Profile picture for user797434

Buyer paying the selling agent a bonus PLEASE HELP!!!

Hello All,

I come with a question about the legality of an issue that seems to be a common practice around my area. I am looking to buy a house in Miami and have found myself in a very odd situation, I am getting beat by lower offers over the same house even when I had submitted my offer prior to the winning option. I have been asking around to some friends, and it seems like lately buyers are paying the selling agents a "bonus" to pick their offers over others. I am becoming extremely frustrated by the situation as I have the credit worthiness, pre-approved credit letters, good financial and stable situation, and have found at least 4 properties that meet my budget and expectations, but over and over again loose the houses to buyers who end up closing for less than my offer. While I really go against offering the selling agent a bonus to consider my offer, I have started to ask myself if it is legal. If it is, I am being left with no choice but to start doing so, any answers, comments or suggestions are extremely appreciated. I even tried to report this to the realtor's association, but guess what... I need to pay a fee to open an investigation, this is completely insane.

Thank you all in advance
  • July 30 2012 - Miami
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Answers (10)

Profile picture for wetdawgs
Are you represented by a buyer's agent?  (The buyer's agent should be able to tell you about seller's agent bribes.)

Do you have any contingencies in your offer (e.g. financing, inspections) or request for seller assist with closing costs?

  • July 30 2012
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
I do not like what I am hearing.  Certainly your buyer agent must be able to advice you as to what to do.   
  • July 30 2012
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Not wanting to give any legal opinion here, but bribing a listing agent to take your offer is not a good idea.

#1 Make sure you are represented by a good buyer agent who knows how to structure an offer so that it has a good chance of acceptance.

#2 Be aware that the initially agreed price may not be the final price - prices get re-negotiated after inspections or under-appraising.

#3 Know that there is more to the best offer than the highest price. Cash purchasers, people with great credit or big down payments often get preference over a higher offer.
  • July 30 2012
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I think you and your friends are speculating as to why your offers are not being accepted. The highest offer is not always the most appealing. Many components of an offer are considered: type of financing, inspections, settlement date, etc. I would defer to your buyers agent to help you write your strongest offer, but would never suggest and don't believe you should consider, any type of compensation to obtain a home.
  • July 30 2012
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Profile picture for user797434
Thank you in advance for the quick response. My agent goes against it as well and strongly as I do, we believe that practice to be unethycal, and borderline illegal if not fully illegal, that is why I am asking the question. The only contingencies are the normal ones, such as inspection and credit approval, no help with closing costs, my offer goes along with a 2% escrow deposit and a 5% down, my credit score is way up over 750 and I make more than enough money to cover the mortgage, yet again we don't even make it that far. Our offers are not even been answered, we placed an offer twice on one single house and the two times we were outbid. Our contract had a 30 day closing date, the last one that beat us had 90 days and ended up closing for 10k less. We were offering full price as we liked the house a lot. Let me say, again thank you for the advise and for clearly stating the right wording "bribe", on the practice of paying a bonus. Your answers are appreciated, and I will not take that course. If anyone thinks we could raise this up to some kind of board that will keep this from happening, please let me know and I will be more than happy to go along with any course of action that might be needed.
  • July 30 2012
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There's absolutely nothing wrong with being competitive.  Think about this.  If you offered to release a portion of your earnest deposit upon contract acceptance, would it be any different?

For a traditional sale, a buyer needs every edge they can get.  If they're willing to write into the contract that they'll offer a signing bonus through the release of earnest monies that become non-refundable, then good for them.
  • July 31 2012
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Good Morning Buyer,

I can share your frustration given that I do work with buyers as well as sellers and stated here already, there are many considerations a seller takes into account when reviewing an offer. It is as much about the downpayment, loan type, conditions as it is the price. Most seller's goals are to obtain the highest net amount on their home, but also the strongest contract that they believe will close within the agreed timeframe. If I may suggest to you, contact your loan officer and ask that he/she provide you with a DU approval (Direct Underwriting approval), which is one of the strongest types of loan approvals that you can get. What this means is that your loan officer has received and reviewed all of your documentation for a loan, as well as your credit, employement and this information is inserted in a loan underwriting program and it provides the closest thing to a loan commitment. Sellers do tend to like this type of approval as it indicates you have gone through additional steps to ensure that you do in fact have the ability to purchase the home you are submitting an offer for. You may also want your offer to include a copy of your bank statements to show the seller that you also have the funds available to purchase the home. The key to this is to present with a picture of your strong ability to purchase the home. It does not guarantee your offer will be accepted, given how many buyers are looking to purchase homes , but it does increase your chances at getting the home you want. I also find that when forwarding an offer to a seller's agent, it is good to follow up immediately and speak with the agent to ensure it was received and then make the case for my buyer and why I feel my buyer is the strongest "candidate" for the home. Good luck in your search.
  • August 02 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Why hasn't your Agent filed a complaint?

If you believe your suspicions to have merit/be true I suggest you File a Complaint with the Florida Dept. of Business and Professional Regulation....
"The Bureau of Enforcement ensures compliance with the provisions of the law and attendant administrative rules by conducting investigations to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate the provisions of the law."
Real Estate Division..File a Complaint



If true it's my opinion every Agent/Agency involved should lose their license/be put out of business...



  • August 02 2012
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
Legally, and in the MLS, the "selling agent" is the "buyer's agent" and not the "listing agent", so if your agent is asking you to give money to the "selling agent", they are only asking for more money for themselves personally, and not for anyone else, and it will make absolutely no difference in whether an offer is considered nor accepted.

It sounds as if you should get a new agent instead.
  • August 02 2012
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Profile picture for user797434
I meant the listing agent, but thank you for your recommendation though.
  • August 02 2012
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