Can Seller Cancel Listing Agreement?

Question: We signed a listing agreement to sell our Glendale home for $780,000. Our listing agent said that she had listed and sold 16 homes in our subdivision. Although our listing agent said that the listing price of $780,000 was too high, we were in no rush to sell our home in this “booming” market. Therefore, we refused to lower the $780,000 listing price. After two months our listing agent has not brought us one offer, although a similar home in our subdivision just sold for $755,000. We asked our listing agent to have an open house, but she said that right now she is too busy. The last two weeks she hasn’t returned our phone calls or answered our emails. Furthermore, we found out that, although her brokerage firm had sold 16 homes in our subdivision, she was the listing agent for only one sale. Can we cancel the listing agreement now?

Answer: Probably. First, if you listed your home in reliance on her misrepresentation that she had sold 16 homes in your subdivision, that detrimental reliance by you probably justifies cancellation of the listing agreement. Second, if your listing agent has “abandoned” you by not returning your phone calls or emails, and has refused to do even one open house, that could be another justification for cancellation of the listing agreement. Most listing agents, however, do not want to work with unhappy sellers and, if you agree to reimburse her for any marketing costs, your listing agent may be more than happy to cancel your listing agreement.

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