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Does it take both owners (husband & wife) listed on deed to sign a listing agreement in the state of NY?

Poughkeepsie, NY |

Friends husband listed house without wife's knowledge and permission.

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Attorney answers 8

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The listing contract is between husband and realtor. She should retain counsel to protect her rights. As owner she can object to placement of signs on yard, open houses and other showings. husband will not be able to sign contract of sale without her signature. This is general answer - assuming deed as husband and wife, TBE or JTWRS

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There is no law that requires both spouses to sign a listing agreement.

Having said that, it would by unwise for a broker to list a home if he or she knows that one spouse will not consent to the sale.

If your friend does not want to sell the house, she should send a letter to the broker that she does not agree to sell the house and will not sign any contract or deed.

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As to the preliminary step in a sale of signing a listing agreement long before a buyer is found, a contract is signed and a closing is had and the property is deeded over (your question) it's a toss up as to the answer to your question, "is it legal".

The listing agreement couldn't be enforceable against the wife, but practically speaking if the house is sold, the wife will have to sign both the purchase and sale contract and later the deed for the listing-contract-sale to be enforceable and effective.

So worst case, the realtors get a buyer, the wife doesn't sign the contract, and the realtors may or may not have damages against the husband, but since there can't be a valid contract without the wife knowing about it at that point and refusing to sign, I can't see how the realtors can come after either her or her husband for a commission since they didn't have a willing buyer and seller and couldn't close.

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I agree with my colleagues. It's legal for only one spouse to sign the listing agreement, but as escrow will not close without both owners' signature and cooperation, a realtor would generally not want to sign an agreement with only one spouse.

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An agreement isn't binding on a non-signatory. She doesn't have to do a thing.


The husband will be responsible for the commission to the broker. However, there will not be a contract of sale until the wife signs it. Have your friend speak with a real estate lawyer.

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Does wife disapprove?

(1) I may be guessing. Do not act or rely upon this info; (2) We have not established an attorney-client relationship; and (3) If you insist I tell you something upon which you can actually rely: don't eat yellow snow.



Yes, she disapproves it.


Most experience realtors will try to ascertain title in both names and get the listing agreement in both names, since this type of problem is not unique and foreseeable, and allowing it to happen is bad for business. But since the realtor did this anyway, if the wife advises the realtor that she does not agree to the listing, the realtor will remove it. How did hubby think this was going to work? Sounds like a precursor to divorce.

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Said husband probably lied or made some elaborate story to the realtor and there's a language barrier. She only found out because the realtor sent a thank you letter to the home instead of the husband private PO Box.