Home Buying in Las Vegas>Question Details

Rhonda Brink…, Real Estate Pro in Las Vegas, NV

Should Realtors charge a retainers fee ?

Asked by Rhonda Brinkerhoff, Las Vegas, NV Tue Jun 14, 2011

This was a question but was taken off . I have recieved many phone calls and emails about this , mostly all in support of charging one, I would like to hear from more Realtors.

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26
BEST ANSWER
Miss "Right On Girl" oh I mean "Miss Rhonda". :)
I support your stance and your smart/fair business acumen.

Why not take this question to ---> http://www.ActiveRain.com?

Julia St. Marie, ABR, RRG, RSPS :)
Realty ONE Group
Certified REO Specialist
Direct: 702-355-H-O-M-E (4663)
Office: 702-898-0101
Email: LVRealEstateLady1@yahoo.com
Web: http://www.LVRealEstateLady.com
Video Newsletter: http://realtytimes.com/REUv/LVrealEstateLady
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
ALL buyers that I work with will sign a buyer broker agreement guaranteeing that they will pay me 3000.00 or 3 percent of the sales price - which ever is greater. credit is given against it for whatever gets paid buyer seller/lister.

Investors who say they want to offer on multiple properties in the hope of scoring one or more pay a retainer fee of the 3000. It's credited against any future commission earned. Many of them will, and some won't.

Serious buyers will. AND THEY EXPECT ME TO BE A SERIOUS AGENT. It benefits both the buyer and the agent.

Serious clients who believe you are a serious knowledgeable, patient, and hard working agent won't have a problem. If they don't know they should expect something from you, the agent, won't appreciate what we do and won't agree. We have to educate them as to why it's in the CLIENTS best interest.
7 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
I think I need to clarify about when I charge a retainer fee.
I'm getting calls and emails from all around the country.

It usually goes something like this:

"I'll take one of those $50,000 homes in Las Vegas. I'm all cash, and I want to offer 40,000, since I'm all cash"
Can you go to all of them, take pictures or videos, send them to me, and If I like one of them, I'll fly out next month to make the offer. "

Sure, I'd be happy to help you. Here's how it works. I need you agree to a 3000. minimum per transaction, and you'll need to pay me for the first one up front. In exchange, I'll be willing to submit as many offers as you like for any price that you want to offer. I'll always tell you what my best guess is..... that is, how much over the list price price you should be offering in order to be the "chosen one". If you listen to me, and get one or more of them, you'll look like a real estate genius 5 years from now. Mind you - someone might guess higher than you, and we'll start over again. We might be writing on 5 or 10 or 20 of them before you land one.

Most likely, they' 'll give up after 3 or 4. If they can't agree to my terms in order to work with me, I'd be happy to refer them to you. I'll even charge you only 20% referral fee off of the 1500. (or maybe 1250, or 1000) coop. Then you can pay your broker, gas, phone and other bills.

There's an old vaudeville joke. The merchant says "I'll lose money on every sale. BUT I MAKE IT UP ON VOLUME.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 15, 2011
I am all for charging a retainer fee. In my early days of real estate I was burned by buyers who would sign agreements simply just so they could look around. More recently I spent about two months with a young couple who were engaged. They wasted so much time and lowballed everything they found.

I moved to a different KW office in town and will charge not only a retainer fee, but 3.5% or $2500, whichever is greater. If a buyer doesn't want to pay, it doesn't mean they are not serious. However I value my time and theirs so we can make the most of the relationship by ensuring they are truly interested in purchasing a home.

In the end they will get it back at closing, but in case they bail as some buyers tend to do, I will have some sort of compensation.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 31, 2012
Exactly Jack !! Another senario for me is ... Im here on vacation and I would like to do a little house hunting while im here to see if I would be interested in buying a vacation or retirement home here. Im staying at Ceasers can you please pick me up. They want it scheduled around all the vacation things they have already planned. This is when I give them my contract and let them know how much it will cost them, if they say "no" then its no sweat off my back because they weren't going to buy anyway, they just needed a tour guide for the day and what better way to get one than to ask for a free working Realtor. If they pay my fee then they either are serious about buying or they are willing to pay me for my tour guide services for the day.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 15, 2011
As a buyer, my response would be, "kiss off."

However, from an agents perspective, perhaps this is what is needed to guarantee a little customer loyalty.

I would be in favor of a possible "refundable" at closing retainer for completed transactions....seems a little more reasonable.

Bill
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
I actually get it . I charge 150.00 up front but I give back 300.00 at close of escrow. As Ive said before I cant afford to work for people for free or be a tour guide for them, so if they are serious buyers and know they will get even more money back , they will not have a problem with it..
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
I think Realtors should charge a retainer fee. This is the only field I know of that is so willing to work for free. I believe that we would be valued more by our clients if they had to pay something in order to work with us. A plumber, electrician, and HVAC repair person charges a service fee just to come to the house. Every attorney, accountant and book keeper I know always charge for every minute of their time.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 6, 2013
From New York City with all good intentions - - - I remember my old teacher- Mr. PhD from Bohemia NY telling us the old story with the train living the station and its itinerary, with the stops and etc. I know you know the train was on time_ _ _ _ Same about Retainers.
As far I can remember back about 3 decades or more, the term Retainer is exclusively in the professional world of lawyers, accountants and ‘appraisers’ and the real ones will not even bother with the ‘client’ rich or not, before a returned/ signed Retainer is received by the office.
Specifies exactly the amount of compensation for ‘partial or completed’ scope of work.
For the same lengthy period, all the Real Estate Brokers were signing ‘listings’ at least with the seller for a commission as allowed by the licensing state [ here by us, NY state]. Technically or better said ethically under state licensing law, No other compensations are legally permitted.
In fact I never heard of anyone willing to pay’ the appraiser’ a penny more for any type real property appraisal.
Of course, I am an appraiser. Regards to all Alx
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
I am a licensed Realtor in Florida with over 20 years of experience. I am charging a retainer fee for a listing client. The amount of the retainer will be credited to the client at closing. The retainer is 2.0% of the anticipated purchase price with the remaining 1.0% (or 3.0% if I sell it myself) due at closing. This is not a typical practice of mine but with this particular client, I feel I must protect my time, energy, effort and information through a monetary exchange in advance of the sale date.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 26, 2014
Edit: or 2.0% if I sell it myself is due at closing.
Flag Thu Jun 26, 2014
I am all for charging a retainer fee. In my early days of real estate I was burned by buyers who would sign agreements simply just so they could look around. More recently I spent about two months with a young couple who were engaged. They wasted so much time and lowballed everything they found.

I moved to a different KW office in town and will charge not only a retainer fee, but 3.5% or $2500, whichever is greater. If a buyer doesn't want to pay, it doesn't mean they are not serious. However I value my time and theirs so we can make the most of the relationship by ensuring they are truly interested in purchasing a home.

In the end they will get it back at closing, but in case they bail as some buyers tend to do, I will have some sort of compensation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 31, 2012
it seems that you are saying: ' in support of charging ONE’ no, no but in charging one MORE. From my side of the real estate business- appraisal/ valuations- only- I can tell you how appraisers are ‘treated’ by both sellers and buyers or lenders, re brokers/ agents, etc: far from being nice, before even asking for the appraisal fee. What we are receiving periodically is more and more ‘must comply’ guidelines/ software updates for a few hundred us dollars each, etc. And what are our fees for reports long as far as 30 to 50 pages [ legal size paper] , including a specific re market analysis plus ‘recent’ statistics : I> re brokers do not provide and why lenders want to have it? They twist the market daily, their way 2> re brokers do not make a real ‘ comparable market’ presentation to seller/ buyer, in most cases 3> re brokers do not get paid from 300 to 900 us dollars per property [ 1-4 fams, fha loans tax class in NY City], but from say 5,ooo and Up for each property. I know you do not sell a house every day – except for my neighborhood broker/ she does and needs no appraisers.
Back to ‘retainer’: let’s get serious about it: what is it what you want:1> a larger compensation for your work? if yes put it in the ‘ original agreement ‘ with seller and buyer’ stipulating an ascending commission for hard to sell properties and a ‘reward fee’ for earlier performances / sale
The retainer, by definition is different. A commission does not have to be a flat fee.
Retainer agreement
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A retainer agreement is a work for hire contract. It falls between a one-time contract and full-time employment. Its distinguishing feature is that the employer pays in advance for work to be specified later. Additional contracts regarding the performance of this work may also apply. It is common for a person seeking the services of a lawyer (attorney) to pay a retainer ("retainer fee") to the lawyer, to see a case through to its conclusion. In addition to the retainer fee, an agreement between a client and an attorney may provide for a "contingent fee". Retainer fee can be paid on a fixed, pre-negotiated rate or on a variable hourly rate depending on the nature of retainer and also, the practice of the lawyer/advocate being retained. Both models exist in the industry.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 19, 2011
From a seller's point of view, I am 100% for it if it is related to finally giving the buyer's a vested interest in the transaction. Buyers get to use a realtor's time again and again and all of the financial responsibility rests on the seller! Ridiculous! If this is what you mean, than I say a resounding YES!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 18, 2011
I’m not sure we can have it both ways. A retainer fee lends itself to the next question of why? Did we take an overpriced listing that will never sell or appraise? Then the next question becomes a retainer fee, then why not a flat fee? I ‘ve asked the same question to myself and what I’m considering marketing is a full service program with a national company to clients in the 250,000 plus market for a flat fee of 3000.00 with a targeted 250.00 nonrefundable advertising fee. The other condition is they must sign a buyer’s agency agreement with me for the purchase of their next home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 16, 2011
If my agent was able to negitiate a house worth $90,000 and get the seller to accept $70,000, I would be most appreciate to pay a bonus, knowing a 3% commission on such a dollar ammount will barely pay for expenses.

DAVID COOPER Foreclosure Specialist with 35 Years Investing Experience. For freee list of Low-Priced, Bargain Homes with Cash Flow
Call +1-7024997037 or check website
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
I would love to charge a retainer fee. And if your petition get to Cali I would definitely sign it. But in the interim I dont charge one. No one I know does. So if I start, a buyer would merely move onto the next agent, regardless of my talents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
Dp2, I think if an Agent has an on going relationship with a client, they would not feel the need for a retainer fee. You have already established loyalty with this person and know how serious they are . There are other cases where a retainer fee would not be necessary as well .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 15, 2011
Most serious and experienced investors (myself included) won't bother paying an agent/broker a retainer fee, and it's not because we don't value the service that an agent/broker can provide. Some of us don't need/want any hand-holding; already know how to find and market our own deals; already have other sources--to whom we also don't pay any retainers--for finding deals; and already know how to fill out all of the required paperwork, or will have their escrow/title company or attorney to handle the paperwork. Plus, if an investor were to do "enough" work with that agent/broker, then the IRS might try to reclassify that relationship as an employer/employee one.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 15, 2011
The other surprising thing on this question is that you refer to customers and lookers as clients, in Florida we do not call any of our customers clients, we are transaction brokers here! So you go and charge fees to buyers and see how many catch on to going out on their own, jotting down phone numbers off of signs and just bypassing the buying agent all together, of and also expose them to more FSBO signs so we can lessen the listing side as well, when FSBOs realize that we charge fees and the NE FSBo signs will say For Sale by Owner, no agency fees.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 15, 2011
Totally against it, in fact if you are in need to charge a retaining fee, it is a sign you go not know how to tell the serious from the non serious in the market, you do not find the real buyer and then close the deal each time! Retaining fees can be placed with the following. Hi! I see you want to look at some properties, have you been approved for a loan yet? I will be glad to show you loads of great homes, but lets have you stop by a bank and fill out the right applications to see what price range you seriously can look at!
Wondering if you just take everyone out, just because they tell you they want to buy a home!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 15, 2011
Thank you Julia , I really want to try to hold meetings and get Realtors together on this . If more of us practiced this way , it would not be an issue at all. It just takes all of us uniting together.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 15, 2011
Talking with colleagues about it in the open is one thing. Having meetings and making a deal to do it as a unified front is probably illegal.
Flag Fri Jun 6, 2014
Im glad we agree on something David lol :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
Thumbs UP,, Jack Levine. The prices on houses in Las Vegas are so low, that the historical 3% commission when gasoline is $4.00 a gallon should be put to rest. A professional real estate agent should be able get paid for time and effort, and working for free for months and not getting a commission is just not professional

DAVID COOPER Foreclosure and Bank REO's Specialist-Las Vegas.35 years experience For freee list
Call +1-7024997037 or check website
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
I say we all conspire to all all agents charge a retainer and a per hour fee.

Yea, that's the problem. Since we all won't do it, a buyer/seller will just find someone that doesn't.

Pipe dream, but a good one!
Web Reference: http://fredglick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
Sat Jun 11 2011, 17:32 - Delete this answer
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DAVID COOPER. C...
Landlord
Las Vegas, NV

I suspect the agents who ask for retainer fees know their business and have gotten retainer fees from other clients, otherwise they wouldn't be asking for one if they never collected one before. That should tell you a lot about the expertise of the agent asking for a retainer.

DAVID COOPER Foreclosure and Bank REO's Investor-Las Vegas.35 years experience For freee list
Call +1-7024997037 or check website

Web Reference: http://www.lasvegaswinner.org
Wed Jun 8 2011, 16:19
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Carmen Brodeur -...
Agent
Scottsdale, AZ

In Arizona there is a retainer fee option in both the Buyer Broker and Listing contracts. It is not uncommon for an agent to charge a retainer though not all agents do. The retainer will come out of paid commissions unless in a buyers case, they do not buy. Then they are out the retainer.

Web Reference: http://www.ParadiseValleyAZ.com
Wed Jun 8 2011, 16:06
1Link to this answer Report

Lisa Radke
Agent
Freeport, FL
Hi Scott. I understand agents not wanting to spend a significant amount of time with buyers who may or may not be serious and/or qualified. I personally do not ask for a retainer, but I do request that the buyer sign an exclusive buyer agent contract with me. If they are not willing to do so, then I have to make a decision as to how much of my time and resources I want to dedicate to that particular buyer. I do know of some great agents in the Nevada area who would l
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
Hi Spirit.....
I have ten windows on my house that need to be washed.
Could you wash nine of them now and because you will not wash number ten, you don't get paid.

Don't worry, when I need my windows washed, you will be the only window washer that I will go with. You will always have my business.....thanks!

Earlier today
2Link to this answer Report

Spirit Messingh...
Agent
Tucson, AZ
Not here in Tucson, AZ. In this market, I am sure you can find one that does not charge. Ask around and pretty sure you can find one with no up front fees. There are agents profiles here on Trulia.com or try Zillow.com where past clients write reviews on agents.

Best of luck.
Spirit

Yesterday, 23:21
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Abijah A. Spence
Agent
Mohegan Lake, NY
I'd have to agree with Rhonda Brinkerhoff, Can anyone honestly say that they'd like to work for free? We all know that the answer is No, wether you're Realtor, Attorney, Surveyor, Inspector, Etc... Every person should be paid for the work they do, just imagine if your Boss said to you" I didn't like how you cut those 5 acres of grass I'm not paying you". Would that be right? Just like mechanics will charge you to look at your car and if you get the work done then they wouldn't charge you a storage fee for your car taking up space on their lot, taking away from the person who see the value in getting their car fixed by this pro. If you don't want to pay just don't ask anyone to go to work for you, simple as that. Everyone should protect their business, Buyers too. First things that should be talked about should be what everyone expectations are of each other, this will minimize all of the gripes.

Web Reference: http://www.abijahshomes.com
Yesterday, 20:26
2Link to this answer Report

DAVID COOPER. C...
Landlord
Las Vegas, NV

Scott. I hope you found an agent who you are comfortable enough with, that doesn't charge a fee. I would encourage you to get as much information and education as possible to help your agent focus on what kind of property is best for you.

DAVID COOPER Foreclosure and Bank REO's Specialist-Las Vegas.35 years experience For freee list
Call +1-7024997037 or check website

Web Reference: http://www.lasvegaswinner.org
Yesterday, 18:41
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Gerard J. Carney
Agent
Spring Hill, FL
no Scott find one that doesn't charge a fee until you get to closing. Sounds like a bad agent that never gets to closing found a way to make a living! Sheese! Scott we are for the most part commission based agents, we charge fees for items that relate to Real estate, but in selling and buying we are commission based

Yesterday, 14:48
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Justin Ruzicka
Agent
Fort Myers, FL
Scott,

in today's market nothing is Typical. But i would agree with the landlord Mr. Cooper...if someone can 'charge' a fee like that it might suggest they are very good at their job.

Web Reference: http://blog.house-guy.com
Yesterday, 14:45
1Link to this answer Report

Rhonda Brinkerh...
Agent
Las Vegas, NV
Lisa , I really do not think he needs to contact you in Fl to get a good Realtor in Vegas. There are many very successful Realtors who post here that could help him and his Agent can help him with certain cost instead of his agent paying you a referral fee. There are many of us who hold the CRS designation and that is all he really needs to look for or ABR , not an out of state Agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 14, 2011
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