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How To Fire Your Real Estate Agent


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Is Your Real Estate Agent Not Working Out? Here Is How You Fire Them.

 

What You Will Read In This Article

 

Buying or selling a home is an involved and often complicated process, and a bad real estate agent can further add to your stress and problems. One of the key factors in real estate is the art of negotiating both for and with home buyers and sellers.

Whether you are selling your home, buying a new one or both, your real estate agent should get the price you want. However, as with any profession, there are often inexperienced, lazy, and bad agents who can’t or won’t do things the correct way to get positive results. This is the right time to say goodbye to the real estate agent and find someone who can get things done as you want.

Therefore, you need to understand when to part ways with a real estate agent who is not working out. You also need to understand how to amicably bid farewell to the agent without raising any more issues for yourself.

The art of bidding farewell to your real estate agent isn’t always easy. However, with the tips mentioned below, you can not only have the “talk” with them but end things on an amicable note.

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Firing Your Agent as A Home Buyer

 

As a home buyer, your agent should be your “go-to” person who guides you through the process. Well, what if the real estate agent can’t negotiate, communicate, or shows a lack of interest in finding you the home of your dreams or getting you the best deal? What do you do then? You let them go. Here are some reasons to break it off with your agent:

  • Poor Communication Skills
  • Lack of Negotiating Skills
  • Poor or Bad Advice
  • Limited Networking and Resources
  • Lack of Ethics
  • Unprofessional Behavior
  • Violation of the Real Estate Code of Ethics

Steps to Letting Your Buyers Agent Go

You cut ties with them. You can file a formal complaint against your buyer’s agent or bring in the broker and ask for a new agent. Here are some steps to let your buyer’s agent go.

Step 1. Did You Sign a Buyer’s Representation Agreement?

The first thing you need to check is whether you signed a buyer’s representation agreement. If you have, then firing your agent gets trickier. You may have to pay a termination fee when letting your agent go, and you will have to come up with a list of justifications for letting them go as well. You also could be on the hook for paying them a commission even if you don’t use them to buy your home, so pay attention to the agreement you signed with your real estate agent.

Real estate agents often ask their customers to sign a buyer’s agent agreement or listing agreement before they begin working with them. The terms and conditions of the relationship are listed in the agreement, and this is why every home buyer should carefully read the agreement before signing it.

If you have already signed a buyers representation agreement with your agent, it should have terms and conditions in case you want to terminate the contract with the agent. There may be reasonable justifications written down in the contract that can help you terminate the contract without incurring any high cancellation fees or owing a commission to the broker.

It’s best to review these agreements before you sign them but if you just blindly signed it then legally you are bound by the terms of them, as well as your agent is bound to uphold the agreement.

Step 2. Have A Candid Conversation with Them

The best way to handle any situation is to have a candid conversation with the other party. It might be a difficult decision to make but if you want to get rid of your current real estate agent, you will have to sit down with them and discuss their performance. Be honest and transparent about your feelings and let your agent know that you are looking to work with an agent who shares the same values and goals as you do.

You do not have to be rude about it, and you can let your agent know that there are a lot of differences between their performance and your requirements or expectations. Real estate agents are busy and they might welcome you giving them the option to terminate the working relationship but be sure to get it in writing.

Step 3. Bring in Their Broker

If things don’t work out with the steps mentioned above, you can take it to their broker and loop them into the conversation. Sometimes, your real estate agent will refuse to cancel the contract, and you will have to reach out to management. You can  bring in the broker or the manager of their agency and air your grievances with them.

Brokers have the power to cancel the contract without any cancellation fee, and they can also offer you a fitting real estate agent as a replacement from within the agency.

Step 4. Talk to Your Attorney

If all else fails, it is time to talk to your lawyer. You have to find an attorney familiar with real estate contracts and help you get out of this mess without any issues. As with any legal matter, you will need to get the supporting evidence and the legal documentation regarding your contract and bring it to the attorney for a preliminary inspection.

These documentations will include any written contract with the real estate agency, a history of conversations with your real estate agent, a record of your continuous attempts to get in touch with the agent, add other documentation that show a lack of professionalism on the agent’s end.

Step 5. File A Formal Complaint

If you have already tried everything and you didn’t get anywhere, it is time to file an official complaint with your local real estate board or state division. Official complaints hold a lot of value, and these can easily help you get rid of a poor agent.

Be sure to disclose all the necessary legal documentation to the board and prove how your agent displayed unprofessionalism towards your buyers representation agreement. If you decide to file a complaint with the board, the agent will have to face disciplinary actions, and the board will help resolve your issues. This doesn’t mean they will resolve in your favor but you will have an avenue to pursue if you feel you are right.

Grounds for Termination with A Buyers Agent

So, you must be wondering what the reasons for a justified termination of the contract with the agent are. Let’s explore the different reasons that serve as a ground for termination with a buyer’s agent.

Lack of Communication

Poor communication is a deal-breaker for any two parties. The same goes for your relationship with your real estate agent, and if you observe a lack of proper communication from your real estate agent, you should look to fire them and hire a new agent who can be there for you when you want them.

Lack of Experience

Lack of experience is another thing that is a deal-breaker for the real estate industry. You want an experienced real estate agent who understands your home buying requirements and understands how to get you the desired home and minimizing any issues.

Inexperienced real estate agents are rarely good at negotiating with the clients and are also unfamiliar with the type of home you want for yourself. Therefore, you need to fire your current agent and hire a new one who comes with at track record of successful home buying experience in your real estate market and is familiar with all the different requirements of home buyers.

Refusing to Show You Certain Listings

Some agents think they know what’s best for their clients rather than listening to what the client is looking for in a home. They might refuse to show certain listings to their clients and pressure their clients to buy the homes that they have already shown. Or worse, they might refuse to show you listings that are not offering a standard buyers agent commission!

If your agent also refuses to show you certain listings in the market, you should cut off ties with them and find an agent who is willing to work according to your preferences and likeness.

Not A Fit for Your Personality

Even the most talented and experienced real estate agent might not be the right choice with you. If you’re working with an agent whose personality traits get on your nerves or you just don’t feel comfortable working with them, you might not be obligated to stick with them.

Buying a home should be a pleasant experience with an agent you like. Why stick with an agent if their personality clashes with yours? You can fire them and hire another one who understands how to work with you.

Giving Terrible Advice

You hired an agent because you want good advice, so why work with someone who gives you nothing but bad advice? If you know very little about selling or buying a home, you’re going to rely heavily on your agent and trust what they have to say. If anything seems like bad advice, it probably is. Additionally, if they say something that makes you think twice or seem like a red flag in terms of your safety or finances, it’s best to start looking for another agent.

Breaking The Agency Relationship

All agents are required to follow a real estate code of ethics. Here are the fiduciary duties every buying agent must follow:

O: Obedience

L: Loyalty

D: Disclosure

C: Confidentiality

A: Accounting

R: Reasonable Care and Diligence.

These duties are known as the “Old Car” acronym as you can see above. An agent must obey your wishes and work hard to get you the house that you want. Moreover, they should be loyal to you and disclose all the different listings to you. They should offer a high level of confidentiality regarding your sensitive and personal information in front of the sellers, and a realtor should handle all the matters with a high degree of care and diligence.

Lack of Professional Resources

Some agents are often good at listening to their clients and identifying their unique requirements, but they lack the networking skills and resources to offer the right tools for their home buying clients. All good real estate agents should have a giant network of home inspectors, appraisers, mortgage brokers, and contractors, along with other professionals.

If your current real estate agent has a limited network and a limited number of resources, you need to find a new agent who can do everything for you and get in touch with all the necessary professionals without any issues.

picture of a superhero real estate agent

Firing Your Agent As A Home Seller

 

You need to be super careful if you plan to fire your listing agent, and a thorough review of the listing contract is required.

As the contracts are typically “Exclusive Rights to Sell” contracts in which the agent gets commission no matter who purchases the property or even if the agent didn’t sell the home. Such contracts include a protection or safety clause for the agent if the home seller has plans to terminate the agreement.

Steps to Letting Your Listing Agent Go

There are times when you will have to let your listing agent go and find a new agent to sell your property. The listing agent may be unresponsive to you or offers to purchase your home, and potential buyers or the agent may be unprofessional and violate the code of ethics. Here are the right steps to get rid of a bad listing agent.

Step 1. Review Your Listing Agreement

The first thing you will need to do is to double-check your listing agreement with your agent. These agreements outline the terms and conditions of the relationship and also highlight how much cancellation fee you will have to pay to your listing agent if you want to hire a new one. Therefore, it is recommended that you read the listing agreement carefully before signing it.

Step 2. Have A Candid Conversation with Them

You can sit down with your listing agent and let them know that the relationship is not working out. It is pretty much like pulling off a Band-Aid as quickly as possible, and you can air your grievances by letting them know that they are not as responsive as you feel is necessary, and you want to sell your home as soon as possible, which requires a responsive agent.

If they can understand your problems with their current behavior and agree to terminate the contract with mutual understanding, it’s good for you. Otherwise, you will have to take additional steps to let them go.

Step 3. Bring in Their Broker

If the listing agent refuses to listen to your problems and refuses to cancel the agreement with mutual understanding, you will have to call in their boss or the broker and lay out your case to have them cancel the agreement.

The boss of a real estate agency or a broker has complete power over the cancellation of any agreement. They can also waive off any cancellation charges or commissions due if you can provide enough evidence about your listing agent’s unprofessional behavior. Keep in mind, they have to agree to cancelling the agreement in writing or the original terms of the listing contract will still apply.

Step 4. Talk to Your Attorney

If the talking to the broker also fails, you will have to call in an attorney familiar with such real estate contracts and get you out of your listing agreement contract, hopefully without any issues. However, you will have to come up with enough evidence to submit to the court or the attorney will know it’s a losing case for them. This evidence should include all your attempts to enhance the relationship and a lack of proper professionalism from your agent and how they broke the terms of your contract and did not represent you correctly.

Once the attorney sees that the real estate agent has been negligent towards your requirements, they should be able to get you out of the listing agreement through negotiations or the courts, without having to pay any financial compensation to the agent.

Step 5. File A Formal Complaint

This is the last step in getting rid of your listing agent, and you will have to file an official complaint with the State Division or the local real estate board. You can submit the evidence regarding your listing agent’s unprofessional behavior and show them how your agent has neglected representing you according to the listing agreement.

This way, you will be able to get out of your agreement, and the agent could have to face disciplinary action for their unprofessional behavior or violation of the code of ethics.

Grounds for Termination with A Listing Agent

Here are some of the top reasons you can use to fire your current listing agent and hire a new one who can help sell your home as soon as possible for the desired amount of money.

Unresponsive to Buyers & Agents

If your listing agent is unresponsive towards potential buyers and offers from the market, you have every right to get rid of them and hire a new one who is always available to cater to your requirements. One of the most important things in selling a home is to be reasonably responsive towards all the offers from potential buyers.

The buyers are in the market to buy a home as soon as possible, and they could move on to the next listing if they see any unresponsiveness from your end. Therefore, if your current listing agent is unresponsive towards buyers and other agents, you can fire them and terminate your contract with them.

Ineffective Marketing

Some listing agents are available 24/7 for buyers and their offers, but they lack effective marketing experience. They do not understand how to market your property to other people and agents properly and how to get the right exposure to sell your home online quickly.

Therefore, if you have any ineffective marketing techniques on your agent’s end, you will have every right to terminate your contract with them and hire an experienced agent who will be able to market your home in front of potential buyers effectively.

Misrepresentation of Your Home

If your listing agent is incapable of assessing your property, highlighting unique features, and not representing your home correctly, you will have the right to terminate your contract with them. Some listing agents are incapable of understanding how to market a home properly, and they end up misinterpreting the home in front of buyers. Or worse, they outright lie about the home to influence buyers, which could lead to legal action against you!

This will have a huge impact on your home sale, and you will also have to correct the buyers and other agents about your home continuously. Therefore, you should try to end your contract with your current listing agent and find a new one who will understand how to properly market the home by highlighting the right features of your home.

Breaking The Fiduciary Agency Relationship

An agent needs to follow the following fiduciary duties and principles:

O: Obedience

L: Loyalty

D: Disclosure

C: Confidentiality

A: Accounting

R: Reasonable Care and Diligence.

Following the OLD CAR analogy again, a realtor should help you with anything you want while staying inside the bounds of the fiduciary agency relationship. If the agent breaks any of these, you have every right to take them to the court.

The agent needs to adhere to your demands and show a high amount of loyalty towards the job.

The agent should also disclose all the relevant information to you before moving forward or without hiding any piece of information.

Giving Terrible Advice

One of the best reasons about having a listing agent is the advice they give during the process of putting your house on the market. The best listing agent will help you take the right course of action by helping you to highlight the best features of your home and setting the right asking price for your property.

If your current listing agent is incapable of giving good advice about how to sell your home to potential buyers properly, you can definitely and their contract with them and hire a new listing agent who will not only help you sell the house but will also be able to give you useful and resourceful advice about the best way to sell your property.

Lack of Professional Resources

Some agents often lack the right resources and networking to properly highlight your home in front of a wide array of potential buyers. The limited number of networking and resources will limit your options and offers, and this is why you can end your contract with your current listing agent and find a new one who has a giant networking list.

This way, your home will be best positioned to be exposed in front of a wider set of audiences and look it’s best, and you will be able to entice a lot of potential buyers than before.

picture of a superhero realtor

How To Not Hire the Wrong Agent Again

 

Now that you understand how to break off ties with your current real estate agent and find a new one, you also have to understand the art of finding a good realtor in the first place.

The next time you go out to find a real estate agent for your property, you can ask for referrals from friends and family. This way, you will get realtors who have previously worked for someone you know and you will be able to get feedback from that person.

You can also go online and make use of modern-era technology to help assist you with your search for the right agent. You can check for realtors on Zillow, Yelp, BBB, or running Google searches for the “best real estate agents near me”. These sites typically have plenty of sales reviews, as well as feedback from clients.

Once you have made a list, you will want to contact the real estate agents and interview them. It’s a good idea to interview multiple agents before choosing one. Make a list of specific questions to ask real estate agents and make up your mind depending upon their answers. These interviews will also let you know if you will work well together or not. You can also take this time to clarify expectations on both sides.

 

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