made a verbal agreement with my agent that her commision would be 5% on our home sale....we sold our home in 12 days....she never once showed the

Asked by 89champ, Troy, OH Thu May 27, 2010

home, she just listed on the msl for us. when an offer for our home from another agent she had listed the total commison as 6% and told us that the 5% was only if she sold the home and didn't have to split it with another agent. is there anything we can do to get her to agree to the original agreement? Thanks

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Mack McCoy’s answer
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Thu May 27, 2010
Well, gosh, she certainly should have put that in writing for you!

I'm curious, however -- would you have been happier paying 6% if she had shown the home, or if the home took longer to sell?
1 vote
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Thu May 27, 2010
Hi 89Champ:

Regret to hear about your problem.

In Real Estate, it is the contract that is followed. If your listing agreement spells out the commission and your signature is on that document then it is the amount on the signed paper that is owed.

Otherwise, written contracts would have no meaning. If a verbal agreement is reached in Real Estate
it is put on paper on an Addendum and signed by all parties.

When you signed the contract did you get a copy of the contract and what did that copy say?
If you do not have any commission spelled out in the contract that you have a copy of then, you should get a lawyer, and you will be pleasantly surprised and quite happy.

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1 vote
Kim Yardlay, Agent, Troy, OH
Tue Mar 20, 2012
Take a look at your listing agreement. Verbal Agreements mean nothing in real estate and if your listing agreement says 6%, I'm afraid that is what is binding. This can can be specified on more than one document so review them all carefully. You should have been provided a copy of these documents after you originally signed your listing agreement.

I would recommend that if you contract does indeed say 5% or even if it does say 6% that you have a conversation to the managing broker. Unfortunately, its very comment for agents to "cut commission" in order to gain listings but provide less than stellar service. In reality, most homes are not sold by the listing agent, but rather by another agent, therefore this agent was banking on the fact that she wouldn't sell this house and wouldn't lose anything by gaining your listings at a "reduced commission". She would win either way. If she sold it her herself, she gets full commission at 5%, if she didn't she still gets her 3% and you have to come up with the additional 1% for the buyers agent-- that is really where that money is going. Not to her.

I wouldn't focus on the fact that she personally didn't show the property in those 12 days that your home was on the market. The majority of the work for the Realtor is the paperwork and the marketing of the property to help get it sold. In 12 days she likely didn't have much of a chance to show it. Now if it had been 180 days on the market and she had never showed the property in that time, you would absolutely have a complaint there, but also, in that time, she would have likely use resources to help market the property (internet outlets, paper marketing, postcards, etc.) that she is hoping that by the sale of your home she will be reimbursed for from your commission.

Congratulations on the offer on your property and I hope the remainder of your sale goes smoothly.
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0 votes
Ohatty, Home Owner, Ohio
Sun Mar 11, 2012
Just to be clear, verbal agreements don't mean anything IF THEY INVOLVE REAL ESTATE. Verbal agreements regarding other matters are no different than written agreements; they are both contracts and are equally binding. The oral agreement is just more subject to dispute and faulty memory.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Fri May 28, 2010
Great answers.
I'd just be happy that she sold it. Must have been a great price too, right?
So you got your price, within two weeks...I'd say that she earned her commission.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Methuen, MA
Thu May 27, 2010
Did you have a listing agreement with your agent? The commission rate should have been spelled out in the listing agreement. If the commission was not in the agreement then how can either party prove what was agreed upon? It is always recommended to get all agreements/contracts in writing.

I would talk with the managing broker for the listing broker's office and see what they will do for you. If you don't get anywhere with that, you could try contacting the real estate board and ask their advice.
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Thu May 27, 2010
Verbal agreements generally have no value--what does the original listing/commission agreement state--review the documents and make a determination--or contact the broker owner or office manager of the realty office and discuss your concerns and see where it leads--generally, it's the broker owner or office manager that can reduce commissions, not necessarily the agent.
0 votes
James Gordon…, Agent, Hamilton, OH
Thu May 27, 2010
89champ you been Daytoned.
0 votes
Joseph Domino, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Thu May 27, 2010
What did your Listing Agreement say? I have often been told that verbal agreements aren't worth the paper their written on.
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