Do we owe commission even if the contract expired?

Asked by Sam, Sacramento, CA Sun Nov 30, 2008

My 6 month contract expired with my 1st agent and I relisted my house with a different agent which also expired. Now my house is no longer on the market but a buyer knocked on my door wanting to offer me cash for my property. He says that he saw the property 8 months ago while it was listed with the 1st agent and wan't too interested but now he really is. Do we owe our 1st agent commission?

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Beth Moran’s answer
Beth Moran, Agent, Folsom, CA
Sun Nov 30, 2008
My question to you is do you really want to sell it to someone who saw it 8 months ago and now comes knocking on your door w/o an agent representing him? Do you know the value of your home, do you think you can work your way through the paperwork confident that your interests are protected and how do you know he's serious? I think you ought to go back to the agent who had it listed since this guy saw your home on his watch and pay him a fee for the paperwork.
2 votes
Sue Archer R…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Sun Nov 30, 2008
I think Jim Walker was right on, in his answer.

You can check your contracts, you can talk to an attorney, and you can decide also what is most ethical. If the listing agent, at their own expense, provided you marketing services to make the buyer aware of the property, presented the property in the best light, provided you the correct services to expose the can determine whether they had earned compensation.

You can also decide whether you want to proceed with a sale unrepresented.

50% of a deal is in making sure your transaction is legally compliant with the CA Dept of RE (both federal and state laws), that you are protected in the transaction should the buyer decide to contest the transaction later. (like on something you didn't disclose).

Good luck!
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2 votes
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Sun Nov 30, 2008
Yours is at least a four part question:

First part is: are you under a contractual obligation to pay one of your real estate agents? - Yes, in California, the obligation or the expiration of an obligation is probably addressed in the old listing agreements. The Connecticut agents gave a good answer that works in either state.

Second part is: do you have a moral obligation to compensate the agent(s) responsible for attracting the buyer in the first place?

Third part is: Do you have reason to trust fair dealing from the buyer whose contact with you discloses a plan to buy at deep discount from you? It is to the buyers advantage to persuade you to think that you will save money by not being represented.
Cash Buyers expect to buy properties for less than they are worth.

Fourth part: If you know what your house is worth today, Is the cash buyer willing to offer 100% of value or even 94% of value?
If he is not offering at least 94% of the current value, then you could lose badly by leaving yourself unrepresented.
2 votes
Darz, , Calgary
Wed Apr 20, 2011
The only legalities you are obliged to are under your contract you signed with your agent or agents. Outside of that you able to sell your property on your own. All this talk about ensuring proper representation is from the self serving real estate agents and brokers. You can talk to your lawyer about representing yourself our if your confident enough do some researh on selling your own home. The law to sell does not include real estate agents.
1 vote
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sun Nov 30, 2008
You need to refer to your listing agreement. Uusally there is a protection period, the buyers agent may have to be paid.
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1 vote
Bob and Rich…, Agent, Newtown, CT
Sun Nov 30, 2008
Hi Sam

We would suggest that you go back and look at the two real estate listing contracts you signed. Each company handles this differently and the real estate contract expressly outlines the company's terms. If you are still unsure, we suggest that you consult with your local real estate attorney.

Bob & Richelle Ward, Realtors, ABR
Prudential Connecticut Realty
cell: (203) 470-9818
1 vote
Uncle Steves…, , Sacramento County, CA
Thu Dec 11, 2008
You have to assume a lot of people saw the house for sale. That does not mean you owe a commission to the agent who had it listed before this buyer approached you. What if your neighbor said I saw your house was listed 8 months ago is it still for sale ? .Would you pay the agent a commission? If the listing agent was working with this client 8 months ago and now the client knocks on your door for the sake of principle I would tell him to call the agent. I would have nothing to do with him directly, period.
If it is a freah customer like your neighbor I would still contact a agent and try to work out a reduced commission to let him handle the sale. There is to much to do for a homeowner to sell his own house. Better to pay some commission and let the agent handle it.
0 votes
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