Monday - Dec 18, 2017

Real Estate Law: Real Estate Brokerage Contracts and Remedies


All real estate agents are entitled to meeting certain obligations in selling of properties. If you hire a real estate agent by signing a listing or brokerage contract, it should stipulate the specific actions that require the agent to agree to before selling your property. In addition, your real estate agent also has fiduciary duties to you as his/her principal.

Failure of the agent to fulfil promised actions or lack of adhering to do his/her duties therefore implies that you have some remedies available to you.

Removing Yourself from a Listing Contract

If for whatever reasons you need to eliminate yourself from a listing contract, then you must fulfil the details below:

  • Ensure that the time remaining in the contract has not expired. – It may be a better idea to allow it to expire on its own, while holding the listing agent to the stipulated terms of sale indicated in the agreement.
  • Go through the contract and try to find out if there is a clause that describes your circumstance
  • Look at the contract to see if there are actions that the agent hasn’t fulfilled.

Contractual Obligations

Many states make it mandatory for listing and brokerage contracts to be in writing to be applicable. This agreement explains when agents will earn the commissions. An agent hired to “effect a sale” or “to sell” the property is not liable for compensation until the agent procures a legally binding purchase contract. Hence, if your agent fails to produce a sale or procure a binding contract as defined in your contract, you’re not obliged to pay the agent.

The listing or brokerage agreement usually defines the specific duties that the agent accepts to take in selling your piece of property. Such duties include:

  • Marketing your property
  • Showing your properties to potential buyers
  • Making negotiations with interested buyers
  • Preparing the sale contract
  • Representing you when closing the deal

The listing contract also bears a well-detailed provision on the disputes to be resolved which may include:

  • Arbitration procedures
  • Mediation
  • Filing of lawsuits in a civil court

If your agent does not fulfil any of the duties agreed in the listing contract, then you’re required to use the dispute resolution process that you stipulated and agreed to use. Sometimes a direct solution may not work with your agent, in such a circumstance you need to file a complaint with the appropriate court. You may mention that your agent failed to conduct his/her duties as agreed.

For you to get relief, you should be able to prove that you experienced some losses attributed to your agent’s lack of fulfilling contractual obligations.

Recovering Losses Suffered

If you succeeded in your suit against your agent, and your agent lacks enough funds to pay for your losses, you may acquire compensation from your state’s real estate fund. Be sure to confirm with your state’s real estate licensing authority to verify that such a fund exists in your state to make a claim henceforth.

Kel attorneys services can assist you with comprehensive legal advice regarding your choices for remedies or if you wish to file a complaint against your agent or broker.