Sellers drop last-minute 'commission bomb'

REThink Real Estate

Q: We verbally agreed to a three-month extension of our listing agreement. If we find a buyer for our house, do we still owe the agent money? –Frustrated in Fort Wayne, Ind.

A: Sigh. Seriously?

So, you had a listing agreement. An agent helped you decide on a list price, marketed your home, placed it on the multiple listing service and maybe even did some open houses. She undoubtedly invested some time into getting your home sold, and might even have invested some money in marketing it with photos, ads, fliers and/or property preparation. And she did this for the full extent of time that she agreed to up front.

Then, based on the relationship she thought she had built with you, the trust she thought she had with you, she took your word on an agreement that she would continue her marketing efforts and unpaid attempts to sell your home for three months, on the condition that if the home sells — and only if the home sells — you’ll pay the agreed-upon commission. And you acknowledge that you did give her your word, albeit only verbally.