Q: I recently placed my home for sale and listed it with an agent. Now, a friend of my family approached me and is interested in purchasing the house.
I have five months left on the contract with my agent.
Is there anyway to get out of the contract to sell my house on my own, particularly since I found the buyer? Do you have any suggestions of an arrangement I can make with my friend at this time so I can sell the house on my own and not have to pay the fees to my seller agent?
A: You signed a contract with the brokerage firm your listing agent works with. Now, you have to go back and figure out what the agreement says. It’s entirely possible that your agreement states that you must pay the commission to the agent even if you found the buyer.
Did your listing agreement allow you to exclude any future buyers? Sometimes, agents will allow the seller to exclude a few different people. If one of these people decides to buy the house, then you’re able to avoid paying some or all of the commission.
If you’re thinking about waiting out the five months, and then selling to your friend, you might be in for a surprise. Most listing agreements state that if someone who saw the house while it was listed comes back within 3, 6 or even 9 months after the house goes off the market, you still have to pay a commission to the agent.
I’m sorry that you signed a 6-month (or longer) listing agreement. I always recommend keeping your listing agreement to 90 days. Then, if you don’t like the agent, or want to pull your home off the market, you have the flexibility to do so. On the other hand, if you want to keep going with this agent, you can always sign on for another 90 days.
The answer to your question lies in the language of the document you signed. Please go back and take a look, or contact a real estate attorney to assist you.