Home Selling in 02482>Question Details

Joe, Home Seller in Wayland, MA

If my listing agreement expires with a realtor in MA and I chose to list with another agent will I owe anything to my current broker?

Asked by Joe, Wayland, MA Sun Aug 25, 2013

If my listing agreement expires with a realtor in MA and I chose to list with another agent will I owe anything to my current broker? I signed a standard listing contract as in the link below. What does the clause 3, C, 1 mean when it says "whether or not the transaction proceeds"? My house has been under contract before but the buyer backed out.

Thank you for the help.


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Martin E. Kalisker’s answer
Hi Joe -

I am not a lawyer, but I do serve as the Chairman of the Grievance Committee for the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS®. The short and simple answer to your question is that clause 3c) cannot be enforced (see Tristam’s Landing, Inc. v. Wait, in which the MA State Supreme Judicial Court adopted the following rule. When a broker is engaged by an owner to find a purchaser, the broker earns a commission when: (1) he produces a purchaser ready, willing and able to buy on the terms provided by the owner; (2) the purchaser enters into a binding contract with the owner to do so; and (3) the purchaser completes the transaction by closing title in accordance with the provisions of the contract.)

Your listing agreement may have allowed the agent to "carve out" a period of time for someone who was shown the property during the original listing period to enter into a contract with you. Your new listing agent would need to receive a list of any such names in order for the first broker to establish a fact pattern of procuring cause during the listing period. Other than this, you typically have no other duties or owe anything to the first listing brokerage once the listing period has expired, and would be free to enter into a new listing agreement with another brokerage.

I see that your link has Brookline in the url. Our office is in the heart of Coolidge Corner, and we had an office in Wellesley Hills for over 5 years. I'd be happy to assist if you have any further questions.

Martin Kalisker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 26, 2013
No, Joe, you absolutely should not if your agent used any of the standard Realtor contracts. I see from your location that the local Realtors are part of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board. Read your contract carefully. It should have the following language contained therein:

'However, no fee will be payable under this clause if the said property is sold after said term with the participation of a licensed broker to whom the Seller is obligated to pay a feee under the terms of a subsequent written exclusive listing agreement.'

Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 25, 2013
You Should be fine but as other agents point out an attorney should be consulted for a definitive answer. Why Do you believe that your listing contract expired?
Web Reference: http://nemoves.com/Kenzo
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 25, 2013
If the transaction already fell apart, you should be okay to walk away from broker after agreement expiration date, but please check with an attorney just to make sure. If a buyer that was introduced to your property by your listing agent decides to purchase the property within whatever time period is listed under 3.c.3., you may owe commission to your listing broker that you're walking away from. But, there will be other factors at play (like the agent would have to prove that s/he was the "procuring" cause of the transaction. If said buyer comes back to another open house or two or schedules a follow up showing with a new agent, the procuring cause may no longer be your prior agent.
Good luck and please consult an attorney since we as agents aren't allowed to give legal advice :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 25, 2013
You should be ok to move forward with another agency if your agreement has expired. You may only be on the hook for a commission if a previous buyer comes back and pursues the home again so look for that language. If you know a real estate attorney perhaps they can look over your contract and give you the green light to sign on with another agent.

Good luck with your home!

Territory Real Estate
Massachusetts Destination for Home Buyer's
617 848 5407 ext 704
Web Reference: http://territory.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 26, 2013
All great answers and correct about changing agents. I recommend you interview a few agents. A price is opinion is just that, an opinion and if an agent prices your property too high to get the listing, then you end up getting less for your property. Stage it, simplify it. Make sure it's a featured listing on Trulia and upgraded on all sites. Mindy Roiff Shanfeld http://on.trulia.com/174S32e
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 25, 2013
All good answers by the agents who have responded so far. I would also add that failure to succeed in selling your house reflects any or all of the price, location, and/or condition of your property not being aligned with your market. Just changing agents doesn't mean getting different results unless you also understand what went wrong: was the price too high? was the condition of your property not in line with what buyers are expecting? Is your location too weak to support your asking price? Most importantly, your agent's marketing plan is crucial to your success. You deserve to have a strong, coherent marketing plan in your hands before you go on the market. Know and understand what your agent and the brokerage is going to do for you to reach the largest pool of appropriate buyers. You must do this in order to achieve the best possible price. Next time around ask for that marketing plan! and listen to the guidance your professional agent gives you regarding those 3 things: price, condition and location. Good luck!
Barbara Miller, Realtor
02481, 02482
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 25, 2013
Hi Joe,

Typically most Listing Contracts do not require the seller to pay a commission unless the agent procures you a ready, able and willing buyer who makes an offer on your property, that you accept. That said, all contracts are different and you will need to look at the fine print. Sometimes there are protective clauses in the contract to protect the agent/agency. I would be happy to sit down and review the cotract with you, if that helps. Feel free to email me if that is something you would like to pursue.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 25, 2013
If the listing agreement expires and you list with another Realtor, the new contract voids the original. You would only owe one commission -- to the new listing agent and, through that Realtor, a portion of the commission to the buyer agent's firm. If you didn't list post expiration, but chose to market the property and sell it yourself, the original agent could step forward and say that the sale happened because of the marketing done by that original agent's firm. Always check with your attorney, however! Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 25, 2013
Hi Joe,
Once your contract expires, you may list your property with anyone you wish. What that clause means, which is usually not in current contracts, means that you would owe them a commission wether the deal closed or not. My company doesn't hold a seller to that clause. In most contracts it will say that the realtor will be paid a commission when the property is sold and recorded at the Registry of Deeds. If that particular buyer comes back to you say a week after the listing expires, the listing company could be entitled to a commission. Usually a contract will say that the listing agent is protected for 90 after expiration. HOWEVER, if you list with another agent, that no longer applies. I hope this is helpful. I am happy to come a view your property if you would like a current market analysis.
Luisa Cestari
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 25, 2013
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