Home Selling in Dallas>Question Details

JW, Home Seller in Dallas, TX

Protection Period Ended On Listing Agreement, Are We Still Obligated

Asked by JW, Dallas, TX Thu Feb 12, 2009

Our listing agreement ended 30 Nov, 2008. We have allowed our agent to continue to try to work a contract with two possible buyers. At the same time we have been contacted by someone independently who saw the house advertised a year ago. The protection period ended 30Jan 2009. Are we obligated in any way to our present agent? We are already taking a $100k hit on the sale price.

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Hey Rockinblu! Yeah, we told him he has until the end of the month to make one of these two possible "ether offers" happen or we're going to FSBO or go with another broker. He's a friend, and he just smiled and said "no problem". We have used him to sell and buy three properties so I know he doesn't think we'll shop around, but these are difficult times, and I think a year is long enough.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 13, 2009
My two cents is that you need to do the right thing.

The period ended 12 days ago. They saw the listing due to your Realtor's efforts.

And, BTW, who will be representing YOU in the negotiations?

The right thing is defined as what you would do if God was looking over your shoulder.....
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
Well, David, that's true. As a computer consultant for many years, I can't tell you the number of times I prepared presentations and systems analysis for companies, invested loads of money and time, only to have them go with someone else...and take some of my ideas with them many times. That's the nature of business.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
If the protection period has ended with your agent, you have no further legal oblication to that agent. However, if the potential buyer saw the property advertised while it was listed, and contacted you because of an ad that that agent placed on your property, you have what I would call an ethical obligation to that agent.

A good agent puts a lot of effort into marketing and exposure on his/her listings. It sounds like your agent did that for you. Your question also leads me to believe that you have had a fairly good relationship with that agent since you have allowed him to continue to try and sell your home for you even after the listing agreement ended.

I would think that this agent has provided a valuable service to you, should the house end up being sold to a buyer that became aware of the property because of this agents efforts.

Perhaps it would be best to discuss this with your agent and see if there is something that can be worked out.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
Your agent is taking a hit also, they wasted their time trying to sell your home spent money on ads and other things now they get nothing.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
Rockinblu, interesting blog....I'm processing, thanks!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 13, 2009
Thanks for the interest and response to my original post. According to our former agent, there are still two deals he is trying to work out. I don't know why it's taken two months, but after weeks and weeks of "you'll have it by the end of next week at the latest", I've finally resigned myself to letting it happen when and if it happens. Although we are out of the protection period, we have told the agent we will honor the original agreement with seller-buyer agents' commissions. Now, as a followup to the one offer we had outside our agent, it turns out the person saw the house on an ad I placed on craigslist last year at the same time it was listed with the agent. That person called back last night to say they have to sell their house first. Since we don't want to do a contingency, they agreed to come back in a few months when their house is sold. If one of the other two "offers" turns into the a funding and closing, then the question is moot. If these other people buy the house in a few months or a year from now, I know we will not pay the former agent 6%, and I doubt 3%, but will probably give him something since we placed the craigslist ad at a time when he was also advertising for us in the newspaper and on the internet. I think that's only fair. This economy sure makes the slope slippier.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 13, 2009

I like the Do the Right thing answer. There is something wrong here or we are missing major pieces of the puzzle. Why would it take from 11/30/2008 to work two offers? That alone tells me you need someone helping you through what must be a really difficult sale. Getting the offer these days is only 1/2 the battle. I'd think you'd want your agent on your side through closing. Why don't you talk it through with them and see if you can't come to some kind of resolution. Perhaps it will be a matter of how the buyer has come to you. Did you take the realtor sign down on 11/30? If so how did the buyer contact you? Was it just a random knock at the door? There is some chance that if it takes 4 months to work through two contracts the agent will no longer want to take part in the transaction...
Web Reference: http://www.teamlynn.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
I was just joking about disagreeing, Only JW knows the answer to this question, I was trying to answer with an agents point of view.

JW has been working with this agent for a while and maybe he doesn't feel that the agent is entitled to a commision, maybe the agent didn't put any effort into selling the house.

In either case JW needs to decide whether he wants to continue with the transaction unrepresented, He knows the agent and probably knows if the agents expertise or lack there of will help him through the process.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
Jw, You are right. We understand that sometimes we have to take a loss as agents just like sellers.

On the other hand when I work with people I make sure everyone gets paid, my reputation is well known among the people I do business with. Taking care of every one who contributed is very important to me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009

Just another thought on your comment about computer consultancy and doing bids and such. Agents do put in up front work in coming to do the listing appointment initially to list the home. Typically, they've spent time putting together a pre-listing packet/listing packet, do CMA's (comparative market analysis) on your home to see whta's selling in the area, researched comps and the like. Then, They come to the client's home (commuting) and spend time presenting the materials to you. All of that work is usually done gratis in hopes of finding a mutually beneficial relationship. This is akin to the proposal you put together with your clients.

However, once you engage them, then they are working for you. They spend money on listing the home on the MLS, flyers, as is the case with us extra features to get your home propagated on dozens and dozens of sites throughout the Internet, sign for the yard, lockbox, showing service fees, specialized websites just for your home, 800 phone numbers to capture names/numbers of people calling about your property, possible open home paper work, refreshments, etc. and on and on. When an agent takes on a listing, it's only smart business to take on homes they think will sell as they put in all their own money up front with the probability of getting reimbursed for the outlay they've already put out.

So, at this point, it's more of an ethical question.

Hope that's helpful,
Terri Hayley
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
It appears the obligation was to have taken a $50k hit while the listing was still active and everyone would have been better off.

Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
as everyone said you are not legally obligated. if i was the agent i would ask for my regular commission if one of the offers i was working came through and if the buyer from a year ago works out and it is a one agent transaction i would ask for 2 or 3% saving you up to 4% possibly. listings are hard and normally by no real fault of the agent a home will go unsold for months until the listing is about to expire then offers come out of the woodwork. if none of these work out and you need to relist look into my services. i am ver competively priced.

thanks for your time and good luck
Web Reference: http://www.findapadfast.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
There is a legal side to this and then there is an ethical side to this.... I am sure that you would want your Realtor who has done it seems a lot of work for you and is still working with two possible buyers be paid or at least compensated for his/ or her expenses and time spent...
In this market we all take hits, sellers take hits, buyers cannot get the mortgage they would like to get, and Realtors work longer to sell listings, and run more with buyers because there is so much out to see. So in other words we are all in the same boat.

It sounds to me that your agent deserves some compensation. Sit down and talk it out...
Just a suggestion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 12, 2009
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