Does your agent look at your housing needs or their commission first?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 GREC# 169695

This is one of those topics that is waters I tread lightly in. I am NOT having a discussion about commissions in this post or the comments that might follow. What other brokerages charge their sellers is their business, what other brokerages choose offer to pay in the MLS to the selling agent, their business. But what I want to share with potential buyers today is a conversation about agent checking commissions in the MLS and "passing by" the house that might be right for the buyer based on the commission offered.

When I questioned another agent about the possibility of not serving their client with best practices by eliminating homes based on the commission split I was called "snarky". Well call me snarky if you want to, but I will do what is best for the client every single time. So many times when it's right before closing I have to go back and look and see what the offer of compensation is to know what to expect to look for on the settlement statement that will be paid to my brokerage firm. Because when I am searching for the best house to fit the client based on what they want, commission is not one of the things that I search for.  Not even on my radar.

I have to admit, at the end of the day if I found out that I was working for a $1.00 I'd be a little ticked off. If I had months invested in driving around a buyer and found them a house that best fit their need, negotiated with the seller for them and got to the table and the attorney handed me a check for a buck I'd be upset. But I can tell you that if the house fit my clients needs best it would have still be on the show them list.

I've been sitting at the closing where the agent on the other side got paid more than me, and I have an opinion about that, but that opinion does not affect which homes I am likely to show any buyers I work for. That opinion does not affect the list of potential new homes I might email to a buyer. I take my clients list of "must haves" and "wants" and search by the must haves and then rank by the most "wants".  So far in my 23 year career "broker having desired compensation" has not been on the must have or want list for any client.  I don't expect to see it there at any time in the future either.

So while this post is NOT a discussion about commission it is a discussion about buyers knowing what the the agent they hire to help them find the best home will do when the best house comes along. Will that agent put the house on the list and show it? Will that agent look at the commission and nix that house from the list? Do you know what YOUR agent would do?

PS- maybe the house with the swing with the view is the right house for you... click on the photo and take a look.  Or visit our website and call us because Lane Realty would be happy to help you find the right house for you. We put our CLIENTS FIRST!

Please do not discuss specific commission amounts or splits in the comments. 





This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate General Information
Running a Brokerage
Bartender, Make it a Double
HyperLocal Neighborhood and Community Posts
Inman News worthy Blog Posts

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Thanks Nick Thoroughman 

Karen Feltman I have the feeling that "unavailable, can't be seen" fib gets told a lot by agents who look at the commission first.  And I'm a firm believer that doing the right thing brings rewards as it did with you and those buyers.  And yes, I think you could write a great post about that story and that other buyers might see the benefit in hiring you first.

May 05, 2015 01:53 PM #104
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

If you provide for your customer's needs with their goals at the forefront all else falls in place.  Naive? Nope.

May 06, 2015 05:26 AM #105
The Julie Morales Team
RE/MAX Cinco Ranch - Katy, TX
Real Estate Questions? Call (832) 367-3412

I always do what is best for the client as well! Although I do not want to get abused either! Thanks for the a post that got us thinking.

May 06, 2015 09:00 AM #106
Bob Force (REALTOR®)
Century 21 - Redwood Realty - Mount Airy, MD
The FORCE in Maryland Real Estate

Their needs first and always.  They are always prospective clients for the future and anrefferral source.

 In this area we find the rates at 2.5 or 3.o.  I am sorry to say I know of agents who willnot show a 2.5., yet will list them.

May 08, 2015 11:56 PM #107
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great post and good point.  It's always a good idea to show every home, no matter the $ paid. I have sent agents an e-mail when they are cutting "corners" to advise them I am showing the home even though they are cutting corners, but they might have lost showings over cutting corners.  

May 10, 2015 10:49 AM #108
Dana Hollish Hill
Hollish Hill Group, KW Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD
REALTOR and Productivity Coach

My buyer brokerage agreement has many options. If a client choses one of the options which has a set percentage fee, the buyer may have to cover the balance if the coop commission is less or receive a refund if the coop commission offered is more. I always check the number to make the buyer aware of any variance. I definitely leave it up to the buyer to weed out the properties that don't meet their criteria when it comes to commission. 

May 12, 2015 12:15 AM #109
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I've known agents who won't show 'Limited Rep' listings . . . our local version of the FSBO.  Listing agents really get their knickers in a wad about that.  I show properties in the best interest of my clients . . . Limited Rep, various commissions, etc.  

May 20, 2015 07:09 AM #110
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

me too Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner me too.  My clients come first.  If that wasn't the case I don't think I'd love what I do or sleep well at night. Funny that he took this article and and turned into "agents won't show your house" when I think the vast majority of the conversation here is those of us who serve our buyers. Oh well, that's reporting for you.


May 20, 2015 07:43 AM #111
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Glad this post got so much exposure Tammy.  Putting our clients interests first is the right thing to do, every time.  One low commission can result in tons of referral business.  Although, on the other end of the spectrum, people always deserve to be paid for the work they do, so too low a commission for a tedious process is unacceptable.

May 20, 2015 10:31 AM #112
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

John Meussner we agree on that point and I would never recommend a seller or a listing agent do it.  But still I would never hurt a buyer client over my own pocketbook.... that's just not who I am.

May 20, 2015 10:38 AM #113
Celeste Starmer, P.A.
Town & Country Realty - Deland, FL
Affordable Housing Partner

I think the comments on here are just too funny!   smh 

May 20, 2015 07:26 PM #114
Mike Reyman
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach Realtors - Media, PA
Delaware County Real Estate

Great post and congratulations on the mention in the Washington Post.  This topic hit anerve a while back as a Real Estate attorney tried accusing me of looking out for my best interests while I he was charging our buyer $300 per hour to tell me.  Walk a mile in my shoes.  Again, congrats and keep up the great work.

May 20, 2015 09:35 PM #115
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

Hi Tammy - great post, and I agree with you 100%. Sometimes the compensation end of this business does not make sense

May 20, 2015 11:47 PM #116
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Great post, that is why we send the buyers ALL the listings, they choose which one's they want to look at and we show them. I had a short sale once, the sellers walked out with a perk from Fannie Mae, more than I made. I was happy for her that she could start over with a little bit in her pocket. Not her fault the market changed when she bought to attend nursing school. What is the title of the post where you are quoted in the Washington Post? 

May 21, 2015 12:04 AM #117
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Missy Caulk this is the article that the guy wrote about in the WP.  But his take on things is that agents won't show listings with lesser commissions.  He mentioned the comment thread and discussion, but didn't quote me or mention my post by name. Here's his artcle

May 21, 2015 12:14 AM #118
Keith Whited
RE/MAX Gateway - Alexandria, VA

Our buyer broker agreement stipulates the commission we are to receive when we find a buyer a home. If that fee is 3% the buyer is obligated to make up the difference. I DO check the commission offered so that I can inform my clients that there is a shortfall which they will need to pay. That way THEY are the decision maker regarding the commission being offered and can factor that into the offer they make on the property.

May 21, 2015 12:15 AM #119
Tom White
Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or - Franklin, TN
Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN

Well done Tammy! I totally agree with you. We may be disappointed (or even frustrated) about a lower commission on a listing, but it is not going to stop us from showing a home to a buyer. 

May 21, 2015 12:50 AM #120
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I just saw a listing today, timely!  It had a BAC of $6,000 which a BAC can be expressed as a dollar amount as well.  If the BAC was offered as a percentage, and the low one at that, then it would be close to $13,000 based on list price (sold price might vary that somewhat).  My Buyer Rep Agreements are similiar to Mike Reyman 's . . . based on a 3% rep fee, offset by the BAC.  My clients are educated on what that means PRIOR to engaging my buyer broker services.  And it's up to them. 

May 21, 2015 05:16 AM #121
Peter Mohylsky. Beach Expert
PrimeSouth Properties - Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Interesting older post on fees, a wide variety of different positions in the issue of commissions. 

Apr 11, 2016 05:29 PM #122
Jan Bradshaw
The Bradshaw Group - Greenwood, SC
Specializing in Lake Greenwood for over 13 years.

Excellent post!! Realtors need to put service above the almighty dollar. Don't let what will (or won't) be paid factor in to the services we owe our clients.  

Apr 22, 2016 10:25 AM #123
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Tammy Lankford,

Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville
What would you like to know about Lake Sinclair?