Do you know how well your agent cooperates with other agents?

Managing Real Estate Broker with Town and Country Real Estate of the North Fork

An issue some home owners often forget when choosing a Real Estate Agent (after interviewing the agent, establishing you enjoy working with the agent and quizzing their knowledge and marketing savvy) : how well does your agent cooperate with other agents?

This cooperation may have far reaching consequences for the exposure your home gets, the number of showings (and feedback) your property gets, and yes: even the price you may eventually fetch.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR) and your regional Real Estate Boards such as HANFRA (whose members only may use the tradename "Realtors (TM) )" ) can provide statistics showing that working with a Realtor TM improves your chances of selling a home and fetching a better price.

And one of the important things a Real Estate Board does is just that: work hard to achieve better cooperation between Real Estate brokers & agents.

Furthermore, "Realtors TM" can participate in a "Multiple Listing System" or MLS, where they agree to share their listings, cooperate and compensate each other, increasing the levels of cooperation even further, making listings avialable to much larger demographics. An MLS makes it so much easier for the consumer and agents alike to find properties - compared to having to shop each individual real estate office separately.

So working with a "Realtor TM" probably ensures better cooperation.

Next, logically - how a broker compensates cooperating agents is a clear signal of his or her intention to cooperate. First, a homeowner decides on the level of compensation by agreeing to a certain commission if an agent sells their property. But the next decision a seller makes is how his or her agent shares with cooperating agents.  I can think of very few instances if any where it would be in a home-owners best interest to let his agent share a commission with another agent less than how he or she rewards him or herself. It is not hard to understand that often arguments to take more money than you offer others are in the broker's interest alone.

Brokers and consumers look for homes on the internet, increasingly. The differences between how a real estate professional can see listings online include that an agent can also see the compensation on MLS offered if he brings a buyer. The level of compensation influences the agent's propensity to show the property. Especially in this market we see home owners even offering selling bonusses above and beyond a normal commission offered. We always explain to sellers they should put their best foot forward when deciding on compensation of the real estate brokers who are selling their homes.

So sellers beware of agents who try to convince you that they would like to keep a larger portion of a commission for themselves than what they offer to cooperating agents. It may be a sign of how well they cooperate with other agents - and is -while perfectly legal- a practice that may limit the number of people who even get to see your home.

Posted by

Joan H. Bischoff van Heemskerck, Managing Director, North Fork and Shelter Island, Town & Country real estate Tel 631 948 0234 or

Comments (51)

Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I always seek to bond with all involved...however that is not the case with some people.

May 16, 2012 11:23 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Congratulations on the featured post. Buyers and sellers should read it.

May 17, 2012 12:00 AM
Anthony Daniels
Coldwell Banker - San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area REO Specialist

That is becoming more of an issue around here, especially during a challenging economy.  Lots of creativity in that department.

Good post.

May 17, 2012 12:01 AM
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

How well the listing agent cooperates with other broker's is definitely something I think can slip between the cracks when a seller is interviewing agents, but can play such a large role in the success of the sale of their home.

May 17, 2012 12:12 AM
Gina Tufano
Ask Gina & Company with Pearson Smith Realty - Sterling, VA
Ask Gina & Company, Northern Virginia Real Estate

Great point! Never want to turn away potential buyers before they even see the home! 

May 17, 2012 12:55 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

It is puzzling why some agents make it so difficult to work with them. You'd think they would want to try to help put a sale together for their client and themselves.

May 17, 2012 01:13 AM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Joan,  My bet is that every agents believes they perform well in this area but all of us know an agent or two who are very difficult to work with.

May 17, 2012 01:14 AM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

When you work well with other agents, they too get excited when you are going to submit an offer, because they have had a previous good experience and know this one will pretty much get to closing.

May 17, 2012 01:17 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

The majority of agents practicing in my local market are co-operating brokers. 

May 17, 2012 01:47 AM
Jeff Reynolds
Utah Commercial Real Estate Connection - South Jordan, UT

Well thought out argument for good relationship skills.  I always tell my clients about my relationships and skills in that regard with other agents.  It means more to them that they could ever know.  Am I the only one who has discouraged clients to make or accept an offer based on horrible experiences with the other agent?  Of course it is up to them to make the final decision, but there have been one or two times where I have tried to discourage because I know every time with this particular agent it is going to be problems the whole way.  :(

May 17, 2012 03:40 AM
Beth and Richard Witt
New York, NY
The best Retired Brokers !!!!

Great point and well written... thank you

May 17, 2012 07:17 AM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I can't imagine not cooperating with my colleagues in real estate here in Alameda.  We live in a small town and if you want to have your offers accepted, or your listings shown, you must be cooperative.  Any why not.  The agents here for the most part are friendly and congenial.

May 17, 2012 08:20 AM
Miriam Bernstei
Rochester, NY

Does this mean that the area you work in is considering an MLS rather than the structure you have now?   An MLS is based on cooperation between agents and since you are so pro cooperation sounds like you might be moving in that direction which is great because that means that all agents who members of the MLS will be able to show and share in your area...wonderful if that is so. 

May 17, 2012 08:32 AM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

About 95% of properties in the MLS are sold by agents other than listing agent. You have to cooperate to succeed.

May 17, 2012 09:12 AM
Doug Bullwinkel
Envoy Mortgage,NMLS ID 6666 - Sacramento, CA
Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS #281609

Those that don't play well with others in the business are rarely successful.  We're all much stronger when we work as a team instead of going it alone.

May 17, 2012 04:18 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

You are correct Joan, an agent who plays well with others is essential, a listing agent who doesn't will have a hard time attracting buyers and their agents.

May 17, 2012 11:28 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Joan!  I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great week.

May 20, 2012 02:11 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

How important is this !!! 5 star important  especially in this market !!! congrats on your feature post it is well deserved



May 20, 2012 02:35 AM
Svetlana Stolyarova
Local-n-Global Realty, Cleveland and International Real Estate Solution - Mayfield Heights, OH
Local-n-Global Realty, Broker 216-548-4663

It's good to openly discuss the commission and cooperation between the agents. It helps our selling clients understand how the Real Estate sale works, and how many people in reality are working hard to sell their homes. Very useful post!

May 20, 2012 03:53 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

In our MLS, the amount a buyer’s agent will be paid is shown but the total commission is not. What the total commission is and whether the listing agent is splitting (sharing) it equally is not know until the closing. If the amount being shared is below the wage for which a buyer’s agent wishes to work…well, that is one of the reasons Buyer-Broker contract are used by many agents.

May 21, 2012 01:14 PM