Home Selling in Charlestown>Question Details

Wezsox34, Home Seller in Charlestown, NH

I had my house listed with a real estate agent but then sold it myself. Now he wants $15,000. I think it is illegal, am I right?

Asked by Wezsox34, Charlestown, NH Thu Mar 3, 2011

I had my house listed with a real estate agency. The agent portrayed my house in a horrible light and I found out later he was trying to help a good friend of his buy the property (although we have no concrete proof). He came up with a few offers that were far below the asking price ($95,000 under!!!) and they were from his friend. Meanwhile, I found a buyer myself and signed a purchase and sale agreement. Now the agent has come to me for $15,000 he claims he is owed for the offers that were made. Our initial contract never said anything about this and he never delivered me so much as one paper during the contracting or offering phases. I think it was done illegally as he doesn't think I understand the real estate world and is trying to trick me into paying. Please help!

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I am betting he is not asking you for $15,000 for the offers he made at all, he is asking for the commission agreed to in the listing agreement you signed after it is closed. You would not need to pay it until it closes, but then you will have to if the listing agreement is an Exclusive Right To List agreement and within the start and stop date (aka the term) of the agreement. It really does not matter who sold it or who writes the offer, you will owe it to the listing agency if the house closes. To be able to do what you did, and not have to pay the listing agency, you would have had to sign an exclusive agency agreement rather than an exclusive right to sell agreement.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
Even if you verbally cancelled the listing with the agent/agency, there's usually a portion of the contract that allows for commission up to six months after the contract expires. IOW - if the agent brought you someone whether he/she makes an offer, you are still obligated to pay the agency the agreed upon commission.

It's not a trick. You need to re-read your listing contract.

If you had a problem with this agent - you should have complained to the agency owner, then if nothing was done, gone further up to the State Real Estate Board.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 1, 2013
Contact a Real Estate attorney but a listing agreement is a binding contract and if offer was written during listing period, you may have to pay. Cannot be unilaterally cancelled. Sorry.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
You would need to refer to your listing contract. Normally under an exclusive listing, the Seller would be liable for the commission due the Realtor if the home owner procured a buyer himself, however I would seek a Real estate Attorney. Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
If you were in an exclusive listing agreement, even though you find a buyer, the listing agenncy is due a commission unless you have an exclusion. The key will be when you you wrote him with asking to be released from the contract, you will need a signed release from the agent/listing company to be released from teh contract, you can not cancel it by saying "i cancel this agreement". It has to be in writing and signed by both parties. If you then found a buyer and signed a contract during the time you were listed, he may be due his commission. Commission though is only paid when a property closes, they are not due any money because you signed an offer. If you have legal questions you should contact an attorney, the 1st meeting is usually at no cost to get some direction, you can also contact the state of NH real estate commission.

Good luck working things out
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
Dear WEzsox,
I can only refer you to your listing contract. Most listing agreements are for a minimum of three months, some are much longer. If you were under exclusive contract with this brokerage, you are liable for the commissions regardless of where the buyer came from. IF the contract was in effect
Since this has become a legal issue I would recommend you speak with a lawyer at this point.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 5, 2011
The timeline is very very important in your case. It can make or break your case either way. Make sure you document it exactly as it happened and consult an attorney.

if he claims and can proves that the new buyer you found, signed a purchase and sale agreement, is prior to you ending of the contract with him then he has a point.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 5, 2011
I have a contract with the realtor including an exclusive right of listing agreement. I made a mistake in my original post in that I did not close on the house yet nor has the buyer I found even begun to seek a loan. We signed a purchase and sale agreement in order to avoid foreclosure but agreed not to move forward until another purchase and sale was drafted. In the meantime, I wrote an official letter to the realtor canceling his services and yet he says I owe him. I have yet to sell the house and he is fired. I don't see how he could come after me still.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 5, 2011
Couple questions we need to find out first, what type of agreement did you have with him? If you found a buyer yourself, and did all the paperwork yourself why didnt you look to end your "agreement" before hand OR include you agent with you? I would seek legal advice, from an licensed Attorney in your state before moving forward.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 4, 2011
You will need to refer to your listing agreement you signed with the Listing Brokerage. Was the listing agreement cancelled before you accepted the offer? If the Listing Agreement is an "Exclusive Right to Sell" it means that if you bring in the Buyer, the Listing Brokerage would still be entitled to a commission. I would recommend you speak with an Attorney regarding this, before agreeing to anything.

It is unfortunate your Agent did not deliver on his promises. You certainly have the right to file a complaint with your local Real Estate Board and his Managing Broker. Did you authorize Dual Agency, allowing him to represent both the Buyer and Seller? Who brought in the offer from the Agent's alleged friend?

Your Attorney can best advise you on how to proceed.

Best of luck,

David Jaffe-SRES, CDPE
Realtor-Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
The answer depends on your listing agreement. Check what the agreement says, then talk to the agent to see why he/she feels you are legally obligated. If your agreement with the agent does not address this situation, you may not be obligated to pay. However, only a lawyer can give you a legal opinion and you would be well advised to have an attorney read your agreement, consider the facts and provide a valid opinion.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
Review your listing and commssion agreement, your agent more than likely wants to be paid based on that agreement...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
As the others stated, it matters what your contract states. If you don't understand the contract, call the broker in charge and/or your own attorney. Its great you sold your home, but too bad it was a bad experience.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
I am not sure what the laws are in New Hampshire, but is sounds like you may have signed an Exlusive Right Agreement, which would have stipulated that if you sold the property to anyone during the lsting period, you would owe him a commission.

It's unfortunate that you've had a bad experience with him, but the laws are built to protect both the agent and the consumer. I plow anywhere from $1,500-$3,000 into marketing my listings, so when I sign up with a seller, I am committing to them just as much as they are committing to me.

My suggestion would be to call his broker and talk it over, and/or call a real estate attorney.
Web Reference: http://www.GreatAgents.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
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