House and real-estate are the largest purchases most people ever make. Saving even 1% on a $500,000 purchase will net you $5000.
Real estate transactions typically have seller-paid commissions of 5-6% to the real estate agents, often split 50/50 between the listing agents and the buyer’s agent. For several reasons, it’s difficult for a buyer to capture any part of this commission without their own agent. Walking into a listing and placing an offer will leave the listing agent with the full commission, and most will not be willing to reduce their commission to help the buyer.
The solution is to contract with a buyer’s agent who will agree to rebate a portion of their commission back to the buyer after the sale closes. The percentage of the rebate must be negotiated between you and your buyer’s agent based on your needs (see below).
$500,000 selling price, a 5% commission split 50/50, 10% broker fee, 50% commission split
Total real estate commission $25,000
Buyer’s agent commission: $12,500
- 10% agent’s broker fee: $1250
Remaining agent’s commission: $11,250
50% rebate to buyer: $5625.00
The rebate commission percentage should be negotiated between you and your buyer’s agent in advance and in writing. You must be clear and realistic about expectations for your agent.
Typical items for consideration that reduce the amount of work expected of the agent:
- You find properties yourself by searching online databases/listings
- You research properties / visit open houses without needing the agent
- You come up with offer price / terms on your own with little/no input from the agent
- You do not expect the agent to find listings for you, drive you around to showings, etc.
- Agent is not expected to participate in drafting P&S or closing documents.
Other potential items (may or may not be realistic, subject to discussion):
- You write and submit the offers yourself with the Agent’s name attached, but not requiring any action by the agent.
- You call/email listing agents and arrange showings without your buyer’s agent present.
Items in this second list may not be possible in your market.
- Finding rebating realtors may be difficult. (Should this site host a list?)
- Inexperienced buyers probably don’t know what’s involved, and may underestimate the work an agent would do.
- National chain RedFin offers buyers rebates, but at rates less than you might otherwise negotiate. (e.g. 25% of buyer agent commission).
- Asking around to random realtors will likely result in hostile responses, e.g. claims that “that is illegal” when it is not, “there’s no way, nobody does that”, to acting insulted at even the suggestion.
- There is some theoretical danger of a listing agent trying to cut your buyer’s agent out of their commission if they were not involved in “procuring the sale”.
States that ban realtor rebates (link): AK, AL, IA (multi-agent situation), KS, LA, MO, MS, OK, OR, TN
USDOJ page on rebates: https://www.justice.gov/atr/rebates-make-buying-home-less-expensive
Credit to dshibb on FWF for original post:
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