Communicating Offers of Compensation


Under practice changes that will take effect Aug. 17, real estate professionals will no longer be able to communicate offers of compensation in the MLS. However, offers of compensation will continue to be an option consumers can pursue off-MLS through negotiation and consultation with their real estate professionals. 

MLS policies have been changed to reflect the practice changes under the proposed settlement agreement. The National Association of REALTORS®’ legal team has developed a series of “Window to the Law” videos to explain the coming changes, with the first video focusing on compensation—which is and always has been negotiable.

Charlie Lee, NAR’s senior counsel and director of legal affairs, says real estate pros have a variety of ways to negotiate and communicate offers of compensation, including through:

  1. Marketing: If the listing broker or seller is offering compensation for the buyer’s broker, the listing agent can share that offer through their marketing, such as in flyers, signs or emails.
  2. Website displays: “A broker can show offers of compensation for their listings on their website display,” Lee says. Brokers must not display offers of compensation for other broker’s listings on their website display.” You can show other brokers’ compensation on your listings if you don’t get it from MLS data or an MLS feed, he adds.
  3. Seller concessions: Sellers may elect to offer concessions to the buyer, which may be used for items like paying for the buyer’s closing costs or the commission for the buyer’s agent. If the local MLS allows, such concessions can be communicated on the MLS within designated fields. However, any concessions listed cannot be conditioned on the use of or payment to a buyer broker, Lee says.
  4. Negotiations: Buyers may request that their agent include broker compensation as part of the terms of a purchase offer.
  5. Buyer agreements: NAR’s proposed settlement agreement will require buyers and their agents to enter into written agreements before touring homes. These agreements will detail the compensation for using the buyer broker’s services.



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