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Frequently Asked Questions

How Different Are Your Services from Those of a "Traditional" Realtor?

There are practically no differences except that I offer a rebate to buyers and have lower commissions for sellers.  Frankly, with experience as a practicing real estate attorney, I understand the contracts and closing process much better than most agents.  Starting with the negotiation of the offer and continuing through closing, you will be provided with a high level of service and advice. 

Are Commission Rebates Legal in Pennsylvania?

Absolutely.  Commission rebate or refunds are legal in 40 states, including Pennsylvania.  For a national map of where commission rebates are legal, click this link.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has a webpage about commission rebates and how great they are for consumers because they reduce closing costs. 

Are Commission Rebates Taxable?

According to IRS letting ruling 20072101 Realtor rebates of real estate commissions are NOT taxable income to purchasers because they represent a reduction in the purchase price of the home.  We should mention that IRS letter rulings apply only to a specific taxpayer and cannot be relied upon as precedent.  You should consult your tax professional with tax questions about your specific situation.

Can I Obtain a Commission Rebate on the Construction of a new home?

It is possible to save thousands at your new construction closing by using a buyer’s agent who can rebate part of their commission at closing.  Often the cost of the buyer’s agent commission is built into the price of the home, so the consumer is paying for these costs whether they have a buyer’s agent or not.  Accordingly, a buyer of a new home should always have an experienced buyer’s representation for their purchase.  Insight Realty’s buyer clients receive a 50% commission rebate and are represented by a broker experienced with new construction.  If you are thinking about using Insight Realty on your new construction purchase, it is important that you give the builder’s salesperson our information during your initial tour of a model home.  

If I See a Property with the Listing Agent Does that Mean They Must Represent Me?

No.  Under Pennsylvania law, all agreements with real estate agents that obligate a consumer to pay a fee must be in writing.  An agent is not entitled to recover a commission in the absence of a signed agreement.  Some buyers believe that by contacting a listing agent and touring a home with them, that they are legally obligating themselves to use the services of the listing agent for buyer representation.  This is simply not the case.  In Pennsylvania a consumer of real estate services may choose the agent who represents them and the consumer is not obligated in the absence of a signed agreement.  Likewise, if you are a buyer and sign an offer to purchase a property with an agent, but never sign a representation agreement, then that agent is representing you for that one property only.

Can you show me houses?

Absolutely.  We would be happy to show you houses in the Pittsburgh area. If they are outside of the Pittsburgh area, you will have to see them at an open house, with the listing agent, or with another agent.  If this applies, you must call us before you go.

I am not in the Pittsburgh area, but want to buy in Pennsylvania. Can you represent me and get me a rebate?

Most likely yes.  You must call us to discuss before seeing the property.

Is the realtor rebate taxable in Pittsburgh?

Real estate commission refunds are not taxable income, but they do diminish the basis of your house.

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