When you sign a listing agreement and agree to work with a real estate agent, you are committing to a professional relationship. Like any relationship, you can’t know in advance how things will turn out long term, so it’s important to have a backup plan and know what your options are should things turn sour. Because both you and the agent are individuals, you will be prone to differences of opinion from time to time but it’s important to recognise when it’s time to take action and make a change.
Although you can’t prevent this entirely, you can lessen the chances of needing to change agents by looking at all of your options carefully from the beginning.
You may find that the need to change agents happens quite suddenly. It may well arise after you have already signed contracts, because if you had already experienced negative feelings about a real estate agent, you probably wouldn’t have hired them in the first place. Once you have started to feel that there is a problem, you need to examine your options.
Can you fire a real estate agent? Or, if the real estate agent is unhappy, can they fire you?
Signs That it’s Time to Move on From Your Current Real Estate Agent
You shouldn’t be having a negative selling experience: one of the most important roles that a real estate agent plays is alleviating the stress of selling your home. You should be working with an individual with whom you relate to and can trust. If you are having a painful experience instead, it’s time to say goodbye.
Conversely, if you are a real estate agent and feel like your client is impossible to work with, you may be better off simply terminating the relationship and searching for more enjoyable projects elsewhere. In this case, it is also better for a real estate agent to ‘fire’ his/her customer.
The following are a few signs that you and your agent are not working well together:
- You and your agent see a situation in two radically different ways, and don’t believe that you can rely on one another.
- Talking to your agent (or client) makes you feel physically anxious or uncomfortable.
- When you talk about your real estate agent (or client) with a third party you find yourself adding expletives before or after their name.
- The seller is not thinking rationally and starts making decisions that don’t benefit their sale.
- Either party fails to respond to requests for action, and doesn’t follow through with promises.
- When you see a call from your agent (or client) come through on your phone, you decide to let it go to voicemail rather than answer it.
The Importance of Communication
The most common reason that clients become unhappy with their real estate agents is a lack of communication. One way to prevent this is to discuss your preferred methods of communication right from the start. An indication that you have a good real estate agent on your hands is if they create a communication policy before you even start working together. When a real estate agent doesn’t reply to your text messages, phone calls or emails in a prompt manner it can be frustrating. As with any relationship, healthy communication is important. Don’t be shy about letting the other party know what you expect from them and then if the estate agent (or client) fails to live up to these communicative tasks it’s probably time to start looking for a new professional relationship.
Cancelling Contracts or Real Estate Agreements
It’s not always an easy task to nullify your real estate contract. In most cases, the best outcome is if you can mutually agree on a cancellation. Before you sign a contract in the first place, you should advocate for adding a clause that allows the other party to agree to release you from your contract upon request. Don’t sign the contract if this clause is not included.
Cancelling a Listing Agreement
The first step is to ask your real estate agent to cancel your listing agreement directly. Be sure that you have the right to cancel this listing by asking about it when you are first drawing up your contract. Take care, because some types of agreements will include clauses stating that an estate agent is still paid commission even when the contract has been suspended. Read all the paperwork carefully before signing anything.
If your agent won’t agree to cancel the listing, the next step is to request a cancellation from the general manager. If they won’t agree to cancel either, they should at least be able to assign you a different real estate agent. Usually though, these steps aren’t necessary. Real estate agents will cancel the listing upon request in most cases, because they want to protect their reputations.
If you cannot find any solution to this problem, you should visit a solicitor who specialises in real estate law. Ask them to help you terminate your contract. Be sure to mention this to your agent before you go to the lawyer, because the threat alone may be sufficient to get them to agree to your terms.
Real Estate Agents Cancelling Contracts
It’s also possible for a real estate agent to be unhappy with their client. In this situation, the best option is to suggest that the client work with a different real estate agent within the agency who may be better equipped to help them achieve their goals. The agent could refer the client to someone else and potentially gain a small referral fee in the process.< It’s important to remember that there are options available if you feel that you are in a bad professional relationship, but the first step is always simply to communicate with the other party and see if you can reach an agreement.