Following a verdict against The Nation Association of Realtors, new commission rules from our Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), have begun. Home buyers and sellers face the prospect of changes to how and what amount they pay their real estate agents. To help make sense of it all, we put together this FAQ

A leader in lower fees since 2006

Since our founding in 2006, The Cascade Team has been a leader in lower fees and full-service real estate. From day one, our business model has been providing sellers with full service for less commissions with no sacrifices in client satisfaction.

Real Estate Compensation FAQs

Why are commissions changing?

For more than 30 years, the seller paid the listing firm, who shared the commission with the buyer brokerage firm. This method was a vestige from the past where every broker represented the seller and brokers did not work directly for the buyer. That ended in the mid-1990s with the creation of buyer agency. Yet, "commission sharing" remained.

The recent changes further enhance transparency in broker compensation, create additional opportunities for consumers and brokers to discuss and negotiate compensation, provide greater flexibility for consumers and brokers when listing and purchasing real estate, and promote innovation and competition among member brokers. These revisions are critical to the evolution of the real estate brokerage industry and will help brokers and agents to better serve their clients for years to come

Are commissions negotiable?

Yes, real estate compensation is always negotiable. The seller may choose to offer Buyer Agent compensation, or not. It can be a percentage or a flat dollar amount. The buyer may also negotiate regarding compensation during the negotiations to purchase the home. In all cases, the purchase and sale agreement will clearly state which parties are paying compensation, the amount, and who the compensation goes to.

Do I have to offer a Buyer's Agent commission?

The NWMLS eliminated the requirement that a seller offer compensation to the buyer's broker. Therefore, sellers can still offer a Buyer Agent commission or none at all. Real estate compensation is always negotiable.

Who pays the Buyer’s Agent compensation?

Under the new rules it now becomes clear that the Buyer’s Agent compensation is part of the negotiated purchase price and it is clear who is paying them, who they represent and what % amount of purchase price that represents.

The seller may offer a buyer agent compensation. The buyer may pay the buyer agent commission. Or a negotiation between buyer and seller may occur about who pays and how much. In any case, the purchase and sale agreement will clearly state which parties are paying compensation, the amount, and who the compensation goes to.

What commission negotiation strategies are available to Sellers and Buyers?

The new rules open a number of scenarios regarding negotiating compensation that were not previously available.

A hot seller's market may bring more strategic opportunities to the seller along with more negotiating power. Conversely, a slower buyer’s market may offer more negotiating power and options to the buyer. Supply and demand, type of home, price point, specific neighborhood and other factors will also affect strategy and tactics.

Your Cascade Team agent can provide details on negotiating strategies and tactics tailored to your specific situation, factoring in all the variables.

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