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I have my house for sale. A potential buyer contacted me directly, I showed the house to his family and had various emails/telephone conversations with them. About a week later, I get a call from a realtor saying he has a potential buyer for my home, how much am I willing to pay if he brings a contract. I told him nothing, he'd have to get it from his clients. A few days later he sends over a P&S with the names of the buyers I had shown the house to...asking for $9,000 back to the buyers. Now, not only is the contract incomplete as the realtor has never seen the property, but he's trying to charge me for acquiring a buyer who then sought out his help????? Is this typical? I do all the work but an agent requests payment from me because they hired him for help? In this state all closings take place at law offices, so that's who I always use to close my deals.

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    Can you phrase this as a more specific question? Are you asking if you should take the deal? If this is legal (which would be better for a different forum)? Or something else? What part do you need help with? This seems like a pretty standard negotiation starting-point. – BobbyScon Aug 24 '20 at 13:56
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    Is this in the US? – Flux Aug 24 '20 at 14:12
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    We need an additional clarification. Your title mentions "commission" (and also in the first contact from the buyer's agent) but the request seems to be for "3% of closing costs" which is actually very standard in many jurisdictions. Closing costs is not commission. – Istanari Aug 24 '20 at 14:15
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    He's actually asking me to knock of $28,000, but that's neither here nor there. I've been dealing with my own real estate for 20 years but I've never dealt with a buyer's agent asking me how much I'm willing to pay for a deal to be brought to the table when I procured the buyer. I've now had 2 realtors approach me with this ~ both clients I showed the property to with no realtor representation on either side. If I hire someone for my piece of mind, I expect to pay them which is why I was asking if this were typical. Thank you all for your feedback – JAC Aug 24 '20 at 16:32
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    Another way to look at it is that if you increase the price by 3 % for this potential buyer, then you can pay for it "yourself" and then you might even deduct taxes or other stuff from it (depending on how it works in your state/country). Check if it is worth it. – dyesdyes Aug 25 '20 at 10:04
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The buyer has the right to be represented by an agent. Chances are that the buyer is not comfortable not being represented and asked the agent to make sure that they're comfortable in the process.

That being said, you also have the right to not sell to someone using an agent, but that's a much tighter range of buyers and usually consists of investors.

You might want to consider proceeding with the sale however to get it through with this buyer. If you want to avoid paying the 3% then make the terms so that the buyer pays the agent the 3%. You're free to demand any terms you want, as long as they're agreed to and make sense for both parties. If they don't agree to that, then you need to decide if the 3% is worth it to lose or not.

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  • In my jurisdiction (Alberta, Canada) a buyer not only has the right but is required to have an agent of their own. This prevents an agent from cutting corners to make the deal happen. – corsiKa Aug 25 '20 at 2:13
  • @corsiKa: Are you sure that applies where there's no seller's agent either? – Joshua Aug 25 '20 at 16:38
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    Why would that be part of the contract with the seller? If the buyer is paying the agent commision should that be a separate contract between the buyer and the agent? – Vality Aug 25 '20 at 20:29
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Is this typical?

Yes. The buyer has a realtor to represent their best interests and part of that includes negotiating. Choosing to do FSBO is saving the 3% ($9,000) you would normally pay to the selling agent. As Jonast92 mentioned, you could decline to sell to someone using an agent or decline to pay the 3% as part of the negotiations. With or without an agent, negotiating a reduction in price, allowance for renovations, and/or splitting closing costs is typical and should be expected.

Negotiate with them. Make a counter offer. That's how this process works (at least in the US and several other countries).

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    Thank you. Again, I'm not new to the real estate game nor the negotiating game, just the buyer's agent position. In this case, the buyer's agent has never seen the property nor spoken with me other than to ask what I was willing to pay him to bring a client's contract to the table. The contract that was sent to me is frightening... – JAC Aug 24 '20 at 16:39
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    @JAC It must have been confusing for you. It's normal however, the agent's job is to make sure that all laws and protocols are followed, that the buyer is aware of his rights and that the paperwork is valid. Some may not feel that it warrants the 3%, but some will never buy a house without it. – Jonast92 Aug 24 '20 at 17:25
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    If that's what lawyers are for then... what are the realtors for again? – Aaron Cicali Aug 25 '20 at 1:40
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    @AaronCicali - Not everyone uses lawyers. JAC indicated he had access to lawyers and it makes sense to use them. The lawyer has no interest in making sure JAC is getting a good price for the home or if the buyer's demands are reasonable, just if JAC can pay the hourly legal fees to confirm if the contract is legal and translate what's in it. I'm not making an argument for/against realtors, but they do play very different roles on both sides of the buying equation. – BobbyScon Aug 25 '20 at 13:31
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    @AaronCicali Lawyers make sure legal paperwork is in order. Realtors do the job of negotiating and finding properties/clients in the first place. – TylerH Aug 25 '20 at 14:00
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You’ve not tagged or otherwise indicated that this applies only to the US, so here’s the answer from a UK perspective. The “buyer’s agent” is most likely a fraudster trying to insert himself in the process, because buying agents are almost unknown and when they do exist, they are always paid by the buyer.

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  • Considering they used a dollar sign for the currency and referenced a state, they're almost certainly in the USA and obviously not in the UK. So how is this helpful? – Kat Aug 25 '20 at 22:21
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    @Kat It’s helpful for reminding everyone on this site to always always always use a country tag for a country-specific question. – Mike Scott Aug 26 '20 at 6:57

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