Market Wise Q&A column: Which One of our Agents Should Receive the Brokerage Fee?

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News Q: We are caught in the middle of a dispute concerning the home we are purchasing. The issue is who is to be paid the buyer’s agent commission; the agent who first showed us the house or the agent who toured the property almost two weeks later. The latter agent wrote the offer and is currently representing us while the house is in escrow. Frankly, we don’t care who gets paid. We just want the house. Unfortunately, our first agent found out about the sale and is causing a really big fuss. The broker of the agency told us we have nothing to be concerned about. Is that true?

A: Well, every real estate story has at least three sides to it. You’ll be brought into the dispute one way or another. The fastest solution will be an arbitration hearing over “procuring cause” at the local Real Estate Association. Peers conduct these Professional Standards Committee hearings in order to police their own. Should one or both parties wish to skip this preferred method, and litigate, they should visit a real estate attorney for a consult. Buyers settling on a property before settling on their representative is real estate’s “tail wagging the dog.”


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