Oh, you’re going to get lower commissions alright – on the backs of the buyer-agents.

The last time I checked a couple of months ago, there were 30% of the monthly closed sales that offered a buyer-agent commisssion under 2.5 percent. Of the 92 closings so far this month, 25% of them were under 2.5% – and those were determined before the NAR debacle.

The listing agent determines how much the buyer-agent gets paid.

Not the seller, not NAR, not the attorneys – it is the listing agent who decides the commission rate to offer the buyer-agents. It makes for an easy solution. Want a lower overall commission rate? Just take it off the amount paid to the buyer-agent. What’s worse is the MLS rule that buyer-agents are not allowed to negotiate the rate – hopefully that will go away now.

Listing agents aren’t lowering their commission rate – they are taking the same or more than ever, and paying less to the buyer-agents. They are under-appreciating the amount of work it takes to conclude a successful buyer-side transaction (usually 3-6 months of frustration and losing).

If the listing agent has superior skills that result in a higher sales price and a smooth transaction, then no one will mind them getting paid accordingly, but their success is also at least partially due to the buyer-agent doing his job well. The good buyer-agents shouldn’t be penalized, and ideally, there would be a sliding scale based on performance.

But because everyone will be hearing that commissions are negotiable (for the first time, says Biden), the listing agents who feel the need to agree to a lower rate with their sellers will just subtract the same discount from the buyer-agent side. But is that in the best interest of the seller?

This practice will expedite the demise of the buyer-agent.

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