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legalgems, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
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I recently listed the sale of my home, less than 30 days

Customer Question

I recently listed the sale of my home, less than 30 days ago,with Century 21. Since then I have decided that I do no want to work with Century 21 for a number of reasons. One being that the agent does not return my calls or messages regarding the home and now they refuse to speak to me at all stating that there is a one year contract when you list with Century 21. I am very dissatisfied with Century 21's ethics, specifically them refusing to communicate with me. There is not a mortgage on the home, I am the sole owner and feel I have the right to sell my home through a company that will work with me. Century 21 states that I would be sued if I refuse to continue with their listing. Please advise.
Michele Sutterfield
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  legalgems replied 10 months ago.

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

Expert:  legalgems replied 10 months ago.

I am sorry to hear of this.

Both parties to a contract must perform according to the terms of the contract.

So if there is a duration specified in the contract the homeowner would be responsible for adhering to that, or to pay the specified penalties (usually contained in the liquidated damages clause - which is normally the commission that would have been earned on the sale of the home).

But this responsibility does not stand alone; the agent also has a responsibility as a fiduciary to act in good faith in regards ***** ***** of the contract; this includes, among other responsibilities:

(a) The exercise of reasonable care and skill in representing the client and carrying out the responsibilities of the agency relationship.

(b) The performance of the terms of the service provision agreement.

(c) Loyalty to the interest of the client.

So if the agent fails to communicate with the client, that would be considered a breach of the contract, as it would make it virtually impossible for the purpose of the contract- the sale of the property- to be achieved.

Generally a realtor will allow a dissatisfied customer out of the contract; if the individual realtor refuses, the brokerage company can be contacted, and they will typically agree. Otherwise, the customer can continue with the contract, or they can consider it to be an anticipatory breach by the realtor-by failing to perform; the anticipatory breach would be plead as an affirmative defense if the realtor sued for damages (ie commission).

But generally the broker will resolve the issue by voiding the contract or seeing if another agent within the brokerage can assist, in order to maintain good will. Any requests are typically written so the homeowner can provide a detailed explanation as to their dissatisfaction and the incidents of breach (noncommunication)

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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.

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