Managing broker and new Inman contributor Cassie Walker Johnson writes that in the evolving real estate market, investing in buyer agent compensation is a wise decision that benefits everyone involved.

May is Commission and Compensation Month here at Inman. We’ll sort through the noise and misinformation and provide you with the most up-to-date facts and strategies about how to prosper in the wake of the commission settlements. And look for straight-to-your inbox updates with Inman’s new weekly digest, Commission Chronicles.

In today’s rapidly changing real estate landscape, understanding the critical role of buyer representation has never been more essential for homesellers. With implementation of the National Association of Realtors’ settlement on the horizon, many sellers may not fully grasp the significant impact these changes will have on their transactions.

The urgency to adapt is real, and overlooking the necessity of paying a buyer agent commission could expose sellers to unforeseen risks.


Currently, homebuyers are not allowed to roll their buyer agent compensation into their loan. This means they must bring cash to the table to pay their agent (if the seller is not offering buyer agent compensation).

Unrepresented buyers should be considered more than a minor hiccup — they can lead to a cascade of complications that jeopardize the entire deal. To safeguard your investment and ensure a smooth transaction, it’s crucial to recognize the invaluable support a buyer’s agent provides.

What value does a seller receive if the buyer has professional representation? Let us list the ways:

Lender connections: Buyer agents connect their buyers with well-vetted (and typically local) lender partners who have proven time and again that they can close a transaction on time.

Documentation management: Buyer agents ensure that buyers have delivered all necessary documentation to the lender to ensure full underwriting.

Market analysis: Buyer agents provide comparable market analysis reports (CMAs) to help buyers understand the market value of the home and support a reasonable offer price.

Contract guidance: Buyer agents guide their clients through the purchase and sale agreement, ensuring that they understand the terms and conditions and their ability to fulfill their commitments.

Contingency explanation: Buyer agents explain all contingencies to buyers, ensuring they understand the risks and rewards, especially when waiving contingencies.

Earnest money handling: Buyer agents ensure that earnest money funds are delivered to escrow on time.

Transaction deadlines: Buyer agents ensure that their client and their lender observe and adhere to all deadlines to keep the transaction flowing smoothly and closing on time.

Inspection access: Buyer agents provide access to home inspectors and help their buyers understand the reports. This is critical as most MLS associations require an agent to be present whenever a door is opened. If the buyer doesn’t have representation, the listing agent must give access, exposing them to inspection findings and forcing them to disclose on behalf of the seller.

Appraisal assistance: Buyer agents give access to appraisers and typically provide reports of comparable properties to support the purchase price, ensuring the property appraises at value.

Negotiation support: If the appraisal report comes in less than the purchase price, the buyer agent will help negotiate and collaborate with the listing agent to ensure a mutual agreement is reached by all parties.

Transaction coordination: Most importantly, the buyer broker helps keep their client and all parties on track to ensure closing, and crucially, on time.

The value a buyer agent brings to the transaction is indispensable. Their expertise not only facilitates a smoother process but also protects all parties involved from potential pitfalls. By ensuring the buyer has professional representation, sellers can avoid significant risks and secure a successful transaction.

In the evolving real estate market, investing in buyer agent compensation is a wise decision that benefits everyone involved.

Cassie Walker Johnson is a managing broker at Windermere Real Estate. Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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