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If a real estate agent is the procuring cause for a transaction to take place, then his efforts were the basis for negotiations which let to the deal taking place, and is entitled to a commission.
It is sometimes also known as the contributing case or predominant efficient cause.
Under this rule even the indirect actions of a broker which ultimately led to a sale can be deemed as procuring cause.
For example, if an agent sent a prospective buyer to an open house without being there himself, and a sales transaction was made between the seller and buyer, the agent can still be entitled to commission fees.
A common way used by agents to ensure procuring cause is with the infamous exclusive sale contract. This contract arrangement ensures that a selling agent is compensated should a house be sold within a specified period of time.
While this ensures that the interest of the agent is secured, there is a lot of debate going on about whether this practice secures the interest of a home seller at all.