Every once in awhile I stumble across a listing that offers a commission bonus to the buyer's agent. It is nice to see and I would appreciate the gesture if it was meant as a reward for my hard work. That is seldom the case, however.
It is more an enticement to bring a full price offer or any offer, period. For the latter, one can assume that the house itself is a hard sell - not up date or it has issues or something is off about its location. If it receives an offer despite its challenges then it was either priced accordingly or exactly what a buyer was looking for or both .. but not because a bonus was offered to the buyer's agent. At least it shouldn't.
The bonus is offered to the wrong party. It is not about me. I am not the one buying the house and the buyer will never benefit from a commission bonus. Don't try to convince me that it is the best house, convince the buyer.
Offering a bonus to the agent for bringing a full price offer is a bad business practice in my opinion. The amount that is written into an offer is up to the buyer, not me. As a buyer's agent it is my duty to research available comps thoroughly and explain those to my client. Based on the market, the comps and the overall condition of the house, the buyer decides what he is willing to offer, not me.
Here's a crazy idea, why not adjust the price downward by the amount of bonus that is offered? Or leave some more wiggle room for negotiations? Why not upgrade an appliance or replace that carpet? Hire a painter? Fix a leak? That would put that bonus to really good use. It would actually benefit the buyer.
Do I like to get rewarded for hard work and a job well done? Of course, but my reward comes in form of referrals from present and past clients. That is the bonus I'm excited about and look forward to receiving time and time again.
A house sells because it is priced in line with market conditions and comps. It sells because it shows well, has been upgraded and maintained. It sells because there is no guard dog baring his teeth and it is easy to show. It sells because it is clean. It sells because it's been marketed. And if none of the above apply then it will still sell if it's reflected in the price. A commission bonus, however, is just not what sells a house. It's just sending a wrong message.