Real Estate Commission Disputes

Serving Waukegan, Libertyville, Lake County, Gurnee & nearby areas of Illinois

Our firm represents both real estate brokers and property owners in disputes involving real estate commissions.  With anywhere from 3-10% of a property’s value at stake, resolution of these cases can have serious economic consequences for both sides.     

Anyone claiming a real estate commission must be licensed by the state.  Furthermore, there must be an agreement in writing between the property owner and the real estate broker.  Although verbal contracts are enforceable in many other areas of the law, no commission is due unless the amount owed, the length of the listing agreement and the broker’s duties are clearly specified in writing and signed by both parties. 

A broker’s right to a commission depends on whether the sale was procured or affected through his efforts or through information derived from him.  Thus the mere act of a prospective buyer seeing a yard sign, a newspaper ad or an Internet listing may be sufficient to obligate the property owner to pay a commission.  The commission could still be owed even if the broker did not negotiate a contract, screen the prospective buyer or attend closing.
 
A broker is entitled to a commission if he/she is the procuring cause of a consummated real estate transaction which he was employed to negotiate.  The broker is deemed the procuring cause if he/she brought the parties together.  The law leans heavily towards allowing a commission, regardless of how dissatisfied a seller may be with their broker’s services.
 
Finally, a commission claim cannot be defeated by the owner making a sale himself or through another broker.  Dishonest property owners frequently try to circumvent their broker by dealing directly with a buyer procured by the broker, hoping to get away with avoiding payment of a large sum.  This type of behavior is frowned upon by the courts and can result in the broker obtaining more from the property owner than just the commission that should have been paid.
 
If you find yourself in a real estate commission dispute or are unsure about when or if a commission should be paid, feel free to contact the experienced real estate lawyers at our firm.