Q. We originally listed our home with a smaller national real estate company for six months, but our house did not sell and our agent couldn’t tell us why.
So, we decided to list our home with a large national real estate company. We initially liked our broker’s enthusiasm and ideas on how to market the house, but were quickly disheartened when several of the homes on our street sold well before ours.
We eventually sold our house after a year — actually, we pretty much had to give the house away.
Our house was on a corner lot, professionally landscaped, brick patio, privacy evergreen trees with an interior that was neutral and in great condition. Every agent who came through the house had nothing but good things to say. The only comment was that the yard was a little too small.
We were very unhappy with the broker that ended up selling our house. She didn’t show up at the first open house. She had a trainee show the property. She did not respond to various questions regarding comments from prospective buyers. She did not attend the buyer walk-thru nor did she attend the closing.
Because she did not show up at the closing our attorney had to credit the buyer $200 for an alleged problem with one of the showers. If she had been there, she could have refuted this allegation.
The bottom line is we feel that because of some of those issues, we were unable to get the best price for our house. We just sent a letter to the managing broker of our listing broker’s office a letter listing the problems we had with the agent and requested 2 percent of the commission back.
Are they obligated to respond to our letter and furthermore, do we have a leg to stand on if we take them to court for a refund?
A. Many sellers try to blame their real estate agent when their home does not sell. In most cases, the home itself and/or the local market are to blame. As corner lot homes have more exposure to streets and have less privacy in the back yard, many people prefer not to buy a home located on a corner lot.
As for your broker not showing up at the open house and following up with prospective buyers, you should have addressed these issues with the managing broker of your broker’s office prior to the sale of the home.
As for the $200 closing issue, it was your responsibility to be present at the closing. Your real estate broker does not have a duty to represent you at a closing the way a real estate attorney does. If you had been at the closing, you could have addressed the shower issue. Don’t fault the broker for the condition of the property and issues raised by the buyer.
A real estate broker has an obligation to sell the listed home. It appears that your broker was successful in this endeavor. You can ask the real estate firm to give you money back, but they have no legal obligation to return any portion of the commission — and they may not even respond to your letter.
If the broker breached her duties as a broker, failed to comply with the terms of the listing agreement, or lied or misrepresented information, you can report the broker to the state board or commission that regulates real estate brokers in your state.
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