Can I sue a real estate office for ethical issues and breach of verbal contract?

Asked over 1 year ago - Seattle, WA

To summaries the detail. We were in the process of buying a bank owned property. The Sellers listing agent approached us and indicated that he would guarantee us the house, if we fire our buyer agent and work with him. Furthermore, he would give us $1500 out of his commission, should we purchase the house. We ended up leaving our agent and worked with the seller agent to buy the house. Now 3 weeks has gone by and he is not willing to give us the $1500 that he promised. I know I can take him and his office to small claim court, but do I have a possible bigger case?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Saphronia R Young

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Doland, and I believe you may have potential liability yourselves. While the listing broker may have tortiously interfered with your agreement with your agent, you also breached the agreement with your own agent, in all liklihood, in order to save $1500. So, your own agent could sue you and demand that you cough up your ill-gotten gains. I don't think you can take the listing agent to court to recover money to which you were not really entitled.

    Without knowing all of the details, reviewing documents, and interviewing witnesses, no person should assume that... more
  2. Michael Charles Doland

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The seller's agent may have commited breaches of his professional license but that is not for you to enforce.

    Inducing breach of contract is a claim of your former agent, not you. Whether you have any exposure to liability for firing your prior agent would require a greater review of the facts.

    Can you recover more than $1500 - I cannot see how or why.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may... more
  3. Shawn B Alexander


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I agree with the previous answers and you have a statute of frauds issue because the amount you seek and the subject matter. see the link below. you breached the contract with your buyers agent and may liable for his commision.
    Good Luck

    Only If and until you and I sign an Agreement for Legal Services, I am not your attorney. These answers are... more
  4. Douglas S. Tingvall

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . Your first agent may have recourse against the seller’s agent, if the first agent was the procuring cause of the sale and the seller’s agent interfered with the first agent’s business expectancy.
    Whether you have any liability to your first agent depends on whether you signed a written agreement with the first agent and, if so, whether the first agent materially breached any statutory or contractual duties owed to you giving you a legal excuse to withdraw from the contract.
    The promise by the seller’s agent to rebate $1,500 of his/her commission to you is not subject to the statute of frauds, which applies only to promises made by principals to their brokers and not to promises made by brokers to their principals. So, if you can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the seller’s agent promised the rebate, you can enforce that promise. “Proving” an oral promise often turns on a “he said – she said” swearing contest – i.e., who does the judge believe? Did anyone overhear the promise? Was the rebate discussed in front of anyone else? Do you have any voice messages from the seller’s agent mentioned the rebate? The promise is not unenforceable simply because it was not made in writing. As is often said, the statute of frauds is designed to prevent fraud – not to perpetrate it!

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