Is there any law protecting a buyer from having to use a real estate agency?

I recently decided to purchase a condo directly from the sellers. I did not use a real estate agency. I had already met with an attorney and explored mortgage options. An acquaintance of mine, a realtor, came to see the condo with me and I signed some paper. He said that it would not affect anything. Clearly I know realize that was a big mistake. Apparently the paper made it seem as if the transaction was occurring through him and now the sellers do not want to sell me the condo. And, although my acquaintance has relinquished the possibility of commission his employer will not.

Asked on October 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


Sharon Siegel / Siegel & Siegel, P.C.

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am a NY lawyer.  It depends on the "paper" you signed which you should have reviewed by a lawyer.  Whether or not the brokerage agency is entitled to a commission depends on how you were introduced to the property.  It is all about money at this point.  After you have the document reviewed by a lawyer, you will know if the agency has any standing.  If not, sometimes all it takes is a strong lawyers letter to straighten the facts out.


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In all real estate situations a buyer or a seller is not obligated to use a licensed real estate agent in the sale or purchase. If you are in contract to purchase the condominium and you can close the sale, the sellers have to sell you the unit or be subject to a possible lawsuit for specific performance of the contract.

As to real estate commissions, the custom and practice of real estate sales is such the seller of property pays the listing agent/brokerage a real estate commission per a written listing agreement. The listing agent/brokerage then under a multiple lisitng agreement typically pays the selling agent and brokerage a commission from what they receive.

The selling brokerage and listing brokerage typically have a split fee arrangement with their affiliated agent where agents usually receive 70% of the total fee that each brokerage receives from the transaction when it closes.

I suggest that you, the seller and the real estate agents involved in the transaction sit down and see what needs to be done to allow the purchase to occur and escrow to close.

Good luck.

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