More and more we are seeing buyers being offered incentives to write offers with particular sales agents. You've all seen the ads that go something like, "You find the House, I'll write the deal and we'll split the commission", or some artfully worded variation thereof.
Other than being a questionable practice in some jurisdictions, as a broker from another province pointed out to me today, I wonder where this practice is leading, and of what real benefit there is to the average consumer.
You might have noticed that I said buyers were being induced to write offer with, not work with, certain agents. i don't get the impression that these agents do in fact "work" for their "clients". I wonder whether they enter in limited service contracts in an attempt to mitigate their fiduciary duties - or whether they in fact feel they are providing any agency at all. Will there be a race in the future to see who can do it for the least, and then for free?
As a buyer I would worry about this agents commitment to my side, as it were. Do these guys look at properties to help buyers find the right home? Do they ferret out deals? Are they attempting to negotiate effectively? Or do they just "write the deal"? It's all well and good that you get 2 or 3 or 5 thousand dollars of the agent's commission, but are you sure you didn't pay $15,000 too much for the home? How would you know?
The analogy that popped into my head this morning is that of a dentist offering to kick back half the money my medical insurance plan will pay him for procedures if I go to his clinic. That would seem a little shady to me. Not that I'm saying this incentive practice is shady - it's just that something about it doesn't sit quite right.
Always happy to hear your thoughts.
(Im also calling this Victoria Real Estate Thought of the day 2012 9 of 365!)