Home Selling in Kansas City>Question Details

Bob White, Home Seller in Kansas City, MO

I decided not to sell my house before the contract was up. Now he wants a fee that is not in the contract. Is this normal?

Asked by Bob White, Kansas City, MO Sun Jul 10, 2011

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7
Bob,
Dale Weir from St. Louis is correct (see answer below). You need to read your the listing agreement that you signed with your agent and the agent's Broker carefully. If there is a clause included indicating there will be a fee owed to the Broker if you cancel the listing agreement prior to the expriation date, the Broker is entitled to that fee. Some agents also charge a "marrketing fee" or a "transaction fee" which may or may not be due in lieu of a closed sale. If there is nothing in the agreement pertaining to an early cancellation fee, or other "fee for service", talk to your agent and their broker if necessary to find out what specifically they are charging you for. As others have noted herein, the agent may have spent alot of money marketing your home, but unless it is written in the listing agereement, you are most likely not responsible for compensating them unless the house is sold.

I hope this is helpful. Again, good communication is key! Good luck. Stacey Mondi, Realtor, KC
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 11, 2011
I am presuming that you are referring to a listing contract, not a sales contract that you chose not to complete the sale on.

When you signed the listing contract with the Realtor, you were actually listing your home with the Realtor's BROKER. Legally, they should have given you a copy of the contract. It will state in the contract what you are obligated to pay the brokerage if they sell your home for you, if there is a marketing fee being charged, an early cancellation fee, or any other fee. If it's not specified in the contract and you did not agree to it in advance, then the realtor cannot charge you for it. You need to speak to the broker. If there was something in the contract that you didn't pay attention to, then they need to show it to you in writing so you can tell it was part of the original contract.

Realtors don't get paid until a home closes. We quite often spend a lot of money marketing a home and taking care of it, only to have it not sell during the period it is listed with us. While most of us wish that we could get reimbursed for the costs we have put out, very very few actually have something in writing in the contract that states we get reimbursed for our costs.

At the same time, if the Realtor took care of something for you (ie paid a contractor to do something on your behalf) then yes, you owe him the money for doing that. If someone staged the home for you, then you owe that bill. Some home warranties charge you if their program is used, even if you don't close, others only charge you if you close.

You need to find out exactly what the bill is for, and discuss that with the realtor and his broker both present. If you can't come to an understanding, then ask for someone from the local board of realtors to assist in straightening out the issue
Web Reference: http://www.yourstlhome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 10, 2011
You can take your house off the market without cancelling the listing agreement. This would stop showing, but would also stop you from listing your house for sale with another realtor. There is typically a clause about selling FSBO during this time. In short, read the contract terms and discuss it with your agent. You should be able to come to an amicable agreement.

Don't stress about it.

Carolyn Heckert
Reece & Nichols
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 10, 2011
Some realtors do have a cancellation fee and many don't. I doubt that there was a clause in your listing agreement allowing you to cancel early for no particular reason, just as there may not have been a written cancellation fee. Your listing agent has probably spent more money and time than you realize in an effort to sell your home, expecting to have a certain amount of time to do so. Good communication is important at a time like this and I would suggest that you get together and discuss each of your positions, attempting to reach a compromise. No, you're not legally bound to pay a cancellation fee if there wasn't one in the agreement, but the agent could probably argue that money was spent on his part with the expectation that the listing would have lasted longer.
Web Reference: http://www.AtHomeInKC.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 10, 2011
While I'm not sure about the Department of Real Estate and local Board of Realtor rules/regs in Missouri and whether or not this is "normal", this agent's business practice seems short sighted. If he/she is looking to build a referral business, this type of approach practice won't help. Speak with the agent's broker and ask to have the fee documented and explained.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 10, 2011
Hello Bob,
Although, your agent may have spent a lot of time and money marketing your home for sale; unless the fee is in writing and signed by you then you are not responsible for it.
Hope this clarifies.
Good luck to you!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 10, 2011
No, a Realtor can't charge a fee that is not in the contract. You may want to call the Broker of the company he works for.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 10, 2011
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