Here are some Recent Helpline Issues of Importance

Mar 05, 2018

Q. Now that most of Queens comes under the new Cease and Desist Laws, where can I find the names of people I cannot contact?

A. The Department of State published and updates the list regularly. If you check on the DOS website, you can access the names.

Q. If sellers demand an unconditional release, am I obligated to give it to them? 

A. No, but you must immediately stop marketing the property or referring to yourself as their agent. Their obligation to pay you may well still exist, but that depends on the language in the listing agreement.

Q. I took a listing but forgot to put the start and end date on the paperwork, although the sellers agreed to list with me for a year. Is my listing valid?

A. Probably not. Go back to the sellers and remedy the situation by putting in dates and having them initial where you added the new information, or re-execute the whole document, filling in all the information. If you and the sellers are in the midst of a disagreement over the listing, however, your listing may very well be considered invalid by the MLS, the Courts and The Department of State!

Q. Buyers came into my office, I had them sign agency disclosures showing that I was working for the sellers, either as a seller's agent or a broker's agent depending on whether I showed them listings in my own office or listings from other brokers. They said they did not have their own agent. We spent two days together and I showed them seven houses, one of which they offered to buy. It was my office's listing, although I was not the listing agent. We negotiated a price and terms with the sellers and the sellers and buyers are now in contract. My broker just got a call from a broker in another office who said she and one of her agents, who had shown those buyers over sixty houses and had promised to buy with that agent, wants us to put her office on the deal or at least pay them a referral fee because the agent worked so hard with the buyers! Is that other broker and agent entitled to be paid on this? I feel as though I am being robbed!

A. Taking the facts as presented, I see no reason why that office is entitled to be paid by your office. The fact that the agent showed so many houses and worked so hard is irrelevant. The agent showed over sixty houses to the buyers that the buyers did not buy. You showed them one they did! The buyers may owe that office a commission if those buyers were her clients, but the buyers never revealed to you that they had an agent, stated they did not have an agent, apparently, you had no way of knowing if they did other than what they told you as there is no registry of buyer clients, and, if they told you an untruth and are indeed obligated to that office, the issue is between the buyers and that office and has nothing to do with you, your office or your deal. In effect, what that office is doing is looking to you for an unearned commission from your office, since your office only offered to pay a broker who was the procuring cause of a transaction on your office's listing. Since that agent and office had nothing to do with your transaction, your office has no obligation to pay them. Should there indeed be a buyer broker agreement between the other office and the buyers, the buyers are the ones who may owe that office a commission, depending on the wording of the agreement! Tell the other broker to pursue a remedy from the office's client, not from your office. Incidentally, if all the other office has is a disclosure that states the office is representing the buyer, that is not a buyer broker agreement.

Q. I have taken a listing from a seller whose house very much in demand. The seller has only given me an office exclusive and refuses to pay enough for me to offer compensation to another office. Now a buyer agent wants to make an offer including his commission and my seller refuses to pay it and if now furious with me!  Does the seller have to pay the buyer agent or do I have to pay the agent out of my listing commission?

A. Neither of you is obligated to pay the buyer's agent. If the buyer wants the house, the buyer will have to pay his own agent.

Q. An agent from another office brought a buyer to my office's listing. She said she was working as a buyer agent and gave me a disclosure to that effect. Then she brought that buyer again, showing me another disclosure stating she was a seller's agent. Now she brought the same buyer back a third time with an agency disclosure showing she is a broker's agent. What is she?

A. Confused!