How to Get Your Commercial Real Estate Buyer to Pay Your Commission

By on Jun 1, 2021

Sometimes when you come across an off-the-market property as a commercial real estate broker, the seller will tell you that they’re interested in selling the property, but they’re not willing to pay you a commission. So in this situation, you’ll then want to ask the seller, “If I can get my buyer to pay me a commission in addition to you getting your selling price, will this be OK with you?”

Oftentimes your seller will then agree to this, but how do you then go about approaching your buyer on this subject? Because if your buyer is a sophisticated buyer, it will probably be easier for them to agree to this, because in reality all they’ll care about is how much they’ll be paying in total for the property, between what the owner will be receiving, and what you’ll be getting for your commission.

So with this in mind, you could approach your buyer by saying something similar to, “I’ve located an off-the-market property that I believe you’ll be interested in, and the owner is interested in selling, but he’s telling me that in order for me to get paid a commission, that I need to get paid that commission by you. So in keeping this in mind, if I submit the property to you, will you be willing to pay me an X% commission in addition to the purchase price?”

Notice that in this situation, you will oftentimes have tremendous leverage. The buyer will recognize that unless they agree to pay you your commission, they’re not going to be presented the property, and for many buyers, the idea of not knowing what they’ll be missing out on will simply be too much for them. But you need to have the commission amount agreed to in advance, before you ever submit the property to them, otherwise you’ll have lost all that leverage, and the buyer is then likely to tell you that you just want too much commission.

So curiosity can go a long way here in getting the buyer to agree in advance to pay you your commission, because, to utilize some TV game show terminology here, the buyer just has to find out what’s behind door number three.

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