Q: Is a broker entitled to charge for expenses, in addition to his fee? Can he charge for his efforts if he did not conclude the sale?
A: This depends on the nature of the brokerage arrangement and the common practice.
A sales agent who was hired and served faithfully is like an employee; the employer (seller) is responsible to pay for his time and expenses, as is reasonable in this field, unless the practice is not to pay for expenses. Some write that if the broker stipulated an excessive fee, it includes expenses (Terumas Hadeshen #323; Minchas Pittim 264:4; Chut Hashani #2).
If a broker did not conclude the sale, there is a dispute whether he is entitled to payment for his efforts. According to most authorities, if the broker did not initially stipulate that he should be paid for his efforts, he is not entitled to anything, since many brokers toil unsuccessfully, unless the common practice is otherwise (Beis Yosef, C.M. 185:3; Rama 264:4; Mishpat Shalom 185:6).