IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Principal-Agent Relationship in Real Estate Brokerage Services

  • Michael A. Arnold

This article investigates the principal-agent relationship between the owner of a house and her real estate broker. The principal's (owner's) problem is to design a contract that induces the agent (broker) to adopt a selling strategy that maximizes the owner's expected return. A sequential search model is utilized to analyze this principal-agent relationship. Three different systems for paying the broker are considered: fixed-percentage commission, flat-fee, and consignment. Both the discount factors of the owner and the broker and the net costs of ownership incurred while attempting to sell the house play a central role in determining the nature of the optimal contract. The analysis demonstrates that the fixed-percentage commission system is the only one of the three systems considered that can induce a first-best, incentive-compatible contract. A numerical analysis provides insights regarding the effect of the fixed-percentage commission system on competition in the real estate brokerage industry. Copyright American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association in its journal Real Estate Economics.

Volume (Year): 20 (1992)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 89-106

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:20:y:1992:i:1:p:89-106
Contact details of provider: Postal: Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, 1309 East Tenth Street, Suite 738, Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Phone: (812) 855-7794
Fax: (812) 855-8679
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:20:y:1992:i:1:p:89-106. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.