If I have listed my house with an agent, and have changed my mind about selling, do I need to keep my house

Asked by Patricia Lathrom, Los Angeles, CA Fri Aug 15, 2008

on the market until the contract expires?

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, , California
Wed Aug 20, 2008
Talk to an attorney if you agent does not willingly release you from your contract.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Wed Aug 20, 2008
There are certainly good reasons that might lead you to cancel you plans to move. I like the other answers that I read. My only addition would be this:
If your Realtor did a good job, then let them know. Offer to refer them to a couple of people that you know ARE going to be moving in the near future. it's a buyer's market, so buyers are buying!
0 votes
Yona Bello, , Studio City, CA
Mon Aug 18, 2008
Hi Patricia,

Explain to your agent the reason for your cancellation and offer to reimburse your agent with any out of pocket costs that he/she may have already spent.

When there is a legitimate reason to cancel; I have cancelled the listing agreement with my sellers in the past, especially if it's for a personal reason such as health or other family issues.

Your agent has your best interest at heart and will assist you now as long as you will re-list with that same agent when you do decide to sell again.

Yona Bello
Web Reference:  http://www.YonaBello.com
0 votes
Monique & Joe…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sat Aug 16, 2008
Hello Patricia,

Tell your agent that you don't wish to sell. Likely they may withdraw it from the market. If you sold it to someone during the rest of the contract period you would probably owe the agent a commission still. Also, you agent has probably invested time and money into marketing the home. To be fair you or they may request of offer that this be paid. If you are happy with your agent and timing was just wrong selling your home in the Hollywood Hills perhaps you could let them know when you are ready you wil use them again and perhaps they won't request the advertising. If you are not selling because of your agents performance. that's another issue.

All the best,

Monique Carrabba
Realtor and Eco Broker
Keller WIlliams Wilshire
The Reavis Group
0 votes
Tisza Major-…, Agent, Upland, CA
Fri Aug 15, 2008
Hi Patricia,

No, you don't have to keep your home on the market if you don't want to. No one can "force" you to sell your home. Even when a home is facing foreclosure it is still up to the homeowner if or when they want to list their home for sale. The option to allow the home to go back to the bank exists and if the owner chooses to allow that to happen they can.

Regarding your situation, if you truly don't wish to continue to sell your home you can remove it from the market by asking your agent for a Cancellation of Listing which you sign and they sign to remove the home from sale.

Be aware however that removing your home from sale, taking the sign down and taking it off the MLS do not absolve you of having to pay the agent with the listing currently a commission should you decide before the expiration date of the contract you originally signed (or any extensions you may have signed) to relist and sell your home, or if you sell your home to someone that they helped you find.

There are some rules about what the agent would need to do in order to be in the best position to collect their commission, but the possibility that you would need to pay them and everyone else involved in the transaction does indeed exist.

Read your listing contracts carefully as most your questions can be answered by a perusal of these documents. Generally, unless you specifically changed it when you signed the document, most listings are six months minimum and one year is usual.

I do agree that if you are choosing to remove your home from sale, it would be courteous to say the least (and you may be contractually obligated depending upon what you agreed to at the time you entered into the agreement) to offer to reimburse the agent for any out of pocket expenses they incurred on your homes behalf. I would ask them for an accounting of any expenses (advertising, virtual tour costs, sign erection, etc.). Times are tough for everyone and, to appropriately and aggressively market a home is not free or for that matter cheap.

One other thing I would suggest, especially if you are removing your home from sale for any reason other than the fact that you have just decided now is not the time to sell it, is to talk to your agent and/or their broker regarding your decision and why you have made it to see if any issues you may have could be resolved.

Again, no one can force you to sell your home if you no longer wish to. I tell my clients at the start of our relationship, that if they are unhappy with my performance or just plain change their mind about selling all they need to do is tell me and we will cancel the listing, no harm, no foul. Of course this works both ways, I can decide that I don't wish to continue to represent them as well so it keeps us on even footing.

Good luck with your situation and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Take care and have a wonderful day!

Tisza Major-Posner, Realtor, IVPG Realty (909) 837-8922 or (213) 392-4084
Web Reference:  http://Route66Living.com/
0 votes
Mario Villag…, , Burbank, CA
Fri Aug 15, 2008
A contract is a contract. The agent has most likely started to spend money on advertising. Look to see if they have a cancellation clause. Speak to your agent and they might just let you out of the contract but then it depends on the broker. As for myself I love to keep the relationships I have with my clients and if they agree to reimburse what I have spent then I usually let them out of the contract. I have worked for a broker in the past who would really try to stick it to my clients.
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