Commission agreements spell out how brokers are paid. The commission formula sometimes changes, but the terms and conditions usually stay the same. Consequently standard terms and conditions of commission agreements are often ignored by owners once the agreement is signed. Since the broker’s income is tied to the terms of those agreements, close attention to details are vital.
Recent lawsuits stemming from disputes over broker commissions reveal tough lessons about the importance of paying close attention to commission agreements.
An owner was forced to pay a commission to a real estate broker. The owner argued that there are a number of key terms understood and agreed to prior to signing the agreement that were not contained in the final written agreement. The judge overruled this argument stating that the contract was clear as written. Judges and juries are not real estate professionals. The term “procuring cause” may have a standard definition in the real estate business, but mean nothing to a juror.
The lesson here is to carefully note important terms and conditions, especially those that relate to performance.