CORRECTION: This story has been updated with a correction. Consumers using the site do not initially propose the commission amount they are willing to pay.

A new Web site aims to help consumers and real estate agents negotiate discounted commissions by allowing consumers to send anonymous queries to three agents asking them to propose the services they would provide and the commission they would charge.

Agent Invitation claims agents using the site will be willing to work for reduced commissions because they will save on referral fees and marketing expenses, and because consumers seeking discounts may agree to forgo services like print advertising.

"This eliminates part of an agent’s costs because clients approach agents — it goes right to their e-mail inbox for free — and that savings can be passed to the consumer," said Agent Invitation founder Don Stewart.

Agents often pay 25 to 35 percent of their commission to other agents or referral companies, the company says, and 10 to 30 percent of their commission revenue goes to advertising and self-promotion to attract new clients.

Agent Invitation does not charge agents for referrals or for inclusion in the site’s registry, although they can post an agent profile on the site for $29 a month. Instead, consumers pay $99 to send anonymous invitations to any three agents they are interested in working with. The agents don’t have to be in the site’s registry.

Because the consumer has demonstrated he or she is a serious buyer or seller by paying the fee, and because several agents are competing to land them as clients, "agents will think hard about what commission fee would be fair and reasonable to get the job done for you," the company claims.

Sellers provide an estimate of their home’s asking price in their invitation, and the site offers a commission calculator to help consumers and agents try different commission structures. Agents respond with a proposal that includes the services they would provide and the commission they would be willing to work for.

Once they have received the proposals, consumers choose the agent or agents they would like to meet with in person, and Agent Invitation releases their contact information.

After transactions are completed, consumers are asked to provide a "STAR rating" for the agent they worked with and to share comments to help guide others in the future.

–Katie Ramsey


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