Dear Interested Party:
You need to discuss this with your attorney and also have your attorney look at the listing agreement you will be signing with the agent. Most listing agreement here in Brooklyn state that the commission is due when the deal is procured so to speak. In that case, theoretically, if you list your property and an agent brings you a full price offer with no contingencies, the agent has procured a meeting of the minds and could stake a claim to a commission even if you decide you do not want to sell the property after the fact.
That being said, I have been selling homes in Brooklyn since 1993 and I personally have never been paid a commission until we were at the closing table and the buyers were handed the keys and all the funds were delivered to the seller. Even if a real estate agent tried to sue a seller for a commission based on procuring a meeting of the minds, it is a hard lawsuit to win plus the potential buyer would have to be on board with the lawsuit.
Most of the time agents and buyers are not going to want to spend time, money and effort on such a lawsuit, unless there is blatant fraud on the seller's part. As a homeowner, when you list a property, you can always decide to take it off the market at anytime. If you get an offer for less than the asking price and decide to take it off the market, that is not a problem. The only time you may have an issue is if, as I stated previously, you are given a full price offer with no contingencies. Usually if that were to happen the owner would be so overwhelmed with happiness that they would just sell the place anyway!
Please note, I am not an attorney and cannot provide legal advise. As I stated in the beginning, you need to discuss this with an attorney if it is a concern. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know. Good luck!
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783