As a home buyer or home seller, LemonBrew is not representing consumers as a real estate agent. Instead, the company shares consumer's information for referral fees with various real estate agents, vendors, advertisers, and other third parties. LemonBrew does not control or supervise any Partner Agents, and LemonBrew is not responsible for their actions.
LemonBrew claims that all conditions between consumers and a real estate professional are governed by a separate legal agreement that does not involve LemonBrew, but we find these claims to be false. Using its website, LemonBrew engages in a process known as price-fixing because it offers consumers a portion of Partner Agent's commission as a cash rebate at closing using the network. For, example, for home buyers, LemonBrew sets a $3,750 buyer's commission rebate amount when buying a home valued at $750,000. This is about a 10% rebate from the typical 2.5%-3% buyer's agent's commission. It is easy to see that while LemonBrew likely collects about 25%-40% in referral fees from the broker's commission, the consumer only receives a 10% rebate. LemonBrew pay-to-play bias doesn't just cost consumers thousands in junk fees, it also results in improperly negotiated commissions.
For purposes of the present discussion, brokerage fees are always negotiable and no broker should set rates and rebates for other brokers. Each firm should establish its own policy as to its fee structure and charges, amount of commissions, and rebates. Price fixing is prohibited by federal antitrust legislation. Individual agents must never discuss, or set rates with brokers outside of their own company.
By setting rates and rebates for Partner Agents across the United States, LemonBrew operates with a sole purpose to collect referral fees, where such service effectively results in lower quality of service, pay-to-play bias, and a "blind match" with agents willing to participate.
Consumers using LemonBrew have zero control over what agents the company shares their information with. Instead of being “sold as leads” consumers looking for a competitive and fair representation can consider negotiating directly with real estate agents, or with help from unbiased consumer-focused online services that do not collect referral fees.