How soon after taking a home off the market with a realtor can I "for sale by owner".?

Asked by Denise Ferreira, Warwick, RI Thu Jul 26, 2007

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Melissa Manc…, Agent, Plainville, MA
Thu Jul 26, 2007
Hi Denise,

Listing contracts can often vary, so you need to obtain and read a copy of the agreement to know for sure. My contract doesn’t prohibit a seller from selling the property, whether it’s on their own (FSBO) or if they chose to list with another agent. They have the right to do either the day the agreement expires. It does state that if you chose to sell it on your own and anyone whom I introduced to the property during the period of the contract approaches you within the first 90 days of expiration you agree to refer that inquiry back to me. In the event a seller does not adhere to this clause, I would still be due a success fee for the sale. The purpose of this clause is to not have a seller purposely cut us, as agents, out of the transaction in order to save money on the real estate fee, as sellers have been known to make side agreements with buyers for after a listing contract expires.

Melissa Mancini, Realtor, CBR, GRI
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2 votes
Matt Patty, Agent, Warwick, RI
Wed Jul 6, 2011
Never. Just kidding. Make sure when you sign a listing agreement you keep a copy and be aware of the dates as they approach. If your realtor cares about your listing, they will be aware of when its about to expire and will talk to you about extending the contract or withdrawing. If you withdraw and plan to re-list at a later date with the same realtor, save yourself some trouble and sign a withdrawn right to relist form. That way other realtors will not target your listing as a source of market share.

Other than that, you can sell your home to anyone not introduced to the home by your agent during your listing contract. The legal term for this implied agreement is "procuring cause".

Keep in mind though, most listings do not sell. There is still a nine month supply of inventory and you have to not only be a compelling home but a compelling value to ensure a sale. Thats not bad news or good news, just business. And it greatly decreases your chance to sell by going for sale by owner. Plus, you're still going to wind up paying a buyers agent commission, so you'll most likely only save half on commission.
1 vote
Michael J. G…, , Cranston, RI
Thu Dec 6, 2007
Immedialty. However, Denise, in RI you listing agreement wil contain a provision that requires you to pay a commission on any sale to a prospective customer who was developed during the Listing period for specific number of days after the expiration of the agreement Simply look at your contract as it was a blank filled in about midway down the first page. However, if you list with another realtor this provision doesn't apply because it is really designed to prevent a seller from accepting the buyer and reneging on the agreeement with the original listng realtor, simply to avoid paying the commision owed, but it does not apply where a seller lists with a new realtor at the expiration of the agreement. So if you are behaving ethically, you can FSBO immediatly with no worries. However, FSBO's usually net less money in their pocket than those who commit to the help of a professional and all the great marketing we realtors have systemized. Odds are, Realtors as a group are going to get you the best price because we have a great system. FSBOS save commission but they can seldom be sure they got the best price or net profit on thier home, and odds are, they don't. even if you were dissatisfied with the indivisual efforts of a particular realtor, a litte extra effort in hirig the next one should provide an outstanding result. There are so many good agents out there, but the system is even more important.
1 vote
J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Fri Jul 27, 2007
Hi Denise:
Melissa has put the information very clearly for you - and she has outlined what you should do if one of her buyers returns.

I will ask you a question: Why are you taking a step back? Going FSBO after listing could damage the momentum you've been building up to this point....

Have you discussed this with your agent? If he/she knows your line of thinking the door will be open for re-evaluation and reinvigorating your marketing plans.

Give it a chance - before you do the proverbial one step forward two step back shuffle.
1 vote
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Thu Jul 26, 2007
Denise, your listing contract states under what conditions you are legally required to pay a commission after the expiration, or withdrawal. I will philosophize here and propose that you are morally obligated to pay your agent a commission if the buyer became aware of the property through the agents efforts even if the buyer did not enter it during the listing period but toured it on an internet virtual tour, or if she came but her name was not registered on the visitors log. Look into your own heart, are you planning to go FSBO because your agent did a poor a job? or is it because you want to cheat her out of a commission that she has mostly, but not completely, earned? Did you finally take her advice to lower the price to the market value? And are you rewarding her labor to give you pricing advice by eliminating her compensation? Due to the all or nothing nature of Realtor compensation, it is all too tempting for some sellers and buyers to cheat. If your agent was bad, lazy, stupid or dishonest then go ahead - give her the shaft.
0 votes
Paul Slaybau…, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Thu Jul 26, 2007
You can go FSBO anytime thereafter as far as I know. There is no listing agreement that I have ever heard of that prevents you from persuing another avenue to sell your home after the listing has expired/cancelled. The boilerplate language in your agreement more than likely specifies a time period (90 days in my area is standard) in which your previous agent would receive a commission if you sold the property to a buyer who had visited while it was listed. As a previous post mentioned, this is so sellers don't try to be sneaky and cut a hard-working listing agent out of his fee by terminating the listing agreement once an interested buyer is found. Whether you would be responsible for paying a commission, though, is a different matter than whether you have the ability to sell your home. Like I said, no listing agreement I have seen grants the agent control over your right to sell after the expiration of the agreement.
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0 votes
Bridgette Ko…, , Florida
Thu Jul 26, 2007
The language in you contract will dictate this. Listing contracts vary from agency to agency and even between REALTORs in the same company! Read the fine print.
0 votes
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