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No Listing Agreement. Now What?

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Posted On: 11/30/2011

QUESTION:

Our agent recently sold our investment property. We did not have a listing agreement. We got an offer on the property, but did not agree on a commission, as we had no listing agreement. The commission was outlined at closing. We requested a copy of the listing agreement, but our agent will not provide one to us. Will the agent have to reimburse us for the fees associated with the sale?

ANSWER:

Real estate rules vary by state, but even if an unwritten arrangement is allowed it’s unclear why anyone would want one.

For instance: What was the listing price? What was the commission rate? Was the washing machine included in the sale offer? When did the listing period end? When was the commission earned, due and payable? The answers are all debatable without a written agreement.

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You also say you sold the property. Was a real estate commission established within the sale agreement? If yes, was the amount sought at closing by the broker any different?

Verbal listing agreements are a danger to both owners and brokers. Everyone is best served with a clearly written agreement that outlines the broker’s obligations, the offering terms, the length of the agreement and compensation for performance.

As to what will happen, you’ll now need the advice of a local real estate attorney – a cost that could have been avoided with a written listing.

QUESTION:

Can I use Social Security income to qualify for an FHA mortgage?

ANSWER:

Yes. As HUD explains it:

“Retirement and social security income require verification from the source (former employer, Social Security Administration) or federal tax returns. If any benefits expire within the first full three years, the income source may be considered only as a compensating factor. Direct compensation, such as for a service-related disability, is acceptable, subject to documentation from the VA. Education benefits, used to offset education expenses, are not acceptable.”

Peter G. Miller is the author of The Common-Sense Mortgage and a veteran real estate columnist. Have a question? Please write to peter@ctwfeatures.com.

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