DEAR BARRY: We have been using a Realtor on and off for the past nine months to find a home. She has been great and recently found a home that we are buying. Meanwhile, we were planning to have her sell our current home, but our neighbor decided to buy it, so there seems to be no need to give our Realtor a listing and pay a commission. Should we feel obligated to give her a listing after all the work she has done for us? –Kathryn
DEAR KATHRYN: You are under no legal or ethical obligation to list your home with your agent if you already have a buyer. However, real estate transactions are very complicated, with many legal twists and turns. The smallest mistake in the paperwork can create terrible complications and liabilities. Having an agent to handle these details is definitely worthwhile, and most agents will handle this part of the transaction for a reduced commission, as they do not have to spend time and money on marketing.