As Realtors we seem to always want to have it both ways. On the one hand we say that we are buyer or seller advocates and yet we are sales people too and some times those two roles can conflict with each other. One great example is the idea of the buyers agent bonus.
Sometimes sellers or listing agents will give the buyers agent a bonus for finding a buyer for a home. On the surface that seems harmless but it is a questionable practice. The implication is that an agent will "sell" a home to a buyer because if they do they will make more money.
We have to disclose our commission to the buyers. Commissions for Realtors who work with buyers are listed on the MLS with the rest of the information about the home. The seller pays the buyers commission and most agents accept that as pay of working with the buyer. The buyer doesn't see the agent bonus on the public MLS it is listed in a for members only section. Buyers usually don't know or care what the average payout for a buyers agent is so even when it is disclosed they may not recognize it as a buyers agent bonus.
We work with buyers and they choose the best home with our help. We don't or should not "sell" a buyer a home because there is a bonus in it for us. It is a conflict of interest. The agency disclosure that we are required to use by the state of Minnesota says the we represent the buyer and are supposed to act in their best interest while representing them.
Are we acting in a buyers best interest if their is a bonus involved for us? Each time a buyer buys a home there is something in it for us which makes sense because we can't work for free. If a buyer makes an offer we are required to disclose the commission but since the average buyer doesn't know what it is supposed to be they may not know that the agent is getting a bonus.
There are some listings in our MLS that have a very low payout and there are some with high payouts to buyers agents. I believe it is unethical to base our decision on which home to show a buyer based on the payout. It would be best if there was no such thing as a buyers agent bonus and if all buyers agent payouts were the same.