It's illegal right now in New Jersey, but pending legislation would allow real estate brokers to pay clients a portion of their commissions at the close of a deal.
New Jersey is one of just 11 states that don't allow the incentive, said Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Union), one of the bill's sponsors. It would be up to the individual real estate agent to decide whether to pay the client and how much.
"We're trying to help the real estate market and to allow real estate agents and brokers to make deals happen," Scutari said.
The bill (S139/A373) cleared the Senate Commerce Committee. It has passed the Assembly and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Senator Scutari's comments don't address the fact that the bill would only allow real estate brokers, not most real estate agents, to make rebate offers. It is not clear if the intent is to allow an individual real estate agent to offer rebates with the permission of his/her broker of record.
There are many consumer rebate real estate firms across the country. They are typically not full-service real estate agencies, but offer the rebate to home buyers who are willing to do the home search and view properties on their own, making their own appointments and arranging for access, etc. The real estate agent provides assistance in submitting the offer, answering questions via phone or email and coordinating the closing.
Many first-time home buyers need lots of guidance and people relocating to a new city often want an agent with keen market knowledge of local schools and neighborhoods. But proponents believe a large number of people will embrace a firm offering limited service because it comes with a big rebate.
What do you think? Would an incentive like this appeal to you as an option on a menu of services offered? Would you engage a real estate firm that was not "hands-on" or available to provide real estate expertise face-to-face?
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