My listing expired 12/22/08. We got a call from our realty on 1/5/09 with someone to view our house.

Asked by Anne, New York, NY Fri Jan 9, 2009

The potential buyer came with their own agent, and are interested (another viewing pending). Does the fact that our realty arranged the viewing with us obligate us to pay our realtor comission even though it is all post-contract ? (the sign was still up until a few days ago) They never evenasked us to re-up our contract before sending the people over. I think the secretary was lazy and just set up the appointment, not realizing we were expired. And what does this mean for the comission of our potential buyer's realtor? Also, we never got a copy of our contract agreement, as our agent is a relative, and we just never got the copy. Any help before we confront our broker/relative?

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Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Jan 9, 2009
The agency protection period usually states that a commission is owed for any showings that took place, DURING the listing period.

A showing that took place after that period, could be a bit of a grey area. However, I would think that if the offer is decent, and it clearly came through the old listing office, that you should be willing to pay the commission.

There are a lot of listings sitting out there, without an offer, who'd be thrilled to trade places with you, and pay a commission.
3 votes
David Chambe…, , Saint Petersburg, FL
Fri Jan 9, 2009
It seems that the buyer was a direct result of your agents actions, if the house goes under contract it would be an ethical choice to use your listing agent regardless of whether or not you are required to.
2 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Jan 9, 2009
Rockin', no.. .it doesn't have to be a "showing".. you are correct, through the efforts of the "agency" is typically how it reads.

that protection period ends, as soon as another professional real estate agency is signed. Under these circumstances, it's a little gray, although I agree that an arbitrator would likely find that a commission is due...

but if they get a good sale, and especially since the agent is related to them... and the sale came through that agent/agency... smile, and accept the contract w/commish.

Had the contract come in the very last day of their agreement... would they even be having this thought? It was only a few days ago. If they really didn't want to pay the commission on a sale post-agreement... they probably should have "refused the showing"... but we all know they didn't want to do that.
2 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Fri Jan 9, 2009
Anne you would either pay an attorney to fight having to pay the commission or get your house sold and pay the commission. It is up to you how much or how bad you want to sell your home. At this point is it worth rocking the boat or getting your home sold? what ever you decide i wish you luck on your sale...
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1 vote
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Sat Jan 10, 2009
It looks to me as though the water is a little murky here.
This is not legal advice. For legal advice ask an attorney.

In real estate there is term called "procuring cause". How is did it come to pass that the agent that had the buyers knew about your home being on the market?

In most cases the reason they knew is due to the agent's marketing. Legally the question boils down to the fact the if they found out based on the agent's marketing, then you owe them a commission.

You should also know that most brokers know (the people for whom the agent works) that is it not uncommon for buyers to wait until the listing expires to contact the sellers directly, hoping to "save the cost of the commission". Because you are dealing with people's livelihoods (to you it is a commission, to the Realtors it is how they earn a living), I would not be surprised IF you opted to not use your agent, the broker would let the transaction close, then sue you for performance (meaning they would prove, and probably could do so, that it was due to their agent's marketing activity that the buyers were aware of the property. So your relative may not take action , but their broker probably would.

The fact that they never offered you a copy of the listing contract concerns me Did you ask them for a copy?

Good luck..
0 votes
Jaishree..Ja…, Agent, Woodbury, NY
Fri Jan 9, 2009
Hi Anne,
You should have gotton the copy of Contract, Agency Disclosure, Property Condition Disclosure, Lead Paint Disclosure and Listing Date and Expire Date including the Commission %. Once the Listing is expired, the home owner is free to look for and speak with another Realtor.
I checked on the MLSLI for the 11727 zip code and date 12/22/08, nothing came up. If you can send me the address of the property I can research the status and let you. I work in the area, please let me know if I can be any help. Thanks.
Jane Zilpelwar
0 votes
Gail Gladsto…, Agent, 11743, NY
Fri Jan 9, 2009
The answer to your question is more a moral issue than a legal one. It is obvious that the potential buyer was brought to your house as a result of your previous listing.

Please focus on what you want out of this...Selling homes in this market is not easy. In your place, I would kiss the hand of the Realtor who brought me a buyer!

The selling agent had an option to contact you directly, but chose to go through your former Realtor...does that speak to you?
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0 votes
Ralph Windsc…, Agent, Hauppauge, NY
Fri Jan 9, 2009
By accepting the appointment from the listing realtor, they could argue that you were inferring that you had a verbal contract and that you acted in accordance with that contract. That's the argument they could have if you ever went to arbitration or court. They could also lose that argument since the written agreement expired. Alot would depend on the judge/arbitrator. It could be that your relative didn't realize the agreement had expired or just thought they you would go on with the listing. Either way, it's probably the right thing to do to honor the agreement since the time and expense of a lawsuit or arbitration would be alot more than the commission. I would consult your attorney for further legal guidance.

Ralph Windschuh
Associate Broker
Century 21 Princeton Properties
0 votes
Pascual Paul…, Agent, Bronx, NY
Fri Jan 9, 2009
You need a better agent. You are free to get a better agent, if your contract expired, But you should interview for the new position. I only work the Bronx and Westchester, so I may not be able to help, but their are many good agents out there. INTERVIEW and look for the signs.. E-mail me for the signs. Everything you signed, MUST be given to you as a copy. THE LAW! You have points, but action on this matter is yours. Keep can keep our industry honest. There are good agents out there, you must search and find them.. Good Luck, Paul
0 votes
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