My listing agent found a buyer (her friend!) who is also a real estate agent. Is it ethical for this buyer (a real estate agent) to expect commission when she is buying my house?

In this case, she is a principal, not an agent. She has done nothing, represented nobody and expects a commission for buying the house.

  • "ethics" questions are not answerable. In such cases (A) there will be standard practice and (B) almost certainly written regulations in the various Agent's associations.
    – Fattie
    Jul 21, 2020 at 17:35
  • @Fattie - how so? Ethical behavior is (usually very precisely) defined by a "Code of Ethics" that most professions have. Aren't you thinking about "moral"?
    – Bruno Reis
    Jul 21, 2020 at 21:36
  • Hi @BrunoReis , check def. 1 of ethics in OED "moral principles that govern a person's behavior". A "code of ethics" is an interesting company document, but not the only usage of the word nor the most common in English, and not what the OP meant. It's totally normal to ask "is X ethical" even if there is no corporate code of ethics or similar document involved. (Indeed a commonplace sentence would be "This code of ethics is not ethical" (or indeed as you say ".. not moral.") The OP is simply asking if it is ethical / moral / fair / just, all of which are similes.
    – Fattie
    Jul 21, 2020 at 22:30
  • Is she asking you personally to pay per commission, or is she asking your agent to pay her commission out of the agent's commission? Jul 22, 2020 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


I am not sure how much it helps them.

  • If they are paying cash for the house (w/o a mortgage) they are paying themselves. That fee will be part of their income. Though if they owe taxes on the profits when they sell, this added expense will reduce the tax they have to pay.
  • If they have a mortgage then they are financing their fee. They will pay interest on that amount borrowed for the life of the mortgage. Plus the fee is part of their income. but it could reduce their taxes when they sell.

Generally when the listing agent finds a buyer they get the whole fee, though some will give a discount. The details should be in the listing contract you signed with the your agent, there should also be a section discussing the situation where they are also representing the buyer.

Since you figured this into the price, there are a few options:

  • You can drop the price below the list price by the amount of the buyers agents fee. The selling agent only collects the sellers agents fee.

  • You can keep the price at the list price, the buyers agent collects their fee at settlement, the sellers agent only gets the sellers agent fee.

  • The price stays the same as the listing price, and the sellers agent collects both fees. The two agents then decide how to split the fee.

The two agents will have to agree on the plan.

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