How to Take Advantage of Struggling Real Estate Agents, as a Home Seller

Real Estate Agent with The Artisan Group- Keller Williams Premier Realty

Would you like to know how to take advantage of struggling real estate agents? As a home Seller, it is much easier than you may think.

Let's take a look at my local real estate market to get a good idea of what I am talking about...

In March of 2008, there were only 195 sales in the Colorado Springs real estate market. This means that less than 390 real estate agents in Colorado Springs got a paycheck in March of 2008. (I say ‘less than' because some real estate transactions only have one real estate agent involved. For example: The Wagner iTeam ‘brought the Buyer' to 2 of their own listings in March, and there was not a Buyer Agent on the other side of the deal.)

And with over 3,000 active licensed Colorado Springs real estate agents in the Pikes Peak - Colorado Springs area, this means that OVER 80% of the agents DID NOT GET PAID last month.


We will often recommend that our Seller clients offer the Buyer Agent (the agent who represents the Buyer who purchases your home for sale) a higher co-op commission.

See, when you list your home for sale, you agree to pay a total commission (which is determined at time of signing the listing agreement). From this total commission, we decide how much to co-op, or ‘share' with the agent who ‘brings the buyer' ... this amount is generally 3% (in Colorado Springs).

However, in a market where less than 20% of real estate agents are getting paid every month, can you imagine how inticing a HIGHER COMMISSION would be?

Especially in situations where there is a lot of direct competition in the immediate Colorado Springs neighborhood, offering a higher co-op commission can really make your home for sale stand out.

Think about it...

A struggling real estate agent has a Buyer client looking at 3 very similar properties, but ONE property is offering 3.5% co-op commission. At the average sale price of about $225,000, that would mean that the commission would be $7,875.

$1,125 MORE than the same priced home offering just a 3% co-op. A thousand dollars can make a WORLD of difference to an agent who needs to feed their family.

Guess which home this agent will be more likely to promote to their Buyer clients?

Money talks.

In the cases where our Seller clients choose to offer a higher co-op than 3%, they get MORE SHOWINGS and usually get an offer in a much shorter time than their competition.

So, in ‘taking advantage' of the real estate agents who are struggling in todays Colorado Springs real estate market, by offering to pay them more  -  you are actually helping THEM out and helping YOU sell your home in a shorter amount of time.

Read Also:
Selling Your Colorado Springs Home: How to Compete Against Bank Owned Properties
Selling Your Colorado Springs Home: How to Compete Against Desperate Sellers
Selling Your Colorado Springs Home: How to Compete Against Motivated Sellers

Search for Homes in Colorado Springs  Colorado Springs Property Values

Posted By: Mariana Wagner - Colorado Springs Real Estate Agent - Wagner iTeam
The Wagner iTeam is a power team of Keller Williams Hope Realty,
specializing in Colorado Springs Real Estate and Monument Real Estate.

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       Posted By: Derek and Mariana Wagner - Springs Top Agents

Keller Williams Premier
(719) 434-7525


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LS Rogers Realty
LS Rogers Realty - Richardson, TX

The inflated commission gets my attention but does nothing for my buyers. I will make a special effort to include a home my buyer doesn't really want added to the tour, IF I've previewed it and believe it suits their needs. But not because of the commission.

Nov 25, 2008 03:44 PM #129
Derek and Mariana Wagner
The Artisan Group- Keller Williams Premier Realty - Colorado Springs, CO
The Artisan Group - Colorado Springs REALTORS®

Sonja - I didn't imply that everyone has their price. Numbers just show that (well-priced) listings with higher co-ops get more showings and quicker sales. As a listing agent, representing the best interests of my client (the seller) THAT is what matters to me. The motivations behind the Buyer Agent who shows/sells the home is not my concern.

Sharon - Developers/Builders offer higher co-op's here as well.

Monika - It wouldn't work for me either, but as a Seller's Agent ... it definitely works to get our listings sold quick.

Christina - Thank you for addressing that comment.

Jeff and Lisa - You bring up a great point ... As long as everyone involved is well-informed, there are a lot of great opportunities out there - for both Buyers AND their agents.


Many thanks to Broker Bryant for reminding us of this great post:

List with me and just pay me whatever you feel like!!!

Nov 25, 2008 03:55 PM #130
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

The home being priced correctly is also a huge factor, some sellers would rather increase the buyer agent's commission instead of lowering the price and if it's overpriced in this market, offering a higher co-op commission may not work.  I show clients homes they want to see and some of them do offer a lower co-op, client comes first (of course I won't work for free though).  Great post Mariana.

Nov 25, 2008 04:42 PM #131
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Mariana:  I also think it is bizarre to admit that as an agent that if we have a listing to show that has less of a co-op commission that we would put it at the bottom, or not even show it (which I agree with)... then there is no difference in putting a listing that offers a higher co-op than others... into the mix of homes that I WOULD show.  I will NOT push that home... but it surely will be one of the ones I choose to how.  I surely would not push that home... but I most surely would make sure I'd show it.

Nov 25, 2008 04:52 PM #132
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Let's turn this argument around a bit. 

In my little neck of the woods there is a big problem with buyer's agent coops.  I am starting to demand X% as a buyer's agent.  The reason?  The coops have become so pitifully LOW that I can't make a living AND do a good job for my clients. If I have to live on the pathetic coops that are normally being offered - then I have to "rush the buyer" in order to make enough money.  I might not be able to do all the things I do to push the deal to closure.

Listing agents appear to be hogging the lions share of the commission. They are doing this because the listings no longer sell like hotcakes, but why does that mean they should stiff the buyer's agent who is also working 3 times as hard???

So here is my question....Everyone is jumping all over buyer's agents for prioritizing in terms of commission. Why aren't people jumping on listing agents for hogging a larger portion of the pie?  Is THAT in the best interests of their client?  What about THEIR fiduciary duty??

Commission is no longer going to be an issue for me.  I am simply going to state my commission on the EBA and have the buyer sign on So now, the coop is an issue for the buyer - not me.  The buyer wants that commission covered.  The result is that the buyer may actually refuse to look at a listing where they might be responsible for a portion of the commission. Btw, you can't "hide" listings with low coops in my area - buyers are far too internet savvy for that.

Nov 25, 2008 06:16 PM #133
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

In our area the commissions are usually split evenly between the buyer and the seller agencies, with one or two exceptions.

And let's face it - both sides work hard and both sides have risks involved.  The listing agent is expected to market and promote the property without a guarantee of being paid.  Granted, some listing agents are content with the MLS and the default listing on; but many of us work our behinds off promoting these homes and trying everything they can to get buyers into the house.

Not only am I a listing agent, but I also work with buyers, and I think that's true for many of us.  In my opinion the only fair thing to do is offer an even co-op.  All of us work without any guarantee.

I guess the idea behind the higher co-op is that more agents will bring more buyers through increasing the likelihood that "the right" buyer will come through; it's not a matter of convincing a buyer to buy a house because of the co-op.


Nov 25, 2008 10:20 PM #134

It's deff. worth trying out. Really smart idea

Nov 26, 2008 05:26 AM #135
Joyce Marsh
Regal | Christie's International Real Estate - Orlando, FL
Regional Manager Regal Christie's Int'l Realty

Out of the 3000 agents in your area, how many are working every day?  I would venture to say that only 20% of them are actually working "in real estate".  It always gets back to the 80/20 rule.So many agents think that even in today's market, they can just hang on to their license and have a payday.  They are clinging to the mentality that existed back when you didn't have to work to get a commission check....

Nov 26, 2008 05:31 AM #136
Scott Baker Coldwell Banker West Shell - Liberty Township, OH
Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area

I simply show the homes my buyers want to see. They decide, not me. I don't look at the offered compensation until they have decided on a home.

Nov 26, 2008 06:15 AM #137
delete account
Clayton, MO

Hi Mariana. Great post and so many interesting replies to it. I do not understand how someone can say they disagree.....your post is about statistics and facts and what works in your market. How do you disagree with facts??? Some people seem to be missing the point of this post. Great information as always and I have noticed the same thing in our market. Of course a higher co-op gets more viewings....people that think otherwise aren't being are only reporting the facts and doing whats best for your seller.:)

Nov 26, 2008 06:28 AM #138
Valerie Spaulding
Windermere Peninsula Properties~Allyn~Belfair~WA - Belfair, WA
Allyn-Belfair-Hood Canal-Local Expertise!

Ruthmarie Hicks -I agree with - get a buyers agency agreement upfront with what your fee is explaining your services to them and what they and you can expect and commission never becomes an issue at looking at any one given house - it won't matter at that point - it could even be a a FSBO and it's covered. We work hard on our listing presentations how come we aren't working just as hard on our buyer presentations before we jump in the car??

Nov 26, 2008 06:48 AM #139
Tim Ludemann
Ochopee, FL

In Sw Florida our company does this with great success...

Nov 26, 2008 07:12 AM #140
Vicki Lloyd
The Lloyd Realty Group - San Diego, CA
(619)452-9798, Real Estate San Diego California

More often than not, the lowest commission offerings that I see are matched with the over-priced and difficult-to-show (appointment only - 2 day notice, etc) properties.  They also usually lack any serious attempts at marketing such as adding photos to the MLS or describing the best features of the home.  The seller's attitude about the home sale is often reflected in the commission offered to the buyer's agent.  I don't refuse to show those low coops, but my buyers usually screen them out for all the reasons that I just stated.

That may be the true explanation for why homes with higher coop sell faster - it's because the seller is serious about selling and doesn't want anything to stand in the way of his buyer seeing the house!

Nov 26, 2008 09:46 AM #141
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Karen,

I'm glad to see that there is an even split in your area for the most part. In our area MOST listing agents are holding onto the traditional "full commission" but cutting the selling side to the bone.  In general the splits heavily favor the listing agent - and in this market - THAT IS WRONG.  About 2/3 probably favor the listing side while about 1/3 are even.  A few just list for less and I include them in that 2/3.  So about half the agents are hogging the lions share of the commission.

Nov 26, 2008 01:25 PM #142
David Stewart
On Top of the World Communities, Inc. - Ocala, FL

Those of you who talk about how it's wrong to let the compensation affect your showing: Well, what about 0%? What about .5%?

Oh, I see: It's about not letting .5% off the standard or normal coop rate affect your decision. Just one question: What's the standard or normal rate, and how did that get set? Last I knew, it was an antitrust violation for brokers to agree on anything like that. So is a coop rate of 3% somehow out of line and unethical? How about 4%? 4.5%? 5%? 6%? Is there ANY number that you can say is out of line for any actually ethical and legal reason?

The answer is "no." If you believe a coop rate of 5%, for example, is unethical, then why? Aren't you implicitly endorsing a kind of price control? We're NOT allowed to have industry rates, guys---so if you can measure the unethicality of a higher coop rate, you're a mental violator of antitrust. (You know: If you commit adultery in your heart, you've committed it in fact. Replace "adultery" with "antitrust." And then realize that it's not really true, thank God...) 12% coop is no more unethical, and no less right, than 2% or 3 or 4 or... any other percent.

So are you ripping off your buyer if you take a higher coop? Think this through. Who pays the commission, or at least who do we always say pays it? The seller. So that money is the seller's to give away as he sees fit. If he wants to give it as an incentive, that's his right, and there's nothing unethical about your taking it. Oh, it could reduce the buyer's price? Sure: So could your not taking any commission, or taking any amount less than the coop offered. But they offered more than you see in the majority of listings, so it's a ripoff for you to take it instead of letting the buyers have it, because you'd have sold the house for less if the coop offered had been more "typical"? Sorry: Your buyers still made the offer they made, and were willing to pay what they offered. WHATEVER the components of that, on the buyer's side, are, is irrelevant and not the buyer's decision.

But the money COMES FROM the buyer? Well, they are willing to pay $N or not. If they are, what difference does it make if the seller gets $1000 more or the agent does? Think about it: You're saying that if the seller's agent doesn't offer, say, N% + 1.22%, and the seller therefore pockets that 1.22%, that's okay; but it's somehow not okay for YOU or an agent to pocket that 1.22%; if the seller is willing to pay the coop agent that (or the listing broker, who may offer it on his own, is willing to do so), nevertheless the buyer should get it back? What changed? Nothing. The buyer accepted a price, the seller accepted a price, the seller and broker made their arrangements as to compensation and cooperation. Where in this does the buyer gain any right to money depending on how compensation is split or how much is paid? I don't see anywhere that happens.

Does the seller owe more than he'll get? Then isn't the commission paid coop a direct injury to the seller? You can cut this a hundred ways and posit that the buyer or seller is injured by some not only legal, but ethical, action we take. We DON'T work for free. It cannot be the point of fiduciary duties that our compensation can be too high (assuming it's not in an illegal FORM, such as a net listing); if it can, then any positive number can be said to be too high, since any one seller or buyer would always be better off if they got to keep the commission money. Unless the point of the code of ethics and of fiduciary law or law of agency is to drive compensation down to zero (at which our profession would cease to exist), then to say we can get paid too much and we have an obligation to pay anything "extra" we receive to our customer or client, is a contradiction.

And any such argument drives toward one of two possible conclusions: Set rates of broker compensation and coop split--industry-wide--or zero compensation. The former is an implication of the argument that any rate higher than "normal" rips off home buyers and should be given back to them (why the buyer, and not the seller?), and is of course illegal. The latter eliminates real estate brokerage, which while some may see it as a good thing (I'm pretty sure the Department of Justice believes that ANY commission, any money paid to real estate brokerage, is illegitimate), would surely have tremendous costs to home buyers and sellers.

Nov 29, 2008 03:38 PM #143
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


There is a Blog waiting to be written in your last comment :)


Nov 30, 2008 05:35 AM #144
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL

Hi Butterfly...

Hope you had a wonderful thanks day and you DIDN'T burn the salad :)


Nov 30, 2008 05:36 AM #145
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Interesting points David -

It is not nearly so cut and dried as people think it is.  Most areas haven't faced the pitiful compensation that is routine around here for the buyer's agent.  The moralizers are thinking - "I'll do my duty by taking in less and showing my people everything possible and make up for it later." What they don't realize is that this can easily become the NORM and it can go so low that it is unsustainable particularly at the entry level.  Each agent has to determine at what point they have to say "NO! I can't sustain myself on this money." Saying that "fiduciary duty" requires that you be willing to go broke makes no sense.

On the flip side, the points made regarding higher coops are also revealing.  Linking coops with fiduciary obligation is rather sticky...whether they be high or low.


Nov 30, 2008 06:25 AM #146
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

What an interesting discussion. Surprisingly, at least in the last comments (I read only last 20), there is no scare of discussing the actual numbers, and in previous similar discussions, probablyyears ago, it definitely was there, even including replacing percentages with apples... and we were told that it could cost us so much money, that it was beyond the amount that would have even scared me anymore.

I can be afraind of thepenalty of $10,000 but if the fine is $350,000 - good luck collecting, but I digress

@ Ruthmarie,

I am not sure how could the system so unbalbnced, as you show, survive. If it is so unbalanced, why Listing agents do that. They would have been out of business soo, but if they are, it is seller's market, and then why would buyers agree to pay more to the Buyer agent, when it is so easy to go directly to the Listing agent?

The quality, and risks is a separate issue, of course.

So, I do not see the Buyer Broker model surviving strong Seller's market. If you do not agree with me, why wouldn't you simply suggest that the Buyer puts in the Contract that the Seller pays an extra something to the Buyer's agent? You can't do it as agent, as it would violate COE, but the Buyer can do whatever they want, and if they agree with you, that could workl for you.

Nov 23, 2012 02:00 AM #147
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Looks like this post has been around for awhile. I came back to it because of Broker Bryant's post today.

Nov 24, 2012 07:38 AM #148
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Derek and Mariana Wagner

The Artisan Group - Colorado Springs REALTORS®
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