Dean A. Smith Sales, Inc. (out of Pflugerville – what is the right way to pronounce Pflugerville anyway) entered into a listing agreement with Metal Systems, Inc. Dean, as broker, was engaged in 2008 to sell Metal’s business for $4.5 million, which amount included real estate owned by Metal.
years later Dean sued Metal for $160k in damages. The trial court ruled for
Metal. Dean appealed.
Listing Agreement stated that Dean was to receive a 7% commission if real
estate was included. Evidently, although not specifically stated, when Metal
learned that Dean did not have a TREC issued real estate brokerage license
Metal refused to pay.
only assume that real estate was included in the deal. And the license issue
was the cause of the non-payment.
first argued that the transaction did not involve real estate, so no TREC
license was required. However, the listing agreement stated otherwise.
Number Two was that there was an oral amendment to the written listing agreement,
removing real estate from it. Dean Smith submitted an affidavit stating that:
“I never had any expectation of a
commission for the sale of real estate . . . The sale . . . was expected to be
a stock transfer . . . The sales price listed in the contract was based on the
value of the business without any real estate.”
of Appeals used Dean’s own Listing Agreement against him to refute this
Court then evaluated the Texas Real Estate License Act regarding commission
claims. Section 1101.806(b) of the TRELA states that a party may not collect a
real estate commission unless the party proves it was a license holder at the
time the act [for which a commission became payable] was commenced.
the Court of Appeals concluded: (a) a listing agreement was signed; (b) the
listing agreement provided for the disposition of real estate (and fairly,
other assets too); (c) real estate services were provided by Dean as defined by
the TRELA; and (d) Dean did not hold a brokerage license issued by TREC.
recall the previous article about quantum
meruit? Well, of great interest to me anyway, the Court teased us with that
as Argument Number Three, but then dismissed it on a technicality.
Metal Systems, Inc. wins again, and Dean A. Smith Sales, Inc. loses again.
See Dean A. Smith Sales, Inc. v. Metal
Systems, Inc.; 05-11-01449-CV; Texas Court of Appeals 5th
District, Dallas; March 11, 2013.
you want to get paid a commission for a deal involving real estate, you’d
better have a TREC brokerage license. And a written commission agreement too.
Which describes the property with specificity.
brokers not holding TREC licenses might be wise to engage TREC brokers for the
real estate component of the deal.
Reprinted with the permission of North Texas Commercial Association of REALTORS®, Inc.