Paying Real Estate Agents Twice

When you are looking for a place to live, using the services of a real estate agent can save a lot of energy and time. Having hired your agent, you make an appointment to see an interesting property. While waiting for him, another person shows up with the keys and an exposé on the house. Do you now have to pay both agents?


It depends on the substance of the contract. Usually, merely knowing the name and address of the property and owner/seller does not qualify, since this is only information that might lead to signing a contract. This proof is the first step for the broker in earning his fee, since he can then start negotiations with the owner. The right to demand the broker's commission has not yet been earned. The broker will only be entitled to a commission upon signing a rental or sale contract.

If the first broker were still to demand a broker's commission this would clearly violate the Act on Unfair Competition. He would violate §1 UWG, which prohibits the violation of good morals. Such a violation would entitle you to the recovery of damages. In practice, this means for you that you do not have to pay the first broker. He presumably will be receiving a broker's commission from the second broker, but this does not relate to your situation. Of course the second broker is entitled to his fee.

You will be liable to pay two brokers if the seller hired two or more brokers and you received services from both real estate agents. This situation occurs if both brokers introduce you to the same landlord or seller and you sign a contract with that principal. Here is how you can protect yourself from paying for the same service twice: If you already have the exposé of a property from another broker, then immediately instruct the second broker on this fact and mention that you do not want to enter negotiations regarding this property.

Published on the old CMS: 2006/8/2
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 515 reads

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