Post-contract service charge is a garbage fee.

Question:..I recently made a purchase offer on a modest-priced condominium for which the listing agent will receive a 6 percent sales commission. After I signed the purchase contract, the agent asked me to sign a form titled “Post-Contract Service Fee.” She explained that this $295 fee covers her time spent on tasks, such as arranging the mortgage, inspections and the closing after the seller accepts my offer. Although I signed that form, now I’m afraid I was ripped off. Is this fee customary?..- Jim D.

No, such a fee is not customary. Shame on that agent. Although I have heard of a few realty agents extracting such fees from their buyers, such a garbage fee is rare. Because no other agent is involved in your situation, this listing agent is receiving the entire sales commission, so she is being well-paid.

The extra $295 you foolishly agreed to pay is pure profit to that agent. I hasten to add most realty agents would not even attempt to charge such an outrageous extra fee. As part of their service and at no extra charge, most agents help buyers arrange mortgages and any customary inspections, as well as the closing.

If I’d been in your situation, I would have walked out and hired my own buyer’s agent. Then that listing agent would lose half of her commission to my buyer’s agent, who’d look out for my best interest.

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