Defensive homebuying: How to protect your commission rebate

So pleased to this blog post on Newbuyer.com warns first-time homebuyers about the conflict of interest inherent in dual agency.  Their words describe the cartoon we used in our blog post last week, Dual agency: The illusion of individual savings & the real cost to society:

“…try to imagine working for both parties with opposite interests? You can see how difficult and precarious a feat this is. Although this practice does exist (it is called dual-agency), it is uncommon and it is recommended that you do not become a party to it. The agent works for the buyer or the seller, not both.”

However, there’s another financial reason cost-conscious home buyers should be warned AGAINST rushing into private showings that goes beyond conflicts of interest and overrides this misguided advice:

“If you must look at it [a new listing] sooner, try to remain tight-lipped and know that the seller’s agent will not be telling you a complete story. Make the visit a quick one and know its purpose is only to learn if you want to pursue the home further; with your own agent of course.”

In Massachusetts (and probably other states), a listing agent in the situation above could try to deny compensation to the buyer agent if they do not accompany their buyer client on the first private showing.  As Boston.com readers were recently warned, They call it procuring cause.  That blog post has attracted more than 30 comments, including one praising The Real Estate Cafe’s rebates.  Unfortunately, the blog’s author, Rona Fischman, made a grossly misleading generalization in her own comment when she wrote:

“Discount and fee-for-service models run afoul of the agreement to ‘procure’ the buyer and can find themselves in arbitration from a listing agent who feels ripped off.  If Redfin has to pay the commission back, they can’t rebate the buyer, can they?”

We cannot speak for Redfin; but in fifteen years, The Real Estate Cafe has never been involved in an arbitration hearing and only once has a listing agent denied us a commission.  Even that could be reversed in the next 90 days.  Our client is tenacious, and a leading national real estate news service is already following his lawsuit, holding their article until the outcome of the last hearing is made public.

MONEY-SAVING ADVICE:  If you want to use a buyer agent, particularly one offering a commission rebate (like our 100% commission rebate option), the buyer agent must act as your spokesperson throughout the transaction, starting with the first PRIVATE showing.  That means buyers should refrain from communicating directly with listing agents outside open houses, and why we insist on that condition in our buyer agency contract.

NEXT STEPS:  If you’ve just seen a new listing, use the search page on Boston.com to see if an open house has been scheduled.  If NOT, click on The Real Estate Cafe‘s banner ad on http://boston.com/openhouse (see image above), and we’ll schedule a private showing and rebate up to 100% of our buyer agency fee.  As buyer agents, our mission is to protect homebuyers and we hope to help clients save over $1 million dollars again this year.

Posted in commission rebate, Defensive Homebuying

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