I think we’re going to see more Brokerages closing their doors or being acquired this year. My Brokerage (Century 21 Hometown Realty) recently acquired Re/Max Ocean West with offices in Santa Maria and Pismo Beach.
I recently did some Sold statistics for 2008 by Brokerage and some Brokerages only had a few Solds for 2008 which I’m sure isn’t enough to help pay to keep the doors open. 2009 isn’t starting out much different than 2008 in regards to the number of Solds which will only make it harder for Brokerages that have already been struggling to survive.
If you are currently under contract with a Brokerage, having them being acquired is not an issue as your agent just becomes part of the acquiring Brokerage. But, if the Brokerage shuts their doors, you might have some problems. It all depends why they are going out of business. If it’s because they can’t afford their office space anymore, then they probably will still have their license so they may still be able to finish the transaction. But, if their license was suspended or revoked, then you’re going to have to figure out what to do as they won’t be able to assist you anymore.
What I would do on any Listing Agreement is add a clause that allows you to cancel the agreement at any time. Then, if Brokerage closes their doors, you can cancel the listing agreement and resign with a Brokerage that is going to be around (like C21 Hometown Realty!). I don’t see too much of a benefit for a homeowner wanting to sell their home to be locked into a 6-12 month listing agreement with a Brokerage that no longer has an office.