The closing date on my short sale has come and gone. I have signed release papers but my agent refuses to process w/o Buyers agent fee. Is this legal?

Asked by Smokeydabandit, 20706 Sat Jul 3, 2010

A fee that he waived when we first started working together. So my question is am I still obligated to this contract now that the closing date has come and gone? And secondly am I obligated to pay this agents fee if it was waived? I understand that there are cost associated with being an agent but the way this agent operates just doesn't sound right. Please help

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Marlene Bien…, Agent, Tallahassee, FL
Fri Jul 9, 2010
All good answers Smokey, just wanted to add this for you. Do you have a buyer's agreement with this Realtor? If you do refer back to it and see if there was any fees involved, if no buyer's agreement is in place well then this is a lesson for you for any future real estate dealings. Keep a contract with your representing Realtor whether it is Selling or buying. This will assist you for any future disagreements.

If this Realtor has helped you sell or find a home this payment is their bread and butter. Many people do not understand that Realtor's do all the work upfront to get a property to closing day in order to get paid. So, think this through and what's fair is fair.

My greatest suggestion is go to the broker of record in the firm and discuss your situation for possible quick resolution or better yet consult a real estate attorney.
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Christine Mo…, Agent, Wilbraham, MA
Fri Jul 9, 2010
I would go the the agents office manager and try to work with them. If he did work for you and everything turned out well, he deserves to be compensated. For example if my buyer client finds his dream house and it is FSBO and they are not offereing anything out to an agent, I will work out some sort of agreement with my buyer. If my buyer wanted to go just with the owner and cut me out it is his right to do that, but if I found him the house and helped him it is just common courtesy. You don't have to tip a waitress, but I always tip 20%. It's the cost of doing business.
1 vote
Kristine Eri…, Agent, Burlington, MA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
If the sale did not go through as long as you did not sign anything saying you would pay a fee regardless of out come you should be all set.
0 votes
Lori Lincoln, Agent, Dighton, MA
Mon Oct 18, 2010
Did you sign the fee waiver? I hope this fee isnt' substantial. Agents can charge a fee to any client, if it's in writing and signed. If so, did you save all signed copies? Was the waiver the agent agreed to verbal? Verbal agreements, for the most part, do not carry weight in a court of law. The standard answer is seek legal council, and you are probably tired of that one.. asking us realtors, we just don't want to operate as attorneys because we aren 't

(Personally, as an agent, I never take a fee from a buyer, but that 's the way I choose to roll. My reputation and referrals from my clients means more than a one time fee, but that's me)
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Karla Wagner, Agent, Bonney Lake, WA
Wed Oct 13, 2010
I'm very sorry to hear that your agent is being so unreasonable. This is really unbelieveable, and in my opinion, a bad business practice. I would recommend you contact the agent's broker, and if they don't correct the situation, I would consult a real estate attorney. Best wishes to you.
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Lori Lincoln, Agent, Dighton, MA
Wed Oct 13, 2010
I feel for you. I've never charged a fee to my buyers. The listing agent pays me. If things don't work out, well that's part of the business. Please seek legal council on this. Maybe you signed paperwork indicated that you need to pay this buyers agent. Call a local attorney. Too bad it didn't work out for you.
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Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Sat Jul 3, 2010
Hey Smokey,

As mentioned earlier, if you agreed to pay a buyers agent fee then yes you need to pay the contractually agreed upon amount.

If you purchase a property through this Realtor then it would pay that fee, I'm assuming.

So if you decided to abandon this Realtor and go with a new one then you may be obligated to pay him a fee. I'm not an attorney so of course seek legal advice if you're unclear about what your agreement means.

Good luck,
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Jul 3, 2010
If you are unsatisfied with your agent's reply--contact the broker owner and or office manager of the realty company--express all your concerns, as the broker owner and or office manager make decisions on such issues, not necessarily the agent--or consult with an attorney who specializes in real estate.
0 votes
Heather Peck, Home Owner, Las Vegas, NV
Sat Jul 3, 2010
I'm not an attorney and you may need to consult one - however contracts usually go like this.

If its written in the contract, then you'll have to pay it. If its not written in the contract that you either agreed to pay it, or if it was written you would and the agent waived it, then you won't.

However, if nothing is written about the Buyer's agent fee anywhere, no Buyer's Agency Agreement, not in the sales contract, etc., then the agent is going to have a hard time getting you to pay it. Also, the buyer's agent usually doesn't have the power to prevent the closing, certainly not over a fee. The agent's recourse would usually be to sue you. You may want to call their broker.

You didn't say why the closing date had come and gone. Are you still in escrow? What else is holding up the closing? The only things that normally hold up closing are funding on the buyer's side, title issues on the seller's side, on a short sale the seller's lender having final review of the HUD1, etc.

Anyway, check everything you signed to see if its written down and addressed, one way or the other. And if its not, start with the agent's broker then proceed to a real estate attorney.
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