Dr. Karen  Lewis, Broker 954-2489149, No Compromise When it Comes to Our Clients! (K1 Realty Group)

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Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

  I take fees up front, in writing, clearly stated as a retainer or a consulting fee, non-refundable.    With respect, I believe that asking for $$$ after the deal crashes (even if it is the buyer's fault) is adding insult to injury.  

   Also with respect, DBPR and FREC will require that $500 to be paid to your Broker.   A salesperson or broker-salesperson in Florida cannot be paid directly by a customer or client. 



Apr 21, 2017 12:19 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Was this a fee negotiated up front if the deal didn't go through? Otherwise your question is not making much sense.

Apr 21, 2017 10:59 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

My thoughts some will, some wont, so what, next.

Try to salvage the relationship. That $500 is nothing compared to possible future business from her and referrals.  Now all she is going to do is bad mouth you to others.  How much do you think it cost you to get a lead?  Just my opinion.

Apr 21, 2017 10:55 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

In California, we had a trust account, where monies went when an offer was  for an office/retail lease or a sale.   A trust account is kept in trust for the cllient and if the deal dies, all monies are returned to that person.  On our contract, it was clearly stated.   In one instance of working on deal for 3 months with a premier international luxury brand, which at the last minute was nixed by the Feng Shui master from San Francisco and the leases had been negotiated by all parties and ready to sign, we had a very large sum sitting in the trust account.  I wrote a check for that exact sum, and we both worked our butts off as did all parties.   Untill all parties execute a document, you are not entitled to a cent. 

As Richard Weeks said a reputation is worth so much more than $500, and worth more than what I wrote a check for  A.  

Apr 21, 2017 11:09 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

$500 for what? Was there an agreement in writing about a fee to be paid if things did not move forward for some reason.

Apr 21, 2017 10:57 AM
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Until it is in your bank account, it is not yours.  You can't lose what you didn't have.  $500 ??  Really?

Apr 21, 2017 10:54 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

What is unfair, that she cheated you out of your commission by spending her down payment elsewhere?


Apr 21, 2017 10:50 AM
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Thank you Fred Griffin 

Apr 21, 2017 06:57 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

It sounds like willful breach to me, but I am not an attorney. If she paid it the buyer must have felt like responsibility for the denial.

Apr 21, 2017 04:59 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

That might be an issue in Oklahoma. A denial for whatever reason is one where earnest money would go back to the buyer regardless of wheter she spent the down payment.

Apr 21, 2017 11:17 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Karen, in my opinion it would only be unfair if you had not discussed this in advance.  Better yet, if she signed a buyer broker agreement that stated there was a $500 retainer fee paid to you if the person did not close on a property, how can she complain?  Our time is worth SOMETHING, and if buyers paid a fee upfront or know they will have to pay a fee if they flake then you will get serious buyers.

Hmmm, I wonder if a lawyer represented her in a FSBO transaction and if she did not close the sale for any reason if the lawyer would waive compensation???

Apr 21, 2017 11:12 AM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

As Fred Griffin wrote. We live and die by the most recent transaction whether successful or not.

Apr 22, 2017 06:21 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

How is it "unfair" if it's in the written agreement?

Apr 22, 2017 06:05 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

If it was in your contract with her, that's fine.

Apr 22, 2017 05:38 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Never heard of such a thing...unless it was part of the contract...I vote with the client.

Apr 22, 2017 02:38 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I do not know any realtor/broker who charges any fees upfront in my hood. If you had an agreement in advance that stated that you are paid a certain fee regardless of closing, that should be honored by clients. 

Apr 22, 2017 12:00 AM
Toronto, ON

What does the contract between the buyer and your brokerage state?

Apr 21, 2017 08:06 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I think Fred Griffin touched on best where I was going with my question...you did split that with your Broker and run it through them first yes? There could be more trouble than $500.00 is worth if not.

Apr 21, 2017 05:35 PM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

First off, I hope you mean she gave your broker $500. Now if she deliberately spent her down payment then I would say she is in default of the contract & seller could sue her for specific performance. That's what would happen here in our state & I would go for more than what you did. DEFAULT.

Apr 21, 2017 01:50 PM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Do you mean earnest deposit? I don't know about your state, but in ours the buyer has to make a good-faith effort to obtain the mortgage. Spending the down payment money, causing a denial is not a good faith effort and their earnest money should be forfeit.

Apr 21, 2017 01:45 PM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

The answer depends on your contract with your buyer.  If you had an agreement to be paid should she cause her own sale fail, then this is a valid result and your payment received is appropriate. But all such payments should go to the brokerage first and be subject to your contract with the brokerage. But this is such a rare resut of a sale fail, that I cannot say I have ever heard of such a thing before.

Apr 21, 2017 01:41 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

not sure of the legalities, but we would not charge anyone unless we closed.... 

Apr 21, 2017 01:36 PM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

If it's a fee that was specified as being non-refundable, then sure.

Apr 21, 2017 01:17 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

She was denied. Money should be refunded according to the contract terms. Both paries should sign an authorization for release.

Apr 21, 2017 12:54 PM
Maria Sapio
Keller Williams of Central PA - Carlisle, PA
Real Estate Agent- Carlisle, PA. Mariasapio.com

I would consult an attorney -

Apr 21, 2017 12:10 PM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Well if they get rejected within the time frame and the sale was contingent on a mortgage, they wold get it back in my eyes, even if dumb enough to spend their down payment

Apr 21, 2017 11:43 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

I have never seen a commission payment for this reason. Hopefully, your settlement agreement is documented.

Apr 21, 2017 11:09 AM
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

1. Depends upon what the purchase contract says.

2. Depends upon what the written agreement you have says.

3. Depends on who you are representing...


Ps: Regardless, are you really going to burn a bridge over $500?

Apr 21, 2017 10:50 AM
Dave Martin (703) 585-4687
Fairfax Realty - Fairfax, VA
Making Realty Dreams a Reality #WeWillGetYouHome

I am very very late to this post and all seems to have been solved/answered here :-) Happy Days!

Mar 29, 2018 06:25 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Karen - I guess if you had this written into your contract, and the EM deposit went to your broker before being distributed to you, then it is okay and you covered all your bases.

Apr 26, 2017 12:16 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

These type things need to be in the Buyer Agency agreement.

Apr 24, 2017 06:25 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Did you have a contract that stipulated that?

Apr 22, 2017 08:08 PM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA
https://HugginsHomes.com - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

If it's in the BBA, why not.  Might be bad timing though...

Apr 22, 2017 09:37 AM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

I'm sorry I do not understand this - are you asking for more money from the buyer after they lost a deal?

If so, all I can say is wow!

Apr 22, 2017 08:58 AM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

If it was discussed and agreed to in writing as a fee for service, if it wasn't the earnest money that likely was due back to buyer or seller, and if it went through your broker then it is not unfair, it is just following through with an agreement. -Kasey

Apr 22, 2017 08:07 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Depends,  If you have something in writing ahead of time on a buyer agency agreement.  Not all states are the same.


Apr 22, 2017 06:52 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

That is real estate

Apr 22, 2017 06:18 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

What is in writing should prevail...

Apr 22, 2017 05:34 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Karen Jones Lewis, MBA, Realtor - it depends on, if you already have such agreement in place. I do not.

Apr 21, 2017 10:54 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Contracts and legality aside ... it is not something I would do. I hope it was done properly and you have your proverbial bottom covered. 

Apr 21, 2017 04:57 PM
Melissa Jackson
Century 21 Alliance Properties - Azle, TX
Helping You Make The Right Move

Any money your getting from a client should go directly to the broker then split.  I understand your frustration - feeling like your working for nothing. If your agreement stated this before working together - your client knew it.  Will this client come to you in the future? Offer referrals? 

Apr 21, 2017 03:41 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Its unfair because she did not get satisfaction or perhaps a say so...

Apr 21, 2017 03:10 PM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

I make clear to my clients I receive compensation ONLY on closed deals.

Any revenue generated in situations other that a closed deal go directly to the entitled client. 


You created a citizen who now has a lot to say.


Apr 21, 2017 12:17 PM