Monday, November 14, 2011

Discounted commission rates and the buyer agent commission

I had an interesting question from a buyer. Below is the question and my answer.

Hi Mark,

Thanks a lot for the very informative email. The house I am considering selling our house, if the buyer's agent gets 2.5% commission isn't the buyer then responsible to pay the HST on behalf of their real estate agent?



Hello MA

Even though the buyer's agent represents the buyer, 99.9% of the time (I'm guessing that maybe 1 in 1000 transactions the buyer may pay the commission to the buyer's agent) the agreement is that the listing agent pays the buyer the buyer's side of the commission and this is why the total commission to the seller is 5% or at least the buyer's agent side comes out of the total commission that the seller pays.

This is the way that it's set up in Ontario and it continues to work well.

In the US and other parts of the world the buyer's agent does get paid through the buyer, but in those cases or areas the lenders and banks need to be 'on board' and assess the property 2.5% (plus HST) higher than the price that the buyer pays in order for the buyer to pay the buyer's agent side of the commission, and it can become complicated.

This is the main reason why the commission split is similar to the way we have always done it even though the buyer's agent represents the buyer, the seller still pays the total commission.

Some Ontario lawyers have a problem with this, but let's not get into that!

All the best!

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