on a commission-only basis. This means that agents do not earn an income for working with a client until they close a sale. This can be true whether the agent represents the buyer or the seller in a transaction.
In most cases, real estate agents have to split the commission with the broker or company they work for. Real estate agents typically earn a percentage of the final sale price as their commission; a percentage of this commission is then given to the broker, while the agent receives the remainder. The exact amounts vary based on the terms of the contract between the agent and the broker.