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Real Estate Listing Agreement Questions

A real estate listing agreement is a contract that is signed by a home owner and a listing agent. The contract covers the conditions of the listing and usually include the following factors; the time in which the listing will run, the amount of the home for sale, the agent's commission, and any exceptions to an agent's commission. If you are unfamiliar with listing agreements, you may want to let an attorney review the agreement before you sign. Below are a few of the more popular questions asked regarding real estate listing agreements.

My realtor told me that I must pay a penalty payment of $1,500 for removing my house from the listing, is this true?

It appears that you are being misled by the realtor. You are within your rights to remove your home from a listing. When you signed the sale agreement, you agreed to not re-list the property with another realtor until the contract has expired. This doesn't mean you have to pay a penalty. However, you would be responsible for paying the realtor's commission if you sold the home within the time of the agreement. If you cannot come to an agreement with the realtor, you can always tell them that you will leave the house on the market but you will no longer be showing it. If this doesn't change the realtors mind, you can file a grievance against the realtor to the real estate commission.

Can I break my listing agreement and rent my house to someone who might be interested in buying the house after my 6month agreement?

No one can force you to sell your home. However, if the realtor has an interested buyer who is willing to buy the home for the listed price, but you refuse the sale, the realtor is still entitled to his/her commission. It is possible that you will be held liable for the realtor's commission if you choose to break your agreement and later sell the home to one of the prospective buyer during the time the home was listed. If you truly want to avoid an issue with your realtor, you can come to an agreement on a small fee for canceling the listing before the original agreement. This will clear you to sell your home if and when you wish and to whom you want.

After 24 hours of signing a listing agreement, I changed my mind. The realtor agreed to let me off of the listing. Since he verbally agreed to void the contract, I never got a copy, and there was no performance, isn't the contract invalid?

Actually, the contract is very valid. When modifying a written contract, you must get the changes in writing. It doesn't matter how much time has elapsed after signing, if there isn't a clause that allows for an early termination, the agreement is valid until you are released from the contract in writing. The only time an oral agreement is valid is if both people agree that the agreement took place. Without the compliance of the other party, you will be locked into the agreement until they choose to release you.

We signed an agreement with a realtor for 6 months. The realtor has only shown the home twice in three months and we want to end the listing. Should we send a letter of termination?

It is important that you send a notice of termination to the realtor. Your realtor is in breach of contract for failing to show the home in a sufficient manner. In the letter, you should list all of the reasons for the termination. You should also notify the brokerage firm that the termination of the listing is effective immediately. Once you have done this, you must wait 30 days before listing the home with another realtor.

Before you lock yourself into a legal binding contract with a realtor, arm yourself with all the legal knowledge you need about a real estate listing agreement. If you have any questions about any aspect of a listing agreement, you could ask an Expert in real estate law to evaluate the particulars of your case and provide legal insights.
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