NEW YORK — When a broker switches firms, mailing out glossy announcement cards is the easy part. What’s not so simple is wresting listings away from the old firm to bring them to the new one. The armor-plated contracts that govern exclusive listings threaten sellers with punitive fees or lawsuits if they try to pick up and follow a relocating broker.

But the recent shuttering of several New York firms has shaken loose hundreds of listings, in a whirlwind that few have seen in years, brokers say.

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