Agency Dilemma

jane__nyOctober 20, 2009

My question is complicated, and hard to explain. We listed with a large agency over the summer with the understanding if the house didn't sell we would pull the listing Nov. 1. We would relist in Spring. We listed with an agent from their local office. We are not sure what happened but the company closed the two local offices last week. Some agents moved to offices (with this company) in other areas, others signed with different agecies.

Our house is involved in negotiations but our listing agent is no longer licensed with the agency we listed with. She is going to a different agency. We would like her to get the commission if the house sells. She brought the people, did the work and continues to work on our behalf.

Are we forced to list under her new agency to continue negotiations? We have 2 weeks left on our old contract (which I believe is now void). We don't want to list with another agency for 2 weeks but not sure how this all works. Everything is very secretive and I can't get a straight answer.


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I think you need more guidance than we can give on an internet forum;

you might talk to an attorney.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 5:17PM
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Jane, something similar happenned to us when we sold our first home.

I believe, if your agent is an agent and not a broker, that your contract is with the business. It's up to your agent and the biz owner to negotiate the commission realized from the sale of your home.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 6:04PM
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Agents cannot "own" listings. The listings are with the broker. My understanding is that if the agent switches firms, then the listing stays with the old one.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 9:26PM
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Thank you, Pauline that didn't occur to me. I'm not sure what is going on but a sale seems unlikely at this point. We love our agent, but do not want to sign with this particular agency. We will relist in Spring with another agency. I'm just wondering what the reasoning is to sign with a new place for a week? There must be more to this than I'm seeing.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 9:31PM
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I preface this by saying that I am neither a real estate agent nor a lawyer, but:

Read the listing contract that you signed. The first line of the contract should state who the other party to the contract is. And that party is probably the agency, not the agent.

A real estate sales contract should spell out the terms and conditions under which you will be legally bound to pay the other party to the contract a commission. It may include a provision to pay them the commission, under certain circumstances, after the contract is mutually terminated.

So, it is possible that by signing a new contract with another agency (agreeing to pay them a commission), you could be in the position of owing the commission to both agencies. Or at least be putting yourself in the position to have to defend against claims for the commission by both agencies. That's why you need to understand what you agreed to in the contract.

Read your contract.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:46AM
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Jane, I can so relate to what you're going through. Fwiw, I think the agency wants you to list with them for the week in hopes you'll extend the contract with them?

We listed the end of May; house went under agreement after 3 weeks, then 5 weeks later we find out our buyer's buyers had financing issues and our buyers wigged on the deal. We should have never taken a contingency, as we had a ton of showings (several 2nd showings) prior to our home going under agreement. Essentially we missed the high time of the market and the house is still cluttered with boxes (packed a few days before we found out the deal was done:(

Anyway, we've pulled the listing and will most probably relist in the spring.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 6:42PM
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I know you must be disappointed that it looks like the sale won't go through, but it seems to me that nearly every time something like this happens & everybody gets into a stir, it turns out that we were all fretting about...nothing.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 7:10PM
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Jane, for the part of NY you're in nothing is in writing when "negotiating" that is binding. Let your agent know your wishes. She probably has already negotiated with her broker on her listings. If not, your listing expires in 2 weeks. Let it expire, she can relist it with her new office and the old office doesnt have a leg to stand on. You won't be in contract by Oct 1st if you're still negotiating.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 7:28AM
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I just re read. Your question is two parts. If you want your agent to get the commission, you will have to relist when it expires with her in her new company. You can also just do a 2 or 3 week listing, long enough to get it into contract. (not a six month).Thats probably the reasoning to relist with the new company for a short time. (to guarantee if that particular buyer works out, she is paid).

If you love your agent, there is no reason not to list with her because of the company she is with. The company doesnt sell your house, the agent does. She will do the same work she did with the old company. Realtors are independant contractors.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 7:34AM
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Thanks everyone, I was so confused and not getting clear info. Linda, glad you saw my post.

I will follow my agent to her new agency to continue the negotiating. It got complicated because it involves 3 separate negations. I don't want to change agents and I believe my contract with the old agency should cancel because they left the area (I hope).

This has become a long, dragged out situation and I still don't know if a sale will happen. Comps have changed and appraisal could be affected. If nothing happens, we'll list in the Spring. We aren't in a hurry, but worry about the market.

Thanks so much for the good explanations.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 9:45PM
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