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  • Writer's pictureShawn Patrick Moloney

The Compensation Shift: Strategies for Buyer's Agents


Realtor signing an exclusive buyer agency agreement with first time home buyers.

The Nosalek v. MLS PIN lawsuit is shaking the foundations of real estate, especially around the topic of buyer's agent commissions. At the heart of the matter is the challenge to the traditional way commissions are managed, suggesting that the mandatory commission offers from listing brokerages on the MLS might not just be outdated, but anti-competitive. This pivotal moment in our industry is prompting a reevaluation of how commissions should work, directly affecting buyer's agents who are now facing a new era.


Traditionally, commissions for buyer's agents were mostly offered as cooperating commissions listed on the MLS for the buyer’s agent to see what they would be offered for compensation. Sellers, guided by their listing agents, would offer a predetermined commission to the buyer's agent, facilitating a smooth transaction. This setup, while convenient, has come under scrutiny for its supposed lack of flexibility and transparency, pushing the industry toward a transformation. The proposed changes suggest a move where commissions are no longer listed in the MLS and are either the seller's responsibility or a negotiation between buyer's agents, the seller’s agent, and or their clients.


There has always been the exclusive buyer agency contract,  which buyer’s agents could use to ensure they are compensated. It encourages a more transparent relationship where services and fees are discussed openly, paving the way for buyer's agents to demonstrate their value and negotiate their compensation based on merit, expertise, and the specific needs of their clients. This contract is a great way for buyer’s agents to ensure they will be paid with these upcoming changes.


The buyer’s contract often states that the agent will go directly to the seller for compensation before asking the buyer. The buyer’s agent can submit the paperwork requesting the seller pays their commissions and have it signed by both the buyer and seller. Any amount the seller is short on the commissions the buyer would then pay the difference per their exclusive buyer agent contract. This work around among many others seems to be where the future is taking us. 


As we navigate the ongoing turbulence of the Nosalek v. MLS PIN lawsuit, it's clear that the real estate business is on the cusp of significant change. Yet, amidst this uncertainty, one thing remains constant: the value of entering into a buyer's contract. Such agreements have always been a solid strategy for ensuring fair compensation and fostering transparent, trust-based relationships. Whether we like it or not, the government and deep state is trying to disrupt our industry. While cooperating compensation has always varied and buyer’s contracts have always existed it seems we need to adjust our practice to protect our livelihoods.


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