The Real Deal Los Angeles

Keller Williams v. Re/Max: Brokers battle over $800K home commission split

A Keller agent is accusing a Re/Max broker of withholding his share of a multimiillion-dollar Newport Beach home sale
By Dennis Lynch |
Research by Laura Hanrahan
July 12, 2018 09:07AM

Katie Yau, Ying Ye, and an archway marking Newport Coast

A Keller Williams agent is charging a competitor with foul play, saying a Re/MAX agent withheld his half of an $800,000 joint commission they agreed to split on a multimillion-dollar Newport Beach home purchase.

Keller Williams Signature Realty and agent Ying Ye is accusing Re/MAX Titanium and its agent, Katie Yau, of cutting him out of the deal involving a Hong Kong client they jointly represented.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last month, claims that Yau signed an agreement to divide any commission evenly, then deliberately tried to hide the commission from him once it closed.

Keller Williams Signature Realty is based in Industry and Re/MAX Titanium in Rosemead.

Based on a standard 3 to 6 percent commission rate, an $800,000 commission would be generated from a home sale in the range of $13 to $26 million. The address provided in the suit suggests the property in question is a 12.5-acre estate that sold for $40 million in November 2017, making it the second-highest sale ever in Orange County, according to the Daily Pilot.

Ye and Yau both met client Chang Ge Feng separately in 2017, according to the suit, and he asked them to work together to find him a home in Southern California. They later signed an agreement to split any commission from a sale down the middle shortly, the suit alleges. Yau and Ye showed Feng properties, but Ye said that his partner did so in some cases without telling him.

Feng went on to buy a Newport Coast home in Newport Beach that November, which Yau showed him. But the suit claims Yau didn’t tell Ye about the sale, and didn’t tell the escrow officer about the 50/50 split. Although it appears Ye wasn’t involved with the Newport Coast property, he says the sale would not have happened without his work.