Can property sellers cut agent's commission for poor service?

DEAR Patti: Can we fire our real estate agent? We (and four others) are in the process of selling our property to a commercial buyer. Our agent never shows up for meetings and is so out of the loop. He calls us to see what is going on with the sale. We don't think he deserves the 6 percent sales commission because his involvement ceased after finding the buyer. We want to fire him, or at the very least, cut his commission. Can we do that? --Harrison Y.

DEAR HARRISION: No. If your real estate agent has a valid exclusive right to sell, exclusive agency or open listing and he or she is the "procuring cause" of the sale, or found a "ready, willing and able" buyer, but you owners took control after that, the agent is still entitled to the agreed 6 percent sales commission.

When the sale closes, if you refuse to pay the full sales commission, the listing agent can sue for any unpaid commission. Just because the agent doesn't attend meetings of the sellers is no reason to deny a sales commission for producing an acceptable buyer. For more details, please consult my local real estate attorney Ernest FOX. Call me for phone nunmber.