Cheeseburrito, Home Buyer in 10567

Are selling agents not receiving commissions any more?

Asked by Cheeseburrito, 10567 Wed Sep 29, 2010

We recently got a look at the split of commissions for sellers agents and buyers agents on several properties. This is the MLS information that is usually hidden from the public. We saw that buyers agents were generally getting their usual 50% split of the commission (i.e., 2.5% of 5%). However, we noticed that sellers agents generally were getting 0%. We were told that this was becoming the norm due to liability issues. Is this true? Does this mean that the listing broker is keeping the remaining 2.5% all to him/herself? Is this having any impact on the breadth of marketing efforts for any potential seller (i.e., only the listing agent is doing any real marketing)?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi there, the commission to paid out to the Buyer's Agent is published on the agent copy of the MLS. The commission paid to the listing agent is not disclosed, I just glanced at a few listings and in fact the SB or Selling Broker field shows 0%. This just confirms that it is not disclosed, it does not mean that the listing broker and/or agent is earning 0%.

The commission agreed to is a matter negotiated between seller and listing broker. The amount to be paid out must be disclosed on the MLS.

Nothing more than that...

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
alright... here's my guess at what's going on based on the information you've given us.

At the closing, you noted that 2.5% was going to the buyer's agency (what we call the selling agency). But there was nothing going to the listing agency. Chances are, that there was enough "earnest money" already in the hands of the listing agency, and rather than bring that to the closing, they withheld their percentage, and returned any balance to the closing.

In other words... let's say that the total commission on the deal is $5,000... ($2,500 to the listing agency, $2,500 to the buyer's agency). And that the deal had $5,000 in earnest money on tap, being held by the listing agency.

The buyer's agency got paid $2,500 out of the closing, but the listing agency actually BROUGHT $2,500 to the closing, and simply HELD the other $2,500. So you saw that they got paid 0% out of the closing.

Make sense?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Dear Cheeseburrito,

This is what happens when the "public" gets into things that are meant for the professionals. This is a perfect example why some things are "hidden".

It is an agents responsibility to explain to a client the difference between a Buyers Agent, Sellers Agent, Brokers Agent, and Dual Agent. It is not something that is open to interpretation. Have you had an agent explain agency to you? Vicarious liability is something not everyone can wrap their brains around, so to put it out there if you can't explain it, (and not every agent can) just creates the junk that you are putting out there.

Why would anyone work for free? No one should work for free - not the broker - not the agents. Ralph, Kevin & Patrick said it best.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
"All to him/herself"? The public oftentimes has the misimpression that the listing company merely lists a property and then sits on their hands waiting for a commission check. This is evidenced by the many brokers that offer a flat fee to sellers to post their homes on an MLS and then the seller basically acts as listing agent dealing with either buyer brokers or brokers' agents. In this market and with all the conditions that banks are now placing on deals, I can tell you that us listing agents work very hard for our money. Next: depending on the area of the state, brokers now offer many different incentive programs. On Long Island, in most instances, the listing company and the seller will offer incentive to both buyer brokers and broker's agents. A broker's agent also works indirectly for the seller without placing vicarious liability on the seller while sub-agents (seller's agents) have a direct relationship with the owner.

Ralph Windschuh
Certified Buyer Representative
Senior Real Estate Specialist
Associate Broker
Century 21 Princeton Properties
In The Top 2% of Century 21 Agents Nationwide!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
You may be refering to the "acronyms" listed at the bottom of the listing sheet. They are BA, SA, BRA. This stands for the "types" of pay outs to the agent who brings a buyer. For instance, BA is the payout for a Buyer Agent, SA is for an agent who brings a buyer, but is going to represent the Seller vs. the Buyer. It's confusing, but it is not a breakdown of what the listing agent recieves. Basically, that information is only available on the contract itself (between the listing agent and the seller(s)) and perhaps it becomes a known fact at a closing table.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Where did you see this information, it could be the reason for the strange number? I can't see anyone listing a home for free. What would be the motiviation for the listing agent in these homes?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Dear CheeseBurrito:

It could be the MLS information was incorrect. I don't know of any listing agents who list for free and provide full service and I haven't heard of any liability issues related to being a seller's agent that would prevent a professional agent or broker from charging a fee. I do know of selling brokers who ask for a a smaller listing fee (1%?) and give a regular 3% to the buyer's broker to build their client base and get referrals (so they would charge 4% total to the seller for listing and selling) while still providing full represenation.

Stephanie Clancy
The Cascade Team
Simply Outrageous Service! Not Outrageous Commissions!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
There must be some misunderstanding. The comission is the only way an agent gets paid. Also, not sure how paying a comission to the sellers agent has any liability
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Hey Cheese,

Did the mls say 0%??

I would ask another person.

So many issues if this is the case
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
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