Q: We put our home on the market with a full-service Realtor. Long story short, we were not pleased with his services and ended our contract with him a week ago.
We did get a signed release and termination of our contract.
Our original contract with him went through June and included a clause that stated that we could not sell our home by owner until 45 days after end of listing contract with our Realtor. Since we terminated the contract in April instead of June, we’re wondering how soon can we put a “for sale by owner” sign.
Must we wait 45 days after the original contract ended (June), or must we wait 45 days after the termination of the contract (April).
I can’t seem to find the answer to this question anywhere. I do not want to do anything to allow him to come back and try to claim we owe him his 6 percent if we sell the house ourselves. I want to wait the correct amount of time.
A: It’s unfortunate when real estate agents try to reach from beyond the expiration of a listing contract to try and control what happens in the future. But they also need to know that a seller doesn’t terminate a listing agreement with them solely to go behind their back and sell it to someone who saw the house while the home was listed. If the agent had sold the home in the first place, I’m sure you would be delighted to pay whatever fee you had agreed to when you hired him.
One way to avoid the problem you are in is to limit the real estate agent’s future claim to a commission only to a buyer that originally saw the property when it was listed. The agent would have to keep a list of all prospective purchasers and deliver that list to you. Finally, you would need a time limit on how long after the listing agreement ended to allow the agent to get a commission for that person. The time limit could be between 45 or 90 days of the end of the listing agreement.
In your case, you should be able to list the home yourself and sell it 46 days after the termination of your contract. That would be in April, not June.
You should also look to see whether you can list by that date or the wording of the contract simply states that no sale can close within the 45 days without triggering a commission to your former listing agent.
If that’s the case, you can get the property on the market now, since it’s unlikely that you’ll find a buyer, negotiate a contract and close within the 45 day period.
If you’re not sure what the language of the contract means, contact your real estate attorney.
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