Is this what it has come to with exclusive buyer agents? Here’s a letter I just received:

Dear Ilyce:

First of all, I want to THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART for writing the wonderful book – 100 Questions Every First time Home Buyer Should Ask. You have touched upon ALL the essential points that somebody like me (a first time inexperienced home buyer) would need to keep in mind.

While looking for an agent, I took the advice from your book and contacted the NAEBA ( They gave me a couple of agents’ names and I met with one. There were a few things that he mentioned as part of the agreement, which I need your opinion on.

  1. He stated that his commission was 4% of the total price of the house. 3% of which must be paid by the seller agent and 1% by me. And the combined should be a minimum of $10,400 (if the 3+1% of the home price doesn’t come upto 10,400, I have to pay whatever is remaining). Is this the norm? Or is he asking too much?

  2. He also stated that he will show only a maximum of 25 houses excluding open houses that we attend on our own. His point was that people usually choose from 10-15 houses that they see. If we do not find a suitable one within the first 25, the Retainer fee of $1,500 will have to be forfeited.

Is this reasonable?I appreciate your input towards these questions. Once again, thank you very much!

This sounds to me like an agent who wants to be well paid — but not work too hard. A bad apple, he gives all agents a bad name.

Or, is this more common than I imagine?

Published: Aug 16, 2007