What if both Spouses do not Sign the Listing Agreement?

Question: My wife signed a listing agreement with a real estate broker to sell our Chandler home. My wife did not consult with me before signing this listing agreement. Are my wife and I bound by the listing agreement signed only by my wife?

Answer: Probably. A listing agreement is not a real estate contract. Rather, it is a personal services contract hiring a real estate broker, similar to hiring a landscaper or an accountant. The signature of either spouse will bind both spouses and their community property for any breach of the listing agreement.

If you and your wife are selling the property as part of a divorce settlement, however, you should argue that the commission should be paid from your wife’s share of the sale proceeds because you did not authorize hiring this real estate broker.  For this reason and other similar reasons, a listing broker should require signatures from both spouses for all listing agreements.  Signatures by both spouses would make them each responsible for payment of the listing broker commissions, and would enable the listing broker to enforce certain provisions found in listing agreements (e.g. a requirement to sell at a certain price).

Note: Both spouses will need to sign the purchase contract in order for the home to be sold.

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