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Commission rebates don’t serve buyers

“Like It? It’s From My Agent” [by T.J. Sullivan, Sept. 26] suggests buyers should expect, and more agents should offer, rebates. There are numerous reasons this is not done.

The first and overriding reason is economics. A broker who owns his own firm and keeps all his commissions may be able to offer rebates, but the average agent earning about $30,000 per year simply cannot afford to offer rebates.

The second reason is for consumer protection. The consumer may get a bargain in the short term from an agent who “buys” his listing with a rebate or reduced fee; however, selling a home is an extremely complex process that requires real professional guidance to be sure all disclosures, inspections, zoning ordinances, etc., are fully made to the buyer. As in all transactions, you get what you pay for. In this case the buyer runs a good chance of getting a lower quality of representation or, even worse, a possible lawsuit due to poor representation.

The third reason is reciprocity. An agent might be inclined to offer lower commissions or rebates if he/she had a reasonable chance of re-listing the home when it is sold. Typically the agent who helps a family buy a home is seldom contacted when the home is sold years later.

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Scott M. Probst

Redondo Beach

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As a Realtor I am well aware of the significant savings a consumer receives on commission when listing with a discount broker. However, the goal of a discount broker is to sell quickly and secure buyers.

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The best way to sell quickly is to list below market value. Since most of these listings do or will eventually pay the buyer’s agent a commission, these sellers may end up paying the same or higher commission than if they would have negotiated with a full-service broker.

It only gets worse for these sellers. They are listed lower than they should be, paying nearly the same commission and working with agents who don’t have the value of a full-service Realtor.

A full-service Realtor is required to stay on top of mold, insurance, lending and legal issues and must continue education until retirement. These are just the tip of the iceberg as to benefits and reasons that professional-quality Realtors must charge for their services.

Most of us tried the barber college at one time or another. We learned why the price was so low, didn’t we?

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Tony Lewis

Valencia

Letters must include the writer’s name, address and daytime telephone number and should be sent to the Real Estate Editor, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 or faxed to Real Estate Editor at (213) 237-4712 or e-mailed to real.estate@latimes.com.


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