Property Q&A in San Jose>Question Details

Mina, Home Buyer in San Jose, CA

Does anyone know any realtor who will be willing to share part of their commission?

Asked by Mina, San Jose, CA Wed May 13, 2009

I am planning to buy a property in san jose. A friend bought a house through Redfin and got some commission back from them.. Try to find out other agents offering the same service.

Help the community by answering this question:


The old adage you get what you pay for applies here. Remember it is the Seller who pays the Realtors Commission, not you. Don’t you want a realtor to negotiate on your behalf and get you the best deal? My concern would be if a Realtor is giving up their commission that easily, then how well are their negotiation skills and how will they represent you when the time comes to get you the best deal.

If you are needed the help of a Realtor to purchase a home, my question to you might be is the time right for you. You might be pushing the envelope of affordability for you and that could cause you problems in the future. That is what got a lot of people in homes that they truly could not afford. Remember you should be thinking long term because it is not likely you will be purchasing another home in the near future…so you need someone in your corner to give you information for your to make the best decision for you and your family and who can get you the best deal.

Diana 909-560-0145
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5 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 10, 2010
It fascinates me that Realtors are answering a question that was asked over a year ago. I would hope by now that Mina has made her decision and is now the proud owner of a new home. If as Realtors, we would like to have a discussion regarding the pros and cons of discounting commissions, shouldn't a new question or blog be generated?

April Tavares, Realtor
DRE License #01742179
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4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
You might find one, but you are short changing yourself. A good realtor, well motivated, by commission, can potentially save you $1000's or more. They will protect your interest and keep your escrow on schedule.

Excuse me for being snarky, but how well would you work for a lower salary?

If you use a place like redfin, then the agent is prepared to work at a they go into it knowing what the cost is.

Please don't ask us half way into the transaction to give you money, not fair, and you risk annoying the agent, and you really want that agent on YOUR side.

Unless you are in the very top of the price range, be prepared for agents working harder with their other clients that are looking for a good deal, but not going to ask for money. We all have a long list of clients wanting a good deal, in the starter home range. It is only human nature to work harder for those that aren't going to grind money out of you.

3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 29, 2010
If you find one, ask them if they would like you to share some of your paycheck. I see some agents on here are willing, would you like to send some checks to them, as well?
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 19, 2010
Mina - Keep in mind what you are asking.
If you are looking for a full-service, ethical Real Estate agent, be prepared to pay full price. You want the best!
Plus, you are not paying the commission, since it has been negotiated with the seller.
Your agent has a fudicuary responsiblity to you. A good agent will negotiate well beyond the 'discounted' commission.
Just my 2 cents!
Joanna Bateman Realtor DRE 01792532
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
Hello Mina:
First, it comes as no surprise to see this question in this market. Buyers have a lot of negotiating power.

However, let me tell you a few reasons why negotiating commission is a bad idea.

If your friend regularly purchase homes, meaning they invest, such an arrangement is not so unusual. Not knowing the circumstances of your friend's purchase, I can only comment that you likely get what you pay for when you reduce compensation. If an agent is trying to do a "volume business" by offering what is essentially a kickback, they're not really doing themselves, nor the buyer a favor.

The average buyer is better off using an agent who is intelligent and has years of experience. A particularly good eye is invaluable in this business. The number of considerations in a typical transaction is huge and sometimes staggering. And by the way, there is no typical transaction. After 25 years in the business, I can assure you there is good reason to hire someone who has an eye for problems and negotiating items.

Realtors typically know the neighborhoods and the homes in their area. Many can tell you the history and what is happening in the local economy. That includes crucial information like there has been an underground gasoline leak in one part of town or there is a shallow water table. It includes knowledge of a builder's reputation and much more. It often includes savvy that can only be acquired through years of providing this service.

Ask yourself how good the service is going to be from an agent who is offering a reduce rate. Real estate is a business like any other. A business model that is returning an unspecified amount of commission has to make up for that lost revenue. It usually means a business is cutting service. It also means an agent or even two or more agents are spending less time marketing the property, visiting a property and performing any of the other countless chores involved in a real estate transaction. They have to spend their time away from these important activities devoting more time to marketing themselves to capture more volume.

A home purchase is the most important consideration many buyers make in a lifetime. Does it make sense to give the responsibility for guiding that transaction to the lowest bidder?

My practice is to offer clients the best service in the industry. I have the experience, knowledge and business acumen to back up that claim.

Best of luck to you both.

2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 8, 2010
We have had Redfin and other discount brokers in my state for quite a while. State law varies, but it appears to be common in California based on the number of offers you've received to do business.
My belief is this; focus on the commission is misplaced. Find the most competent, talented, knowledgeable and experienced agent you can find. 1-2% of your purchase price equals 1/3 to 2/3rds of the agent’s commission. As others have said, if they are frivolous with their commissions may not be respectful of your money.
I've looked at discount companies and considered if they would be a good fit for me, I've decided they wouldn't. I would have to do 2-3 times the volume to earn for my family what we need and I would have to give each client much less time, attention and focus. For me to work harder, earn less and most importantly provide less service for my clients is not a good option.
Some discount agents may do fine, and some full price agents don't do a good job, but if a good full service agent is hard to find, a great discount agent will be even more difficult.
My advice is find the best agent first, focus on commissions later. If all an agent has to sell is a cheaper commission model, they may not be in a good position to truly look out for your interests first.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 5, 2010
An then there are some lenders that don't want to see a buyer credit from an agent. Had escrow last week delayed because the lender didn't want to see a credit to the buyer in the transaction, so buyer had to come in at the last minute with cashier's check for money. Imagine if the buyer didn't have that extra money they were counting on not having to come in with.
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2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 30, 2010
Look for an agent that is dedicated to getting you the best deal, not sharing their professional fee. You will actually end up better off. If you are looking for an agent who "shares" their commission they will most likely end up either not wanting to help, and throw their buyers into homes to get a quick commission or someone that is so anxious to get paid that they are looking out for THEIR interests not yours.
An agent that will negotiate on your behalf and take all the time necessary to help will possibly save you thousands on the purchase price, help you find a great lender with a lower rate that will save thousands more and help in repair negotiations, saving even more.
Don't forget, the seller is most likely paying the buyers agent.
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2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 28, 2010
Hi Mina,

Give me a call if you would ike to discuss commissions.

Happy House Hunting,
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2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
They found that the act of helping another person triggers activity in the caudate nucleus and anterior cingulate cortex regions of the brain, the parts involved in pleasure and reward. That is, serving others may produce the same sort of pleasure as gratifying a personal desire.
Removing the reward is like removing the pleasure that triggered the desire to help some one. A person seeking help most deprived forgotten when the simplest meaning of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". In a hypocrite world of 'self" expectation, it is gratifying that the balance between giving and receiving is the difference of knowing the pleasures of the reward that comes to both that gives and the one that receives.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 3, 2012
It is not unknown or unusual for an agent to buy a ‘Home warranty’ or pay part of the home inspection for a buyer. I had cases in my career when I gave up part of my commission for a deal to not fall apart at the closing table, especially first time home buyers w/limited down. I would be reluctant to negotiate my commission up front for a buyer just to keep him to buy with me, especially when the commission is paid by the seller. Unfortunately, I was asked this question mostly by cash buyers who could afford to buy or had plenty of money for down payment, just wanted to ‘get a deal’ which obviously I didn’t think is fair. After all that’s how we make a living. People work in different places and they are paid what their contract says, commission is a contract also.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 30, 2011
Thanks for the long replies. All I am saying is that commission and quality of service have no correlation. That is a misconception.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 26, 2011
Yes, call me. 310-831-8311 I offer 20% to my clients and to those who refer business to me. Experienced, 25 years in business.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 23, 2011
As mentioned in the post, just prior to yours, this question is over 2 years old....

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 23, 2011
Hello Mina, I'm sure you will find an agent willing to give you a rebate. I'm a partner agent with Redfin and love their program. Just don't ask for the moon, especially if you have to view 10+ homes to find the right one.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 23, 2011
So Guy......what you are saying is that you are deliberately responding to 2 year old questions for completely self-serving reasons.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 22, 2011
Are you kidding me??? What are you expecting?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 7, 2011
If you can't handle 'lost time', then don't go into this business. That's part of the business risk, ask any sales agent. I don't see you complain when the times are good.
If you asked me if I want half salary, of course not. But if everyone do the same job and quality as I am, and they are competing the same job with half salary, then I have to lower my salary -myself- to be competitive. Complaining about it won't solve the problem, doing a better job and adding more time and service will add value to it and hopefully kill the competitors. Insisting on my current salary will just make me lose my job and customers.
No, I don't ask dentist for a 'break' (maybe I should), but if another dentist that provides similar service for half the cost, I'll switch.
If you still don't get it, it's about competition. There are so many people unemployed or receive less salary because of global competition, including me. If you as a realtor can not handle competitors that offer similar service with less commission then that's just too bad. I definitely want to make use of my now-less-income the best that I can, including giving less commission to realtors assuming they all provide similar quality of service.
If you think you deserve higher commission, then mention what you do 'extra', otherwise you're just yet-another-realtor.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 6, 2011
Are you kidding me!!??? Did you ask your dentist for a "break" because you flossed your teeth"? (Or do you even floss?)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
Most buyers want to get some commission from agents because they do not understand the real estate business. Agents pay a lot to be in the business: broker, license fee, assocation of realtors, MLS fee, open house signs, printers, computers, advertising, gas etc. If home buyers want to share commission, why don't they go get a license and save money. The law also allows buyers to get out if they are not happy with a deal; many agents spend a great deal of time to see their clients back out in the end. Who pays for the lost time?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 9, 2011
I knew quite a few agents in CA that offer it.
My questions to the brokers is what kind of added services you offered that value brokers do not? As far as the price nego, it all come back to the buyer and not really the agent who decide. Full paid agents do not necessary mean they will represent the buyer to the best of ability, many just want to close deals asap to max commission.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 9, 2011
Mina, ask yourself this question... did your friend get the best deal, or just a rebate after overpaying for a property? Too often we focus on the small while forgetting the big picture.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 10, 2010
As an agent, I would not suggest following Redfin's trend of giving part of "their paycheck" back to the seller or buyer. There are more than enough obstacles to overcome when competing for a listing, but giving part of your paycheck back should not be one of them.

I would be willling to bet you that the seller/buyer does not hand part of their paycheck back to their company on pay day.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 13, 2010
Can agents who automatically dismiss discount brokers as being lower quality say with a straight face that just because someone insists on charging full rate means they offer great service???
You do NOT always get what you pay for.
Get real, please.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 12, 2010
Excellent points, Diana Margala.

Couldn't agree more on the impression adjusting commission should project. If a realtor is that poor a negotiator, should that realtor be negotiating on your behalf?

An analogy: Would you rather have the plane you're flying in piloted by someone making the same pay as a bus driver? Or better: How about the surgeon removing your appendix?

Rather than wait, however, I believe a buyer should review their finances and adjust their sights lower. Don't buy all the house you can. That strategy is not a good one as you note - even as the Fed's Biege Book report today was positive and business execs have suddenly become very positive in San Francisco. Standard investment advice is never to commit all your money to one investment.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 10, 2010
Some of you really have some good eyesight that you can see the grayed out date a question was asked.

Some of us are new here, and the format is not familiar, really cut us some slack.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 4, 2010
There are many things a Realtor brings to their client, hopefully. Research, good listening, knowledge of local schools-developments impacting values-etc..., transportation, optimizing the use of your time to find a home, but the highest value they should bring to you their client, like an attorney is representation in the negotiation of the best possible price and best possible terms. On a $1mil transaction a 1% discount is $10,000. A skilled, experienced, and ethical agent can more than earn that 1% in how the do or don't represent you. The interesting question I find is in giving away "just" 1% of their commission an agent has given 33% of their margin. That is huge! If you did that, gave away 33% margin, in your business what would be the impact on your company? If an agent is unable to negotiate for themselves, if they give away their money.... what do you think they might do with your??? Representation by an agent with many transactions of experience each year, not just a couple, with negotiating skills, with contractual knowledge, who always puts your best interest above their own... true fiduciary representation is worth the commission paid by Seller alone. Believe it or not, for that reason, their are an elite small # of agents that are so valued for their skills that they are paid more than 3%. So what do you think? Have we answered your question? There certainly have been a lot of words.... but have we answered your question(s)?
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 3, 2010
It is one of my pet peeves that Trulia doesn't put the original date a question is posted in BOLD TYPE and it is also one of my pet peeves when agents dig up an old question for self-serving purposes.

In this case however, I think its a discussion worth having (even though its been discussed many times prior) because like it or not, times, they are a changin'.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
People think Realtors make alot of money off evey transaction and that's not so. Especially when you consider how many hours are put into a transaction. If I'm the listing agent, the average listing is 6%, however that is split between the Brokerage office and the Buyer's Agent, who generall gets half (3%) then the other 3% is left to be split with the Broker. We don't get the whole commission and then there are expenses, such as gas, etc.

If I'm the Buyer's Agent, I may be working for free b/c the Buyer may choose not to use me after chauffering them all over the planet, so anything I make off the next transaction helps to compensate me for any loss. We are self-employed and all we get paid is commission but there's alot of up front fees to consider.

In Florida, it's illegal for us to split our commission with anyone. We are allowed to return a portion to OUR buyer or seller but that's about it. Even that way, it MUST be disclosed to all parties ahead of time.

These days, it literally takes month to even make any money and sometimes we still have to wait past closing before it's payday.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 26, 2010
If you're talking about cutting you a check, that's not allowed in Virginia. If you want a rebate, that's doable....but I don't do it. When you break down the number of hours I spend with a client over the 45 to 60 days it takes to close, my hourly rate is low. We work hard for our money, and I personally find it offensive that so many people out there want a piece of it. Look at it this way: if I approached you and asked you to split your paycheck with me. what would you say? Probably nothing nice. That's exactly what you are asking us to do....why can you do it but we can't?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 26, 2010
Rebates to buyers belongs in the Used Car arena. Realtors have a higher calling (it's called Fiduciary responsibility). But, there will always be those who request.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 24, 2010

It should be illegal to give rebates but unfortunately it's not. It's funny how RESPA wants to stop lender and Title/Escrow fraud through gifts, money, etc., but they do nothing to stop buyers from the same senseless practices.

Only with experience will other Realtors figure it out, that rebate buyers are in it for themselves and will rarely ever refer you to another friend/relative buyer. It's all about the one deal and thats it!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 17, 2010
As in any service business bear in mind you only get the service that you pay for. That said, it is a common misconception that fees are fixed at 6% when in fact fees are negotiable. However, it is the seller that dictates the total fees (as they are the ones who are paying!!!) and also what the buyer's agent is to receive. For example, some sellers will offer the buyer's agent 4% commission.
In today's economy everything is negotiable! Find an agent you can work with and then negotiate.
Good luck in your home search.
Brian Fortune
DRE 01802628
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 15, 2009
According to what I have heard, most agents who give rebate work part time . Real estate agents should not discount their services.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 12, 2012
dont worry about a commision that you did not pay to begin with. find an agent that is honest, with a high standard of ethics and a thru negotiator. The services are free.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 9, 2012

Your friend got what they paid for and you will too if you proceed down this path, a desperate, weak agent willing to do anything for some business. Ask yourself this, "If the agent is so willing to give me part of their hard earned salary, how hard will they fight for me when negotiating on a home?"

Here's the truth, Weak, inexperienced, poorly trained agents (and there are many of them out there) can only offer one thing, they'll buy your business. The public should know this and understand it. While they may talk about "new business models" it's only spin designed to persuade you and other gullible people into working with them.

If this is good enough for you, then by all means look for a broker willing to discount. If on the other hand you want a great Realtor, let them earn their money and help you find a great home at a great price and make sure that your largest financial transaction is a successful one.

I wish you all the best and have included a link to a blog post I've written here on Trulia on how to find a great Realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 8, 2012
How much money were you wanting the agent to give up?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 7, 2012
How much is your new home investment worth to you? Nuying real estate are the biggest decisions you will be making. Let me referr my broker to you who is in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can give you expert advice on investing in real estate as your personal residence or if you are building
real estate wealth in Silicon Valley. Michael Young 415.286.0831. Working with a qualified reputable real estate professional is key to your success. Please let him know Saundra Allman referred you. Sincerest wishes for your satisfaction. Saundra Allman
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 6, 2012
I'm sorry Realtors in real estate transaction Realtors remain obligated by the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 6, 2012
Mina - I believe you get what you pay for..... If an agent is willing to give you their earnings, how good is that agent going to be about negotiating to get you the best deal? They are likely to be a pushover because they are desperate to earn any small amount. If they cannot negotiate on their own behalf, they are so much less likely to be strong at negotiating on your behalf. Let's put it another way. How much of your paycheck are you willing to give back to your employer? Just because he needs it? Is a nice guy? Agents work hard for their commissions, they work strictly on commissions, they DO NOT GET paid for their TIME and EXPERTISE if the transaction does NOT happen. When you ask an agent to give you their earnings, you are stealing from them, their experience, their time and their LIFE. On the other hand, if an agent wants to donate their earnings to charity, that's a whole other story. Redfin and Zip are discount brokers I heard they are now rescinding their kickbacks to buyers. If the reason you want money from the agent is that you do not have enough of your own to cover your closing costs, or other expenses, there are many other way to get those funds. Call me if you'd like to know more about the many options open to you. 310-831-8311
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 3, 2012
Redfin and Zip Realty and several other mortgage related Real Estate firms do this regularly so I'm sure they've confirmed the legality. It may be illegal in some states, however and maybe that is the case in New Jersey.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 3, 2012
Mina, I hope the rebate given to you by the agent and broker were not listed as their business expenses thus reducing their federal tax liabilitiy. As a fellow citizen, I blow the whistle on tax cheats. The commission was paid by the seller to the agent and broker. They should not give you anything unless it is charity. The IRS will want to speak to you also, as a participant in the fraud. Where can you be found in San Jose, please. Is Mina your real name? Thanks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
try buying through a company like Zip Realty, they love giving away their agents commissions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
Can i borrow your credit card to fill my gas tank? Pay my realtor fees? Insurance, advertising, broker, license fee, MLS fee, open house signs, printers, computers, advertising, gas etc.
"Remember, you get what you pay for", and in this case the buyer isn't even buying.

Highest and best regards,

Vincent Paige
REALTOR®| Century 21 Elite Home Finders
Certified BPO Specialist
5401 S. Kirkman Rd., Ste 725 | Orlando, FL 32819
Direct: 407.256.8190 | Fax: 407.264.8073
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 31, 2011
This question was posted in May 2009... Mina, did you buy a house and get a substantial share of the Realtor's fee? Let us know how it all worked out for you... I know Redfin is big on the west coast but we no longer have a well known commission sharing firm in Tampa.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 29, 2011
Only Realtors that provide you with the fullest and best of service truly earn a full commission. In the 25 years that I have been doing business, I have always felt it was my obligation and honor to provide full services to my customers. I have been asked to cut commissions many times, but once I explain the services I provide, no one asks me to do this again and truly understands what I do to earn this fee.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 28, 2011
Since my last post on this Q, in June 2011 no one has asked me to share my income. And in the previous years, no one. As the recession continues, it might happen. I have paid for a professinal photographer to enhance the listing which helps the seller the most, and I have paid for the home warranty premium, helping the buyer immeasurably. That is about all. Depends on what the "sharing" requests is. Another word for a rebate or a bribe, "sharing" with a customer, one must be careful. Mina, bring us up to date. How did it turn out?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 24, 2011
I take on a limited number of clients at a time because I want to make sure I have the time to see that their needs are served (whether the process is immediate or over several years). I have been asked to contribute my commission and politely decline each time. I have, however, gifted closing costs to clients that I really liked, who didn't ask me for it. Why does every one go after the agetns for a rebate, what about the loan officer, the seller, inspector, appraisals, etc? While I would like to help everyone, I only have so many clients I can help at one time. That being said, why would I voluntarily give commission from the seller to the buyer, when there are many other clients who do not try to take money out of my pocket. I have had clients that told me after the fact, that they had considered some of these "rebate" companies, but have all told me that the my negotiating skills not only significantly saved them money, but that they did not believe they would have gotten the house without me. Just like restaurants, there may be bad restaurants that may charge higher prices, but they do not stay in business long. Conversely, you typically do not find the good ones offering coupons. On a home purchase, you're risking more money than the price of a dinner. It is unfortunate that your agent did not advise you well. But you were smart to insist on getting inspections of your own. If you offer a price that you think is too high because you later find repair issues...well, then that is what inspections are for. You can ask for the repairs to be done, negotiate the price, or walk.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 24, 2011
An old question but I just noticed it. Too busy helping buyers get all they can in their homes.
But sure I share my commission. With my wife, my daughter, my sons, my grocery, my mortgage holder, my tax man both federal and state and of course local real estate taxes. Feeling generous at times, I share with charities, churches. With some of these folks I get a return of a little love, a little satisfaction, a little peace of mind, a place to live unmolested by authorities. If I can figure out where to put my sharing with you in all therse benefits I receive by giving you a little of my income, I might agree. I guess you might buy using someone else and I get nothing. Since it is bad precedence to give my income to customers as a bribe to work with me or use my services, most of us would pass on the opportunity. It does not happen in other major purchases so why a home? But if the seller can pay at least 3%, half of which is my fee, I will consider being bribed. Let us know how this works out for you, please. Nothing wrong with asking by the way. Thanks for sharing though.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
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