Profile picture for user582823

Terminating My Real Estate Agent

I listed my home with a "friend" and was told he would sell it for 3% commission.  Then at the signing of the contract he said that he would only be able to give me the 3% commission if he sold the property and no other agent was involved....  and as a "friend" I trusted that he would try to sell my house... and it turns out if another agent is involved his commission goes up to 4.5% so he is not even showing it.. only listing the house and that was the plan all along.  So the 3% commission never really existed at all.  He lured me in with the 3% commission and he knew all along he would never show my house or even try to sell it to his own buyers.  I really feel like an idiot for going to a so called friend and trusting him to do what he said he was going to do...  is there any way for me to get out of the contract..??
  • April 03 2012 - US
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Answers (14)

Profile picture for wetdawgs
Out of curiosity, what was the commission structure described in the contract you signed with the agent?

  • April 03 2012
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Profile picture for user582823
It said 6% commission and if another realtor was involved his commission went to 4.5%.... which gives him no incentive to sell my house himself even though he verbally agreed to sell it for 3%.   He just said that to get me to sign the papers.  That is the point he lied to me in order to get me to sign the papers then he disappeared and is not showing the house himself... he is only the middle man "listing agent" taking the lions share of the commissions while everyone else does the leg work and shows and sells the house for him for a measly 1.5%...  He is a LISTING AGENT only and I didn't realize it until it was too late.

I guess I am just a complete idiot for trying to do my freind a favor and allow him to earn money off the sale of my house...  I learned a very valuable lesson... NEVER deal with friends EVER...  and it's sad because I have to sell my house any way and all I was trying to do was a favor for a friend and he didn't have to LIE about it... if he would have said 6% and that was that... I still would have listed it with him because I would have had to give that same percentage to someone...  I just figured why not give it to a friend instead of some agent out of the phone book...  but because he lied to me in order to get me to sign the papers it makes the whole deal seem really shady and I would like to do whatever it takes to make sure he DOES NOT get any commissions off the sale of my house now...
  • April 03 2012
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I'm still a bit confused by the commission structure here, however you do not want a listing agent who is also going to act as a buyers agent to sell your home. In doing so he would become a dual agent and would no longer be able to entirely fulfill his fiduciary duties to you as the seller. You want a listing agent who is only going to act as your listing agent. Once he finds a buyer and "sells" them your home, there is going to be a natural conflict of interest and he can no longer fully represent both sides' (buyers and your) best interests.

Also keep in mind that a listing agent is not a "middle man." A lot of time, effort, and money goes into that responsibility and a good listing agent will be fighting for your best interests through to closing. A good agent may make the job look easy, but there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on and they are putting out fires you may never realize existed. Perhaps it would help for you to discuss with your friend (or any listing agent) exactly what your expectations for the transaction are. Good communication from all parties is vital to a smooth sale.   

I work with friends very successfully, but I like to think that it is because they consider me to be a qualified agent who is going to represent them to the fullest - not becuase they are doing me a favor. If you feel that you are helping your friend, and not the other way around, that is not a good working relationship and there will of course be tension as you have now. Again I cannot stress how important open, honest, thoughtful  communication is - especially when there is a friendship at stake. Whether your friend represents you as your listing agent or not, don't let this situation ruin your friendship. Also if you do choose not to work with your friend, don't get stupid and pull a random real estate agent's name from the phone book out of spite. You'll likely end up suffering big time from an angry decision like that. Ask other friends, colleagues, etc. for a referral that they trusted.

  • April 04 2012
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Profile picture for user582823
"I'm still a bit confused by the commission structure here"

We talked before hand and he said that he would sell my house for 3% commission.    He didn't say anything about if another agent was involved or anything along those lines.   Then when we signed the papers he said that it was 6% if another agent was involved, and that he had to do that because he would have to split the commission with someone else.  So I agreed to the 6% if another agent was involved...  3% if another agent wasn't involved.  What wasn't discussed was the fact that the agreement said if another agent is involved his commission automatically goes to 4.5%...  which gives him ZERO incentive to sell the house himself for the 3% commission.    He said he had lots of people looking for a home in my price range and I was under the impression that he would actively try to sell my house himself and he hasn't shown it to anyone.

Other agents have shown the house several times and I am not disappointed in the way anything else is going...

So "really" I am not getting ripped off...  it was just shady the way he promised something that he knew wasn't REALLY going to happen in order to get the listing.

Keep in mind that this is a guy I have known for 28 years so I assumed he would have my best interest in mind and I assumed when he looked me in the eye and told me he would sell it for 3% commission that he would at least TRY his best to sell it for that.... but as it stands he is making sure that someone else sells it so that I get charged the full 6% and he gets the 4.5% instead of the 3% he said he would be getting...

So I could have listed it with anyone else... gotten the same deal... and NOT had a friendship at stake (although obviously not a good one) and NOT had the ego blow... the let down... and the general feeling of being swindled into signing the agreement.
  • April 04 2012
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A Listing Agent does not always have the opportunity to show his listing. Buyers are often already under contract to their Buyer's Agent when a new listing appears on the market. The Listing Agent generates buyers on a listing through MLS, the sign, the internet and other forms of advertising. If buyers are not responding to the marketing exposure by contacting the Listing Agent, part of the problem might be the price.
As for all the confusion with the commission, you would be well served to contact the Broker/Owner or Manager of the real estate company or office that your Listing Agent is affiliated with and set up an appointment to review your listing contract and straighten out the details. If the Listing Agent has gone against office policy or state law, their management team needs to be made aware.
  • April 04 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
"Keep in mind that this is a guy I have known for 28 years so I assumed he would have my best interest in mind and I assumed when he looked me in the eye and told me he would sell it for 3% commission..."

I am sorry that you thought that the agreement was different because of what the agent/friend told you. The let down on the friendship is hard to deal with, but you have to put that aside and do whatever you can to sell the house. If your listing agent is not advertising the house, then you need to sit on his email box and ask where he is advertising your house.

If you are paying him the going rate, then you should expect advertising support no different from any other agent you would have hired. The friend part is already clear-- now you have to find out if you hired a professional or not. If not, ask for a written release and hire an agent who will work hard to sell your house.
  • April 04 2012
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Profile picture for wrightlynne
You really can't refer to this person as a friend.  Call your state commission and ask them about it.  I'm sure they would be happy to help you file a formal complaint.  BTW, I personally would never sell a home for under 5.8%, even 6% is free in a market such as this.

Because it so happens, when your selling a home you pay both Realtors.  And, I'm pretty sure the buyers agent did not want to work for free as sometimes it can take up to 6 months with one buyer.  Just like in any arena you pay for what you get.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience.  Lynne
  • April 04 2012
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You can probably get his broker to release you from the listing by telling them that you were misled by the agent as to the commission structure.

Still. You want to sell your house, and if you list it with an MLS broker, that broker will need to be compensated and share their commission with a broker that brings a buyer. You can learn a lot about the roles of a listing broker and selling agent elsewhere, but you want a trustworthy agent marketing your property and representing you in the negotiations.

All the best,
  • April 04 2012
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I wish you address your concerns before signing the listing agreement. It is truly sad that a friend could mislead you this way. We expect honesty from everybody especially a friend. If you really plan to terminate the contract you should read it carefully and see if there is any cancellation fee (hope not) so you could cancel it at any time.

Good luck with selling your home!
  • April 04 2012
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
With friends like that, who needs enemies?   I'm sorry to hear you signed a contract with different words than the verbal words.  "verbal promise" vs written gets into a nasty "he said/she said" type business. So, breathe deeply and move forward.  

If this listing is going to expire soon, simply let agent (not friend) know you don't plan to renew.   If it will be a while until it renews, you have a number of options:

* You aren't getting a bargain (you are paying going market rate),  demand some serious marketing.  That means an internet presence and all the other aspects that go into selling a residence.     Request routine communications about views, visits, marketing strategy etc.   Request (demand?) broker's opens.   etc etc.  We always review all advertising material even when we have had what we still consider a stellar agent. 

*  If serious marketing won't happen, talk to agent's broker and request some action. 

I am not an agent, but have bought and sold a number of properties.   When hiring, we interview rigorously and we interview a number of candidates no matter who the candidates are.   When their marketing presentation is full of promises (in writing), we keep a copy and hold them to their promises. If they make a verbal promise that isn't supported in writing, we get it in writing.  If the agent won't put it in writing, I don't consider it a promise but a marketing ploy.



 
  • April 04 2012
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Profile picture for user582823
He is the Agent and the Broker...  so there is no one I can turn to but him.

The contract is also for 6 months plus 30 days after...  so unless I want to spend the entire commission on mortgage payments I have to let him sell my house.

This is my first home and my first attempt at selling a home... so I went to a "friend" who has been in the business for 18 years to avoid this type of activity and basically listed my house with someone who seems to be the worst agent/broker in town, which is consistent with my luck... =)

So I am going to take your advice... make sure I get my 6% worth and then I will "review" his services every where online that I can... and I will put up my own site (webmaster here) that will out rank his site for his business name and his name in general telling the world what he did to a friend... and there will be nothing he can do about it... a review is a review whether it is on a review site or on it's own domain... so this will haunt him for the rest of his days... I will keep the site up for the next 20-30 years or so and hopefully warn others of his shady tactics.  That will do more than suing him... or getting an attorney to get out of this contract.  I will legally warn others and take commissions away from him for the next few DECADES or so...  I love the internet..!!!

He can have his 6%......
  • April 04 2012
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Ah, yeah, the joys of the school of hard knocks.  

I have no problem sharing experience, but to avoid another school of hard knocks as a consumer I recommend you make sure you understand clearly the definition of slander.  
  • April 04 2012
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Profile picture for user582823
There will be no slander the truth will be told... I admit I should have never signed the contract it was my inexperience and trust in a so called friend that led to me signing it... It is MY FAULT not his... he just misrepresented it to me and I didn't call him on it...

He already has one law suit he lost due to misrepresenting a listing to a client...

The review will be honest...  it just won't be in his favor.  Nothing wrong with a zero star review... and a check next to "Would NOT Recommend"...

I don't even have to go into any details... I can just say "WOULD NOT RECOMMEND" and that will be enough to lose him a sale or two...
  • April 04 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Honest reviews help everyone, just make sure and keep it factual with details to a minimum to keep you on the right side of the fence. I agree that it may make people think twice.

Just your resolve to make him earn his 6% will go a long way. Sometimes the friendship card is played as a professional excuse for the work not being done right. Keep it business from here on out, demand what you are paying for unapologetically. Good luck with selling your home. My fingers are crossed for you.
  • April 04 2012
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