The decision on whether or not to sell your home is always a big one. If you choose to sell, the next choice, just as big, is selecting the right seller’s agent. If you do it right by interviewing multiple agents and asking the right questions, you should be able to find the right listing agent for the job. But sometimes, it doesn’t work out. The agent turns out to be either woefully unprepared for the job, unresponsive in communications, lazy, or even all three. Sometimes circumstances change, and you’ve just decided that maybe it’s not the right time to sell.
Whatever the reason, the desired result is the same. You want the real estate listing agreement with the agent terminated. Unfortunately, that is not always easy to do.
Firing a listing agentFiring a listing agent
No doubt, you’ll have signed an exclusive right to sell listing agreement with your agent’s brokerage. It makes terminating the real estate listing agreement with your agent so problematic. Each listing agreement will vary in detail, but in one form or another, it will state that any attempt to change, rescind or modify it must be agreed to by both parties. Depending on how outright bellicose the agent is, they could refuse and leave you stuck with the contract until it expires. However, there are ways to resolve this.
Try to work it outTry to work it out
It may be that your agent is not even aware that you are unsatisfied with them. The best way to approach this is by first having an honest conversation about why you are unhappy. Then, make it clear that you would like to cancel the contract unless some drastic changes are made. At the very least, you should give them the courtesy of a chance to make things right. Also, take a moment to ask yourself if whether you’ve been reasonable. Some clients make things difficult by making unreasonable demands on their agents or refusing to listen to their advice, so look in the mirror first.
If it still doesn’t work out and you have valid reasons for ending the contract, a realtor will often agree to let you off the hook. Of course, this will usually come with a compensation fee outlined in the contract. How much this compensation is, varies a great deal, so be sure to read the agreement carefully before signing. But what if they refuse to budge? Well, then there’s option two.
Could you make an appointment with their managing broker?Could you make an appointment with their managing broker?
If they refuse to terminate the contract on speaking with your agent, it’s time to take this a level higher. Go to the manager or owner of their company and decide why you want the contract terminated. Again, you should have concrete examples and reasons why the relationship is not working out, don’t just say you want out because the property hasn’t sold yet.
Naturally, the owner or manager will try to keep you with the firm by recommending a different agent from the company. If you have already met an agent that you like from another company, you need to make it crystal clear to the owner that you no longer want to work with their company.
However, even at this point, the owner may be just as stubborn as your agent. If you find yourself here, now is the time to delicately explain that you have many friends and family in the area. Mention that it would be bad for all if you felt compelled to speak ill of their firm. Most people will peak up at this and make smart business decisions.
Allow the contract to expire.Allow the contract to expire.
The most drama-free option and the one most people choose. If your agreement is close to its end anyway, it is usually better to let it before hiring another listing agent.