Should I leave my own local broker? |

Should I leave my own local broker?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

​Dear Joan,

I have had my home listed with a local broker for months now, and I have not had any offers. A friend of mine just told me that he knew someone that he thought would buy the house right away. The prospective buyer does not like real estate agents, so he wants to bring me the offer directly. I am not sure what I should do. I have gotten lots of free advice telling me to cancel the listing contract and then deal directly with the buyer so I won’t lose the sale​. I don’t know if I can do that legally and/or if it is the “right thing” to do. I really want to sell and don’t want to miss out on this buyer. What should I do?

Dear “Right Thing,”

I would guess you are asking the question because you inherently know it is not the “right thing” to do. I am not an attorney, but if you read over your listing contract carefully, then you will see that when you signed this legal document, you and your listing broker agreed to many obligations to each other. If your broker has not lived up to his numerous obligations, then you should discuss this with him and then decide if you want to terminate the contract. However, finding a buyer on your own (if indeed that is even true) is not a reason to cancel the contract. In fact, you are obligated to immediately let the broker know of this potential buyer. Please reread paragraph 10.1 “Negotiations And Communication.” It says: “Seller agrees to conduct all negotiations for the sale of the property only through broker, and to refer to broker all communications received in any form from real estate brokers, prospective buyers, tenants or any other source during the listing period of this seller listing contract.”

In paragraph 7 “Compensation To Brokerage Firm; Compensation To Cooperative Broker,” it speaks of when the compensation is earned by the brokerage firm, and it states that the commission would be earned “herein without any discount or allowance for any efforts made by seller or by any other person in connection with the sale of the property.” This is pretty clearly written, but please contact an attorney for legal advice on this matter.

I would like to clarify two other matters. First of all, the question I mentioned above about if the buyer came completely on his own. It is always a question about where the buyer first heard about the property. Was it actually because the listing broker saturated the Internet with information and great pictures of the property? Was it the fact that the buyer saw all of the activity at the home … photographer, showings, open houses, etc? Was it the fact that the broker was able to get price reductions so that you are now advertised at fair market value?

Secondly, you do not know that this buyer is qualified to make the purchase. You don’t know if the buyer will actually do a written offer that will have terms and a price acceptable to you. You don’t know if this buyer will ask for large concessions during their inspection period. If the buyer is for real, then he/she will not be scared away by a professional broker who can be a hugely valuable asset to making the transaction happen. My advice is to talk to your experienced broker right away and let your broker help you to make the best sale possible on your property with this buyer (if he/she is for real) or any other. I know you will do the “right thing”!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team of qualified experts. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Joan with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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