Home Buying in Knoxville>Question Details

Chad Price, Home Buyer in Knoxville, TN

Can a realtor you are working with sue you for the commission she would have made on the sale of a home you?

Asked by Chad Price, Knoxville, TN Wed May 6, 2009

were going to purchase even if the home is NOT purchased?

Help the community by answering this question:


I think it depends on your contract with your agent, what does it say? Anyone here is only making guesses without reading that contract.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 6, 2009
Commission is earned at the signing of a sales contract signed by buyer and seller and paid at closing. If you backed out of the sale without reason, the realtor would have a valid claim for the commission to be paid. If you have not entered into a contract, there would be no grounds for a suit. If you did sign a buyer's representation agreement, the realtor would be due a commission on any home you purchase within the time period of the agreement.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 6, 2009
Hello Chad,

All of the other Realtors who have answered this so far have good answers, but like Vicki said, it depends on the individual contract. For a Realtor to sue you, there must be a signed Buyer Agency Agreement stating certain terms and then the agent would have to prove that you violated the terms of the contract. We know so little about your personal situation. However, as Realtors, we strive to do our personal best to uphold our profession. This includes doing things in an ethical an legal fashion, although most of us would agree that a lawsuit in this case just doesn't sound right and most of us would never sue or have rights to sue a Buyer who didn't purchase a home. If a Realtor does file a suit against a client, the Broker and the firm's attorney would be the first to know and the first to find out whether or not there is "legal cause". Sounds like this Realtor and her client should have broken ties long ago.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 7, 2009
Chad, our commission is paid at closing. If you did not purchase a home that Agent showed you or was the procuring cause for you to purchase, you are not usually liable for any commission. That said, if you signed an agreement, you might want to have an attorney look it over. I would hope there would not be an Agent in Knoxville area that would have you sign a Buyers Rep. Agreement stating you had to pay him or her regardless of purchase. We are bound to our Code of Ethics, and the Knox area is usually strong on that. NEVER sign anything that has not been fully explained to you. We are bound to explain the Representation Agreement and make sure you fully understand all the terms and conditions.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 6, 2009
I don't know of a professional that would handle any situation that way, even if it was legal. However, commissions are paid by the SELLER in nearly all transactions. BUYERS are only contractually obligated if they signed a Buyers Agent Agreement and that is due (unless otherwise put in writing) upon the COMPLETED sale of the home. If a REALTOR suggested that they would sue and there was never a purchase made, I would talk with their Broker. If they are a Broker, I would talk to the board. It sounds like bad business at the very least.

I would answer differently if a purchase was made that went around the agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 6, 2009
Chad your question is kind of vague. Depending on the circumstances maybe yes and maybe no. It would probably be best to contact an attorney and explain your situation to them. An attorney would be able to give you legal advice on the situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 6, 2009
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