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The Pros and Cons of Negotiating Buyer Agent Commission Outside of MLS

April 05, 20243 min read

The landscape of real estate is ever-evolving, and with recent changes mandated by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) settlement, a new practice is set to become normative: the negotiation of Buyer Agent Commission (BAC) outside the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This shift, effective from July 2024, ushers in a new era of transparency and flexibility but also carries its set of challenges. Let's delve into the pros and cons of this pivotal change.

Pros of Negotiating BAC Outside of MLS

1. Enhanced Transparency The primary advantage of negotiating BAC outside of MLS is increased transparency. This setup ensures that all parties are fully aware of the commission structures from the get-go, allowing for a more open discussion about fees and services provided by the buyer's agent.

2. Greater Flexibility and Control for Sellers Sellers gain more flexibility and control over the sale of their property. They can negotiate commission rates that better reflect the level of service provided by the buyer’s agent, potentially leading to savings and a more tailored selling experience.

3. Encourages Competition By removing preset commission rates from MLS listings, buyer’s agents are incentivized to compete on the value of the services they offer. This could lead to higher quality services and more competitive commission rates, benefiting both buyers and sellers.

4. Aligns with Consumer Interests This model aligns more closely with consumer interests, as it allows sellers to understand and negotiate the costs associated with selling their property directly, without the constraints of standardized MLS-listed commission rates.

Cons of Negotiating BAC Outside of MLS

1. Potential for Increased Complexity Negotiating commissions separately from the MLS listing process can introduce additional complexity into real estate transactions. Both sellers and buyers may need to navigate these negotiations, which could extend timelines and complicate deals.

2. Lack of Standardization The absence of a standard commission rate could lead to variability and unpredictability in commission structures. This might result in confusion or disparities in how different agents are compensated for similar properties or services.

3. Requires More Active Participation Sellers must be more involved in the negotiation process, requiring a deeper understanding of the value and cost of services provided by buyer’s agents. This may necessitate additional research or reliance on legal and real estate professionals to ensure fair negotiations.

4. Potential Impact on Buyer’s Agent Motivation There is a concern that negotiating lower commissions might impact the motivation of buyer’s agents, possibly affecting the level of service or enthusiasm for a property. However, this can also be seen as an opportunity for agents to demonstrate the value they bring to the transaction.


The move to negotiate BAC outside of MLS represents a significant shift in real estate practices, offering both opportunities and challenges. While it promotes greater transparency, flexibility, and competition, it also requires a more engaged approach from sellers and a willingness to navigate the complexities of commission negotiation. As we move towards this new model, both sellers and buyers, supported by their agents, will need to adapt to these changes, ensuring that the real estate market continues to operate effectively and fairly for all parties involved.

BAC negotiationMLS changesreal estate trendsbuyer agent commissionseller impactJuly 2024 real estatenegotiating commissionsreal estate guide

Greg Messick

Greg Messick is an experienced Portland real estate professional, known for his efficient, client-focused approach at Portland MLS Direct. His deep market knowledge makes him a trusted local real estate advisor.

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