It can be difficult to understand how real estate commissions work in the state of Washington or who is responsible for paying that commission. There are a few different ways that this is addressed with the sale or purchase of a home.
The procuring cause of the transaction states that the Realtor who is responsible for the sale of the home gets the commission. But this area gets blurry if there are multiple real estate agents.
Who gets the commission?
Ideally, one agent will get the commission for their part of the sale. However, if another agent gets involved and closes the sale, they could end up getting the commission.
Usually, it takes time to settle who gets the commission. When this happens, it’s referred to as a procuring cause dispute.
Working with multiple agents — intentionally or unintentionally — can cause procuring cause disputes. These disputes can delay the actual sale of the home and be costly for both seller and buyer.
Transparency is the best way to avoid procuring cause disputes. If there is another agent involved in the sale — say, you’re signed with a Realtor but go to another Realtor’s open house or showing — you’ll want to be forward with that fact.
You should let your Realtor show you properties instead of seeking them out yourself. If you do find a listing you love, ask your Realtor to look into it.
And if you go to an open house by yourself, you’ll want to hand your agent’s business card to the agent hosting the open house. This will let the other agent know to talk to your agent instead of trying to sell directly to you.
It can take time for the Realtors to figure out who gets the commission. If the disputes are big enough, the sale might not go through — a devastating consequence for everyone involved.