List­ing agree­ment with no end date con­fuses home­owner

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Homespot - Broward East - - CAMPBELL&ROSEMURGY - By Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Tri­bune Con­tent Agency Q: InMaywe

signed an un­dated Real­tor-pre­pared list­ing agree­ment. The agree­ment in­di­cates a start­ing date but no ex­pi­ra­tion date. Is the agree­ment valid? If not, can we ter­mi­nate it? If so, and we ter­mi­nate the agree­ment, can we pro­ceed with a sale to a buyer that was brought by the Real­tor? If so, can the Real­tor bring le­gal ac­tion against us for the sale? some­thing that al­lows you to can­cel it. If not, and you do wish to can­cel the agree­ment, as a first step you might want to reach out to the man­ag­ing bro­ker of the firm and have a dis­cus­sion about why you want to can­cel the agree­ment, and how it might hap­pen.

The re­sponse you get from the man­ag­ing bro­ker will de­ter­mine what your next step should be. We’re hop­ing that the bro­ker will be rea­son­able and af­ter of­fer­ing you a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion that keeps you as a client of the firm (such as switch­ing agents, if that is the prob­lem), the bro­ker will give you a way to break the agree­ment with­out caus­ing any long-term pain.

It’s pos­si­ble that you’ll need to agree to “pro­tect the bro­ker” (mean­ing, you’ll pay a com­mis­sion) if any­one saw the prop­erty dur­ing the time it was listed. That’s a fair re­quest. If you do that, then qual­ity bro­kers gen­er­ally will agree to part on friendly terms.

If the con­ver­sa­tion doesn’t go well, you should con­sult with a real es­tate at­tor­ney who can ad­vise you of your op­tions.

It seems rather strange to us that your list­ing agree­ment has no end date. There are some list­ing agree­ments that don’t show an end date, but limit the list­ing agree­ment to six months or one year. This list­ing agree­ment may be flawed by fail­ing to list an end date, un­less the laws in your state im­ply that a list­ing agree­ment with­out an end date will ex­pire af­ter a cer­tain length of time.

One last is­sue: If your bro­ker found you a buyer dur­ing the time of the list­ing, it would seem to us that you’d owe that bro­ker the com­mis­sion. If you are try­ing to by­pass the bro­ker and avoid pay­ing the com­mis­sion, you’d prob­a­bly be in the wrong and the bro­ker would prob­a­bly have a right to sue you for the un­paid com­mis­sion. How­ever, if the buyer that saw your home comes to you many months (or maybe years) af­ter the list­ing has ex­pired, you might not have to pay the bro­ker a com­mis­sion.

Fre­quently list­ing agree­ments have a time af­ter the ex­pi­ra­tion date of the agree­ment to pro­tect the list­ing bro­ker from this ex­act event. This pro­tec­tion pe­riod can be six months or it could be one year. Make sure you dis­cuss how long the pro­tec­tion pe­riod will last when you speak with the man­ag­ing bro­ker. Good luck.

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