An owner who just terminated her listing with another broker asked me to sell her property. The parties terminated her listing using the Termination of Listing Agreement (TAR 1410), and the owner agreed to pay her previous broker a fee if she sells the property to a named party within the next two months. Can I still get a commission if she sells to the named party within that time frame?

Yes, provided that you get the required consent from the owner. According to Standard of Practice 16-14 of the Code of Ethics, you should not knowingly obligate an owner to pay more than one commission except with the owner’s informed consent.

You can complete and attach the Named Exclusions Addendum to Listing (TAR 1402) to your listing agreement to help clarify your rights and the owner's rights and obligations should the owner sell to the named party during the designated time period.

Is having a signed written agreement, such as TAR’s Residential Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement, the only way for a broker to create an agency relationship with a buyer?

No. Although agency relationships can exist when you’re acting on behalf of the buyer without a written agreement, the best way to create an agency relationship is to put the rights and obligations of a broker and his or her client in a signed written agreement,.

In addition to being a good business practice, there are several other reasons why broker-client relationships should be in writing:

  1. You cannot enforce your right to collect your commission from a seller or buyer unless you have a signed written agreement with them agreeing to pay your commission, according to Section 1101.806(c) of the Real Estate License Act.
  2. Section 1101.559 of the Real Estate License Act requires brokers who act as intermediaries to obtain the written consent of each party in the transaction and that written consent must also state who will pay the broker.
  3. Article 9 of the Code of Ethics requires that REALTORS® shall assure whenever possible that agreements shall be in writing for the protection of all parties.

Do I have to report my client's sales price to the MLS?

Yes. MLS rules state that sales of listed property, including sales prices, shall be reported promptly to the MLS by listing brokers. As such, the Residential Real Estate Listing Agreement Exclusive Right to Sell (TAR-1101) includes a notice in Paragraph 6(A) that goes over this requirement so that the client is aware of their broker’s obligations.

It is a misconception that Texas’s status as a “non-disclosure” state means that a listing broker does not have to disclose sales data to her MLS. That is not true. Rather, it means that the state government, including local appraisal districts, cannot force anyone to provide the sales price to it.

I recently sold a home that was listed in the MLS and a neighbor called to ask me what the sales price was. Can I tell them?

Yes. If you listed the home or participated in the transaction as the buyer’s broker, you can share the sales price. It is recommended that you get your client’s permission before sharing the sales price.

The MLS rules allow for MLSs to impose the requirement of reporting sales prices to the MLS as long the MLS categorizes sale price information as confidential and limits use to participants and subscribers.

What other brokers who participate in the MLS can do with the sales price information of a home you listed—share it with clients and customers or use it in advertising, for example—depends on your MLS rules. Contact your own MLS for more information.

It is a misconception that a listing broker or buyer’s broker is prohibited from divulging a sales price because Texas is a non-disclosure state. Non-disclosure relates to the ability of government entities such as appraisal districts to compel disclosure of sales prices; it does not mean sales prices are confidential by default. The limitations on use of sales prices stem from the local MLS rules.