Who Should Pay the Buyer’s Agent?

Traditionally in America, the home seller pays the buyer’s agent, however--that tradition is under fire due to new lawsuits filed in Chicago against the National Association of Realtors and others. The outcome of the cases could have far reaching impact in the world of American real estate.

According to a recent Washington Post article, class-action lawsuits have been filed against NAR, the nation’s four largest real estate brokerages, and the MLS companies they use. The suits state that federal anti-trust laws have been violated by the named entities by forcing sellers to pay the buyer’s agent inflated commissions.

The claimants state that the buyer’s agent should be paid by the buyer in a competitive market, and also that the split commission contracts enforced by MLS companies often cause the seller’s agents to be unfairly compensated.

The outcome of these suits could affect home owners and buyers as well as agents and brokers.  Some say that if the courts rule against the defendants that commission rates for buying and selling agents will go down in order for agencies to stay competitive in a customer’s market. If home buyers were required to pay their agent’s commissions instead of the sellers, they would negotiate directly with the agent to pay only for services rendered, as opposed to the blanket commission currently paid by the seller.

The downside to such a situation going into effect is that when it comes to purchasing a home, buyers are already at a financial disadvantage—forced to pay for closing costs and moving costs on top of the price of a home. According to the Post, some Realtors say that the added expense of having to pay their agent’s commission would put a heavy strain on “first-time and other cash-short buyers”. This could have a negative impact on real estate markets across the country.

 


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A New Type Of Credit Score Is Coming

The current score system works well in that it provides a sufficient way to figure out low costs and in an automated way how likely someone is able repay you. But it has a disadvantage in that a lot of people don’t provide a payment history because they don’t have credit cards such as younger people and immigrants.

Ultra FICO changes that dynamic by using consumer contributed data. The Fair Isaac Corp., the creators of FICO, announced that Ultra FICO will be more widely released in April 2019. Alongside traditional metrics, the Ultra FICO looks at your banking behavior in 3 areas:

  • Your account history
  • Your account balance
  • Your account activity

It gives consumers the ability to give permission for their data—rich data that can be used as valuable insight for lenders. It has the potential to score people that are considered unscorable and enhance existing scores. This may help people get better interest rates.

Marketplace.org reported that “there are 53 million people in the United States who do not have FICO scores, and the new Ultra FICO will catch 10 million to 15 million of those.”

Don’t look for Ultra FICO to replace the regular FICO score. Ultra FICO is voluntary, so it will likely be used to give more insight to lender if the regular FICO is not high enough to qualify the consumer.

 


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