Referral Fee by CA Agent Being Denied

This is a complicated problem, but back in 2011, I found an agent in Sacramento, CA area to refer my niece in buying a home.  She agreed and they bought a home.  One year later, my brother was buying in same area and the same agent agreed to be his agent and give me the referral.  She would have never had these opportunities if I hadn't engaged her in the first place.  She also sent lengthy facebook messages and emails which I saved saying any other family or friends she would promise to help in all my family real estate transactions.

Last year my brother and his wife separated, I thought they would sell, but held off.  She was ready to list that and give the referral then.  Fast forward to last week and my brother decided to sell the home they bought in 2012 and he asked me if he should call Gail to cooperate and do a referral, so his separated wife and he got her to list it and she sent me email thanking me and saying that my niece might be buying and then selling their home.  

That is two listings and one purchase to give me the referrals.  I have the mail where she has promised to always help our family in all our real estate transactions.

Now my brother told me she called him, not me and said she can't do the referral on the listing of his house because she'd be the selling agent.  He had sold a property in Temecula and his listing agent had no problem giving it to me.  Anyway, she did not call me and in the meantime, now my niece has listed her house with this agent who would not have had either of these current listings if my family didn't give it to her with the knowledge that she would give me the referral fee.

I have discussed this with my brother and we agree she owes all three referrals when they close, but not sure how to approach this to tell her this.  I thought I might send her the California referral forms for all three possible transactions and tell her she already had agreed in the past to help in all of our real estate for my family.

Any suggestions if she doesn't?  Can she be sued or turned in for failure to provide these fees when in all my proof in email and messaging she already committed herself to giving these to me.  She wouldn't have any of this without me first finding her in 2011 and beginning what I thought was a working relationship with her and my family and myself.

This had got me so upset that I have to fight for what she has been freely dropped in her lap and now she's getting greedy.  She told my brother she can give a referral when my niece purchases another property, but seems to be unwilling to do it on both listings.  Total amount to be realized approximately a million dollar in sales.

If anyone can help me figure what to do besides what I thought of sending her via email the forms signed by my family for her referral to get her complying to what she agreed to over and over and I have the mail and messages to prove this.


Sharon Letson, Broker

Paramount Realty

Willard, MO


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  • You should have a referral agreement from the agent.  In writing.  I don't think referrals are never ending.  In my experience you should always have a written agreement with the other agent, no matter how many people in your chain she/he has sold.  Good luck.  I know this is frustrating,  not to mention money possibly lost.  

  • Did you have any referral fee agreement in writing? That's your legal go-to.

    I would consider having no one in your family continue to work with this agent and seek a referral agreement from another agent. You might not be able to recover anything from past deals... but there's no need to give the agent any new work going forward.

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