Not sure how to fire your Realtor? While breaking up with a real estate agent is never easy to do, oftentimes it’s a necessary evil. Why? Because as anyone who’s purchased or listed a home can tell you, hiring the right Realtor for the job is critical to your success. Without a seasoned team of professionals by your side, the home buying and selling process will likely be a giant mess for you and your family.
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get mixed up with the wrong Realtors, as the real estate industry often has low barriers to entry. This makes it possible for agents without sufficient training and experience to enter the business. For instance, while most Realtors can easily list a property, obtain an offer and write up a contract, they may not all be able to successfully close the deal. Many times this is due to a lack of understanding of today’s financial rules and regulations surrounding home buying.
In addition, to closing a deal, a good Realtor should be able to meet your individual real estate needs. For instance, do you need a Realtor with strong networking skills in a certain city? Or one with experience in high end real estate? These are examples of questions you should ask yourself before hiring a Realtor. Fortunately, if you happen to enlist one who seems to meet your qualifications, only to realize later that they don’t, it is possible to still cut ties with your Realtor (and hopefully do it without hard feelings). For tips and advice on how to break up with your Realtor, read our guide below.
Reasons to fire a Realtor
- They are simply incompetent and unable to complete a real estate transaction successfully.
- They are unprofessional and unpleasant.
- They do not meet your specific real estate needs (i.e. lack of buying or selling history in a certain neighborhood).
- They aren’t able to market your property using today’s technology.
- The home’s listing images are poor quality.
- They are bad communicators.
- They lack necessary negotiation skills.
- The home isn’t selling as quickly as it should.
- They are unethical. For a look at the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics, check here.
How to fire your Realtor
If you’re the seller
As a seller, you know that saying goodbye to your home can be an emotional process. Not only is listing and showing your home a stressful experience (especially if you still live there), but it is also often accompanied by a mix of sentimental and sad feelings. Of course, this is perfectly normal. Letting go of a home filled with memories is hardly easy for anyone. Given these concerns, it’s especially important to choose the right Realtor to list your home and guide you through this stressful period. Of course, everyone makes mistakes. If you discover that you’ve hired the wrong Realtor, it is possible (albeit, it can be a bit tricky) to fire your listing agent.
When sellers hire a listing agent to sell their home, they will enter into a contract with that Realtor. These contracts are often Exclusive Right to Sell contracts. In an Exclusive Right to Sell contract, the listing agent is owed the commission no matter who purchases the home. So even if you find the buyer, your Realtor will still get their commission. In many ways, this makes sense given that many Realtors put their own money and time into selling a home. These contracts may also contain some sort of clause that protects the Realtor in the case that the contract is terminated. This could mean that the seller still needs to pay the Realtor their commission even if they are fired. Or it could mean that there is simply no clause that allows the seller to remove themselves from the contract – even if they are unhappy with the agent.
For these reasons, the best way to go about canceling a contract with a Realtor is to simply call the broker and explain your desire to end the contract with their agent. Many reputable brokers who wish to stay in your good graces (and with the community’s) will let you out of the contract. If you wish to stay with the broker, you can also ask for them to assign you a new real estate agent from their brokerage. If all else fails, and they won’t allow you out of the contract, you may need to recruit a lawyer to help with the legalities of terminating a contract.
If you’re the buyer
When buying a home, it’s important to choose a qualified and experienced buyer’s agent to meet your house hunting needs. A buyer’s agent should be able to assist you with scheduling showings for potential homes, negotiating price, finding comparable sales, emailing potential listings from MLS and helping buyers through the loan approval process. In addition, a buyer’s agent may also spend a large chunk of their time driving home buyers to showings.
If you find yourself unsatisfied with your agent, you may be able to bow out gracefully. Fortunately, many buyer’s agents do not require that clients sign any sort of formal, binding agreement. However, if you wish to fire a Realtor who has put their valuable time and energy into finding you a home, be sure to break up with them in a respectable way. Communication is key. Going behind the agent’s back and using another Realtor to purchase a home is simply rude – especially if that buyer’s agent has put considerable time into finding you a home. Instead, make sure you are open, honest and upfront with the agent about your decision to cut ties.
If you did sign a formal agreement with the buyer’s agent, you’ll need to discuss terminating the contract with the Realtor before enlisting a new buyer’s agent.