I signed a standard listing agreement with a realtor to market some land I was trying to sell. I know I have to pay the realtor $150 cancellation fee plus reimbursement for any costs they incurred for advertising my lot if I cancel my listing. But what if I find a buyer on my own, do I still have to pay the realtor 3-5% commission?
Debt Settlement Attorney
Your "standard listing agreement" is, of course, a written contract. Therefore, the terms of that contract will usually control what happens under the circumstances you describe, and the contract terms will provide you the answer to your question. The typical "standard listing agreement" protects the realtor when the realtor procures a buyer. It may or may not also entitle the realtor to a commission if you find the buyer yourself, so read your contract carefully.
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I agree with my collegue that you should review the terms of your agreement with the broker to discover the language governing cancellation. To give you a heads up, I would like to point out that most of these agreements do generally protect the broker whereby, if you have a buyer while the contract is effective, the broker will still be entitled to their percentage for the transaction even if you sourced that buyer on your own. Sometimes, the fee is reduced a little for these circumstances. As far as cancellation, some of these agreements further have terms where if you cancel the agreement to perform a transaction with a buyer, the agent's right to its commission will survive the termination for that particular transaction if the buyer cancelled the agreement to avoid the commission. These are the types of terms that you may find in these agreements, the brokers tend to protect their right to the commissions comprehensively. Despite this assumption based on prior experience, you should not rely on these examples as the terms in your agreement. Read the provisions for cancellation and termination to start in effort to locate the terms governing the circumstances described in your inquiry. If you are not sure, consult with an attorney to have them review on your behalf, although you may ultimately have to spend money for the time the attorney spends reviewing the agreement.
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As stated by the others, it will come down to the language of your specific listing agreement. Most will have a "protection clause" within them stating that the broker is still entitled to a commission on any conveyance up to 180 days after their termination if the buyer is someone they (or any other licensed real estate professional) communicated with prior to the termination. So, even if you were to terminate the listing agreement tomorrow, you would have to wait more than 180 days before you could do the deal and not have to pay a commission using my example above. Again, the best route here is to speak to an attorney who can review your specific agreement and advise you accordingly. Best of luck!
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