Can You Fire Your Real Estate Agent? : A Guide for Buyers and Sellers

Buying or selling a home is a major life decision that involves a lot of time, money, and emotions.

You want to work with a real estate agent who can guide you through the process and help you achieve your goals.

Firing a REAL estate agent
Firing a REAL estate agent [ MyHOUSE]
But what if you are unhappy with your agent? Can you fire them and find someone else?The answer depends on several factors, such as the type of contract you have, the reason for your dissatisfaction, and the legal implications of terminating the relationship.

In this article, we will explore some of the common scenarios and questions that arise when you want to fire your real estate agent.

ALSO READ : How Long Is Real Estate School? How to Get Your License Faster

When Can You Fire Your Real Estate Agent?

The first thing you need to do before firing your real estate agent is to review your contract.

Image of couple with tax appeal lawyer
A property tax appeal lawyer with couple [PHOTO COURTESY OF DEVINE LAW]
Most agents require their clients to sign a written agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of their services, such as the duration, commission, and responsibilities of each party.The contract may also include a cancellation clause that specifies how and when you can terminate the agreement without facing penalties or fees.

If you have a valid reason to fire your agent, such as breach of contract, unethical behavior, or poor performance, you may be able to do so without any legal trouble.

For example, if your agent fails to list your home by the agreed-upon deadline, does not communicate with you regularly, or misrepresents the property or the market, you may have grounds to back out of the contract.

However, if you simply change your mind or find another agent who offers a better deal, you may not be able to fire your agent without consequences.

Depending on the contract, you may still have to pay a cancellation fee or even the full commission if you sell or buy a home within a certain period after terminating the agreement.

You may also face a lawsuit from your agent if they believe you breached the contract without cause.

When Can You Fire Your Real Estate Agent?

If you decide to fire your real estate agent, you should do so in a professional and respectful manner. Here are some steps you can follow:

1.Talk to your agent first.

Explain why you are unhappy with their services and give them a chance to address your concerns.

They may be willing to improve their performance or let you go without any hassle. If not, proceed to the next step.

2.Check your contract.

Review the cancellation clause and see what it says about how to terminate the agreement

You may need to give a written notice, pay a fee, or wait until the contract expires.

3.Contact the broker.

If your agent works for a brokerage firm, you may need to contact their supervisor or manager and request a termination of the contract.

The broker may try to resolve the issue or assign you another agent from their firm.

4.Get everything in writing.

Once you reach an agreement with your agent or broker, make sure you get a written confirmation that releases you from any obligations or liabilities. Keep a copy of all the documents for your records.

5.Find a new agent.

If you still want to buy or sell a home, you will need to find a new agent who can meet your needs and expectations.

You can ask for referrals from friends, family, or other professionals, or use online platforms like Clever Real Estate1 that can connect you with top-rated agents in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I have to sign a contract with a real estate agent?

It depends on whether you are buying or selling a home. Sellers typically sign an exclusive right-to-sell listing agreement with their agents, which gives them the sole authority to market and sell their property for a specified period (usually three to six months).

Buyers may or may not sign an exclusive buyer’s agent agreement with their agents, which gives them the exclusive representation and loyalty of their agents for a specified period (usually three months or more).

However, some buyers choose to work with agents without signing any contract.

Can I work with more than one real estate agent?

Again, it depends on whether you are buying or selling a home.

Sellers usually work with only one agent at a time, unless they have multiple properties in different markets or they want to switch agents after their contract expires.

Buyers can work with more than one agent at a time if they do not sign an exclusive buyer’s agent agreement with any of them. However, this may cause confusion and conflict among the agents and reduce their motivation and commitment to serve you.

Do I have to sign a contract with a real estate agent?

If you fire your real estate agent and then sell or buy a home on your own within the term of the contract, you may still owe them a commission.

This is because most contracts have a protection clause that entitles the agent to a commission if they introduced you to the buyer or seller of the property or if they performed any services that contributed to the sale or purchase of the property.

What if I fire my real estate agent and then sell or buy a home with another agent?

If you fire your real estate agent and then sell or buy a home with another agent within the term of the contract, you may owe a commission to both agents.

This is because most contracts have an extension clause that entitles the original agent to a commission if you sell or buy a home within a certain period (usually six months to a year) after terminating the agreement.

To avoid this situation, you should make sure that your new agent is aware of your previous contract and that you have a written release from your old agent.

Conclusion

Firing your real estate agent is not an easy decision, but sometimes it may be necessary to protect your best interests and achieve your goals.

Before you fire your agent, you should review your contract, communicate with your agent, and consider the legal implications of your actions.

If you do fire your agent, you should do so in a professional and courteous manner and find a new agent who can serve you better.

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