Question: Our realtor’s listing agreement expired yesterday. We are going to explore selling privately. Will we owe the realtor money if we sell in the near future?

Answer: This depends on who ends up buying the home. If the buyer was introduced to your property due to the efforts of your realtor, a commission is likely owed.

Seller contracts contain a listing agreement protection clause to avoid unscrupulous sellers asking a buyer to wait until the end of a listing agreement before accepting an offer. The realtor protection clause ensures that realtors have the right to a commission after a contract terminates, preventing a seller from “cutting the realtor out of the deal” just to save a buck. Also, if the realtor sets up the deal on the last day of his agreement term, he earns a commission from the closing regardless of when he closing occurs.

Going forward, formally terminate your relationship with your realtor in writing. At that point, the realtor must stop working for you and withdraw the listing with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Many folks are afraid to broach this subject with their realtors. Don’t feel that it is a personal matter. This is simply business and realtors are a trained professionals.

Priority Law provides real estate transaction legal services.

This article was originally published in the Lowell Sun and is for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.