Bonus Commissions are a real Bonus
In today's real estate market many sellers and listing REALTORS® have become very generous in their attempts to bring attention to their properties. Bonus offers of compensation are a common place practice within our MLS. Unfortunately, many of these offers contain conditioning such as "if sold by" or "if full price offer".
MLS policy is clear - all offers of cooperating compensation shall be unconditional. Therefore, any such conditioning could make the listing broker liable to the cooperating broker for any bonus offer regardless of the conditioning.
One recent listing offered COTB-6% COBA-6% CONR-6% and in the broker's remarks it stated "6% compensation offered only if full price offer - 3% for any other offers". This conditioning is not acceptable as defined by the NAR MLS Model Policy and as such adopted by our local MLS. In this instance the cooperating broker may seek arbitration with the listing broker for payment of the 6% compensation in the event of a closing even at lower than list price.
Florida REALTORS® using the FAR-9 need to know that the commission spaces on the contract are not relevant in any way should there be a listing in the MLS. Those commission spaces are strictly to be used in the absence of a MLS listing. Therefore, any offers of compensation, including bonus offers, contained within the MLS is the compensation to be paid to the cooperating broker absent of a separate agreement between the brokers to the contrary.
19. BROKERS: The licensee(s) and brokerage(s) named below are collectively referred to as "Broker." Instruction to Closing Agent: Seller and Buyer direct closing agent to disburse at closing the full amount of the brokerage fees as specified in separate brokerage agreements with the parties and cooperative agreements between the brokers....... In the absence of such brokerage agreements, closing agent will disburse brokerage fees as indicated below. This paragraph will not be used to modify and MLS or other offer of compensation made by Seller or listing broker to cooperating brokers.
Our local association's MLS is currently monitoring and notifying listing REALTORS® and brokers of any listings containing such prohibited conditioning. However, listing brokers be aware - our association's staff cannot find all of these types of listings even with the assistance of another REALTOR® user that might report such a listing via the appropriate Report Data Error link within the user's MLS. Our local association wants to help eliminate the liability to their broker members by having such conditioning removed from our MLS.
Any fines imposed for such conditioning would be dwarfed by a successful arbitration award against the listing broker. As it is said, educations can be expensive. In this case, hopefully this information will help educate and thus avoid that high cost of education via paying a bonus commission that was conditioned.