Hmmm. I agree with Gary and don't fully agree with some of the other advice here from agents who consistently give excellent advice. His scenario is on target. Assuming there are more properties available than a buyer can reasonably look at--properties that fit the buyer's criteria--then there has to be some way for the agent to say, "Let's take a look at these 10 houses. They all have 4 bedrooms and 3 baths. They all have garages. They're all in the "X" school district, and they're all under $500,000." Now, maybe the agent is selecting those 10 based on some other unspecified criteria. Maybe they're all geographically bunched along a couple of streets. Maybe they're the 10 cheapest properties...or, for sake of the commission, the 10 most expensive ones under the buyer's $500,000 ceiling. There could be a lot of reasons. And maybe, just maybe, there's some sort of bonus attached to some of those properties for the agent.
I think what we're overlooking is that agents have to be as creative and broad-based in marketing properties as possible. Pricing a property properly is key, of course. Always has been. But raw price is not the only factor. Take two identical houses, side by side. One doesn't show well and is priced at $350,000. The other is clean, bright, and staged. It's priced at $360,000. It almost seems that sometimes we forget what the buyers want. Price, of course. But they want a house they can imagine as their own; one they want to live in. And that's an element of marketing a home.
Which brings me to staging. I'm all in favor of it; it's an essential part of marketing. But I'm amused that, at least around Northern Virginia, a couple of years ago most agents poo-pooed staging.Yes, the market was hotter then, but even then properties could have benefited from it. Now it's being treated as a big discovery by some. No. My point is: Marketing a property takes a lot of creativity and effort on many fronts. Staging, like price, like incentivizing buyer's agents, is important.
Now everyone's discovered the Internet. One comment below states: "Most buyers are finding their own homes on the Internet." Many are. But not all. Some still receive mail, look at postcards, open letters. Some still drive around neighborhoods they like looking for signs. Some still actually walk into a real estate office. Some talk to neighbors or co-workers. The Internet is not the be all-end all solution. It's a marketing tool. Just like staging. Just like pricing.
People still go grocery shopping. Around where I live, an agent advertises on shopping carts. Others advertise on the back of the tape receipts.
Now, a lot of this--shopping cart advertising, for instance, is generic. It doesn't have to be.
The point is: Even when marketing a specific property, there are dozens of different ways to do it, all of which have, in the past and present, proved to be effective. Those who put most of their eggs into one basket--whether it's price, or the Internet, or whatever--are going to be missing some techniques that have worked and are working.
So, as far as offering an incentive to an agent, especially to a buyer's agent, it may be worth a try. The fact that resources are always limited may mean skipping over some techniques that may be less productive. And it does mean, as Elvis suggests, that the money might be better spent elsewhere. But you've got to take a look at the complete picture, the complete situation.
Hope that helps.