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Is the Compensation Model for Real Estate Brokers Obsolete?

Author

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Katherine A. Pancak

    (University of Connecticut)

  • C. F. Sirmans

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This study examines the traditional compensation model for real estate brokers under which both the listing and buyer brokers are paid by the seller based on a percentage of the property sales price. We argue that this model has not evolved to reflect contemporary legal agency relationships and technology-driven information availability. It therefore creates substantial transactional inefficiencies for buyers and sellers at both the matching and bargaining stages of a transaction. While there is evidence that market forces are pushing for a change in the status quo, there is also evidence that the brokerage industry is resisting this change by pursuing anti-competitive policies and laws. We explore the economics of the current and alternative compensation structures and suggest policy implications regarding anti-competitive behavior in the brokerage industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Miceli & Katherine A. Pancak & C. F. Sirmans, 2006. "Is the Compensation Model for Real Estate Brokers Obsolete?," Working papers 2006-23, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2006-23 Note: We acknowledge the helpful comments of Abdullah Yavas (special issue editor), an anonymous reviewer, and participants at the Annual Meeting of the Real Estate Society, April 2006.
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Abdullah Yavas, 1996. "Matching of Buyers and Sellers by Brokers: A Comparison of Alternative Commission Structures," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 24(1), pages 97-112.
    2. Williams, Joseph T, 1998. "Agency and Brokerage of Real Assets in Competitive Equilibrium," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 11(2), pages 239-280.
    3. John H. Crockett, 1982. "Competition and Efficiency in Transacting: The Case of Residential Real Estate Brokerage," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 10(2), pages 209-227.
    4. Thomas S. Zorn & James E. Larsen, 1986. "The Incentive Effects of Flat-Fee and Percentage Commissions for Real Estate Brokers," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 14(1), pages 24-47.
    5. Bartlett, Randall, 1981. "Property Rights and the Pricing of Real Estate Brokerage," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 79-94, September.
    6. Lueck, Dean, 1994. "Common property as an egalitarian share contract," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 93-108, September.
    7. Rutherford, R.C. & Springer, T.M. & Yavas, A., 2005. "Conflicts between principals and agents: evidence from residential brokerage," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 627-665, June.
    8. Abdullah Yavas, 2001. "Impossibility of a Competitive Equilibrium in the Real Estate Brokerage Industry," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 21(3), pages 187-200.
    9. Yavas, Abdullah & Colwell, Peter, 1999. "Buyer Brokerage: Incentive and Efficiency Implications," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 259-277, May.
    10. John D. Benjamin & G. Donald Jud & G. Stacy Sirmans, 2000. "What Do We Know About Real Estate Brokerage?," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 20(1), pages 5-30.
    11. Anglin, Paul M, 1994. "Contracts for the Sale of Residential Real Estate," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 195-211, May.
    12. Levmore, Saul, 1993. "Commissions and Conflicts in Agency Arrangements: Lawyers, Real Estate Brokers, Underwriters, and Other Agents' Rewards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 503-539, April.
    13. Abdullah Yavaş, 1992. "A Simple Search and Bargaining Model of Real Estate Markets," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 20(4), pages 533-548.
    14. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 968-979.
    15. Sirmans, C. F. & Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 1997. "Brokerage Pricing under Competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 102-117, January.
    16. Yinger, John, 1981. "A Search Model of Real Estate Broker Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 591-605.
    17. Abdullah Yavas & Thomas J. Miceli & C.F. Sirmans, 2001. "An Experimental Analysis of the Impact of Intermediaries on the Outcome of Bargaining Games," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 29(2), pages 251-276.
    18. Thomas J. Miceli, 1991. "The Multiple Listing Service, Commission Splits, and Broker Effort," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 19(4), pages 548-566.
    19. Thomas Miceli & Katherine A. Pancak & C. F. Sirmans, 2000. "Restructuring Agency Relationships in the Real Estate Brokerage Industry: An Economic Analysis," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 20(1), pages 31-47.
    20. Thomas J. Miceli, 1992. "The Welfare Effects of Non-Price Competition Among Real Estate Brokers," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 20(4), pages 519-532.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anupam Nanda & Katherine A. Pancak, 2009. "Broker Duty to Clients: Why States Mandate Minimum Service Requirements," Alumni working papers 2009-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    2. Morten Olsen & Joshua Gottlieb & David Hemous & Jeffrey Clemens, 2017. "The Spill-over Effects of Top Income Inequality," 2017 Meeting Papers 332, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Han, Lu & Strange, William C., 2015. "The Microstructure of Housing Markets," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Sahin, M. Abdullah & Sirmans, C.F. & Yavas, Abdullah, 2013. "Buyer brokerage: Experimental evidence," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 265-277.
    5. Stone, Michael P. & Miceli, Thomas J., 2012. "Optimal attorney advertising," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 329-338.
    6. repec:kap:jrefec:v:55:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11146-016-9558-z is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jonathan Wiley & Justin Benefield & Marcus Allen, 2014. "Cyclical Determinants of Brokerage Commission Rates," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 196-219, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agency; brokerage; multiple listings; percentage commission;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services
    • R33 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Nonagricultural and Nonresidential Real Estate Markets

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