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Tips to Break Up with Your Real Estate Agent

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No one likes a breakup, but what if you want to end things with your real estate agent? There are legal considerations to keep in mind, plus if you want to change agents there could be some emotions involved. You want to ensure you’re covering your bases in terms of both.

Signs You Should Consider a New Real Estate Agent

Buying or selling a home can be a challenging time. You may be going through other changes in your life, and there are a lot of considerations in either situation. That means you might unfairly take some of those emotions out on your agent, or perhaps blame them for things that really aren’t their fault.

In other situations, there may be a real issue that can only be adequately addressed by finding a new agent.

Signs you should consider a new agent include:

  • Your agent doesn’t convey the idea that they’re working for you. Some agents may have a bit more of an ego than you’d like, and you may feel more like you’re working for that person.
  • If you’re selling your home and other properties in the neighborhood have sold much faster than yours, you might think about whether or not it has something to do with the agent or the advice they’re providing you.
  • When you go online, you can’t find your home there. If you do find it, the images, videos, and other content used to market your home don’t seem to be the same quality as other similar properties.
  • You spend a lot of time waiting for your agent to respond to you. Of course, everyone is busy, but your agent should have good, consistent communication with you. That’s a big part of what they do.
  • As a buyer, you might want to find someone new if your agent doesn’t seem to take the initiative or offer you any real guidance.

In some cases, even if you can’t pinpoint any particular thing your agent is or isn’t doing, but you’re not seeing activity, then you might want to make a switch as well.

Can You Change Agents?

First and foremost, if you’re a seller and you haven’t yet signed a broker’s agreement, you can legally change agents when you want. If you have signed an agreement, there may be a few steps you have to take before you can change.

Go over your contract.

Some will include a cancellation clause, which outlines how you can legally break up with your agent before the expiration of the contract.

There may be additional terms that you have to meet if you want to do that, so read the fine print.

Sometimes these additional terms can be pretty simple. As an example, your agreement may say that you need to give 48 hours’ notice.

If your broker failed to uphold their duties and you can show that, then it may be easier to get out of even a fairly tight contract.

Regardless of the specifics, you should plan to send a letter of termination to your agent.

Be aware that an agent may be entitled to a commission if they’ve done work on your behalf as the seller. This could include marketing the home, preparing it, or contacting potential buyers. The whole concept of listing agreements is based on agents being compensated for the work they do before they sell a home.

The sooner you can let an agent know, the better for them and also for you.

How Can You Navigate It Tactfully?

Unless you’re in a full-blown war with your current agent, you want to handle things as tactfully as you can.

Try to be honest with the issues you’re having, but remain professional.

You may find that your agent agrees with you, and depending on the specifics, your old agent may have a list of other professionals they can recommend to you.

Again, you will need to write a formal letter because this can help protect you financially and legally if any issues come up later on.

You don’t have to explain why you want to part ways—it’s not required, but you might want to anyway.

If there’s any chance you can salvage your relationship and work it out, you might want to try that before outright firing your agent. It could be a simple misunderstanding.

If that’s not the case and you don’t feel comfortable moving forward, try to be as kind as you can during the “break-up,” while also considering any possible legal implications.

Once you find a new agent, go over the cancellation clause, particularly if you feel that you weren’t in a great position with the previous one. Your agent needs to protect themselves, of course, but be clear on the situations under your new contract in which they may be entitled to a commission.

Written by Ashley Sutphin for www.RealtyTimes.com Copyright © 2020 Realty Times All Rights Reserved.

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