Does your realtor get commission from selling your home if you never signed the listing agreement?

My parents sold their house through a
realtor. They’ve had nothing but
problems from this realtor from the
start. The realtor had told my Mother
that there contract was over on June
23rd. My Mother found that weird
because it was only 5 months since the
realtor started.. she tried to find the
paperwork on the agreement and
couldn’t find it. Just a day or two prior
the realtor found a buyer. So my
parents kinda forgot about the listing
agreement all together. After months of
inspections, agreeing on price..ect. The
buyers got the house. My parents
closed just a few days ago. Today my
mother receives an email from the
realtor asking to sign a listing
agreement. The reason…because
neither of my parents signed one to
begin with The house is already sold
and the closing paperwork is signed. Is
the realtor legally able to keep the
commission without a signed

Asked on August 29, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, the realtor found the buyer who your parents sold to: in that case, yes, your parents have to pay the commission. Whether the agreement was signed or not, there clearly was an oral agreement that the realtor would work for your parents; the fact that your parents let the realtor work for them and met with her buyers can be taken as consent or agreement to the written agreement (an agreement or contract can be agreed to by actions as well as by a signature, and if everyone works or performs or acts as if the contract has been agreed to, that can be enough); and the law will not let your parents get the benefit of the realtor's work (finding a buyer) without paying her. For all these reasons, yes, they need to pay.

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