Agent

Are buyer’s agent bonuses unethical?

They might be considered common, but it's no wonder consumers give this practice the side-eye
  • Buyers who find out about buyer's agent bonuses might find them distasteful -- or, at worst, unethical.
  • Some homebuyers want to trust their sellers. A bonus offered to the buyer's agent can kill that trust.

There was one property my husband and I looked at during our house hunt that we really liked. It wasn't perfect, but it was close enough -- and charming enough -- that we were willing to seriously consider it. Then something happened that, as a consumer, completely turned me off from that home. And it had nothing to do with the property itself. It was something my agent showed me one day while we were discussing our options. The listing agent for the home in question was hosting an open house and had invited brokers and agents with interested clients. The listing agent also noted that he would pay a $5,000 bonus to any buyer's agent who brought a qualified buyer willing to pay full price for the property, with no contingencies or seller concessions, by 5 p.m. the Sunday after the open house. What's wrong with that? Although the home had plenty of small touches that made it an attractive proposition for us -- custom baseboards, gorgeous view from the dining room, a kitchen ...