Elizabeth Weintraub • Sacramento Real Estate Agent: May 2008

Crediting Commission to Buyers to Compensate for Other's Mistakes

commission credits to buyersIt would be hunky dorey if people would live up to their word, wouldn't it? And if they find themselves unable to honor those commitments, it would be even nicer if they would own up to making mistakes and apologize. But then I would be living at Disneyland or on a deserted island with my husband and cats -- and I'm not certain I can vouch for my cats' character -- instead of in the real world.

The fact is many people seem to have misplaced their moral fiber or traded integrity in favor of face-saving measures. When confronted, they become defensive. Being accountable for your actions shouldn't be a struggle in the real world, but the truth is some can't handle it.

Case in point, about 10 days ago, a buyer switched her loan to her credit union. The credit union wanted the buyer to pay for a new appraisal. Since we already had an appraisal from a reputable and well known appraiser in Sacramento, the credit union decided to accept an assignment and enlisted my help to get that assignment. I pointed out to the credit union that the appraiser would charge an assignment fee. The buyer did not want to pay an assignment fee.

The credit union said, "Don't worry, we'll pick up that fee." The buyer then called the credit union to verify that it would indeed absorb the cost of the assignment fee, and the credit union loan officer affirmed that it would pick up the fee.

You know where this is going, right? We get to closing and the assignment fee is on the closing statement. I called the credit union, and the loan officer gave me some song and dance about it. I suggested to the buyer that she call the credit union for an explanation.

When the buyer spoke to the credit union loan officer, he denied making that commitment. Understandably, the buyer was disappointed. When she asked for an explanation, the credit union loan officer berated her, raised his voice and verbally beat up the buyer over the phone. She was in tears when she called me.

The right thing to do was for the credit union loan officer to be accountable for his mistake. If he had taken responsibility for the error, all would have been right with the world for this buyer. He could have said, "I had no authority to tell you we would absorb the assignment fee; I apologize." But he chose the pompous, self-righteous route as his defense, thereby alienating and losing the respect of every person associated with this transaction.

Lots of agents never give commission credits to buyers. It's against their policy. But for me, making my clients happpy is the most important aspect of a transaction.

I immediately called escrow and authorized from my commission a $100 credit to the buyer for the assignment fee.

That buyer is now likely to tell everybody she knows about her unhappy experience with that credit union. For $100? It doesn't make sense to me that the loan officer short-sited himself, and by extension his company, over such an insignificant sum. Yet, we see this behavior every day. It's regrettable, isn't it?

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Photo: Big Stock Photo

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

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