Profile picture for JPyszChicago

Upfront retainer - what do you think?

Do you think Realtors should start charging an upfront non-refundable fee in a Buyer Agency? If so, how much you think it should be?
  • November 05 2012 - Chicago
  • 0
    0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

Answers (28)

If retailers start charging an admission fee just to 'browse', perhaps Realtors can charge a non refundable fee. But since real estate sales are performance based / commission based, it seems unlikely that the bulk of real estate agents would be successful with that model of business.
  • November 05 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Cindy Quinton
Yes, I think you should all start doing that....and then I WON'T. 

Viola! 

New business plan for me.
  • November 05 2012
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for TCharlemagneA
kinda awesome another way you people could get paid for doing nothing.
  • November 05 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for wetdawgs
If some agents decide to do that, it will be much easier to select which ones to interview.

I wouldn't mind paying an agent per hour for the work they actually do for me (and I would pick and chose) if they didn't  get a commission when the sale closes.
  • November 05 2012
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

I would never do that.  Showing property is just part of doing business.  If they buy - great.  If not - then ask for a referral.
  • November 06 2012
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

 It is true...some people take advantage of us -- it is so unfair and incredibly frustrating part of our job. An upfront non refundable fee is a NO for me.It just feels wrong...sorry.

  • November 06 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Do you think Realtors should start charging an upfront non-refundable fees.If tey can't keep there clinets by doing a good job then they should loose them. 
  • November 06 2012
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Lisa Lucky
I can't imaging requiring a fee to show a potential buyer property.  Your first goal should be to develop a relationship.  Requiring a fee is a poor way to start.  Showing property benefits you - you develop market knowledge, and if it is meant to be, a relationship with the client that can last a lifetime.
  • November 06 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

What if we actually good paid weekly  for every hour worked.
If you take the hours works divided into commission earned an hourly amount could be figured. On some deals it would be sad but on others it is awesome.
  • November 06 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for MicahHarper
Even if you wanted to I doubt that you would be very successful at getting buyers to pay it.  In the competitive world of real estate brokerage, with discount brokers and a "race to the bottom" mentality on commissions already at play, you would be placing yourself at a huge disadvantage.
  • November 07 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

 I think we have all been there and have thought about charging a fee but I don't think it would work. I can spend alot of time, energy and gas driving a client around to look at property then at the end of the day they say "thank you we will think about it"  Over the years I have become a pretty good interviewer and judge of character but it is still possible to get burned. Summer on the Cape, a non beach day and tourists get to thinking wouldn't it be nice to go look at a few houses. I think "tour guides get paid" why don't I ?  Then they want you to buy them lunch to boot!   
  In the end our value is our market expertise, negotiating skills and experience to ensure a smooth trouble free exchange. Perhaps since we don't have a diploma on the wall like a lawyer or Doctor would have we are not seen as the educated professionals we are.
   What would we charge per hour? Anything would seem high to a potential client but the same client won't think twice about paying a cleaning lady $30 an hour.  Sadly it is due to a general lack of respect for our profession. Plus everyone thinks we are millionaires, right.
  If a upfront fee was charged it could be reimbursed at closing?  It sure would help weed out the looky loos.
  • November 07 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Matt Laricy
I would say this would be a very unsuccessful practice if you started doing that.
  • November 27 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

In Denver, this is happening more and more, because our market has seen inventory fall 40% and buyers are climbing all over each other to purchase homes.  Here's the key, though.  The only way a client will consider paying a retainer fee (refundable at closing) is if you are EXCELLENT at what you do and can clearly document the value you bring to a transaction.  I have had multiple clients this year simply give up after months of searching and losing out in multiple offer situations.  That's expensive, because every client you choose to work with comes with an opportunity cost.  I do not (yet) charge a retainer, but in a hot market there is nothing unreasonable about it, as long as the value of working with you is clearly evident.  Agents are not commodities, any more than attorneys or doctors.  If a client wants the best representation (which invariably will save them money on the buy side, or make them money if they are selling), you find the very best agent you can and you hire that person to produce for you the results they have produced for others.  (Which, by the way, should be documented clearly online in places like your Zillow profile)
  • November 27 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

I havent seen a buyers agent do that but there are several agents in my market that charge a non-refundable deposit for the listing if it doesnt sell and if it does the money is credited back at closing. I am also seeing more agents charge transaction fees. I hope they continue so I can grow my business. :)
  • December 04 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

In San Francisco here we do have a "buyers agreement" but in reality it doesn't mean much in the grand picture. As far as charging up front for listings its very uncommon to due to unless you have paid upfront money to prepare the home for sale (painting, staging, reports, disclosures, etc.) and it was agreed upon in writing with the seller that in the even the property doesn't sell these out of pocket expenses are to be paid back to the agent (broker). I think we are a performance based industry so sometimes we roll with the punches but if you are servicing your clients correctly and guiding them through the transaction with full disclosure there should be no need for upfront fees. 
  • December 12 2012
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Chicagomillion5
Just like any good Attorney they charge a consultation fee, why can't realtor do that, what they do is as life changing as what we do! I'm all for the retainer!
  • April 11
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for sunnyview
"Just like any good Attorney they charge a consultation fee..."

Many top attorneys do not charge an initial consultation fee. Many more that do charge a fee are not worth one. Agents would have the same issue if they tried to charge buyers.
  • April 11
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Chaz Walters

I am not a lawyer, but even talking about it might be an anti trust violation.

  • 6 days ago
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for wetdawgs
"but even talking about it might be an anti trust violation."   Is "it" referring to discussion of alternative compensation models?     If the US Dept of Justice can do so, why can't agents and consumers do so? 
  • 6 days ago
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Chicagomillion5
The spectrum is so wide and with rising gas prices and a fallen market it's my belief because they know it's our fiduciary obligation to show anyway they do it and still go behind our backs with another agent. The sad part is, everybody else makes the money except the person who put in the hard work. The loan originator gets paid a hourly salary, the closer and title company gets paid an hourly salary, yet we have go pay for classes, annual dues, MLS fees and haven't made a dime. It's unfair, a retainer fee is necessary to cut out the buyers are liar format and even renters!
  • 6 days ago
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Blue Nile
"I am not a lawyer, but even talking about it might be an anti trust violation" -

Yes, clearly "not a lawyer", repeating blatantly intentionally false NAR propaganda suggesting one has to intentionally violate the Sherman Act in order to comply with it!  Talking about rate structures and fees in a public forum is not "fixing rates"; it is doing the exact opposite!  Refusing to talk about them implies that agents are doing back room "deals" at their board meetings, stating they won't accept less than a given percentage for commission.  Such implications are cause for investigation and prosecution.

Keep it in the "open" where it belongs; don't try to hide it implying that you are doing backroom rate fixing.
  • 6 days ago
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Blue Nile
"It's unfair, a retainer fee is necessary to cut out the buyers are liar format and even renters!" -

You are welcome to charge a retainer.  No one is stopping you.  If the potential client doesn't like it, they will just choose other representation.

"yet we have go pay for classes, annual dues, MLS fees and haven't made a dime" -

It is still the lowest cost easiest to enter licensed profession in all states throughout the nation.  Other licensed professions have much higher expenses and much more rigorous training and testing.  Even to be allowed to paint fingernails costs more!

As for "not making a dime"?  That is typical for most commissioned sales positions, regardless if licensing is required or not.  Until the sale is made, you haven't made the sale.  If you don't like the commission model, you are not required to use it for your business.  Many don't.
  • 6 days ago
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Chicagomillion5
Thanks. Very sound response
  • 6 days ago
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for wetdawgs
@chicagomillion5:

You are welcome to use any model for compensation you wish, and work with your colleagues for change in the current models.       45  to 120 h (depending on the state)  of classes  to be eligible to take a license exam is an incredibly low bar for entry of a field of your choice.     Many fields are 100x as much before getting a potential paycheck.     Every profession has costs to get there and stay there.

If your preference would be to work in an hourly position,  there are many choices.   The up side might not have as much potential, but you'll get paid from hour 1.
  • 6 days ago
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Blue Nile
"If retailers start charging an admission fee just to 'browse', perhaps Realtors can charge a non refundable fee." -

I've been to some stores,  swap-meets, and fairs  like that.  It makes sense to pay the admission fee for the wide variety of product available form multiple sources, especially clearance at discount that they don't want to haul back; IF you know what you are looking for and know you will be buying "something".  They may even make sense for "research" for future shopping.  Most of the retailers that participate in such things do it for "advertisement presence" and future "service" referrals rather than the mark-up on the products sold at such events and locations.  Though they might do high volume at such events, their profits still are relatively small or maybe only "break even" due to the low mark-ups.

One store I went to like that though, I wanted to know what stock they actually had, to know whether I was even interested or not.... they did let me in without the entry fee, and I saw the range of products, was not interested, and left without buying.  It was just "used junk" bought from multiple sources, and not much discount for being used either.
  • 6 days ago
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Blue Nile
"what do you think?" -

I've been thinking a lot about such websites as "gasbuddy.com"...  where one can see the prices quickly on a map, current for the day, without having to drive around to do comparative shopping.

Clearly not a violation of the Sherman Act!  And probably even a convenience to the gasoline resellers, as they can quickly see how their pricing lines up with their neighbors and cross-town competition, and what the price difference are for "shopping convenience" and "product brand".

Wouldn't it be nice if such a website existed for Real Estate services?  One could see their business location on a map, and could see their percentage range, and any "flat fees" offered, right there on the map!

Sure, no one shops on rates alone; but it still would be a great assistance, and would likely encourage more competition rather than rate fixing.

Maybe the 2 founders of Zillow that still have controlling interest would be interested in financing such a new venture?
  • 6 days ago
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Blue Nile
By the way; I would happily pay such a retainer IF:
1) I personally knew the agent, and the quality, efficiency, and accuracy of their work.
2) I knew for certain I was buying something in the area, and specifically what I was looking for, and that it was actually available in a price I could afford.
3) The total commission for buyer's side was "fixed"; possibly in the under $2k range.
4) The entire commission offered in the MLS listing would be refunded to me as the buyer for "overpayment of services rendered".

One investor that used to regularly post on Zillow stated he had an "arrangement" with his agent/broker, where the entire commission listed in the MLS for selling agent would get rebated to him for "overpayment of services rendered", as he had negotiated an hourly rate that he pays up front.  The agent likes it as he always gets paid and has no risk, and guaranteed repeat business.  The investor likes it as he never has to pay for services he doesn't need nor want.
  • 6 days ago
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Blue Nile
Speaking of "pay to enter" retailers...

Apparently the LA Computer Fair is now "gone".  They are apparently working on something else to replace it in the near future...

http://www.lacomputerfair.com/dev/schedule.html

http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-computer-fair-pomona

Old business models do occasionally become "obsolete", and it becomes necessary to develop a new business model, if one intends to stay in business.
  • 6 days ago
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.