Brokerage Firm “Owns” the Listing – Not the Agent

Question: One of our best friends is a real estate agent who lives in our Queen Creek neighborhood. We signed a six-month listing agreement with this real estate agent. After only two months our real estate agent left her brokerage firm and went to a new brokerage firm. The designated broker of her old brokerage firm has refused to transfer our listing agreement to our real estate agent’s new brokerage firm. In fact, two real estate agents of the old brokerage firm even called us to discuss a marketing strategy for the sale of our Queen Creek home. Our real estate agent is very upset that her old brokerage firm will not transfer the listing agreement to her new brokerage firm. She says that there is nothing that she can do, however, because under Arizona law the brokerage firm, not the individual real estate agent, owns the listing agreement. We are shocked because the only person that we knew at the old brokerage firm was our real estate agent and we still want her to market our home. Are we just “stuck” with the old brokerage firm?

Answer: Although you are legally “stuck” with the old brokerage firm, your old brokerage firm does not want to represent an unhappy seller. Therefore, you should be able to negotiate a transfer of the listing agreement to your real estate agent’s new brokerage firm. For example, you could agree to reimburse any direct marketing costs of the old brokerage firm, and could also agree to pay a cancellation fee to the old brokerage firm at the time that your home does sell.

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