TAMPA BAY — The median home price in Tampa hit $335,000 this year, according to Realtor.com. For realtors that means a big payday, especially if one agent/broker works with the buyer and seller collecting the full six percent typically split between two agents.
Stephen Brobeck is a Senior Fellow with the Consumer Federation of America. He calls it double-dipping.
"The interests of the buyers and seller’s conflict, the seller wants the highest price; the buyer wants the lowest price for the house,” Brobeck said.
A 6% commission on $335,000 would be just over $20,000. Brobeck said that the broker won’t protect the interest of either party; the goal would be to make the sale.
CFA looked at thousands of sales in the current hot market. The study showed buyers working with listing agents as customers, not clients, have no one negotiating a lower price. And sellers lose representation if they give permission for their agent to act as a deal broker for both parties.
Florida law offers some protections. A single agent is not allowed to represent the buyer and seller unless he or she acts as a broker only. That means they provide a limited form of representation. The realtor must remain neutral and provide both parties confidentiality.
Brobeck said the only time it may be worth it is if the one agent greatly reduces their commission and acts as an impartial transaction broker for the deal.