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Tip of the Week: Taboo Topic – Compensation

Sep 14, 2016
Many of you may not realize it, but when your Support Staff gets a call that starts with “What’s the typical compensation in my area?” or “Can Agent B do this with the compensation?”, we will automatically shudder, and then go right into self-protect mode.

Why? Because we know these are questions you want to ask, but we cannot answer.

As your Support team, we want to help you as best we can. But there are some things we just can’t do. Like give legal advice, tell you if something is a violation of the Code of Ethics, or answer most questions on compensation. 

Why? Because we’re not attorneys, we’re not experts on the Code, and because the MLS Antitrust Compliance Policy at the beginning of the MLS Rules say we can’t. 

So what can we say about compensation? 

It is a required field on all Residential and Commercial listings. Amount and how it’s paid is determined by the designated broker, and seller of the property. Rental listings in the ECAR are not MLS listings (Information Exchange only) and do not carry a guarantee of compensation. Call the listing broker to find out if any is available. 

The compensation on the listing MUST be the minimum guaranteed compensation. You cannot offer one amount, then pay less based on conditions. You can offer more if certain requests are met, but you cannot pay less. 

Does changing the compensation on the contract trump the compensation on the listing? Most experts say no. What’s on the listing is what is guaranteed by the listing broker. 

What about compensation on short sale listings if the bank changes the gross compensation? That’s a whole different ball game and we’ll talk about that another time. 

I hope that helps answer some of your questions about this topic. Just know that if you call and ask about it, we’ll start ducking like professional dodge ball players. 

Questions about anything else? Call us at 850-244-2411, or email

Susan Beck, MLS Director
Emerald Coast Association of Realtors®
Fort Walton Beach, FL
Santa Rosa Beach, FL