By Lisa Larkin, Esq.

Associate Broker Owner/Partner

RE/MAX Excalibur, Tucson

If you are buying a home, the chances are that your agent is getting paid whatever the seller is offering in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), through the listing agent, pursuant to a contract between the listing agent and the seller. That amount is negotiable between the seller and the listing agent.

I would like to suggest that as a Buyer, you should not leave it up to chance or allow the seller to control your agent’s compensation. You should be pro-active about what your agent will be doing for you AND how they will be paid. The Arizona Association of REALTORS has a contract for that and it is called the Buyer Broker Exclusive Employment Agreement. It sets forth how much your agent will be paid and it requires the agent to use best efforts to locate a property, whether listed or not, and to work diligently on your behalf throughout the purchase transaction. This Employment Agreement provides for a negotiated fee for the agent and for a credit toward that fee for whatever amount is being paid by the seller. In MLS the seller’s offer of cooperation and compensation is being made through the listing broker. When your agent brings you a property to consider, you can always ask if your commission is covered and determine the shortfall if any. Then you can decide to skip the property altogether or you can negotiate with the seller to have them pay all or part of your closing costs (not commission), which would include any commission that you may owe your agent.

Consult a REALTOR for more information. When interviewing an agent to work with, ask them what they do, how they do it and how they will be paid. Then select an agent and ask them for a written agreement.