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The statute governing contracts for commissions for buying or selling real estate provides that any agreement authorizing an employee, an agent or broker, to sell or purchase real estate for compensation or a commission, shall be void unless the agreement, contract, or promise, or some note or memorandum thereof, be in writing.
Appellant property owners entered into an oral agreement with the respondent broker to give him a commission if he sold their real estate. In the contract for the sale of the land, they agreed to pay the commission to the broker. When the property owners did not pay the broker, he filed the action. The trial court found in the broker's favor. Appellant property owners challenged the decision.
Under the circumstances, was the respondent broker entitled to the payment of the commission?
On appeal, the court affirmed. The court acknowledged that real estate contracts and broker agreements were required to be in writing under the statute. The court found, however, that the property owners had a moral obligation to pay the broker even though by the time it was in writing, the consideration was his past service. The court found that the moral obligation alone was sufficient to sustain the promise to pay.