What is the correct way to ask for more commission?

A buyer can ask a seller to increase the commission amount being offered on the MLS if done correctly. A buyer’s agent or brokerage cannot ask a listing agent or brokerage to increase the amount of commission using escrow instructions.

Suppose Realtor® A has the listing. Realtor® A’s brokerage is offering a 1% BAC through the MLS. Realtor® B’s buyer makes an offer that includes language in an addendum that asks the seller (*not the listing broker) to pay Realtor® B 2% which would be in addition to the listing brokers 1% BAC. Is this a violation of the Code of Ethics?

Answer: No, there is no violation here. This case study comes directly from the NAR Code of Ethics Manual as described in Case #16-17. Since the request for payment of Realtor® B’s fee was made directly to the Seller, and not the listing broker, Realtor® B was not in violation of Article 16. The offer also did not ask the seller to modify the listing agreement with Realtor® A which would have been an unwarranted interference with contractual relationship (see case study #16-16 on page 346).  Also, if the offer included language that asked the listing broker to change or increase the 1% BAC, there likely would have been a violation of Article 16. But that did not happen here.

As noted in this case summary, since Realtor® B’s buyer asked the seller (not the listing broker) to pay the commission, no violation of the Code of Ethics occurred. No attempt was made to alter the BAC in the REPC. Also, if Realtor® B’s buyer had demanded that a portion of Realtor® A’s commission be paid to Realtor® B there would likely have been a violation.

Article 16, Standard 16-16 states “Realtors, acting as [buyer representatives] or brokers, shall not use the terms of an offer to purchase to attempt to modify the listing brokers’s offer of compensation to [buyer representatives] nor make the submission of an executed offer to purchase contingent on the listing broker’s agreement to modify the offer of compensation.”changes the original listing agreement between Seller and Listing Brokerage. This would be a violation of the Code of Ethics.

The correct form to use is the Real Estate Brokerage Payment Addendum (WCBR Form 70) also found on the MLS

Curtis Bullock, UAR Legal Reference: