Your most unusual commission?

Asked by John Souerbry, Fairfield, CA Fri Jun 22, 2012

I was surprised recently when speaking to a large group of agents to find that only one or two had ever accepted anything other than cash for a sales commission. I've taken a week in a deluxe Lake Arrowhead cabin, part ownership in and "first right of refusal to list" several flips, and other stuff that had a greater value to me than it did the seller. Disclosure and RESPA compliance is usally very easy.
Has anyone else taken anything other than cash, and if so, what was your most unusual commission?

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John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Sun Jun 24, 2012
Judi - you're right regarding taxes, which is why I mentioned disclosure and RESPA issues in my original question. I've received cases of wine, bottles of rare scotch, invitations to fishing trips, and stuff like that as a closing gift from clients, but that's not what my question is about. I'm talking about trading a traditional commission that would carry a specific $$$ value in return for another tangible or intangible form of compensation that would need to have a reasonable value attached to it for RESPA and tax purposes. I highly recommend involving a tax specialist to confirm that the value of the item received is a reasonable market value that would withstand an audit.
The key to any successful trade is to exchange something something of value in return for something that has greater value to you. The first exchange of this type that I was ever told about was an agent who shared with me that he traded a roughly $5,000 cash commission for use of a timeshare in Hawaii for two weeks. If he tried to rent the same condo for that time, it would have cost him about $8,000 and he had planned to take his family on a Hawaiian vacation anyway. The commission agreement spelled out the lease of the condo to the agent and assigned a value that the agent had to claim as income and that the client could claim as a selling cost.
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John--thanks much for the clarification. I'd be all over that timeshare in Hawaii! :-)
Flag Wed Jun 27, 2012
Judi Monday,…, Agent, Green Valley, AZ
Sun Jun 24, 2012
John--talk about thinking outside of the box. I have earned a couple of luxury vacations for selling new homes but never really though about it when it come to resales. Starting from today I will be looking for creative ways to take a commission. I'm assuming you still have the tax liability and must provide a "value" for what you get when it comes time to prepare your taxes?
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Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Sat Jun 23, 2012
Hello John,

You just opened up a whole new world to me. I have never received anything other than green American dollars.

I am not even sure if as a sales person my broker or my association would allow this.

If you are a broker, I guess you can make your own call.

This is something I will bring up at our next office meeting, it is worth discussing.

Kawain Payne
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inna ivchenko, Agent, Calabasas, CA
Fri Jun 22, 2012
As a listing agent~ no, only %, but as an a buyer agent I see a lot of different ''encouragements' to sell fast: new cars, vacations, gift certificates, store credits, etc.
It is always fun:)
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Carmen Brode…, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Fri Jun 22, 2012
Wow some interesting ideas there!
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Thomas Bohlm…, Agent, Rolesville, NC
Fri Jun 22, 2012
I have been asked to take a deferred payment. I said sure, and you will take deferred Title.

I have help with many Owner financing deals and asked to take deferred payment. I said, no problem, I will just file a first lean on the property. Got paid at closing.

Now the best Gift I have received is a bottle of Bourbon from a buyer.

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John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Fri Jun 22, 2012
Thanks Annette. We may be a little different here in California, the escrow company requires a commission agreement and settles according to whatever it says. We're free to accept payment in any form for any type of sale - residential or commercial.
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Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Fri Jun 22, 2012
In an earlier life, I was involved exclusively in commercial real estate.
Persian rugs to Paris trips and furniture that belongs in a museum. Even picked up a CAT!!
However, in residential, the title company does it all...checks only.
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