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Deal nixed, but Realtor wants full commission

October 13, 2017
By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Dear Mr. Feichthaler:

We contracted to sell our house in Cape Coral, as we believed my wife received a job opportunity in New York that was absolutely too good to turn town. Unfortunately, the company she was supposed to work for declared bankruptcy suddenly, and the trustee has ordered no further hires for 12 months. As a result, we decided not to sell our house, and the buyer agreed to let us cancel under the circumstances.

However, our Realtor is now demanding the full 6 percent of the sales price as commission, even though it never sold! Is this legal?

-Frank R.

Dear Frank,

I am sorry to hear about the sudden termination of the job offer, that must be very difficult. While it is good the buyer was understanding, it sounds like your Realtor is not as compassionate. You likely signed a listing agreement with the broker, which provides the various circumstances when commission is due. In Florida, the agreement will generally provide that, if a contract is in place and then the seller causes the transaction to not close, the broker is entitled to full commission. As the contract was being cancelled, I would have expected that they would have discussed this with you and come to some sort of an agreement. Nevertheless, the commission is likely payable under these facts under the standard listing agreement.

Now that the property has not sold, you may not have ready cash to make any kind of payment. I would recommend, first, that you seek legal counsel to see if there are any other potential defenses to their claims. If there are no defenses, you or your attorney can negotiate with the broker to what both sides may consider fair under the circumstances. Brokers do not want to be involved in lawsuits, just as their clients wish to avoid court as well. I wish you and your wife the best on this situation and on her career path.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for 28 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continued his service to the community through his chairmanship of the Harney Point Kiwanis Club KidsFest from 2011-2015, which provides a free day of fun and learning to thousands of Cape Coral families, and funds numerous scholarships. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for 14 years, and they have four children together. Recently, he earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is also a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.

 
 
 

 

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