Home Selling in Hopkinton>Question Details

Damon Jones, Home Seller in Rolla, MO

How can I be released from our realtor contract if we want to swap homes with the family whose house we're buying? They want ours as an

Asked by Damon Jones, Rolla, MO Tue Oct 18, 2011

investment. We're 1/2 way into a 6 mo contract and have had only 2 showings. We want to purchase a larger home and now sell ours to that same family. Will the realtor release us, or can we "ride out" the date of the contract once the two parties settle the transaction?

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Oh Give Me A Home’s answer
You've gotten some great information from the pros here on Trulia.

An independent real estate attorney would likely need to sort out the particular wording of the contract.

An additional question is if you had a preexisting relationship with that seller prior to signing on to the 6 month contract. If you already had a contract with that seller to buy the house, prior to hiring the realtor to sell yours, you might have more standing legally to not pay the realtor. On the other hand, real estate agents can be excellent negotiators, so another question is whether they would be able to get a higher price for your house even with the current deal. Then, their services may be all the more worthwhile even if there was a preexisting relationship.

Good luck with the situation. At least there is progress on the possibility of moving into your new home in the near future.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 22, 2011
This is a tough one, Damon. On the one hand, you agreed that the broker would get paid if you sold your home, now you kind of want to sell it "by owner," without them.

The details of the transaction don't really matter. Agents (and most MLSs) won't accept brokerage contracts that give you the right to sell the property on your own without paying a commission, because, as mentioned below, we invest resources towards getting the home sold.

We also have the point-of-view that the very act of formally listing a home for sale makes it more desirable to people within the seller's network, and that the effect of actually bringing the home to the marketplace may have enough influence to make the neighbor decide to get serious.

So. To answer your question - you can only be released if the broker voluntarily releases you, of if you have a clause in your listing agreement that reserves your right to sell the home without paying a commission, in which case you need no release. Or, you can sue for release, and I don't think you've got that good of a case.

All the best,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 18, 2011
The Realtor has probably invested a lot of time into your home and some postcards and other fees. I think if you speak with them about what you intend to do you can work something out rather than to lie to them until your contract runs out. Remember there is a waiting period too after a contract runs out where they can still get a commission.
Be honest...the truth is always the best.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 18, 2011

I think all three answers you received so far are good and would agree the first step is to talk to your agent about the situation and read through your contract with them if you have questions. I think the real question that may need to be asked though is how did you find your potential new home and how did you find theirs? Was it because your homes where listed through brokerages? If that is the case then the agents and brokerages involved have indeed provided many services and duties of the contract and would most likely deserve some compensation for work they have done.


Trevor Huntingford
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 18, 2011
Damon the best idea is to have a face to face with the Realtor and explain your sutuation honestly. It is really not up to them if they work for a franchise.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 18, 2011
Speak to your agent or their broker. The listing agreement is with the company and not the agent themselves so the office broker could release you. Did the agent help you find the house you are buying? If so they might be more willing to release you knowing they will get something.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 18, 2011
Hi Damon,
I suggest that you take a good look at the contract you signed to answer the "ride out" question. Call your agent and discuss the situation with him/her, maybe you can come to an agreement that works for the both of you/

Best of luck!
Bill Patterson
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 18, 2011
Great answers so far! This is why I always suggest sellers negotiate their listing contract before signing. Or at the very least consult multiple people for second opinions before signing.

Consult your attorney about this situation but my guess is if you found these buyers on your own you should be able to come up with some kind of compromise w/ your current list agent. That said, a contract is a contract.

Good luck!

Web Reference: http://territory.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 25, 2011

I would see if you can work out a fair compensation plan for your Realtor. Even in a swap you will still need to be guided through the process and a great Realtor will make the process far smoother that going it along. Most contracts have a clause that people that are introduced to the property will carry the right to charge a commission for a set amount of days after the expiration of the contract. You could be looking at several months more than expected.

If I had a client that approached me with the scenario, I personally would work with them to make the experience mutually beneficial. If the Realtor is not willing to cooperate call their manager. If you wait the home may sell to another party. Best
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 23, 2011
Hi Damon,

I would carefully read your contract. Not only is there the "listing" period but often a 90 day clause that states if someone that came through the house while listed, and buys the house within 90 days of the listing expires-- a commission would still be owed to the Broker.

I'm sure your contract states that you can be voluntarily released if both parties agree. Perhaps you can have a heart to heart with your agent and work out a mutually acceptable solution. Keep in mind your agent has invested their time and financial resources into marketing your home and at the VERY least should be compensated for that time and effort.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 22, 2011
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