How NOT to create bad vibes with a realtor??

Hi everybody-

I would like some feedback (especially from R.E. agents), about this situation.


  1. We own a property that is currently rented with a long term, VERY dependable tenant who ALWAYS pays on time.

  2. We contacted a Realtor about selling this property, she went out & did a market analysis & delivered a report to us.

  3. We decided that we would like to list the property, contacted the agent with what our listing price would be, which the agent said was very acceptable. Please note: We HAVE NOT signed a listing agreement YET with this agent.

  4. We contacted the tenant & told him that we would be listing the property. The tenant told us that he would like to buy the property directly from us IF he could qualify for the mortgage.

  5. We believe that he will qualify, & are willing to offer owner financing on the down payment if he needs it, to make things easier for him. By selling directly to the tenant, we are able to offer a lower selling price than if we listed with the agent due to savings on commission.

  6. We have not spoken to the agent about this yet, since we have not signed a listing contract with her, & paperwork for qualifying the tenant is just in the beginning stages, so there is no guarantee that this will work.

  7. Our relationship with this Realtor is brand new, we have not dealt with her before, but she seems to be a savvy agent & the kind we would like to continue to have RE dealings with in the future. She is not a newbie, she has been an agent for 30+ years, & has dealt with investors before.


Since we have not previously dealt with this agent & do not have an established relationship with her, we do not want to create bad feelings right at the start, by NOT listing the property with her. We definitely want to work with this agent on future properties that we will buy/sell.

Since she has spent time preparing the market analysis & report for us, but has not had to put any $ or time towards advertising or marketing the property as of yet, we feel that her time is a valuable commodity & don’t want to just walk away & say “Gee, Thanks for all your hard work, hope to deal with you in the future”.

We are willing to offer a 3% commission (Standard commission here is 7% of selling price) to keep a good relationship with this realtor. We realize that the agent (of course) would make more $ on a full 7% commission, but we ALSO realize that it will cost her time & $ to market the property, even though she would come out ahead in the end. We are thinking that a 3% “research fee” would be fair to her, enable us to sell at a lower price to the tenant to make it work for him, and for us, it would come out about the same profit-wise due to a lower selling price, & lower “commission”.
We have no issues listing the property with this agent, but if we did so, it would have to be at a higher price to cover the 7% commission, & that price would not be as feasible for the tenant as a direct sale with a 3% “research commission”.

What do you all think of this?
I would love to hear from other agents about this & if you feel this is an acceptable way to go, & if not why?

What would YOU do?

Thanks for any feedback!


Howdy Itsjustme:

You are being more than generous. I have ended listing contracts in the middle of the listing when I found a buyer. We were upside down in the deal and found a bailout buyer and dumped the property to keep from making the next months payment. There was not even room for us much less a commission. I felt bad that they had done a lot of work but still they did not bring us a buyer. The buyer was actually a friend that had looked at the property prior to our even buying it.

You may want to save some of that money and offer about 1% since you feel bad about it. Even this would be a gift as you are under no obligation to pay her a dime. I am glad you have the good feeling about your agent. There was another post where the investor wanted to harm his agent because they believe the agent bought the property out from under him and another thread where the agent can not fill out the contract. As professional as this business is supposed to be it is a shame that both of those incidents happened. Congratulations to you for finding a good agent and on your ethics. Lots of luck.

I agree that you are being generous. Even 1% is to high (in my opinion) as the agent did not show the property.

Buy the agent a nice dinner for two or something similar. I’m sure you ar not the first to test the waters with an agent and then pull out; and most others will give nothing

Do you intend for this Realtor to do any more work on this property? Are they to help with contract or arrange closing? If so then 3% is appropriate, if you are now taking over and going alone, offer a fee for service performed. As for the previous poster saying he has bailed out during a listing contract, that is not appropriate. As long as these things are done upfront and agreeable, you have remained an ethical business person. You would expect nothing less from your agent.

As an agent, I would not be too upset if you found a buyer before you listed. If you tried to sneak around a listing agreement and I started marketing the property, I’d have a problem.

It would be nice to offer the agent some sort of compensation for helping with the closing, but you can also rely on other professionals. The main thing here is that the agent is supposed to be there to get backup offers and make sure the transacction goes smoothly. If she’s going to do more work for you, you should work out a fee. If she takes this all in stride, perhaps you can send her referrals later.

“As for the previous poster saying he has bailed out during a listing contract, that is not appropriate.”

It all depends upon the Listing Agreement from the get go. In some cases you could still owe the Listing Broker a commission (read your contracts). Moroever, if you pull out of a listing agreement & sell the property yourself later within a six month period…you could owe the Listing Broker a full commission (read your contracts).

As far as you desiring to not to offend the Agent;

  1. You could ask if they’d accept a lesser commission to still represent you.

  2. You could ask if they’d accept a fee to write the contract for you.

  3. You could consider paying them a small fee for their time.

  4. Even a well written letter thanking them for their time…stating you’re tenant wants to buy the home themselves…and you’d like a working relationship with them in the future–will go a long way.


Hey Everyone-

THANKS so much for your valuable feedback!!

Iamarealtor, we would not expect her to do anything further, compensation would be for the work already done ie: the market analysis & report. We would handle contracts & closing ourselves, as we are familiar enough with it that there is no problem.

We live in a small (I mean SMALL) town, & ethical dealings are very important here. Agents that know their business AND have an investor mindset are few & far between.

In addition, realtors & investors here are a very tight knit group- everyone knows everyone else & who to deal with OR who to stay away from.

In my mind a small side commission or fee is worth it’s weight in gold to maintain a good working relationship with a savvy agent who understands an investors needs & wants.

Like the old MC commercial goes:

Research & paperwork to find value of property: $100.00
Gas to get there: $5.00
Not pissing off your “investors mindset” agent: PRICELESS


This realtors personality tells me that she might not be “pissed off” about not getting a listing, but that she might ALSO feel that she didn’t want to put time or effort into future trasactions dealing with an investor who “didn’t come through” on the first deal they approached her with.

Again, thanks for all your valuable comments EVERYONE(keep 'em coming)!! I really appreciate the insight!


“As for the previous poster saying he has bailed out during a listing contract, that is not appropriate.”

Just for the record I didn’t say I pulled out of a listing. I would never do that.

I said “I’m sure your not the first to test the waters with an agent and then pull out” ItsJustMe stressed there was no listing agreement signed.

i was referring to another post:

"Posted by: tedjr Posted on: Today at 02:06:33pm
Howdy Itsjustme:

You are being more than generous. I have ended listing contracts in the middle of the listing when I found a buyer. "

Ah ha - My bad ;D

Howdy Iamarealtor:

We were not out to gig the Realtor. It was not being shown, a really soft market and we were upside down because it had not sold in 12 months. The Realtor gave us permission to sell it as we discussed it before we accepted the offer. You did not read that part of the above post. We did pay the $495 listing fee as agreed in the listing agreement.