Jerry Seinfeld Loses Real Estate Commission Case

Many of you have personal experience in the sale or purchase of real estate. In such real estate transactions, the seller typically pays a commission both to the seller’s agent, and to the buyer’s agent. The total commission paid to the agents is generally about 3.5% to 6%.

Comedian Jerry Seineld has recently lost a real estate dispute related to the payment of commission to a real estate agent who was helping him find a home to purchase. Read up on the full story here at cnn.com’s Law Center.

Even though real estate broker Tamara Cohen did not assist in the transaction for Seinfeld’s purchase of the townhome, a judge in a New York court ruled that Seinfeld does indeed owe Cohen a commission. According to the article, Cohen did provide Seinfeld with her real estate services, showing him several townhomes, and informing Seinfeld of the townhome Seinfeld eventually purchased.

The judge’s ruling indicates that Cohen’s failure to return Seinfeld’s phone calls during the Jewish Sabbath did not constitute a breach of her duties to Seinfeld as a real estate agent. Thus, Seinfeld did not have the legal right to use another agent to purchase the property and refuse Cohen a commission for the real estate transaction.

Interestingly, we would have to assume that the seller of the townhome already paid a commission both to the seller’s agent, and the agent Seinfeld (the buyer’s agent) used to complete the transaction.

It is also important to note that Seinfeld, not the seller of the townhome, owes Cohen a commission, since Cohen had a legal relationship only with Seinfeld, as his real estate agent.

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