As the real estate market transitions from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market in many areas of the country, an online site is offering agents a chance to bid for home buyers’ business.
RealtyBaron, which launched in 2004, has offered an online platform through which sellers can negotiate real estate commissions with agents and consumers can rate real estate professionals. The new service for buyers allows consumers to negotiate a rebate amount that they will receive from the buyer agent’s commission in a real estate purchase.
It’s an auction-based system that is modeled after eBay. All auctions for commission and rebate amounts run for a maximum 24 hours, said Marc Dugger, RealtyBaron founder, and buyers and sellers can select a stop-bid amount that will terminate the auction once a bidding agent offers that amount.
“With this new feature we … allow buyers to get into the game and request rebates from real estate agents,” Dugger said.
Prospective buyers can identify a property in which they have an interest and establish an opening bid using the Web site. Agents can bid down the amount of commission that they would accept for working with the buyer — which would proportionately bid up the amount of rebate the consumer would receive in the transaction.
If the agent’s share of the commission was 3 percent of the sale price of the home, for example, an agent could bid to accept a 2 percent share of the home sale while rebating 1 percent to the buyer, for example.
The new feature is available nationally, with the exception of about 11 states in which the rebates are not available, Dugger said.
Real estate agents pay a fee to RealtyBaron only when a home-sale transaction results from the service, and RealtyBaron also makes money from advertising at the site.
The system allows real estate agents “to sort of moonlight in an alternative business model” that provides discounts and rebates to consumers, Dugger said.
Later this year Dugger said he plans to add a property-search component to the RealtyBaron Web site. “As the buyer has more information in their hands and tools on the Web to perform those kinds of searches, a lot of those costs that normally a Realtor would absorb is being absorbed by the consumer.”
An agent-ranking system at the site allows consumers to narrow the list of agents that can potentially bid for their business by choosing to open the auction process to agents with a specific quality ranking.