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Do realtors accept a daily rate for showing houses with no other committments?

I'm not ready to commit to working with a realtor that shows me a house at this point.  At the same time I want to compensate them for their time for spending an afternoon showing me houses.  Does anyone ever do this?  If so, how much is fair?

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February 08 2013 - Flower Mound
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Answers (22)

Congrats. There is always someone in the market place who is willing to offer only the services the consumer desires.
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May 02 2013
Profile picture for user6475078
I ended up not paying the day rate.  After all of my internet research, open houses, and neighborhood drives, one house was a clear favorite.  My realtor and I walked through it and made an offer.  He got a 1.5% commission since I did all of the time consuming part of his job.  The seller lowered the buyers commission and the price of the house by 1.5%.  Saved me $10,000. My agent sold a big house in an afternoon, and I've sent him 3 referrals since.  He is hiring a partner to keep up with all of the word of mouth business these discounts are getting him. 

I would have paid the the day rate if there were several houses I was seriously considering.  Maybe this role will evolve as the industry changes.

Thanks everybody for the advice.
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May 02 2013
Since this question was posted several months ago, I hope he/she has determined the answer by now.
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May 01 2013
Offer them 500 dollars a day, they will probably accept that.  
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May 01 2013
I have a program to accommodate you.  Please send me your email address and I'll send info.
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May 01 2013
- The Procuring Cause issue of the listing agent getting both sides of the commission just for unlocking a door seems a little dishonest to me and I bet I'm not alone.

It may seem that way, but - it's not.

Here's the theory: seller contracts with broker to sell property. Broker then markets the property, including submitting it to co-brokerage through the MLS. They put signs up, they get it on the internet, they do everything that brings the property to the public's attention.

Buyer shows up and buys property. Broker has earned the commission. Not "double-siding," earned. All of it. They did what they were contracted to do.

Buyer shows up with a co-operating broker who did not show them the property, co-operating broker may now claim to be party to the commission. Now, I ask you - is it "honest" for a "co-operating" broker to show up and claim part of the commission when they had nothing to do with showing properties to that buyer?


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February 10 2013
No. There is called a "one day listing" that must be signed by the seller which always an agent to have one day to represent the listing. The agent must send the form to their local mls so that the listing may be posted as a non mls one day listing.
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February 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
It is "dishonest" to "make" the listing agent do the work of the "selling" agent and not have any compensation of any kind for doing someone else's job.  And it is "dishonest" for a seller to hire an agent to represent them, and then try to go around the representative to create extra hassles for the seller that specifically and intentionally choose representation to AVOID speaking directly to any buyers.  If they wanted to speak directly to buyers, and only were paying to get a listing in the MLS, they would have played a flat fee to the broker for an MLS listing only and would have done FSBO, and pocket the remainder of what they would have spent on listing commissions.

I'm not an agent, so I don't really care...  but as a home owner, if I listed my house for sale with an agent, and you called me directly, any offer you gave would be flat out rejected.  You will note that when I posted to contact the owner dirrectly, I didn't say "phone" or "visit", I stated provide a firm WRITTEN "offer", and only for homes not listed for sale.  And the agent is still due the commission even if you bypass the agent 1 month after the listing is removed.  In some cases, up to 6 months, depending on the contract already signed by the seller.

You cannot change the seller's contract with their agent from the "buying" side.

I also can't imagine why a listing agent that is busy with marketing and signs and open houses and security and client solicitations and continuing education and broker opens and a myriad of other things should bother to "drop everything" on a whim of someone that refuses to let their own agent do their job..., would not just respond "the next open house is scheduled for.... .... you can see the property then", or perhaps "my next available appointment is .... ...., if you would like to see the property, that is the only time available, but you will need to sign the duel agent agreement and contract prior to the door being opened", or "I don't do duel agency, nor will my client accept duel agency on this listing, so if you would like someone else in our brokerage to show the home and represent you, I will have that person meet you instead, and you will need to sign the representation agreement at that time".

Really, if your 20 minute "visit" costs the agent "nothing" for their 3 hours of preparation, travel, etc, then what is the big deal about YOUR agent showing the property?????
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February 10 2013
Profile picture for user6475078
Thanks everybody.  Lots of good advice and I'll be using pieces of several comments.  Just to clarify, I'm not paying 1% on top of the built in buying agent's commission.  He is applying up to 2% toward closing costs.  No money will switch hands since the discount can not exceed the closing costs.  If there is discount left I may buy down the rate so I don't leave anything on the table.

I'll continue to use all of the online tools that are available and will have the listing agents show me a select few properties that I would seriously consider buying.  Mortgage qualification is not a problem.  

The Procuring Cause issue of the listing agent getting both sides of the commission just for unlocking a door seems a little dishonest to me and I bet I'm not alone.  If this seriously gets in the way, I'll be happy to contact the seller directly and let them know that I love their home and I'm ready to buy it.  The only thing holding up the transaction is their agent trying to make a double commission.  There is integrity in transparency and I would want to know that if I was the seller. 

Thanks everybody, I really appreciate your feedback.



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February 10 2013
I am certain that is not entirely legal and could get Realtors in trouble. While I think your intent is very honorable and technically 'fair', you are not obligated to buy anything with an agent's help because he or she showed it to you.

Also, think of it this way: While you might not be ready to buy at this point in time, if the way that Realtor was working with you impresses you, you are likely to choose to work with him and show them appreciation when you do decide to commit.
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February 09 2013
Profile picture for hpvanc
Does the agent you are hoping to use have partner agents, that can do showings for a fee?  That, as well as being willing to verify your qualifications and give a maximum price to the showing agent would seem to be necessary for the business model to work.

You may also want to confirm how you are recovering the difference between the 1% commission and the MLS selling agent commission.  Are you getting it as a rebate, is the intention to negotiate it out of the transaction price, or some other method (if the purchase price includes the MLS listing selling agent commission in an amount greater than the 1% your agent is collecting it needs to be legally documented in the HUD paperwork)?
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February 09 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
I unfortunately have to agree with Mack on this one... the "intent" of having a Supra lock box on the front door is to allow licensed agents to show the home to their client, with the knowledge that the person is really interested in buying a home and has the financial means to do so.

If just anyone could get an agent to show homes with no intent on buying?  Might this not be a scouting expedition for a thief?  Where would the liability be if something was damaged during the showing, or if there was a break in by any party after the showing?

It is also not a good idea to have the listing agent show it, unless it is a published "open house" due the the procuring clause issue.  Even if you get other representation later and the listing agent doesn't insist on both halves of the commission, there is a conflict of interest, and potential for misunderstandings, disagreements, and extra hassles.

If someone really wants to sell their house, they will have good photos posted on the internet.  And the exteriors and neighbors can be view from the Bing and Google images.  And the sizes should be indicated in the listings.  So your agent should really only need to show you those you have a strong interest in.

If you are interested in skipping the agent, you could get your own broker's and agent's license.

Or, you could approach home owners that are not selling with a firm written offer, interiors sight unseen.
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February 09 2013
Profile picture for SoCal_Engr
Had a follow-on thought...

Irrespective of whether you see the houses via the listing REA or figure out how to get another REA to "open doors" for you, you should still look to get at least pre-qualified with a lender. If I were a listing REA and you wanted me to show you the listing without REA representation, I'd be concerned that you're "really not serious". In other words, the pre-qual at least lets me know (a) that you have the ability to make a reasonable offer on the house, and (b) that you are at least serious enough to have talked to a lender.

Best of luck...
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February 09 2013
Hello user6475078,

I don't know of any real estate agents that receive a compensation for showing a house.  In my case, I will show a home, explain how I work and if they want to continue, then we will sign a document that explains my commitment. Hope this helps.
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February 08 2013
Thanks, 647; I'm also always looking for a better mousetrap, because there are always a few buyers and a few sellers trying to ensnare us into one!

Without the editorializing of hpvanc, real estate broker licensees are really just licensed to broker real estate. That is what we do. We broker real estate. Fortunately or not.

Personally, I think a good case could be made in front of a judge that a licensee is not empowered to open doors for people without a reasonable expectation of brokering the transaction.

The bulls-eye about real estate agents is: we are licensed to operate as salespersons under supervision of a real estate broker when it comes to transacting real estate. We are not really licensed to open doors for people, and if we do so, then I think a judge would look more favorably upon us doing so for a client of our brokerage rather than a third-party brokerage.
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February 08 2013
Profile picture for SoCal_Engr
"I figure going a la carte on the home viewing could get someone some extra cash without misleading them and save me a 3% commission. Win-Win."

With the current structure, I would not count on pocketing the buy-side commission. If you are looking at "traditional listings", then the commissions are already identified in the listing agreement. By foregoing your own REA, it's most likely that the listing REA will pocket both ends.

At the other end of the spectrum, what makes you think the seller is not already looking at the buy-side commission if you come in unrepresented? In my listing agreements, I negotiate a different commission structure for unrepresented buyers (i.e., those who my listing REA will handle). The listing REA still gets some extra commission, but the majority goes into my pocket...not the buyer's.

Granted, the "saved commission" into the seller's pocket (assuming they were smart enough to negotiate this into the listing agreement) may make it possible for them to accept a lower price and still realize their target profit, but...

I'm still not a huge fan of the existing compensation models for REAs, and especially the notion of employing a buy-side REA simply because "they're already paid for", but reality is-what-it-is. Unless you can find a REA that is willing to rebate part of their commission, I'm thinking your idea to "save the 3%" is a pipe-dream.
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February 08 2013
Profile picture for hpvanc
Unfortunately real estate brokerages aren't setup and are pretty much prohibited by MLS rules to do anything more than sell houses.  They aren't setup to offer professional services on a fee for services basis, and they aren't setup to represent a buyer without severe conflict of interest from the compensation structure. 

If we as consumers keep ruffling the feathers of agents that are strictly sales people, maybe some agent will start offering professional services, and figure out a way to offer those alternative services in a way that might actually work to represent a buyer.  After all, "buyer's" agency by commissioned sales person, isn't exactly helping their collective reputation.

A word of warning, if you get the listing agent to show you the property the listing agent may be entitled to both the listing side and the selling side of the commission based on Procuring Cause and/or MLS rules and standard contracts.  I assume that if you were able to find a licensed agent to show you properties on a fee for services basis you could contractually keep them from claiming procuring cause to collect the selling agents commission since they introduced you to the property, but you may need to get an attorney to write a contract for you.
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February 08 2013
Profile picture for user6475078
Mack, thanks for your insight into the industry. Using the listing agents is a good idea and I may do that. I was hoping to pay someone to open doors for me and avoid the hassle of organizing several listing agents in the same day. I'm always looking for a better mousetrap and figured someone new in the business could use $50 an hour and some practice with "clients" they won't scare off.
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February 08 2013
Why not just have the listing agents show you houses, 647?

On the face of it, yours seems like a perfectly fine idea. In practice, from an agent's point of view, maybe not so much.

First off, real estate agents cannot be paid directly, it is the brokerage that gets paid. Many - if not most - are on splits with the brokerage, so that $200 which may be a fair price to pay can equate to $125 to the agent, which may not be worth their while.

Secondly, if I am managing a brokerage, I would have concerns about my agents performing non-brokerage related services such as this. Since the service you're asking for is specifically not brokerage-related (you have a broker that you are going to use), I'm not sure that it would be worth it to me as a manager to have my agents fulfill this role without the reasonable expectation of a transaction at the end.

I also think we step into a grey area here. Sellers have an expectation that they're opening their door to an agent representing a client, 
and I know that there are at least some sellers who would not be happy if a strange agent just "let someone in" to their home when they didn't actually represent the client.

Finally. In some markets, the agent that shows the property is considered "procuring cause," and is entitled to the brokerage fee even if they do not write up the transaction.

With that in mind, I wish you well.
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February 08 2013
Profile picture for user6475078
Thanks for the feedback guys.  Bruce, I may take you up on that.  I have a 1% agent that I trust and want to work with.  The only problem is it's only 1% if I find the home on my own.  I figure going a la carte on the home viewing could get someone some extra cash without misleading them and save me a 3% commission.  Win-Win.
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February 08 2013
Never heard of this, but I'm sure it can be done.
We have a couple of agents who could do this with you.
I'd probably say $200 is fair.   
Our agents typically put in about double the time they spend with you preparing.

Let me know if we can assist you.
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February 08 2013
I'm sure with a little effort you could locate an agent to show you properties on an hourly rate. You could probably find one on Zillow or Trulia...just be honest up front and tell them what you're looking for.  However, rather than paying out of pocket, just work with several agents and let them represent you only on the specific property they introduce to you...that way you're not out of pocket for any payment and you will have an opportunity to get a feel for a number of agents. I suspect more agents would find this palatable than the hourly rate.
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February 08 2013
 
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