The contract that an owner signs to put their home on the market is much simpler than the scads of paperwork that come around later when there is an offer on your home.
Here in the Seattle Area, you want to pay close attention to one tiny little portion of the contract before you sign it. It’s very simple to clarify for you, your agent, the buyer and the buyer’s agent, exactly what the commission arrangement is.
Here’s how VERY easy it is. On the main agreement, one page, there is a line of about one inch in length. Let’s say you are agreeing to pay your listing agent 2% and offer 3% in the mls to the Buyer’s Agent. Instead of writing in 5% on that line, just write in what it actually is “2% + 3% to the buyer’s agent”. Pretty simple. Takes about 20 seconds.
That extra 20 seconds will make it clear to you, your agent, the buyer and the buyer’s agent, that the listing agent is NOT to get that +3% in the event there is no buyer’s agent. If the listing agent is agreeing to charge 2% to represent the seller, then there’s no reason why that amount should increase to 5% if at the end of the day they only represent the seller.
There’s plenty of time when the buyer is actually “at the door “to decide who will get that +3% if the buyer has no agent. Maybe the agent should get some of it…maybe the buyer should get all of it…maybe the seller and the buyer will split it 50/50, maybe the buyer and the seller and the agent will split it into three pieces. Lots of options depending on the circumstances at hand at time of offer and acceptance.
But DO NOT write the commission % in as a TOTAL of both your agent’s fee and the unknown, absent buyer agent’s fee. Just write in 2% to XYX listing company and 3% to the company who is REPRESENTING the buyer. This way, if no one is representing the buyer, the extra 3% doesn’t become a windfall profit, without your say so.