Do we owe an agent with whom we had no contract but we showed us a property that we want to lease?

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2011

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Do we owe an agent with whom we had no contract but we showed us a property that we want to lease?

A real estate agent showed us a property that we want to lease. We signed no agreements with that (or any another) agent. We want to go forward without the agent because of several disagreements that we had with them. We want to have integrity but do not want to miss out on a great opportunity because our agent would not listen to our requests. If we lease the property on our own, do we owe that agent? If so, how much would be fair?

Asked on June 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Typically, even if you did not sign any agreements, if you asked an agent to show you  property, you will owe him or her his or her typical commission (or if his or her "typical" commission is unreasonably high, the normal or customary commission for an agent on that type of transaction. The need to pay can be derived by contract law (there was an oral, or even implicit, agreement between you when you agreed to see a home shown by the realtor) or by unjust enrichment (you are "unjustly enriched" if you found a home because of the agent's contacts, work, expertise, etc., but then refused to compensate the agent. If you don't pay and are sued, there's a good chance the agent would win; you may therefore want to try to work something mutually agreeable out in advance. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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