BOULDER, CO-A variety of new tools and incentives designed to help homebuyers - especially first-time homebuyers - successfully navigate today's housing market, is now available to borrowers nationwide.
A "commission rebate" often referred to as a buyer rebate is one such tool knowledgeable homebuyers can use in a buyer's market that is now available in Colorado, one of 40 states that allow the practice.
If in general, according to the Department of Justice, "rebates make buying a home less expensive," it is even more so in today's market where interest rates are relatively low. "Few are aware of the opportunity that a commission rebate can offer," says Tommy Lorden of Buyers' Slice Realty, a firm specializing in buyer rebates.
As a rule a rebate is provided to a consumer by a real estate broker for a variety of reasons, most often, however, the broker rebates part of the earned commission to buyers to reduce operational time.
"It's a classic case of me earning less, for doing less," Mr. Lorden explains. "With so much information now available online, many of today's consumers actually prefer to do most of the search themselves, bringing me in later to nail down the deal of their choice."
Commission rebates add to other seller-service agreements allowing a homebuyer to pay for only the services they need. Otherwise, rebates can mean thousands of dollars in savings to the homebuyer.
For example, under Colorado's traditional full-service brokerage model that requires a 6% commission, the broker who brings a buyer is typically offered a 2.8% cooperating commission, equal to $8,400 on a $300,000 home. If the buyer's broker offers a 50% rebate to the buyer, it equals $4,200 back into the pocket of the buyer.
Mr. Lorden says it is important to educate buyers. While many do not always realize that they are not paying for the commission, it is customarily deducted from the seller's proceeds, which in the end indirectly increases the cost for the homebuyer.
"Most sellers consider the cost of commissions when they set their price, so buyers effectively pay for the commissions by way of a higher sales price."
Homebuyers who do their homework can take advantage of other cost-effective assistance often available online free of charge.
Recently the Department of Housing and Urban Development enhanced its website to promote equal access to housing programs by providing important HUD documents in 12 languages.
In addition to English, HUD's expanded "Limited English Proficiency" website features brochures on fair housing, model lease agreements, information about HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Program or Section 8, and Resident Rights and Responsibilities. These forms are provided in Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
According to HUD's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, John TrasviÃ±a, the website "greatly expands HUD's ability" to offer families whose first language is not English to access HUD programs and services. He said HUD plans to add other "vital documents" to the website, which was created in response to Executive Order 13166, requiring all federal, local and state agencies that receive federal funding to ensure that people with limited language skills have access to government programs and services.