Should you offer a bonus when selling your house?

Sometimes people wonder whether offering a bonus to the buyer’s agent will help their home sell faster or for more money. Good question. Even real estate agents are divided about it. Some say no. Some say yes. Ultimately, it’s your decision as a homeowner. So here’s a list of pros and cons for you to think about before you make the decision.

The Pros

Let’s be honest, offering a bonus to the buyer’s agent is meant to incentivize the agent to sell your house. It’s basically playing on the desire of a real estate agent to make more money than they would make selling another house. Money certainly motivates people. And real estate agents are people… So, ideally, this is what offering a bonus might do for you:

  • It might get a buyer’s agent to really want to sell your property.
  • It might make your house sell more quickly.
  • It might make it sell for more money (if it makes more agents clamor to get their buyers to make offers and creates heightened demand…or, if an agent feels compelled to urge their client to offer more money to make the deal happen.)

The Cons

Above, we mentioned people are motivated by money, and that real estate agents are human… However, many real estate agents are somewhat superhuman. There are a lot of agents who simply aren’t driven by money. They certainly aren’t going to put their clients’ needs behind their desire or need for money. Agents tend to have a high degree of ethics and put their clients’ needs before their own. So, there’s a good chance this is what will happen when you offer a bonus:

  • It could be wasted money (many agents won’t take it, or will pass it along to the buyers.)
  • It won’t sway most agents from endorsing, or not endorsing your house. If your house is a good fit for their client, they will show it. If it is not, no amount of bonus will get them to show it.
  • It won’t sway a buyer. The buyer is not likely to buy a house, let alone pay more for it, because of a bonus being offered to their agent. If anything, if a buyer’s agent starts pushing a buyer to buy your house, it may actually backfire. Many buyers will put on the brakes if they feel they are being pushed.

Making your decision…

This article is just food for thought. Certainly listen to your real agent’s perspective and advice. Also, get comfortable with your own perspective and thoughts before offering a bonus. Ultimately, a well-priced home, which is exposed to the entire market, is what gets a home sold for top dollar and as quickly as possible. But if you have some extenuating circumstances, and your house is hard to sell for some reason, you might want to consider offering a bonus so agents pay attention to a house they may otherwise have ignored.