The question is who should get the bonus; the home buyer? or the Realtor? I have spent the last thirty years in the wholesale boat business and early in my career I was faced with same issue. Frankly early on I always took the bonus and it wasn’t until later in my career that I figured out this was all wrong. The idea is to sell to the consumer and in the case of housing it is the home buyer not the realtor, the company he represents or the builder.
In the boat business I sold boats to Boat Dealers who sold to consumers (potentially everyone else on the planet). Now when I took the bonus I bought myself something conversely when I passed through the bonus/incentive to the dealer he reduced his price and sold more boats. The benefit is obvious everybody wins in a much bigger way. Now you can call this what ever you want Capitalism or what ever, but the end result is a win-win and everyone feels great.
Some home builders offer as much as $5,000 to realtors for selling there homes. Now since I have been in Columbia and put my license with Coldwell Banker (Lexington Office) I have visited many new home construction sites and have heard about all the reasons why I should bring a buyer to look at their homes. Don’t get me wrong the discussion was not all about money but it started that way and ended that way.
So, what to do? First and foremost I will not take a bonus from any seller. This means if you purchase a home from me all bonuses will be shown as a credit on your closing documents. They will be used to help with your closing costs which will reduce what money you will bring to closing. Further I will disclose all bonuses offered by the seller immediately after being informed of them.