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Are There Fees for Canceling a Real Estate Agent Contract?

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You did your research, found a real estate agent who you thought was right for the job, and signed an agreement for the professional to list your property. But when time goes by – and your house isn’t sold – you may be wondering: Can you terminate this real estate contract – and if so, at what cost?

In a perfect world – where we all read the fine print before we sign a legally binding document – you already know the answers to these questions because they are in the listing agreement you signed.

But this is the real world – a world where many of us sign things up in a hurry and don’t expect there to be any problems. If that’s the case for you, here’s what you need to know about terminating a listing agreement.

What is in your listing contract?

Of course, nobody can force you to sell your home, but real estate brokerage contracts are legally binding contracts.

Listing agreements vary between real estate companies, property managers, and cities and states. In general, however, they all typically include a time frame that they cover for a particular property. If the contract doesn’t include a cancellation fee, you can cancel at any time and you’ll be off the hook. However, many list a fee that will be billed to the seller if the contract is canceled before that expiration date.

The fee often covers the agent’s time and expense. This may include the costs incurred by the agent to have your property listed on the multiple listing service in your area, as well as forms, photos, videos, brochures, and other means of promoting your home. In some cases, the fee is a percentage of the list price.

If there are any fees, you can always wait for the contract to be completed to avoid the possibility of having to pay them. In many cases, however, even if you cancel early, you can make arrangements with your real estate agent.

“If you quit early, chances are the broker will let you off the hook for the rest of the contract – at least most of us – especially if the homeowner requests that termination,” says Maria Jeantet is a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker C&C Properties in Redding, CA. “It all depends on what you do when you tell them you want to cancel.”

Reasons for terminating a listing agreement – and alternatives

The reasons why people want to terminate a listing contract vary. If you’ve decided not to sell your property after all, that’s one thing. But if you want to cancel the listing because you’re not happy with your agent’s advertising, or disappointed that they’re not getting as many views or offers as you hoped, that’s another matter. The latter can often be worked out with your agent through clear communication about what you are dissatisfied with and what changes you would like to see.

Jeantet says it’s best to always be direct with your agent.

“Keep it clean. Either speak heart-to-heart to your current agent about the resignation or talk to them about getting more out of their service for you,” she says.

If this is not effective, you can also consider contacting a broker’s brokerage firm (if your broker is not the broker / owner) to discuss the issues and possibly reassign a different agent.

If nothing can be resolved, it may be in your best interest to cancel, even if you have to pay a fee.

Make sure you get the cancellation in writing because if you are listing your home with a new agent within the time period covered by the listing agreement and there is no written cancellation from your current agent, your current agent may charge commission fees to sell the home. Look back at your listing agreement to see what it says.

Not all real estate relationships work, people change their minds, and circumstances change. This is why it is so important to do your research when it comes to choosing a real estate agent and carefully examine what is in a listing agreement before signing it.

The post Are there any fees for canceling a brokerage agreement? first appeared on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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Real Estate newsletter: A billionaire buyer revealed

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Welcome back to the real estate newsletter hot on the heels of a mystery that is being solved.

Reporters and readers alike have been trying to find out who paid $ 25 million for San Marino’s famous USC presidential mansion, and records eventually revealed that the buyer was Chinese billionaire Tianqiao Chen. It makes a lot of sense as the philanthropist recently donated $ 115 million to Caltech for neuroscience research and the university dedicated a new 150,000-square-foot facility to him that opened just a mile from home earlier this year.

It’s still a good time to sell, and this week some celebrities tested their luck in the risky and rewarding real estate market. Charlie’s Angels star Shelley Hack managed to sell her Santa Monica Craftsman for $ 11.43 million – or $ 2.58 million more than her asking price.

Actress Helen Mirren and director Taylor Hackford are hoping for similar success in Hollywood Hills, where their colossal 6.5-acre estate is on the market for $ 18.5 million. If the power couple gets their prize, it will be one of the most expensive sales the posh neighborhood has seen this year.

If you don’t believe me about the seller’s market, believe the data. The numbers are in for June, and the average home price in Southern California rose to $ 680,000 last month. It’s an all-time high that breaks a record that stood for all … 31 days.

Some news on what’s to come: Researchers at UC Berkeley released a new report on a California legislature bill that would allow more dense house construction in single-family homes. The study says the bill that the state Senate passed would spur the state’s housing supply, but likely wouldn’t lead to the mass redevelopment that skeptics fear.

While you catch up on the latest, visit and like our Facebook page, where you can find property stories and updates all week.

Billionaire buys USC house

The seven-acre site is housed in a 14,000-square-foot American colonial mansion surrounded by extensive lawns and English rose gardens.

(Compass)

When the USC presidential mansion broke a record in San Marino in early July with a $ 25 million sale, it was initially unclear who the buyer was. Real estate records now show it was bought by Tianqiao Chen, a Chinese billionaire with deep philanthropic ties to the community.

It was purely a fact how he first came to the area. While he was watching the news, he and his wife Chrissy watched the story of a Caltech scientist who helped a paraplegic man use his mind to control a robotic arm and grab a beer.

Shortly thereafter, the couple flew to Pasadena to meet the scientist – a trip that led Chen to give Caltech $ 115 million for neuroscience research, one of the greatest gifts the university had ever received. In 2016, he founded the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech with a three-story, 150,000-square-foot facility on campus dedicated to the couple earlier this year.

If he ever visits, he will have to walk a short distance as his home is about a mile from the facility.

Actress gets a lot to ask

The 1 acre property includes a 99 year old craftsman, one bedroom guest house and rustic barn surrounded by gardens and fruit trees.

(Noel Kleinmann)

In the latest example of the Southern California seller market, Charlie’s Angels actress Shelley Hack sold her Santa Monica Craftsman for $ 11.43 million – or $ 2.58 million more than she asked for.

Hack and her husband, director Harry Winer, walk away with a huge win. Not only did they bring in significantly more than their original $ 8.5 million price tag, but they also paid just $ 1.6 million for the property in 1988.

The secluded property is about a mile from the ocean in Santa Monica’s North of Montana neighborhood. On half a hectare there is a 99 year old main house, a guest house with one bedroom, a rustic barn and a well-tended garden with terrace and pool, surrounded by gardens and fruit trees.

Electricity pair will either sell or lease

The 6.5 hectare area includes a main house, a guest house and an apartment with nine bedrooms on 10,200 square meters.

The 6.5 hectare area includes a main house, a guest house and an apartment with nine bedrooms on 10,200 square meters.

(Marc Angeles)

Space is tight in Hollywood Hills, but not on the sprawling hillside of actress Helen Mirren and director Taylor Hackford. The power couple’s long-standing estate, which spans 6.5 acres at the base of Runyon Canyon Park, is for sale for $ 18.5 million.

If you’re planning a shorter stay, you can also rent it for $ 45,000 per month.

At 6.5 acres, it is the second largest property currently available in Hollywood Hills. To put the relative size into perspective, only three properties on the market in the star-studded neighborhood occupy more than 3 acres.

According to the listing, there have been only four owners – all famous – since the house was built more than a century ago: “The Squaw Man” actor Dustin Farnum, writer Mark Hellinger, “Perry Mason” producer Gail Patrick and Mirren and Hackford, who acquired the property in the 1980s.

SoCal house prices break another record

A sale sign begins bidding on a house in this cartoon

The average home price in Southern California rose to $ 680,000 in June.

(San Diego Union Grandstand)

The Southern California real estate market hit another all-time high in June, with home prices hitting another all-time high, although analysts see the extreme bidding wars of last year subsiding.

The average home price of $ 680,000 in June beats the previous record of $ 667,000 set in May, according to data released Tuesday by data firm DQNews. This is a 22.5% increase from June 2020, when the market in the Six County region slowed significantly as sellers withdrew homes from the market due to COVID-19 stay at home orders.

Since then, a dramatic rebound has resulted in double-digit average house price increases for 11 straight months.

Experts attribute several factors to the rapidly growing millennial buyer’s market, the rising demand for housing as more people work from home, and extremely low mortgage rates that attract wealthy investors who compete with the middle class for limited housing.

Housing bill put in the right light

A new bill would allow most lots, now zoned for only one house, to have up to four units.

A new bill would allow most lots, now zoned for only one house, to have up to four units.

(Willis Allen Real Estate)

A bill tabled by California lawmakers to allow the construction of denser homes in single-family homes would likely spur the state’s housing supply, but the so-called top-up is unlikely to cause major renovations, according to a report released Wednesday.

Andrew Khouri and Ari Plachta write that the study by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley provides the most detailed analysis yet of the potential impact of Senate Law 9, which allows up to four houses on most single-family lots and the construction of much-needed new housing.

Because of the way the units would evolve, the study found that “the vast amount of single-family homes across the state would not see new development,” said David Garcia, policy director at the Terner Center, who supports the written bill by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).

SB 9 has passed the state Senate and is expected to join the assembly’s budget committee by August 27. If approved, it will be put to the final vote in the Assembly and then to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. The Terner Center study found that building a total of 714,000 new homes would make financial sense and would take years to build – if it ever did, as not all homeowners want to sell or develop their own property.

What we read

USC is on a sales frenzy. After unloading their presidential mansion, the school is offering another home in the Hollywood Hills for $ 4.25 million, according to House Beautiful. The stunning residence was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

When you bid for a house, the chances are the other competitors won’t try to live there. You could be an investor, a house flipper, or even a hedge fund, according to NBC News, which reported that investment groups are looking for homes across the country thanks to their unmatched financial firepower.

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Real Estate Wire Transfer Fraud is Real

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The American Land Title Association (ALTA) says that in 2019 more than 11,600 people were victims of real estate transfer fraud, stealing more than $ 221 million. The scams involve huge sums of money. The scams are subtle. People who you would never believe could be scammed get involved in these scams. The money is rarely recovered if it has been deposited into the wrong bank account.

Anecdotally, this scam seems to be most successful when borrowers have to act quickly. The cheating is not particularly complicated on the part of the bad guys. Their goal is to fit right into the closing process when the buyer is about to transfer closing funds to the escrow account. The fact that the money should go to a secure escrow account can lull otherwise cautious people into a false sense of security. If the scammer succeeds, the funds will be diverted from the secure escrow account to an account that only the scammer controls. All of this can happen within a couple of hours (or less) starting with a single click by the victim. This enables the scammer to closely monitor the fake account for a short period of time only. The moment the money is deposited into the fake account (but appears legitimate), the fraudster immediately transfers the money to a foreign bank account from which the deposit bank and law enforcement agencies cannot retrieve the funds.

And … the scammers have become more sophisticated. All the scammer has to do is hack into the email account of your real estate agent, escrow agent, or anyone else who receives the escrow instructions (it could be your own email account that is being hacked). Hacking into one of these accounts provides the fraudster with the necessary information such as the legitimate escrow account number, transfer dates and times, and the transfer amount. Hacking an email account can result in an email thread between all involved parties exchanging information.

With the legitimate email information, the scammer creates a new email account that looks almost identical to an email account that the homebuyer is expecting the final instructions from for the transfer. For example, the legitimate email address could be Jane Doe @ ABCescrow. The fake email set up by the scammer could be Jane Doe @ ABCescrow1 or it could be Jane Doe @ ABD.Escrow or any other very minor variation. At first glance, the home buyer does not notice the slight change in address.

All that remains for the fraudster is to provide the buyer with a simple change in instructions. Instructions can vary, but can be as simple as: “Out of urgency we must now use the USA Trust Bank. Please transfer USD 200,000 immediately to the escrow account #xxxajax. ” This is NOT a legitimate escrow account. This account is only controlled by the fraudster. As soon as the money has been transferred, the scammer transfers the money abroad to an account that cannot be accessed. With a single click of the mouse, a prospective homebuyer can lose $ 200,000 or more that he has saved for years to buy a home.

Scammers are constantly adding new levels of sophistication. Since the scammer has access to all of the information in the hacked emails, the spoofed email may contain information convincing that the spoofed email is legitimate. The scammer knows your name, the name of your real estate agent, and the name of the trustee. The fake email can say that everything was coordinated and approved by the other people. The scammer knows exactly how much money to transfer. You know which bank and account number the money should go to. Fraudsters use this information to sound convincing on one of many different statements that could go as follows: “The original bank escrow has computer problems because we are switching to XYZ Trust Bank due to the urgency of your transaction.”

There’s a relatively new twist on the sophistication that scammers have added. The scammers copy and paste the entire email thread between the legitimate people into the fake email. The old email thread will appear under the new instructions. This makes it look like everyone is up to date with the new instructions. But not all. Only you will receive the fake instructions.

You can be sure that the scammers will soon find new ways to convince you that the fake instructions are legitimate.

It’s easy to believe that you won’t fall for this type of scam, but these schemes are sophisticated and often appear like legitimate conversations with your real estate or billing agent. Here are the minimal steps you need to take.

  • At the beginning of the process, identify trusted people before closing and write down their names and contact information. [Use this contact information rather than new contact information from an email.]
  • Confirm the completion and payment instructions twice in person or verbally with a known telephone number.
  • Avoid using phone numbers or links in an email as scammers can forge them.
  • When some criminals call, watch out for phone calls and impersonate your trusted professional.
  • Do not send financial information by email.

You can also review the information that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides on the matter.

The ultimate cost could be the loss of your savings.

Please leave a comment sharing your experience or advice on the matter.

Additionally, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all levels of real estate experience. Please email your questions, inquiries or article ideas to askbrian@realtybiznews.com.

Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash

Author Biography: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and has been writing about real estate investing for 12 years. He also has over 30 years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives in Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination near a national and Pacific ocean.

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Local real estate broker took a stand and now she’s taking heat

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SPRINGFIELD, Oregon.- A former member of the Springfield Board of Realtors resigned after proposing a change of meeting venues due to controversy over the group’s current location, Along Came Trudy, a Springfield restaurant.

Kaydee Hallert is a real estate agent based in Eugene. She told KEZI 9 News that she had been given an ultimatum.

“Either you step back or we will vote you out,” said Hallert.

Hallert says the Springfield Board meets every month.

Along Came Trudy has been fined over $ 50,000 by Oregon OSHA for alleged COVID-19 violations. And now that Lane County is open again, the board plans to resume meetings there.

CONNECTED: Along Kam Trudy remains open despite fines

Hallert said she tried to get the board of directors to change the location of the meetings, but she said they refused to move.

“I decided to leave because they don’t know what’s going on in the place where they like to hold their meetings and get their business out of the way,” said Hallert.

In her resignation letter to the board, Hallert said: “The decision of the board of directors to continue the organization’s relationship with a company that has deliberately violated the law, publicly and proudly made its decision to become a local port for white supremacy is deeply troubling. “

KEZI 9 News has contacted the owner Trudy Logan, but has not yet heard anything.

The Springfield Board of Realtors issued a statement tonight saying “a former board member” denigrated them, an obvious reference to Hallert.

“The hate speech that was perpetrated last week injured many individual members of our association,” said the letter.

Hallert said that while she doesn’t have bad feelings about her former colleagues, she still hopes things will change in the future.

“I would love for them to acknowledge like, ‘Okay, you’re right, we shouldn’t meet here, we’ll do better and we’ll find another place’ and instead I get ‘it’s business as … usual kind of business, “said Hallert.

Hallert is no longer a member of the Springfield Board of Realtors, but is still a member of the Eugene Association of Realtors as it has been for 15 years.

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