How can I avoid paying a commission to my realtor if I sell my home to a private party and the private party will pay an attorney to draft up the sales contract?

Asked on July 30, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If this party was someone who saw the home while the realtor was showing it, or someone intorduced to you or the home by the realtor, there is no way to avoid the commission, even if the transaction takes place after the contract with the realtor is up: the realtor did the work in this case and must be paid for it. 

If the contract with the realtor states that he or she will be commissioned if anyone buys the home during the period the contract is in force, then even if the realtor had nothing to do with this buyer, if he or she buys while the contract is still in force, you will have to pay; a contractual term requring that the realtor be commissioned on any sale during a certain period is valid and enforceable.

Only if the buyer was not introduced or shown the house by the realtor, and buys after the realtor's contract has expired or validly been terminated, can you be sure of not paying the commission. 

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