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Can you (legally) fire your realtor?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2021 | Real Estate Transactions |

Breaking up is hard to do — especially when there are contracts involved. If you really hate your realtor or think they’re just doing a bad job, does your contract mean you’re stuck with them?

Maybe. It probably all depends on how amenable they (or their agency) will be about letting you out of the contract. Here’s what you need to consider before you make your next move.

What does your contract say?

Go back and look at your contract with your real estate agent carefully, and make sure you understand exactly what obligation you have under its terms. Contracts with a realtor often last anywhere from several months to a year. If you’re near the end of your term, it may be wisest to just wait out the time.

Just be warned: Even if you have a potential buyer waiting in the wings or you sell your home with the help of a new realtor within days of ditching the old one, your old realtor may still be owed a commission. Your contract may have a clause that outlines a specific time period during which your old agent still gets a cut in the event of a sale — and that would come out of your pocket.

This makes sense from the realtor’s point of view because (unless they did absolutely nothing to promote your home) they invested time, effort and some money into everything from the photos of your home for the listing to marketing flyers and open houses.

Your contract may allow for an early termination based on certain conditions, but you probably will owe the realtor a fee. If the agent is independent, you may not have many options around this, but if the agent is part of a larger brokerage firm, you might be able to simply switch to a new agent if you contact the broker. (The broker owns the contract, not the agent.)

If you have an airtight contract and the broker and agent aren’t willing to see reason, does that mean you’re stuck with an incompetent, unprofessional or unethical real estate agent? No, but you may need some experienced guidance to get you disentangled from the situation.

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