Profile picture for zselliott44

Do I have to pay a realtor commission if the buyer first contacted me via zillow??

An interested buyer first contacted me via zillow, however didn't get the chance to come see the house prior to me placing it on the market. Once on the market few weeks later they came by and made an offer. I had refused because it was too low.
Several weeks later, I decided to cancel the realtor agreement due to her not making a good effort and might place it to sell by owner again to be able to bring the price down.

I sent an email to a friend, by mistake, I ended sending it to the people interested in the house. Long story short, they emailed letting me know I sent it to the wrong person, that they were the party interested in the house and that they had really liked it. Would I be interested in talking further about the sale? So I'm thinking about it.
Can I sell it to them without having to give the realtor a commission because of the protection period? even though this party had contacted me first via Zillow?

I would greatly appreciate your response. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Regards,

Steve
  • October 06 2013 - US
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Answers (6)

Check your listing contract - there should be language in there that states how many days an agent is due a commission. Typically this is called a Holdover period.  If you're outside that period, yes, you should be able to sell to these people...

However, as another commenter pointed out, getting the buyer is actually the easy part. Getting the house to a successful close is the challenge. So you might want to consider negotiating a la carte with your agent to handle the transaction.
  • October 06 2013
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Profile picture for Cory Roberts
The Realtors commission is most likely protected in this situation. Your best option is to contact your Realtor, tell them what has transpired, and ask them to work out a reasonable commission reduction that works for all parties involved. Typically, a Realtor would rather take a short commission to make a sale and make both parties happy than to have no sale at all. This should also eliminate the possibility that you end up in court over non payment if you were to close the sale without paying the commission due and the Realtor found out about it.
  • October 06 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Did you protect yourself  when you signed the listing agreement by calling out this individual's name?

  • October 06 2013
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There is much more to a REALTOR'S job than finding the buyer...this is truly when their job BEGINS. There are disclosures, inspections, time frames, etc and a good REALTOR can help keep you out of breach of contract and help minimize your liabilities as a seller.

The REALTOR was the one who brought these folks through and spent time writing up an offer, hauling them around....and now you want to leave them out...Not to mention the time and money your seller's agent spent preparing your listing and perhaps some advertising?

Just know that a very small percent of FSBO sales actually see a successful close of escrow. Is it possible and does it happen? YES. But, there's much more to a successful escrow than just a willing buyer and seller....

Good luck!
  • October 06 2013
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Profile picture for CallTheSisters
Does not matter how they first contacted you.  If you did not exclude them by name when you signed the listing agreement, and they later saw the home when the Realtor had it listed - you would be liable for the full commission should you sell it to them.

Read your listing agreement.  There will be language that says if a sale occurs within x number of days to a buyer who saw the home while it was actively listed the Realtor is due the commission. 

In Pa enforcement of a listing contract is doable in small claims court.  Neither party needs an attorney.  Will the Realtor do it?  In most states there is only a small fee required to file a suit in small claims court.
  • October 06 2013
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They would have to take you to court and that could cost more than they "might" win so it rarely happens. One reason commissions seem high to some not in the business is to offset Realtors working for nothing when sellers sell to people to avoid the commissions due them. This would be a good example.
  • October 06 2013
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