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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6516
Experience:  Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters
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I signed a 180 day contract with a real estate agent to sell

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I signed a 180 day contract with a real estate agent to sell our house. We need to take it off the market. Do I have the right or do that? We are in NC.

Thomas McJD :

Hi, I'm Thomas and will be happy to assist you. My goal is to make you a very satisfied customer! Thanks in advance for your patience.

Customer: Thanks
Thomas McJD :

It all depends on the contract. If the listing agreement you signed allows you a way of the contract before expiration of the 180 day term, then you cancel the agreement by whatever means is contemplated by the contract. If the contract does not provide for an early termination, then technically and legally, you have to allow the agent to list and try and sell the property for the 180 day period. However, say the agent found a buyer to make an offer. You could reject that offer. The agent would then have to argue it wasn't in good faith and a breach of the listing agreement, etc. etc. So, if the contract doesn't provide for early termination, you should contact the listing agent and let them know of the circumstances that require you to take the home off of the market. The agent will most likely take the home off of the market. More than anything, the listing agreements are to keep you from shopping around with multiple agents in an attempt to sell the home more quickly or pay a lower agent fee.

Customer: Understood. She is coming over in less than an hour and she is very new at this. Another way out is to refuse all showings. However, because we need to stay because of family situations, we might as well refinance but we cannot do that if the house is still listed. Ifrom what I hear you say is that they have the right to refuse to take my house off the market., right? Crazy. I'm paying them, not the other way around. I will also be happy to reimburse any cost they incurred to market my house as a nice gesture, along with compensating the agent with a cash gift. To your knowledge, if they let me out of the contract, can I give the gift directly to the agent?
Thomas McJD :

Yes, technically the agent could refuse and rely on the 180 day agreement. But it would be very unusual to do so because it gets them nowhere fast and to try and enforce the agreement would be very difficult, not to mention very expensive. You can compensate the agent -- i.e. an agreement to terminate early. It wouldn't be a gift. It would be a fee you're paying for being released from the contract early.

Customer: If I give the agent a fee, does she have to share it with her company? Could I separate the two fees - give her one to pay for costs that she or her company paid for, but another just to her - and say its a birthday gift or something ?
Thomas McJD :

You could provide her a gift but her company may prohibit her from accepting anything significant. Further, it would likely be an ethical violation under rules governing agents for her to accept a significant gift.

Customer: That's what I was wondering. I don't want to violate any ethical code, but I would like her to be reimbursed for her time. I am just hoping they let me out nicely. They don't seem to be a very nice firm :(. Thank you for your advice.
Customer: If they don't let me out, I have no legal recourse, right. Just got to wait it out - refuse viewings.
Thomas McJD :

Unfortunately, yes you would have to wait out the contract and simply refuse any offers to buy. Your welcome. I'm glad I could help. I hope this works out well for you. I would be grateful if you could please leave me a positive rating for my assistance. Thanks so much and have a great evening.

Customer: Yes - I've used your service once before and was pleased, so when I receive the email, I will give you a positive rating. Thanks - have a good day :)
Thomas McJD :

You should be able to leave a rating now, but however works best for you. Thanks!

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