sell home while having an agent
November 27, 2005 1:29 PM   Subscribe

What happens if I sold my condo myself even when I have a realtor signed up.?

I hired a person... a kind of friend as an realtor agent 3-4month ago to sell my 56000 condo unit. I asked him to lower the price to 52000 in his realtor listings. I think he asked for 6% commission when he asked me to sign bunch of papers. But it has been 3-5month already... and he hasn't really updated me if any one was interested in my condo...(i think he told me about two people when the first listing was on....
I decided to put the condo on Craig's List and some one is interested.
What happens if I sell the condo myself? should i be telling the reator to take care of this at this point? What happens to the commission? how should this work? Should I just sell the thing myself by showing the place and stuff... Frankly I rather want some one to take care of all the paperwork. Can I ask the agent to cut the commission in half? or more?
Would my agent/friend be angry? I am already selling the condo at a loss... Frankly I expected her to be more active role in selling my condo... I think she just put the condo in the listing... she mentioned something about the local paper... but didn't tell me anything specific. I assume since my place is so cheap.. it wasn't in her priority... but....

what is standard contract between realtor and seller?

this is first time me selling any real estate.. .please help .. tell me more in detail.... (i want to be very neutral about this... i dont mine her being not too happy.. but i also don't want her to get pist off.... at worst case I would like to do something that is legal and moral so others would accuse me of back-stabbing.
posted by curiousleo to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
posted by jellicle at 1:36 PM on November 27, 2005

If your contract is still in effect (i.e. if it hasn't expired), chances are good that your agent is entitled to the commission anyway, no matter how the condo sells. Gotta read the fine print in this case.

One of the main services realtors offer is entry into the MLS database, which can be invaluable. Unless you sell it via classified ad or craigslist or whatever, your potential buyers are arriving via the MLS listing, which is what powers all of those realty websites that are popping up everywhere.

Your realtor pays for MLS access, so they kind of deserve some commission for that, if nothing else.
posted by Geektronica at 1:46 PM on November 27, 2005

If you signed a contract you will still owe them a commission. At least that would be the law here in NC.
posted by konolia at 1:46 PM on November 27, 2005

And don't be asking the realtor to cut the commission. Anyway, a large part of the reason you need a realtor is because of all the legal crap with paperwork that has to be done to close a house. Stuff like inspections, termite reports, appraisals, etc. Mess up on that and you are in a world of hurtin'.
posted by konolia at 1:49 PM on November 27, 2005

And next time be more picky choosing a realtor. You do want one that communicates with you.
posted by konolia at 1:50 PM on November 27, 2005

Ditto jellicle. Ditto caps.
posted by cribcage at 1:51 PM on November 27, 2005

The standard contract would leave you still owing the realtor a commission. In fact, you're probably legally bound to that realtor for a period of time, though a reasonable realtor would release you from that clause if you no longer wanted to deal with her.

She should have given your condo a proper market evaluation and recommended a selling price to you (based on comparable condos which have sold recently in the area and on market trends). If your place is cheap, she may not have put much advertising into it, but the property is listed in the MLS where all real estate agents and potential buyers can see it.

Call her up and tell her about the interested buyer you got from craigslist. Ask her whether there's been any other interest, and (presuming she says no) what should be done about it. Some real estate agents are better than others, but the commission a competent realtor charges will more than repay itself in negotiation.

If you follow through with the offer you got on craigslist, you could fairly ask her to cut her commission a little bit, but be prepared for her to be "pist". She has expenses too (such as for the ad in the local paper).
posted by Count Ziggurat at 2:13 PM on November 27, 2005

Legally, you are probably bound to the contract for a length of time.
However, you might be able to show that the realtor has not help up his end of the contract (by not keeping up with you, actively showing the unit, etc) and void the contract that way.

Also, rather than introduce the buyer from craigslist, I'd just call the realtor up, offer to cover any reasonable expenses he's incurred on your behalf and ask to void the contract.
You never know, he might just want to drop the contract just as much as you do.

As far as the paperwork, most likely there is a real estate lawyer somewhere in your area that will handle all the paperwork for a flat fee or small commission. Check your yellow pages.

Remember, this is a business transaction, you shouldn't worry about someone's feelings getting hurt.

Oh, and read your contract.
posted by madajb at 2:22 PM on November 27, 2005

Put the Craigslist guy in touch with your realtor. This is some yo-yo you found on the internet - you don't know anything about him. I'm not sure I'd believe he was serious if he showed up with a bag full of $52,000.

There's way too many ways to get screwed doing a real estate transaction. 6% of the cost is acceptable for representation by a certified realtor, who is going to work hard to ensure that whomever you end up selling to doesn't screw you. In my opinion, that's what you're really paying for.

Also, if it's a standard contract, you'll be paying for it regardless. Read it, but don't feel bad about it; this is a service that's worth paying for.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:46 PM on November 27, 2005

Absolutely what ikkyu2 says. You're paying your realtor to handle the entire deal, not just find potential buyers. You're still a long way from your place being sold.
posted by mkultra at 3:51 PM on November 27, 2005

One thing you could do is ask your realtor for evidence on exactly what he's done to sell your place. He should provide you with ads, flyers, notes from phone calls, lists of people he's shown it to, etc. Any open houses?

I don't know real estate law, but if he's not bothering to try to sell your condo, it seems like *he's* breaking the contract. Look into this angle.
posted by shifafa at 6:09 PM on November 27, 2005

Don't put your private buyer in touch with your real estate agent. First thing, take your contract to your lawyer and have him/her help you decipher it.

Most likely, you owe the agent a commission if the property sells while your contract is still in effect. You might also owe a commission after the contract expires if the agent helped to procure the buyer. Since you got this buyer on your own, don't introduce them until you find out what your local law says about this, and what your contract says.

Talk to the private buyer, tell him/her that you need to discuss the situation with your lawyer, and they should not contact the real estate agent.
posted by MrZero at 6:31 PM on November 27, 2005

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