Simply request termination of the contract with the Realtor. If the Realtor refuses, request termination with the Broker of the Realtor you are working with. If the Broker refuses, request termination with the state association. Most Realtors will allow termination of a contract for valid reasons. Sometimes the process of selling a home may not have been clearly explained in the beginning by the Realtor you selected. Sometimes the seller comes to the table expecting too much from the Realtor depending on the product to sell or current market conditions. Both you and your Realtor will need to execute a termination agreement.
Nobody likes to talk about actually “firing” somebody, but sometimes you’re just not happy with the service you’re receiving and you need to part ways. However, when it comes to your real estate agent, before you evoke Donald Trump and yell, “ You’re fired!” there are some rules of etiquette, as well as some legal technicalities that you need to consider before cutting them loose.
The first thing that needs to be determined is whether or not you’ve signed a contract. If your agent has listed your home for sale, you probably do have a contract. You probably sat down with them and discussed things like commission, list price and marketing strategies for selling your home. And, at the end of the meeting, you most likely signed a contract, authorizing your agent to represent you for a specified length of time. If this is the case, you need to sit down and review your contract, as each one varies slightly. Some contracts will be able to be broken, in writing, by either party; however a commission may still be due to the agent if you sell the home within a certain number of days. Other times, the contract may not be broken until after a specific date. And so, before you fire your real estate agent, it’s crucial that you read the fine print on the contract you’ve signed.
If you are a buyer, there is a 50/50 or greater chance that you’ve signed a
Buyer’s Agency Agreement or similar contract. Such contracts typically protect both parties; the agent promises to find the buyer a home with due diligence and honest and trustworthy dealings, and the buyer, in turn, promises to buy any homes that the agent shows to them through that particular agent-as opposed to cutting them out of the deal. This prevents buyers from using another agent at the last minute (after the first agent has done all of the work) or from somehow working a behind-the-scenes deal with a seller, without agent representation. Again, it’s possible that if you have a signed Buyer’s Agency Agreement that it can be broken in writing. However, read the fine print to be sure.
The key when considering whether to terminate your real estate agent-or whether or not it’s even legal or ethical to do so-is why you’re wanting to end your professional relationship. If you’re a buyer who simply wants to purchase a home without your agent’s help, either because you believe you’ll get a better deal, or have been wooed by another realtor-or if you’re a seller who has suddenly decided you’d rather do a back-door, one-on-one deal with a buyer-then it’s probably not possible, nor ethical, to fire your real estate agent. However, if you’re a buyer or seller who has a personality conflict with your real estate agent, or simply aren’t happy with their services, then by all means discuss it with your real estate agent and terminate your working relationship. Your realtor can always refer you to a colleague who might be able to better suit your needs and/or personality.
In the end, most conflicts can be settled simply by talking with your real estate agent. It’s possible that the negative feelings can be remedied with conversation and understanding. However, if the situation is really that bad, they will probably also feel that ending the relationship or terminating the contract is the best thing to do. And it’s likely that the two of you will be able to fire each other as amenably as possible.