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Real Estate: Dealing with Agents/Concern regarding Buy and Sell.


Dear Mr.Souerbry,
We have a problem with our current realtor who recently proved his aggression and that his focus is mainly on the money and not us. And so, we want to end the contract with our realtor. Unfortunately he has not given us any copy of the contract agreement between us and the agent. After I asked explicitly yesterday, he has sent me an electronic copy that has a title - Exclusive Buyer Agency contract dated November, 19th 2013 and it states the term of agency is 6 months.

1) From my understanding, if I wait until May 19, then I'll be independent and no longer bound by the contract. Is that correct?

2) Is there a way to verify that the above is the right document and that we are certainly not obligated to the agent anyway.

3) I remember I signed up a similar agreement for selling my existing house as well (about 4-6 months ago). Even though our current house is not listed for sale, is the agreement still applicable?

4) Can I take any other precautionary steps to protect me and my family from the realtor?


I am currently in the middle of buying a house.After seeing a bunch of houses with our realtor, we decided to buy a house. At the time we submitted the offer, our realtor told us that another party is competing with us. Per his suggestion we increased the offer price to additional 5000. And then, we did the inspection on February 12, about 12 days ago. Even though some issues came up on the inspection report, due to agent's pressure, we were told not submit any addendum and so we stayed quiet. All of a sudden we noticed that the check we gave to the agent a while ago got en-cashed. When we asked the realtor he told that it was for the earnest deposit.
In the middle of all the above, last weekend one of our family friend told us that they are going to sell their house which in fact is much bigger than the house for which we signed the offer and indeed in a safe neighborhood. And so, we changed our mind and decided to move forward with our friend's house. I asked out realtor about the earnest deposit. He told us that we can neither get back our earnest deposit which was 3000 nor submit an addendum as the time elapsed. We were much upset with loosing our hard earned money 3000. I requested the realtor as a way of compromising/compensating, to reduce his commission for 1500 (which is half of the 3000). The realtor rejected straightaway and is not ready to take part in our difficulties. It gave me an impression that he is not only agressive but also his focus is mainly on the money and not his customers. In fact I also signed an agreement with him for selling my existing house as well.

Thanks a lot for your help.


You bring up a lot of questions, all of which I will try to answer. Please keep in mind that I am a California real estate broker, not an attorney, so my answers are based on my real estate experience and are not legal advice.
1) Expiration dates in Exclusive Buyer Representative Agreements: These standard agreements contain language that requires you to compensate your agent after the agreement has expired, usually a period that is filled in a blank in the standard agreement form.  My standard period is 90 days, see if you can find a similar clause in your contract.
2) A Buyer's Representative agreement is the standard form used to secure an agent's right to a commission if a sale results from their efforts on your behalf.  If you have signed this document, you are obligated to compensate your agent if a deal is completed.  However, if you did not sign it you should not be obligated.
3) Listing Agreements usually have the same commission obligation as Representative agreements. If you sign a 6 month listing agreement and someone who looked at the house in month 4 comes back in month 8 and makes an offer - 2 months after the listing agreement has expired - you may still owe your listing agent a commission.  Check your listing agreement to see if there is a section that extends your obligation to pay a commission after the agreement has expired.
4) First thing you can do is go to the agent's broker and request that they voluntarily terminate the listing agreement or buyer's representative agreement you signed.  Some brokers will do this, so will not.  If they won't voluntarily, seek the advice of an attorney to determine if there is another way to terminate the agreement.
I this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.

Real Estate: Dealing with Agents

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John A. Souerbry


I can answer questions pertaining to: - How to find an agent that fits your needs - How to compensate your agent (commissions, incentives, flat fees, and more) - How to communicate with your agent before and during your transaction - How to initiate dispute resolution with an agent I cannot answer questions pertaining to: - Potential litigation or other legal matters


I am a licensed California real estate broker (CalBRE 01370983) specializing in residential brokerage, property management, and estate services. I have been licensed since 2003 and am currently working as an independent broker in the San Francisco Bay area.

Bay East Association of REALTORS(R) Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS(R) California Association of REALTORS(R) National Association of REALTORS(R)

In addition to my own web site, my blogs, articles and responses to consumer questions appear online at,, and other real estate forums. My answers also appear in several categories relating to real estate on

BS, Business Administration MBA, Globa Management

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My clients are: - Consumers searching for a primary residence or vacation home - Investors buying and/or managing residential income property - Estates in probate requiring temporary management and property sales support

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