Firing Your Realtor is Hard, But Sometimes it Must Happen

Hiring the right Realtor for the job is critical when buying or selling a home. Without experienced professionals by your side, the entire process can become a nightmare. The three main factors that will sell a home are price, condition, and location. No one can change the location, so if a home is priced correctly according to its condition, then it will sell. A good Realtor should properly research the market, and advise you to list the property at a price that will bring offers. Unfortunately, if the price advised is too high, in order to simply get the listing, you won’t know until months later when your house remains unsold.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to sign with the wrong Realtor without sufficient training and experience. Listing a property and writing up a contract is the easy part. A Realtor can seem like they meet the qualifications you are looking for, only to realize later that they don’t. Is it time to move on and “fire” your Realtor?

Canceling the Realtor, however, and the contract with them can be tricky for sellers. Agents and their agencies usually make bigger upfront investments in selling the home (listing, marketing, staging, showing). As a seller, you probably had to sign an exclusive right-t0-sell contract, which is most commonly used by listing and selling agents. The Realtor will have exclusive rights to earn commissions by representing you and by bringing buyers to see your home.

Unless there’s an exception in the contract, this document makes you responsible for paying a commission. In some cases, you may still owe this fee even if you sell the house yourself. For example, if the selling agent gives you a list of buyers, and one of them buys your home later, you could still be obligated to pay some or all of the commission.

If you are close to the end of the contract, the best thing to do is just let it expire. At this point you will be free to hire another Realtor of your choosing. This is a low-drama option that many sellers choose. Most protection periods are terminated as well when you sign a new listing contract with another agent.

The Bottom Line: Like any other service, picking the right real estate agent is crucial for your success. Selling a home in a bustling seller’s market is easy. When the market turns, however, you need the best of the best. Selling your house is a major milestone and investment, don’t trust it to just anyone. Read the fine print of your listing agreement before signing. Ask for an easy exit listing clause. An agent who offers an easy exit listing agreement is so confident in his or her abilities that if you are not 100% satisfied with their services, you can part ways at any time.

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