Recently, Bright MLS announced that it would be updating its system on August 9th to allow users to enter any amount—including zero—in the listing’s cooperative compensation field.

If you encounter a listing that does not offer cooperative compensation, or the offered compensation is lower than what is included in your buyer brokerage agreement, Virginia REALTORS® has created a Standard Clause that you can include in your offers:

Seller agrees to pay Selling Company:

[] $_________ 

[] ________% of Purchase Price

at Settlement pursuant to the brokerage agreement between Purchaser and Selling Company.

Note that this language is intended for use with Virginia REALTORS® forms and may not work with other forms where terms are defined differently. Also, the language requires that there is a buyer brokerage agreement between the buyer and the selling company.

We know that many of you may be worried about whether such language is a violation of the Code of Ethics. Standard of Practice 16-16 says “REALTORS®, acting as subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers, shall not use the terms of an offer to purchase/lease to attempt to modify the listing broker’s offer of compensation to subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers nor make the submission of an executed offer to purchase/lease contingent on the listing broker’s agreement to modify the offer of compensation.”

This Standard of Practice is focused on the behavior of the two agents—the buyer agent attempting to modify the behavior of the listing agent (what was offered in the MLS). It does not stop the buyer and seller from agreeing that the seller—NOT the listing agent—will pay compensation to the buyer agent.

Join Virginia REALTORS® General Counsel, Laura Murray, for a Facebook Live on this topic on Wednesday, July 26 at 1:00 p.m.