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I wonder sometimes. Are we real estate (real property) auctioneers working for our client’s best interest or our own? We’ve sold real property at auction for over 33 years, and our policies have varied, but we’ve rightly settled on worrying about our client more than our own commission.

This comes up periodically when auctioneers ask “What type of real estate licensee cooperation do you offer” and the answers often vary between no particular policy to a myriad of required forms, registration 12, 14, or even 24 hours prior to the auction, offers must be submitted prior, very limited cooperation, to no cooperation at all.

This prompts my question … are you as a real property auctioneer working to maximize your seller’s proceeds, or maximize your own commission? This regards when the buyer is present with his or her agent, a cooperative fee is sometimes paid to the buyer’s agent, thus reducing the auctioneer’s net commission.

We’ve noted prior:

I suppose some auctioneers would say that real estate licensees are hardly the patron saints of “loyalty” with “pocket listings,” “coming soon,” “dual agency” and the like where the goal is clearly to protect (increase) commissions at the expense of seller/client. Maybe in that sense, agents/brokers should expect to be treated how they treat everyone else? So, nobody should worry about their seller/client?


We’ve even seen some say that if the agent buys himself, some auctioneers refuse to pay any buyer-broker commission. The reason for such a policy was that “this is our policy.” Oh, okay — worrying more about your commission than your seller is your policy?

Maybe some auctioneers don’t know about their agency duties when working for a seller/client? One such duty is “loyalty” which requires the auctioneer put their client’s interests ahead of their own. https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/what-do-auctioneers-owe-their-clients/.

Or, it is a retaliatory policy? Do conventional real estate agents view auctioneers as competition? Do auctioneers consider conventional real estate agents competition? In some markets, yes. In some markets, no. However, both groups need to remember to be loyal to their clients.

It might be this easy: With any existing or new policy, what’s the objective? In all cases, the objective should be to help our clients. If the objective is to make more commission, independent of the seller’s position, you’re making decisions with the wrong criteria.

Indeed, we as auctioneers (and real estate agents) are due a fair commission to which the clients agree to pay. However, often times this “lack of cooperation” is shrouded from the client’s view, and it should not be.

Worse yet, sometimes this lack of cooperation injures the client — and this is completely unacceptable behavior by any auctioneer or conventional real estate broker/agent.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Brandly Real Estate & Auction, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He has served as faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.