Buy Side: Seller-paid commissions are a ‘win-win’
Marcos Martinez loves helping clients find their dream home, but worries the relationship will get more transactional if buyers are forced to pay commissions.
Lawsuits and speculation around the future of compensation have put buyer agency in the spotlight. In this series of stories, we hear directly from buyer's agents about what they do, their paths to success and their thoughts about how their jobs could change.
Marcos Martinez started his real estate career the year before the pandemic. But even through the tumultuous housing market that followed, he's still finding ways to boost his numbers as a buyer's agent every year.
He says he loves helping people find their dream homes, and he wants to make sure they're happy with his service — which is why he prefers not to require clients to sign a contract with him upfront.
We talked with Martinez, who works as part of the Minnesota Real Estate Team of RE/MAX Advantage Plus in Bloomington, Minnesota, about what it's like working with buyers today and how his job would change if buyers had to pay agent commissions directly. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
What do you like most about the buy side of the business?
I enjoy the opportunity to meet people and provide a family with a new home — it's very satisfying to help someone make their dream come true.
Many Realtors have buyers sign a contract when they first meet. But I never do that. I let them know about the contract, but it's up to them if they want to sign it right away. I can show houses to them without a contract. And they can work with someone else if they want to. If we submit an offer and it gets accepted, then they sign a contract. But if they're not happy with me, I don't want to represent them.
What makes a great buyer's agent?
Communication is key, and so is availability. We need to listen to our buyers and help with any needs that they have.
How have your goals and strategies changed over time, and how much of that is driven by the state of the housing market?
I honestly believe that being consistent and persistent is key. For me, I've accomplished my goals every year, and my level of sales have been increasing as planned. Right now I have better sales than last year. There are always people who want to purchase a house.
Always staying positive is important to me.
What is the market like in your area?
Inventory is low, but there are still buyers. Honestly it's not as bad as last year, but I'm constantly looking out for my clients' needs — twice, three times a day calling, looking, making phone calls and checking for listings not on the MLS.
How do you think things would change if buyers had to pay for their own agents upfront?
I honestly believe the way it is right now, with sellers paying commissions, is perfect. Why? Because it's a win-win. The seller is going to get a better offer, but bank appraisers are making sure buyers aren't paying more than the house is worth.
Everybody needs a house to live in. I'm sure if policies change, buyers will pay the commission.
It would be a little more challenging, but you always have to let them know the positive aspects of working with a buyer's agent. I believe it's always important to have a professional helping you buy, and in the end, they are investing. Purchasing the property, even if they pay commission, will be way better than renting.