If you and another REALTOR® disagree about who earned the commission in a sale, the decision of an arbitration panel will turn on which REALTOR® was the procuring cause for the sale. NAR defines procuring cause as “the uninterrupted series of causal events which results in the successful transaction.”

Although NAR provides an extensive list of specific factors to be considered in procuring-cause disputes, most cases will turn on the following factors:

  1. Who first introduced the buyer to the property, and how was the introduction made?
  2. Was the series of events starting with the original introduction of the buyer to the property and ending with the sale hindered or interrupted in any way?
  3. If there was an interruption or break in the original series of events, how was it caused and by whom?
  4. Did the action or inaction of the original broker cause the buyer to seek the services of the second broker? For example, if the original broker did not call the buyer for three weeks after a showing, the hearing panel might decide that he abandoned the buyer and paved the way for the entry of the second broker.
  5. Did the second broker unnecessarily intervene or intrude into an existing relationship between the buyer and the original broker? For example, if the buyer looked at a home with the original broker and the next day wrote an offer through his cousin, the second broker, then the hearing panel might decide that the second broker intervened unnecessarily in the transaction.
  6. Did the conduct of the buyer or seller seek to or effectively freeze out the broker?