I once worked with a Realtor to close a deal in which I represented the seller and she represented the buyer. At the closing table she told me that she charges all of her buyers an upfront fee of $350 - $550 before they even begin looking at homes. She writes it in the buyer's brokerage agreement that she has the buyer sign before they head out to look at homes. No way, Jose! We don't charge buyers anything and never will. It's not typical in our market for agents to charge buyers any sort of commission, fees, etc. The seller pays commisson. Always.
I never really thought anything more about it after we left the closing table. There are good agents, bad agents, and then there are some plain out sketchy agents. Well the other day, I heard it again. Another local Realtor charges buyers a fee other than the commission. WHAT!?!? Maybe one day we'll reach the superstar status, like the Nicole Kidman of real estate, and people will beg us to work with them and pay us crazy fees just to take them out to view homes! My best bet is that the buyers who are willing to pay these fees are first time home buyers who don't know any better. I would put $500 on the table to say that if a 45-year old business man/woman waltzed in the door with a prequalification letter, these Realtors wouldn't even begin to ask for an upfront fee. Anyone who has any knowledge of the real estate process would call bullcrap on an upfront fee and send these agents back to their office with their tail between their legs! If these crazy agents think it's okay to charge an upfront fee and take advantage of their clients, what other unethical things are they willing to do throughout the process!?!? They're probably the same Realtors who write themselves in higher commission or sales bonuses in offers (yes, it happens!).
As Realtors we're considered independent contractors and therefore have the right to set up our business the way we want to. Technically, they're not breaking any laws or anything like that, but it's a moral issue - right vs. wrong. As a buyer, you have the right to choose a good, honest, hardworking agent to represent you. Be careful who you choose! ;)
Okay, I'm done ranting. Off to list this cute house on 3.62 acres! Huge barn/workshop, pole barn & greenhouse all with electricity! Love, love, love this house. If I were in the market for a new house, I would have this baby under contract ASAP!
Happy Saturday! :)