What to do when your seller doesn’t want you to cooperate with another broker

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08/20/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

My seller told me I cannot cooperate with a particular firm regarding her listing. Can the seller do that?

Yes. While Article 3 of the Code of Ethics requires that REALTORS® cooperate with other brokers, there is an exception when cooperation is not in the client's best interest. A seller’s demand not to cooperate with a firm or agent is a legitimate instruction regarding the sale of her property, and could be viewed as meeting this exception. Be sure, however, that the decision not to cooperate originates from the owner and not you.

It’s a good idea to get this instruction in writing from the seller. Should a broker or agent from that particular firm call for a showing, you can inform them of the seller’s decision to restrict cooperation on this particular sale and follow up by sending written confirmation.

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Categories: Legal, Sellers
Tags: legal, sellers, brokers


Rick DeVoss on 08/22/2015

It’s really simple, Vince.  ~Just have the seller reject the offer in writing.

Vince Leibowitz on 08/22/2015

What is if a seller, a remodeler, directs you not to accept offers from another agent but not the brokerage? We had an agent who misled us about the type of financing, missed closing, and found out it was a government bond loan.  I am anticipating being told on his next remodel not to take offers from this agent.

David Davis on 08/20/2015

@ Bruce Owens, If you have to ask what the difference is, I’m afraid you may have made an incorrect career choice.

@Dave Mills, Per Rick, What you are describing here comes from a widely increasing FAD it would seem.  The FAD I am speaking of is the case of an Agent trying to play GOD with a transaction.  Unless the Agent is one of the parties, the Agent has very little say in any decision making process.  As an Agent, represent your principal, then get out of the way and let the parties decide how to work out differences.  In most cases, your $.02 is worth little more than the $.02, and may wind up costing you, and your client many hundreds of thousands of times that amount.

Is it too much to ask that we remain on topic here?  Read the original post, make appropriate comments, but please don’t go off on tangents of what you may have experienced that (in your own humble opinion) may have been similar, when it fact it has nothing to do with the point or subject of the original post!

Bruce Owens on 08/20/2015

So what’s the difference between this scenario and a “pocket listing”?  I see “Coming Soon” riders on signs all the time.  If that is not a pocket listing, I don’t know what is.  Sellers are entitled to control how their property is marketed.  The bottom line is that if you do not wish to follow the potential Client’s instructions, don’t take the listing.

Rick DeVoss on 08/20/2015

Dave—- What you have just described did not come from a “seller”.  It sounds like this other broker has had a personality clash with your broker, or someone in your firm.
So if she places a listing in MLS, and then restricts who can show it to buyers, is she representing the best interests of her client…?
—-Should the MLS rules even allow such behavior by a Broker??
—-If one of her agents has a buyer who wants to see a house your firm has listed, and she restricts them from doing so, is she representing the best interests of the buyer (her client)...?
My guess is that her agents would very quickly go find a Broker with a better attitude.


Dave Mills on 08/20/2015

Another broker in this area sent me an email that she had decided that her firm would not allow any of the agents associated with my brokerage firm to show any of their listings nor would she allow any of her agents to show any listings we had. She claimed she contacted TAR and that her position was fine. It seems very inappropriate to me. Please advise me how we should proceed.
Thanks! Dasve

THERESA AKIN on 08/20/2015

I was representing a buyer who wanted to see a certain listing.  I looked at the agent remarks where it stated to contact listing agents prior to showing. No problem and I did.  They didn’t ask me who my client was but sent me a ‘list” of unwanted buyers and reasons why. I did a little quick research and contacted my buyer. This was early in my career so I contacted my buyer and stated the reasons for not being able to view the property. It was still occupied. A lot of family feuding and the seller has items that belong to , on and on.  Didn’t have a rep agreement and we fired each other.  It was the only house he was interested in. 
Whatever the problem , I would definitely want to know and get it understood and possibly fixed.  If all else fails, walk!

David Davis on 08/20/2015

@ Rick DeVoss While I am inclined to agree with most of your statement, keep in mind that I said if the instruction is lawful, then it must be carried out.  If the instruction is unlawful then the Agent must decline the instruction, and should advise the Principal why it is being declined.  It must also be within the scope or expertise of the Agent.  If not then the Agent would have an obligation to refer the representation to someone who is capable of such instruction.  Nothing wrong with that, and/or collecting a referral fee for the referral.

Tony Hager on 08/20/2015

Actually my first thoughts were that the Seller more than likely had a bad experience with the “Company” from a prior instance, whether it was a listing or a purchase and just choses not to work with that company.
While I would definitely get their request in writing I would ask them to distance themselves from the transaction and allow me as their listing agent to deal with that company if they were indeed able to bring a willing buyer to the table. You have to become professional and explain to them that the ultimate goal is to sell the “Property” listed.

Karen Dixon on 08/20/2015

I think there is some concerns about discrimination but I would suspect that the client’s reason may have something to do more with a bad experience with the other firm.  I would definitely have the request put into the listing agreement in special provisions so that it is all above board.  I would also ask for the seller to explain why they made the request so I could assure myself that it was not for any unacceptable reasons.  I have had clients ask me not to allow showings to particular individuals because of their fears of some type of retaliation when a family situation turned sour.  I don’t see this as a reason to turn the listing down if the seller is willing to explain their reasons.

Rick DeVoss on 08/20/2015

I feel that the above article by the editorial staff is irresponsible.
—-First of all, it should define what “cooperation” means.  For most of us, we thought it was paying a commission to a buyer’s agent.
—-Secondly, it says that “It’s a good idea…to get it in writing.”  ~I dare say there is not an attorney in town who would advise you to proceed with this listing WITHOUT getting it in writing!  ~That should be mandatory.
...This whole scenario stinks of discrimination, and I’m having a hard time thinking of another motive that the seller might have.  ...Maybe the staff could be more explicit on this topic, so that all agents will understand what is going on here.
Ask yourself:  is the listing really worth it?

David Davis on 08/20/2015

Because representation (through which the cooperation would occur), and commissions are two entirely distinct different things, VERY MUCH SO!  Representation is not required for a commission to be due.  A Principal can end a representation agreement, but terminating the agreement does not end the obligation of the Principal to pay under the terms of the agreement.  An instruction from a seller (Principal) must be followed so long as it is lawful, and within the expertise of the Agent.  As previously stated, I would require the instruction in writing.

Tony Hager on 08/20/2015

Does this only pertain to the cooperation as in sharing of fees? Could the other Broker / Agent still sell the home if their client paid their fees? Could the seller stop that as well?

David Davis on 08/20/2015

I would always advise every Agent to get any such instruction in writing.  If not in writing, this instruction could easily result in Equal Housing Violation (or the defense thereof).

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on texasrealestate.com. Any legal or other information found here, on texasrealestate.com, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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