We have had our house listed for sale for 4 months. We have signed a 6 month listing contract with an agency. We have decided to pull our house off the market and wait until the market improves to try and sell again. Our broker is telling us that we have signed the contract and have to continue to list the house. She also stated that she would be entitiled to the final two months of the contract when we list again in the spring. Doesn'nt she have to at least give us a conditional release from the contract?
The short answer is no. While the specific terms of your listing agreement would need to be evaluated (and the comments here are entirely generic and not based upon any nuances in your State's law), your agreement with the broker is binding like any other contract you might enter in to. Typically, the time of the listing is material to the broker as they make plans as to how much to invest in marketing the property and the resources they put in to it. Unless you can point to a material breach of the agreement by the agent/broker which excuses your obligation to keep the listing in place, you may be better served waiting for the listing to expire as it is unlikely in this enviroment that you would receive an offer that would be satisfactory or at the listing price (which might require you pay a commission if you received such an offer). Alternatively, you could try to reach a mutual understanding with your agent by offering to buy out the listing or agree to give another listing at a later date. Short of the foregoing, you risk liability if you terminate the listing before it expires.