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Is Offering a Buyer Agent Bonus an Effective Sales Strategy?

Buyer Agent Bonus offerings are back, but is offering the agent a bonus an effective sales strategy?

Let’s break it down
I suppose a few agents might be motivated to show a home based on the additional compensation, but not most. Buyers are typically choosing what they would like to see based on the search criteria they have defined in their profiles on the multiple listing service (MLS) or other search portals. Since the additional compensation does not typically appear on the Buyer’s information, the bonus would have no impact at all on what they choose to see.

We can’t make them love you if they don’t
Additionally, no matter how many homes an Agent shows their Buyer client, they can’t make them like a home they don’t, so in my opinion, it is a misguided gesture. It is the Buyer who is making the decision to offer; any incentives should appeal to them, not the agent.

Agent bonuses are a market indicator
One thing these bonus offerings do mean? The market is slowing; especially in higher price points here in metro Detroit. That is why there is an incentive offered to begin with. To agents who study the market and their data, this is no surprise.

What to do instead
Sellers serious about selling should have their agent pull the last six months of market activity, meet with their Agent to interpret the data, and make intelligent adjustments to the changing market. The seller must be objective and view this data through the eyes of the buyer in a cautious economy.


  • Which homes in your price range did you lose to since you first listed? How does your home compare to those?
  • Have the average days on market changed from 6 months ago to those homes sold in the last 30 days?
  • What is the current average list price-to-sold price percentage?
  • Did the homes sold have price reductions before selling?
  • Have interest rates change recently?
  • Have you had any offers during your listing?

This information, accurately interpreted, will guide you to intelligent pricing decisions.

Forecasting: One of the biggest benefits of carefully hiring your real estate agent is their ability to forecast the real estate market. You don’t have to be a weather channel anchor to determine it is currently raining, it’s their ability to predict ahead that makes them specialists.

You must be ahead of the market in order to win the buyer. The most common mistake made by agents and sellers alike is looking at data from a rear view perspective and applying it to a market currently in flux. Don’t do that.

Keep your bonus. Competitive pricing is still your most effective sales strategy.


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