Sarah Salesperson had buyers with whom she’d been working for months. They were all getting a little desperate – the buyers because they were buying their first home and nothing they saw in their price range appealed to them, and Sarah because she’d shown them every house in their price range and they were just too picky. Still, she liked them and tried very hard to find their first home. She remembered what it was like when she was buying her first home and how hard it was to let go of some of the dreams.
Then the perfect house came on the market. It had everything the buyers were looking for and it was in the perfect neighbourhood for them. Unfortunately it was priced just a little too high for her buyers. She decided to show it to them anyway; maybe they could somehow come up with more money for their down payment or maybe – just maybe – she could negotiate the price downward enough that they could afford it.
Not surprisingly, because the house had great features at a great price, there were a number of offers on the property. Sarah worked with the buyers to put together the best offer they could handle, but it was still below the listed price. Sarah knew that even though it was a great offer from her buyer’s point of view, it probably wasn’t going to measure up when compared to the other offers. The only thing she could think that might sway the sellers toward her buyers’ offer was an incentive of some sort.
The time came for the offer presentation and Sarah presented her offer, pointing out how sincere her buyers were, how much they loved the house and how they considered it their dream home for their first home. Then she offered what she hoped would clinch the deal: if the selling salesperson would be willing to reduce his commission, Sarah would be willing to do the same. She really wanted these buyers to get the house.
Sarah was happy with her presentation and the incentive she was able to throw in at the end. She was a little surprised at the listing salesperson’s tight-lipped response to it, however, and left the presentation feeling like she wasn’t going to get much support for her offer.
Was Sarah right in thinking the listing salesperson wasn’t very supportive of her suggestion to lower the commission?
Sarah was lucky the listing salesperson was courteous enough to show restraint after her suggestion that lowering the commission would be the answer to her buyers’ dreams.
Section 11.05 of the MLS® Rules and Regulations states:
The Co-Operating Brokerage may be paid a lower commission than that specified on the Association’s MLS® System if an agreement in writing has been reached between the Listing Brokerage and the Co-Operating Brokerage,or their authorized representatives. No attempt may be made to negotiate such an agreement in the presence of the Seller.
Section 11.02 also says that:
No Member shall attempt to negotiate the distribution of commission between Members in the presence of the Seller or Buyer.
Very clearly, Sarah should have contacted the listing salesperson ahead of time to work out if a reduced commission was possible.