Home Selling in Indianapolis>Question Details

Bill, Home Seller in Indianapolis, IN

Can I break a realtor's contract due to divorce?

Asked by Bill, Indianapolis, IN Fri Jan 23, 2009

My wife and I listed our house in September with the intent of moving to Wisconsin. Our plans have changed drastically over the past 3 months, and we are now, unfortunately, filing for divorce. I would like to try and keep the home. Am I able to cancel my contract with the Realtor before the 6 month term is over without being penalized?

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Deat Bill

If you sit down with your Realtor and/or his/her Broker and explain your situation they might release you from the contract - be sure to get the release in writing with the Broker's signature. The listing really belongs to the Broker and not the Agent.

Best of luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 7, 2010
This is not legal advice. For legal advice see an attorney.

First, I would think if you discussed with your Realtor they could help you work out an arrangement to take your home off the market.

Second, in most states it takes both husband and wife to sell their home. If you don't want to sell, they I doubt your wife can force you unless she has a court order or something similar.

Whether there is a penalty or cancellation fee would depend on what is in the listing agreement.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 24, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
You need to discuss your situation with YOUR Agent, the Realtor you signed the listing agreement with, but remember your listing contract is with the brokerage company your Realtor is connected with....

In most cases an agreement will be reached - especially since it seems that your home will not be sold at all i.e. one of you will keep the home.... But you must discuss the terms of your listing agreement and then get a written release from the brokerage company and there may be some conditions in that release depending on your brokerage company and depending on the listing agreement itself which you signed with them.

Talk to your Realtor first and go from there!
Sorry about your divorce and I hope all will work out for you in the end.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 24, 2009

These are extenuating circumstances that should be presented to your agent. Most people are understanding and willing to be helpful. Ask about a "mutual release" agreement.

Best wishes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 24, 2009
Sorry hear about divorce. Contact listing agent state family status change up to broker cancel listing. If you are too divorce both parties on mortgage, title you will need to refinance home where you are sole responsible for property. Many couples overlook that minor detail. If you cant refinance family attorneys could order for home sold equity split. Review all your options with legal
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
Generally speaking, you can usually get released from your contract. But it is a contract and you could be held to its terms. Realize that your agent may have spent up front money on marketing advertising flyers, etc., or have spent considerable time working on your listing. A good trade might be to offer him/her a reimbursment for those out of pocket expenses they expected to recoup when they sold your home. I have been asked by clients to be released for a varaity of reasons. It was always in my best interest to release them and keep a good professional relatiionship. In all cases I always kept them as a customer and they did business with me down the road. I suspect had I not allowed them to be released early, our working relationship would have been over. In any case you could just refuse all showings but it would be better to come to an agreement with your agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
Bill, I am not a lawyer and can not provide legal advice... but in my opinion, yes you can. Just call your listing agent and explain that your situation has changed and you do not want to sell the house at this time. Ask him/her to prepare a Mutual Release Agreement that will cancel your listing agreement. If they give you any crap, talk to the Managing Broker OR politely mention to the listing agent that you have a lawyer. Sorry to hear about your marriage problems... and good luck with the house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
Check the listing contract, to be sure. Most Realtors are reasonable with this situation though, and even if a pro vision isn't in place to allow you to break the contract, they will let you anyway. I once had sellers ask me to break a contract because the death of a loved one in their family meant they didn't want to move just yet. They weren't ready for the emotional strain of having to pack up and move on, and I understand that. Even though I could've perhaps forced them to abide by the terms of the listing agreement, I didn't want to. Most Realtors aren't going to force you to continue a client-level relationship against your will. We prefer to work with people who want to work with us, and if you want out, I'm inclined to let you! Do be advised though - even if you cancel the contract, the broker protection clause still applies.
Web Reference: http://www.chadmustin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
You need to have an honest discussion with your Realtor, and most likely they will be sympathetic. They will need to prepare a "Mutual Release" for all parties to sign.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
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