*Please note: Any questions regarding Legal Hotline Spotlights should be submitted via the Virginia REALTORS® Legal Hotline. Our attorneys are unable to respond to questions through our comments section.

Q: I just received an offer with the following language: “Seller agrees to pay Selling Company X% of Purchase Price at Settlement pursuant to the brokerage agreement between Purchaser and Selling Company.” I thought there was a restriction on altering commission with an offer. Is this legal?  


A: This clause is permitted and legal. The Code of Ethics and Virginia law both allow for the purchaser to request that the seller pay the purchaser’s broker in an offer. What is not permitted under the Code of Ethics is if the purchaser’s agent requests that the listing agent change his or her offer of compensation listed in the MLS as a condition in an offer.


In the first scenario, the parties (not the agents) are negotiating payment of commissions. In the second scenario, the buyer’s agent is trying to change the listing agent’s offer of compensation in the MLS, which is a violation of the Code of Ethics.  

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