Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Real Estate Clause All Sellers Should Include

This problem has come up a few times recently...someone is selling their house with a real-estate agent, but they find a buyer on their own. Now they are stuck paying a real estate agent commission (usually 5%-6%). So, if you are selling your house, you should at least talk to your real estate agent about having the following clause in your contract with them...if you (as the seller), ever find someone to buy your home on your own, you should be able to get out of your contract with your real estate agent. At the very least, you should be able to pay a small amount to get out of the contract with the agent.

This came up when we sold our first house a couple of years ago. We initially tried to sell it on our own, but were unsuccessful after a few months. So, we had to get a real estate agent to help us. We were involved in the New Hire Network at work, so we still had a couple of leads for people that might be looking for a new house. We mentioned this to the agent that we were talking to and she told us that it would be no problem if we were able to find a buyer on our own. She would let us out of the contract if that were to happen. We thought that it was a nice gesture and decided to go with her as our agent (although that wasn't the only reason we went with her). Turns out that the clause wasn't needed since the first people that came to see our house offered us more than asking and we sold to them, but I liked having the option to get out of the contract if needed.

Even more recently, DD has come across the need for this type of clause. He has been looking at buying a home (first possibility was a rental property) for about a month now. When looking at the rental property, the asking price was $500,000 to buy the place before they decided to go with an agent. They were going to up the price if they had to go with an agent. However, they told DD that he would still be able to get the original price if he decided to buy it. So, the sellers must have had this type of clause with their agent.

Then with the house that he actually decided to buy, he wished that the sellers had this clause. Turns out that the sellers, who already had an agent, found him themselves (actually, he found them since we know them from work). DD asked if they could do the deal without agents, but their agent said no. The best that she would do was knock $1000 off the question was, is she serious? The full commission would be about $12000 and since DD had no agent, it stands to reason that she would make the full $12000 instead of splitting it between agents as usual. So, since she wouldn't budge and at least offer to just take half and give DD the other half, he just went and got an agent. Now she has to split it anyway. Doesn't seem smart on her part. The best thing that could have happened for everyone involved would have been if the sellers had the clause in their contract and then they could have pocketed more money and DD could have saved some.

So, if you are selling your house, try to have a clause in there that will allow you to get out of the contract with your agent should you find a buyer on your own.


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