Sorry.....I won't work for that!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC BK607690

 Hi folks. Today I want to talk about co-brokes. Now since this post will be about commissions, please let's not use specific percentages, we don't want to upset Sherman and his anti-trust crew. I'm going to be talking about principles anyway so amounts are not important.

First, I want to clear up a major misconception in our industry "I do NOT have to show your listing if the co-broke is less than I'm willing to work for." It is neither unethical or illegal for me to pass on showing your listing.

Do you believe that? Well, whether you believe it or not, it's true. BUT......and here's the qualifier.....I have to disclose this to my Buyer.

As primarily a listing Broker I have to make sure my Sellers understand this. In this more competitive market my Sellers must offer a competitive co-broke, for selling their property, or it will not get shown. That's a fact and they need to understand it. It's my job as their Broker to make sure they do. The co-broke is a market condition and we have to base it on what's happening in the market today.

Buyers are far and few between, in most markets, right now. If I have a good qualified Buyer I want to make sure that I get paid fairly for my services. Heck I can go sell them a new home and get z% plus a huge bonus. Why would I show them your listing only offering me x%?

"Broker Bryant how do we do this without harming our Buyer? If the property is just right for my Buyer then shouldn't I show it to him no matter what the co-broke is?" Well that's a good question. The answer is YES. Your job as a Buyer agent/broker is to find your Buyer a home that meets their needs. The commission should NOT come into play.

Do I have you confused yet? First I tell you, "you don't have to show them" then I tell you, "you must show them". What's up with that? 

What's up with that is the good ole' Buyer Broker Agreement(BBA). Folks, you really only have two choices. You can show your buyer EVERY listing that meets their parameters, whether they offer x%, y%, z% or 100 bucks. You cannot eliminate any of them. OR you can discuss with your Buyer up front how you get paid and what your minimum fee is. Then put it in writing and have him sign it(BBA).

I know what quite a few of you will say, "I already show my Buyer every property regardless of the co-broke." Do you really? Do you show them FSBOs? Do show them a listing offering you $500? Are you really willing to work for that or are you kidding yourself?

Folks, in order to do the best job for your customer/client, the commission needs to be removed from the equation. The only way to do that is to discuss commission before you go to work and have the Buyer agree in writing on what you are willing to work for. Then, when you see a listing with a less than adequate co-broke, just ask the Buyer if he wants to see it. That's it. It's not that difficult and it holds you out as a true professional.

One more issue to clarify. As a REALTOR® it is against our Code Of Ethics to use a purchase contract to negotiate a higher co-broke. You can't do it.

Again you have two choices. First, you can negotiate a higher co-broke PRIOR to showing the property. Make the call. You never know.

Secondly, if you have a signed BBA, the Buyer can ask the Seller to contribute towards your agreed upon commission. Or he can just ask the Seller for a closing costs contribution. The difference between your agreed commission and the co-broke is a Buyer closing cost and the Seller can contribute towards it as part of the purchase agreement. Very simple.

So that's it, Broker Bryant's crash course on co-brokes. What do think? Will this help you to up your game?

Below are a few of posts on BBAs and how to get them signed. Hope this helps. You knew I wouldn't leave you hanging didn't you?

Everything you need to know about BBAs and then some.

This post was inspired by Armando Rodriguez's post.

All content copyright © 2007 - Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

OK so the picture has nothing to do with the post. BUT Christopher Walker made it for me and I LOVE it!!

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 Tutas Towne Realty, Inc handles Florida real estate sales, Florida short sales, Florida strategic short sales, Florida pre-foreclosure sales, Florida foreclosures in Kissimmee Florida Short Sales, Davenport Florida Short Sales, Haines City Florida Short Sales, Poinciana Florida Short Sales, Solivita Florida Short Sales,  Orlando Florida Short Sales, Celebration Florida Short Sales, Windermere Florida Short Sales. Serving all of Polk, Osceola and Orange Counties Florida. Florida Short Sale Broker. Short Sale Florida.

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Comments (49)

Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL
Your going to laugh at this one.  We have a listing offering 3.5% to the cooperating broker (true story) - we get a contract where the cooperating agent writes 1.5% - we ask her why she is doing that and she responds that's what she wants to make on the deal.  We present it to our seller and he says, "Great! more money for you guys!"  - whatchathink?
Sep 25, 2007 02:03 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Bryant,

I agree about getting the BBA signed up front. I have yet to have to get my commission from the buyer and really don't look forward to the day that I have to require them to pay me. I did have the situation once where my client wanted to see a home that was listed at 1% commission. I thought it was a mistake and called about it. The listing agent told me that it was right and, if I wanted more I should get it from the buyer. The listing just expired last week.
Thanks for the post. Now I have to go read Armando's.

Sep 25, 2007 02:36 PM
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

Good post. Some time ago we got out of the habit of using the term "comission". Instead we've been using "fee for professional services" every sense. Probably doesn't mean much to some clients... at least not as much as it means to us, but we try.

Think you BBA discussion is right on. Also the rest of your post is exactly what we've learned about how it's supposed to be done. This is not a state thing, it's pretty much the same everywhere that I can see.

Don't know who the two clowns are in the photo here, but the rest of this is square business outside of the circus tent.

Thanks...  

Sep 25, 2007 02:37 PM
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

Checking the costumes for Halloween?

You know you're in real trouble if you put on to much weight for you pig suit!

Parts of this blog sound familiar.

uvalhaBill

Sep 25, 2007 04:05 PM
Ana Connell
G & C Properties - Burbank, CA
Burbank Real Estate Agent

Great post and advice BB!

Lol, love the picture of you and TLW!!! 

Sep 25, 2007 04:57 PM
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate
Bryant, great post. We have used the BBA for over ten years for this very reason. I wrote a presentation for the agents and serious buyers have no problem signing it. I'm always amazed that Realtors work, primarily, "Exclusive Only" with Sellers, yet will work "Open" with buyers....?
Sep 25, 2007 10:56 PM
Janie Coffey
First Coast Sotheby’s International Realty - Ponte Vedra, FL
Uniting Extraordinary Homes w/ Extraordinary Lives
BB great point.  I am stunned all the time when I come across sellers, often as the 2nd or 3rd agent after previous unsuccessful listings whose listings had below market co-brokes and they didn't know, didn't understand, etc.  When I show them the competition in their area and what the co-brokes are a light bulb goes off in their head when theirs sticks out like a sore thumb.  Do you know what they say to me?  "why didn't my previous agent tell me that?"  I have even asked them why they went with a lower commission vs, let's call it traditional commission and they tell me, "the agent just offered it".... so they would have even gone with the going rate.  My business partner and I will NEVER offer less than than the going rate, even if we take less, the co-broke never ever goes below that point....
Sep 26, 2007 01:29 AM
Virginia Halter
RE/MAX Signature Properties - Harrisburg, NC
ABR, CDPE, CRS, GREEN, SFR, SRES

I tell my sellers everyday, "We can not short the buyer agent commission.  We will not get shownm.  Right or wrong, it will lose a good bit of the buyer pool.  We do not want that!

And, yes, there is a paragraph on the Buyer Agency Agreement (in NC) specificallystating that my compensation is X amount. 

 

Use it.  That is wht we have it. 

Sep 26, 2007 01:29 AM
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager
Bryant, I have seen agents use the contract to get an unusually low co-broke brought up.  They claim that the seller wouldn't respond to anything but a written offer with the changes.
Sep 26, 2007 04:37 AM
John S.
RealtorRatingz.com - Canandaigua, NY
BB, another great post.  I love that you are all about DISCLOSURE.  Tell the client what you are going to do, then do it; don't try to hide anything or pretend you are putting the client's needs first if you actually are not. I wish financial planners would also follow your guidelines; I can see it now: "Mr. Customer, I will only be showing you mutual funds that have a front-end load of at least x%".  I have a feeling that day will never come.
Sep 26, 2007 09:44 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Jeff, These agents need to read the COE. They are in violation no matter what your State's laws are. The co-broke commission is between the listing broker and the selling broker. Placing a an increased co-broke request in the contract is interfering with my listing agreement with my seller and they shouldn't do it.

Virginia, Sellers certainly need to know this. It's our job to make sure they do.

Janie, I too hear this all the time. It's mind boggling!!! I hear it about price too. I guess some agents just go over and agree to any thing the seller says and then they wonder why they can't sell the property.

Joe, I think the BBA is more of a problem for agents than buyers. A buyer just wants to buy a house why wouldn't they sign one if it will help them? It's all in the presentation and the timing. Build trust first and then get that sucka signed.

Thanks Ana. I look cute as a pig. Oink oink!!!!

Hi Bill, I think I'm already larger than the pig.

Hi Gary, I like "professional fee". Of course I like what ever we call it as long as I can deposit it:)

Andrew, A signed BBA sure gives us a better standing with our Buyer. And really you don't have to enforce the commission clause but sure is good to know you can if necessary.

Ines, That is strange!!! I've never had that happen. Was the REALTOR(R) new and confused? I believe as a Broker I would honor the co-broke I placed in the MLS regardless of what the agent requested. Remember it's their Broker's money. I'm sure the Broker would be pissed to find out his agent gave away 2%.  

Armando, I disagree with you on this. Maybe you are asking too soon. Take them out and show them some properties, build trust and let them get to know you then getting the BBA in place should be a piece  of cake. The BBA is to their advantage. It lets them know you are serious about helping them find a home. It takes the relationship to a new level. The commission clause is really a very small portion of the BBA. And it's certainly not the most important part. In fact, scratch it out. You can put it back in after you are comfortable getting the agreement signed.

Carole, In my market you would be taking a huge risk. There are many properties on the market offering extremely low co-brokes. I completely agree with finding my buyer a home being my top priority BUT I should also be paid fairly for my efforts. My buyers would want me to.

Hi Lisa, You are right on the money. I hope you are doing well.

Sharon, I agree. Give them back the overage. That's another buyer advantage to the BBA. Hey I saw your smiling face today in our Florida Realtor Mag. Congrats on the exposure!!!

Hi Sally, Do what works for you. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Sep 26, 2007 10:08 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time
Hi John S, No surprises from me. I lay it all out on the tbale. The consumer deserves no less than that. God to see you my friend.
Sep 26, 2007 10:22 AM
Timothy Butterworth
Taking a break - Portland, OR

Just curious on how long homes can sit in your area when they don't get shown. I know that is vague but on average. Here we are starting to see some homes hit the six month mark, but they are truely over priced.

 Great food for thought.

Sep 26, 2007 02:22 PM
Todd Clark
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

I've had clients that I would go to the end of the world for and I give them everything despite commission. There are others that are on the verge of me telling them to take a walk and I do either have them sign an agreement to pay me a certain amount or only show them homes that pay me so much.

I have never meet an agent that doesn't do the math on the way to the listing to see how much they will get paid if the buyer loves this home. Your points as usual are well taken and hopefully listened to buy buyers agents that don't use a buyer's agreement.

Sep 26, 2007 06:05 PM
Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC
Hi Bryant,
What can I add that has not been said by you or others?  I can't think of anything more except--Amen!
Sep 26, 2007 11:26 PM
Rebecca Savitski
BSR Real Estate Group - Cary, NC
NC Real Estate Listings
You are so on the money with this post. Disclose upfront all fees and for the most part your buyers know how many properties you have shown them and how hard you have worked they want you to earn an appropriate amount of commission.  Another great BB post. Have a great day.
Sep 27, 2007 12:29 AM
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager

On one of my first deals I didn't check the co-broke - figured all were the same!  Ah, to be naive...got pinched by a reduced %.  My wife took care of the reminders in the following months...

I've got a question - I hear a lot about agents who won't show listings with low co-brokes...do you know anybody like that?   

Sep 27, 2007 04:19 AM
Kaye Thomas
Real Estate West - Manhattan Beach, CA
e-PRO, Manhattan Beach CA
BB- I take a few days off and find I have missed some great posts... Low-co-ops are a dilemma .. I have been known to take a lesser fee to be sure they buyer's agent gets a full fee.  Sellers are funny sometimes.. they will fight you over $10K  telling you how much money it is in one breath then turn around and try to argue that the same $10K shouldn't be important to an agent and won't make any difference in the house being shown..
Sep 27, 2007 06:01 AM
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
Bryant- I am so GLAD you wrote this post! I have read so many posts and comments from agents who leave the impression that we should all be public servants and work for FREE. It sounds like a group of idealistic socialism but I wonder, how would they pay their bills? I am not in this business to work for free.  I am glad you cleared things up. If you love what you do, the money will follow but you must DO and ACT and BE! Katerina
Sep 28, 2007 02:07 AM
Tni LeBlanc, Realtor®, J.D.
Mint Properties, Lic. #01871795 - Santa Maria, CA
Tenacious Tni (805) 878-9879

Great article - never thought about making it a closing cost.  But that is an awesome suggestion.  Guess I'm going to have to keep you posted on my progress. New year - new rules.

Nov 24, 2010 11:05 AM

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