Am I still obligated to a real estate agent after the expiration of a lease-to-own purchase offer?

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Am I still obligated to a real estate agent after the expiration of a lease-to-own purchase offer?

As house sellers, we accepted a 1-year lease to own purchase offer. The contract expired 6 months ago with the buyers unable to secure financing. We told them they could continue to rent the house for the next year and if able to buy, we would honor the price. In that event, it was our intention to engage the services of a real estate attorney to close. Much to our surprise, we were informed yesterday by our original listing agent ( from the tenant’s original agent) they are approved. I certainly do not feel beholding to our original agent, and wonder if there is any obligation to theirs.

Asked on October 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you are contractually obligated to pay real estate commissions for the listing of your property for sale after its lisitng expires is determined by the written listing agreement that you would have had to sign under regulations by your state's department of real estate.

Read your listing agreement carefully in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the listing brokerage and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law. Most likely the listing agreement has a provision that any party who looked at the property for sale and who later purchases it even after the listing expires entitles the listing agent to real estate commissions if the sale closes.


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