Profile picture for TkNeo

Should i negotiate commission

We just bought our first home. It was a foreclosure. Our agent got paid 2.7% is commission. I had the property picked out. I used his help in visiting the property and negotiating with the listing agent etc.

I am looking to make an offer on an investment property now. I found out the property myself.

Do you guys advice that i negotiate the commission for this second property with him because i have found out the property in both cases ? I want him to get return me 1.5% after the deal is done. A couple people told me that they did this when they bought their house. I like my agent. He is hardworking. It's just that i feel like he is getting paid too much for the work he is doing. Any advice is appreciated.

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September 16 2011 - US
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Answers (40)

Some agents here are missing the point.  In most states rebates are legal.

You don't have to agree with them and you don't have to do business with anyone who insists using them.  However, if you choose to dig in your heels regarding how we are traditionally paid, you risk losing business these days.  If you don't feel threatened by this,great -then there is no reason to be defensive regarding them.
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September 20 2011
There are a lot of answers and a good dose of vitriol in this tread at this point.  

When a property is listed, the seller agrees to pay X% of the sales price in commission to his/her agent's brokerage, who in turn agrees to share Y% of that money to the agent who brings the buyer.  Any reduction of the buyer's agent commission (I'm not talking rebates here) would only benefit the SELLER.

The analogy of the waitress is a good one.  Do you tip the same waitress less because she waited on you before?  No, because the tip is based on that particular purchase, not the previous one or an accumulation of all of the times you've eaten at that restaurant.

Now, if you use this same agent to later sell these investment properties, by all means negotiate a break on your financial burden to your agent.

Also, I always caution people to be careful in assuming someone doesn't work as hard as they really do.  As with all professions, there is a lot more to the job than meets the eye to those on the outside.  If you think it's as easy as you say, then do it yourself and see what happens. I'm not saying you can't do it, but you need to ask yourself...do you want to?

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September 19 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
Thanks for the link Dunes. There is quite a difference between paying unlicensed people a real estate commission and a buyer rebate. It would have been nice if Mr. Paog was a little more clear upfront.
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September 19 2011
Profile picture for Dunes....
South Carolina where Mr. Poag is from..

"Previously, South Carolina state law prohibited a real estate broker from paying a rebate to any unlicensed individual, apparently to prevent unlicensed individuals from acting as real estate brokers. In June 2006, the South Carolina Legislature changed the law, which now clarifies that real estate brokers may pay consumers rebates as long as they do not pay unlicensed persons to perform real estate services"
Dept.of Justice...What are the Laws in your State
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September 19 2011
Profile picture for SoCal Engr
"An experienced agent will save you more money in the long run by negotiating a better purchase price."

How can this be, when we've all been told that what an experienced REA does best is get the most for the seller, up to 32% or more according to some sources.

From the bastion of RE information...

"The typical FSBO home sold for $140,000 compared to $199,300 for agent-assisted home sales."

And then, there's this one...

"As for profit after all is said and done, FSBOs don't always come out with fatter wallets. Again, the numbers tell the truth.

"Homes sold with the help of a real estate professional in 2006 sold on average for 32 percent more than FSBO sales. The median FSBO selling price in 2006 was $187,200, compared with $247,000 for agent-assisted transactions."
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September 19 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
" a "gift" or "rebate" in-excess of a typical closing gift (+/-$100) from a brokerage or agent is a violation, and possibly illegal, although I forget what the technical term for it is called--that doesn't mean it isn't done"

I would appreciate it if you would look that up and post a link to that information or law. Many commission rebates are available through large companys like redfin or even Costco. I do not believe that if they were illegal that they would be allowed to operate. So an informational source would be appreciated.
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September 19 2011
Profile picture for SoCal Engr
@ The RYAN POAG Group...

"Because a listing agreement is a unilateral contract between the seller and the listing agent's brokerage firm..."

Since you seem to want to use this phrase, you might want to Google "unilateral". I'm unsure how it can be "unilateral" when there are two parties involved, and both sides have to agree to the terms for them to be put in place.
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September 19 2011
Dear TkNeo,
This is a typical question. Because a listing agreement is a unilateral contract between the seller and the listing agent's brokerage firm, you are not a party to the contract, and therefore are unable to negotiate its terms. You may be able to convince the Realtor that's working on your side of the transaction to reduce the commission they'll take from the listing agent's brokerage, but unless the listing agent's brokerage changes their agreement with the seller to reflect that change, it won't make a difference in the total commission the seller is paying--even if you Realtor does reduce what they'll take (without this change, the listing brokerage will just keep the difference, making no change to the seller's net). Another thought--some agents do cut their commissions, and, those folks should!

Keep in mind also, that the listing agent has agreed through their MLS agreement, to compensate the buyers' agent a set fee (be it a percentage of the price, or flat fee). This is another agreement to which the buyer (nor seller) is party to.

If you can convince your agent to convince the listing agent's brokerage to adjust the listing agreement with the seller, which isn't impossible to do, but it will leave you looking "predatory" as a buyer. Unless you're talking about an extremely expensive property, it won't make a large difference in your net offer--you're only talking about a two-percent difference. $4,000 on a $200,000 home is very trivial in your mortgage payment, and in the seller's net. But that one percent to each brokerage/agent will be substantial to them.

Lastly, it is my understanding that in most states, and/or in accordance with the Realtor Code of Ethics (and possibly other federal laws), a "gift" or "rebate" in-excess of a typical closing gift (+/-$100) from a brokerage or agent is a violation, and possibly illegal, although I forget what the technical term for it is called--that doesn't mean it isn't done..... Paying a "commission" or any sum that could be construed as a commission, to a person without a license is highly illegal.

I hope this is helpful info!Best luck on your home-buying!
Sincerely,
Ryan Poag
The RYAN POAG Group
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September 19 2011
Profile picture for hpvanc
As someone who has worked as an independent consultant, I know that my compensation is based on both what my skills are worth, and what services the client needs to buy versus what they are willing and can handle for themselves.  TkNeo, seems to be indicating that he/she is not using the full range of services an agent offers and there is also a very low risk for the agent to work a significant number of hours for no pay on the transaction he/she is describing.  In almost any other industry TkNeo could expect a discount even in a growing economy.
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September 19 2011
hpvanc
I totally agree that millions of Americans have been devalued, downsized and shut out.  My husband and I are both self-employed in the real estate business (I as a Realtor and he as a framing carpenter) and we've been hit pretty hard. That's why I try to protect every percentage of my commission I can, and every dollar that I earn is appreciated.  When you are self-employed, there is no unemployment check waiting for you when you don't sell a house.  So you just have to work harder.
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September 19 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
Free markets adjust. The other "protected" markets, not so much.
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September 19 2011
Profile picture for hpvanc
Real Estate Agents:

Strangely enough there have been a lot of people in the US that have had almost this exact scenario happen to them in the last 5 years: "showed up for work one day to be told that you were going to get half pay for the same amount of work you got full pay for last week" or they were forced to accept a new job often doing the exact same thing that in many cases paid less than half of what they were previously making. 

Markets do adjust, if you want a real estate example, how many property owners are if forced to sell now will have to accept around half of what they paid for the exact same property?


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September 19 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
"Do you understand the legality of a contract?  Do you know how to property complete a contract?  Do you work with lenders, appraisers, attorneys in order to bring the transaction to closing?  Do you understand title issues?"

Yes. Yes. Yes and yes I do. Generally, I still hire a licensed agent. Do I get a prize?

I would suggest that you be careful about implying or stating that real estate commissions are not negotiable. That is dangerous antitrust territory that the RE industry has been aware of for years. It is not secret to anyone who has bought/sold real estate that agents "coordinate" their "minimum" commissions, but saying that out loud can end you up in hot water fast. It is illegal.
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September 19 2011
Profile picture for Dunes....
"Realtors negioate properties, not commissions."


Good to know that Members of the National Association of Realtors don't negotiate Commissions..Thanks, I'll be sure to let the Dept.of Justice know that because I don't think they got that Memo..

Again...Dept. of Justice

 Rebates Make Buying a Home Less Expensive.

Calculate how much you can save     What are the laws in your state?
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September 19 2011

These days, everything is negotiable, but I think the better point is this:  An experienced agent will save you more money in the long run by negotiating a better purchase price.  What we get paid by the seller has already been accounted for when the house goes to market.  A cost of doing business , if you will.  Asking your agent to give up a portion of his/her commission is rude imho.  How would you feel if you showed up for work one day to be told that you were going to get half pay for the same amount of work you got full pay for last week?  Do you tip a waitress 15-20% for her service?  If you let the agent do his job, and you do say that he is hardworking, and get paid what he is owed, he will keep you at the top of his client list so that you are the one he calls when a hot investment property hits the open market, or even before it does.  Business is a two way street.

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September 19 2011
If you are flipping or investing then you know the way to cut costs are in other areas.  Realtors negioate properties, not commissions.  I agree with the comment below that if it's that serious for you then you should get the education, pay the dues and earn your own commission.  It's not up to you to dictate what the agent gets paid.  Finding a property is only 1 step of many a Realtor does when working for you.  Do you understand the legality of a contract?  Do you know how to property complete a contract?  Do you work with lenders, appraisers, attorneys in order to bring the transaction to closing?  Do you understand title issues?  Please understand there is more to a transaction that locating a property and making a paycheck. 
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September 19 2011
Profile picture for TkNeo
sunnyview , your point is well taken :)

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September 16 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
Look the "seller pays commission" is a silly argument so lets put that aside for now. If you do not want to pay for an agents services, you need to become an agent yourself, negotiate a lower professional fee or select a property that is not listed by an agent. Agents have a right not to sell their professional services by the hour. They also can choose not to cut their commission. Ultimately, agents will get paid whatever the market will bear. Right now that's about 3% for each side in the typical sale.

You're a smart guy TkNeo so you already know that fighting is expensive because it wastes valuable time. You have other options when buying real estate without a full commission. This is America. Choose one of those.
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September 16 2011
The links don't work.

All I'm saying is; you as a willing Buyer of the Seller's marketed asset don't have a means, or a need, to negotiate the constraints since they are all parts of seperate contracts and/or arrangements that you are not a party to. You do, as a potential buyer of a sellers asset, and a party to any offer to purchase that you originate, have a means to negotiate the lowest price, and and a constraint of your own, called seller contributions.

Now, if you have hired a Buyers Agent that you intend to pay out of pocket the matter becomes a different can of worms. I don't think that is the case we were discussing.
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September 16 2011
Profile picture for TkNeo
Hamp, It appears that you are involved with commissions in real estate transactions. Therefore, i advice you to understand the link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effect_of_taxes_and_subsidies_on_price
http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/taximpact.htm

Taxes, subsidies, commissions etc are constraints and their presence affects both buyers and seller. What is the division between the buyer and the seller depends on the shape of the demand supply curve. The links explain somewhat more.

And please stop saying things that you don't know the meaning of. When you guys say things like "seller pays all commission" or "buyer pays all commission" thats when i start to think , why am i paying this guy $5,000.
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September 16 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
My advice is that if you are going to be doing a lot of investing is might be smart to find an agent that is willing to rebate part of their commission. If you are upfront, willing to streamline the transaction, you may find an agent that is willing. I do not know if you have redfin in your area, but I believe that they rebate commissions and Costco does too here.

You would have to cost it out, but you can also consider getting the license yourself and seeing if you can park it with a smaller brokerage since you will not be full time. You have your MBA so maybe you can work out a deal that saves you money and works for the broker too.
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September 16 2011
The OP's request for advice is straightforward enough and the defensiveness of agents who don't agree with the whole rebate thing does not reflect well on REAs in general.
You don't have to agree with rebates, you don't have to be part of any transaction with a buyer who requests this (assuming your broker allows this) but what the heck is your problem with brokers, agents and their buyers who choose to do business this way?

This is a competitive business during tough times.  You can either do what it takes to compete with others who are willing to be flexible with their business model or hope that the status quo continues to work for you but no one has a right to put down others who dare to challenge that business model, IMHO.
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September 16 2011
A person who says the Buyer pays the commission must have failed Business Law 101 and be illiterate. A person who says it doesn't affect the Buyer may have slept through Semantics 101.
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September 16 2011
The terms of the sale and the commisssion will be determined at the time you execute the contract.  Closing is too late to change those terms. 
Keep in mind that Real Estate Agent is an educated, licensed professional. He represents YOU in the transaction for your best interests.
It sounds like you would rather do your own transaction, but feel that you can save money by USING a professional for a kick-back.  I am suprised that you have not just by-passed your agent and asked for a kick-back from the listing agent.  Based on your math, THAT is who is making way too much money for their efforts.  I'm guessing that they don't return your calls.
Of course, you could pay for a RE licensing education, pay to join the local real estate board, pay the costs of being affiliated with a RE broker, then you could buy your own property and collect the entire commission (after brokers fees) just for writing a contract.  Sounds simple enough. You should be rolling in dough in no time.
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September 16 2011
There are expenses related to the business that the gen public usually doesn't consider. Congrats on your educational achievements. Good luck with your investing. Have your receptionist get a license.
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September 16 2011
Profile picture for TkNeo
The person who says

"The seller pays the Commission so it doesn't affect you " must have failed in economics 101. In return they want to be highly paid.
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September 16 2011
Profile picture for TkNeo
Thanks for your reply Hamp. I have a double Masters including an MBA from #1 school in the country. I am not overpaid as its hard to find a replacement for me with a lower salary. I bet i can find many people willing to accept my realtor's job and salary and will be able to perform just fine.

I have a sincere request for you and to all other realtors on this forum. Since the beginning of my home buying process, multiple times i have across this statements like "there is a lot more to real estate process than i think" , there is a LOT of work involved etc etc. In my case it was a bank owned property and the entire transaction is explained in my post below. I have been involved in every step of the transaction so far and i disagree with those statements.

As an experienced person, I want you to STATE what you find hard about the job of the realtor in this transaction. Lets hear it. Be specific. Say more than "there is a lot more than i think". I am happy to be proven wrong which is why i posted on this forum to make sure what i do is fair and appropriate. But all i've heard is sweet nothings.

I am sure there are some "super complex transactions" where there is a lot of work. But then, why a flat rate ? Let's do it by the hour ?
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September 16 2011
Profile picture for Dunes....
Rebates are not "Kickbacks" or an attempt to ripoff Agents if done correctly..they are an option that is a Legal option in a Number of  States ( A Majority of States) and offered by a number of Realtors/Agencies/Brokers who belong to NAR, pay dues and have the same Code of Ethics..

From the Dept of Justice

"Ten states forbid buyers' brokers from rebating a portion of the sales commission to the consumer. Eight states require consumers to buy more services from sellers' brokers than they may want, with no option to waive the extra items. HUD recently clarified its rule that rebates are permissible under RESPA as long as they are reported on the HUD-1 form."
 What are the laws in your state?"

HUD explains that rebates are permitted by RESPA

Competing models of real estate brokerage

That being said TkNeo the time to discuss or negotiate Rebates or Commission amounts is when you SELECT the Agent you use... before you use them not after you use them

Doesn't matter what your opinion is about they  didn't do that much, the proper way..the right way is to discuss these thing (Like Rebates) when you first interview or meet an Agent..That's your Responsibility

You don't wait until the Closing


AND..This "The seller pays the Commission" so it doesn't affect you , Agent is Free for the Buyer stuff is just so Lame IMO every Agent that uses it should have to wear a Dunce Hat for his photo
Agents use Silly Logic like that to get Leads, to influence people, sometimes to mis-lead them & then wonder why so many of the Public do not take them seriously..Well DUH!


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September 16 2011
You don't need an agent. You sound like you know enough to go it alone. My point was that you receive the same benefit by paying less for the house, and you don't have to offend your supposedly hard working agent by calling him greedy. If a 1.5% reduction of your offer costs you the deal then buy a different house. By the way, your agent may think you're overpaid but I doubt he will call your boss and ask that you get demoted. Sorry if this doesn't make you feel better, but there is more to the picture than finding the property. If you're going to be a Re investor. get a RE license and them maybe you'll better relate to the whole picture.
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September 16 2011
Profile picture for TkNeo
That makes no sense. I would like to try to keep my offer as high as i can in hopes of getting my offer accepted.
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September 16 2011
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