April 23 • 01:13 PM

Cancellation clause in your listing contract?

June 06, 2007

I listed my home with a different broker and have been very unhappy with the services I have received. It was a one year contract that started in February. I have requested they void that contract but the broker says only if I agree to not sell my home for 1 year. I desperately need to sell my home. What can I do?

— R.D., Dryden.

R.D., Amazingly, it is easier for you to get a divorce from your spouse than to get the courts to void this contract with your broker. You signed a contract with that broker that stated that they had the exclusive right to sell your home for one year and that it could not be cancelled without mutual consent between both parties. If the broker or agent does not agree to release you from that contract you are bound by its terms. They can also negotiate with you that should they agree to release you from the contract you agree to not re-list your home with a different broker for that one year period. My question is why would you ever agree to sign this contract in the first place? You knowingly agreed to allow an agent to sell your home for one full year? That seems like an awful long time to knowingly agree to. You would have been better to demand a 6 month contract that you could extend should you be satisfied after the initial 6 months. Sellers often think everything is going to work out great when signing an agreement to sell and sign just about anything the agent puts in front of them. Often times it doesn't work out like they thought. Better than a 6 month contract is an open ended cancellation clause. Sellers should negotiate with their agent for a cancellation clause in their contract that states that either party can cancel the contract immediately by giving written or verbal notice. You are under no obligation to sign the contract the way the broker wrote it. Make changes to the contract or make an agent change prior to signing it. FYI, RealtyVolution contracts are open ended for our clients. They can cancel anytime they wish. I give my clients a guarantee that they can cancel at anytime for any reason because I am so confident they will be happy with the services I provide. If your agent is not willing to provide you with this guarantee then maybe they aren't as confident that you'll be happy with their services. I believe in providing the best customer service. If our customers decide not to sell, want to try a different broker, or any other reason we release them from the contract with no strings attached. R.D, if your broker doesn't release you there isn't much you can do other than complain. In fact complaining is your only leverage since a client that badmouths a company because of a situation like this can do far more damage to that broker's future business than the income generated from the enforcement of your contract. Hopefully others out there will learn from R.D.'s mistake.

Alex Lengemann is a licensed Real Estate Broker who operates, a local real estate company. You can Ask Alex your real estate or mortgage questions by phone 810-664-1819 or by email


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