Q: Can my broker dump my listing without notice? I found out my house was off the market by looking online. I was never notified by the broker. Is this a violation of ethics code?
A: When you hired the broker, you signed a listing agreement. Go back to the document and see what the time limit was for the listing. Sometimes listing agreements last for a year, but others have a shorter term. Let’s say your listing agreement was for a six-month term. At the end of the six months, the listing would end and the broker would have the right to take down the listing.
That said, it’s quite clear that you and your listing agent didn’t have a good working relationship. If you had, the listing agent would have kept you up-to-date on what was going on with your listing, would have suggested changes to the listing, may have suggested price changes, and would have told you about showings or interest potential buyers had with your home. You didn’t mention any of these items so we doubt that the communication between the two of you was going well.
When you have a good real estate listing agent working for you, you should expect to hear from the listing agent at least once every week or so with an update. Even when nothing is going on with your listing, we’d expect the listing agent would call you to say that the market isn’t moving or that your home is at the wrong price point. After showings, the listing agent should be calling you to tell you what potential buyers are saying about your home. That input can assist you in changing things around in the home or even deciding on lowering the price for your home.
All we can say is that agents and sellers work best when they communicate frequently.
Now, if you have a special situation where the listing agent took down the online listing before the listing agreement was up, that’s more problematic. But even then, you need to understand what your listing agent’s obligations are to you under the listing agreement. In some markets around the country, the listing of properties online is quite limited. In others, once the listing has gone online, it’s not only on the listing agent’s website but on just about every real estate website out there.
While we get that you’re disappointed by both not selling the property and the way the broker handled it at the end, it seems like wasted energy to report the listing agent now.
Why not move on and find a listing agent you can work with to get your home sold? If you're intent on going after the listing agent, you'll probably have to see a real estate attorney to review the documentation you have and see if the agent did anything wrong (legally vs. morally or ethically). However, you haven't given us any reason to believe that the agent did something wrong other than not communicate with you about taking down the listing.
Ilyce Glink is the author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask” (4th Edition). She is also the CEO of Best Money Moves, an app that employers provide to employees to measure and dial down financial stress. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact them through her website, ThinkGlink.com.