Legal Blog


Legal Blog

The Legal Blog, brought to you by NVAR's Professional Standards department, helps you stay on top of the latest rules and regulations in the industry.

Bonus Entitlement

Sep 7, 2016


Question: I represent a buyer in a transaction who made an offer on a property that was accepted by the seller. The MRIS listing stated under agent compensation that a bonus was going to be paid. At settlement, I received the commission offered, but no bonus. When I asked the broker, he told me that the offer of a bonus was predicated on a full price offer. However, that was not stated anywhere on the listing. Am I entitled to the bonus?

Answer: MRIS allows brokers to offer bonuses under agent compensation fields. However, because of space limitations, MRIS also further allows a broker to place parameters on the bonus in the agent remarks. These comments may include conditions such as “payable only with full price offer,” or “payable only if settlement occurs on or before a specified date.” However, if a listing offers a bonus with no conditions stated, then a cooperating agent can expect to be paid the bonus when he or she becomes the procuring cause of the sale. If you are the procuring cause for the sale of a property that was listed in MRIS as offering a bonus without any conditions, and you fail to receive the bonus, you can file a request for arbitration with your local association asking for the bonus.

So you listing agents out there offering bonuses, make sure that you state clearly the conditions that apply to the payment of the bonus, because if you fail to do so, the bonus will be due upon successful completion of the transaction.

The Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS does not fix, control, recommend, suggest, maintain or establish the fees that individual members may charge their clients for the services they provide. Nothing in this article should be construed as attempting to fix prices or fees.

Michele Yam of MRIS contributed to this article
  • Compensation and Commission