How to Fire a Real Estate Agent: Everything You Need to Know

by | Jul 6, 2021 | Buying, Selling

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Anyone who has ever bought or sold a home knows just how critical it is to hire the right real estate agent. Real estate is a saturated industry and has relatively low barriers to entry. So, unfortunately it’s easy for someone without sufficient experience to enter the business. Sometimes, things go awry, and it’s necessary to part ways with your agent. Below are a few reasons for firing and how to fire your real estate agent.

Reasons to fire your real estate agent

Before terminating your relationship with a real estate agent, it’s important to make sure that you have proper grounds to do so. If any of the below is true, then it may be time to fire a real estate agent.

  • Lack of communication – Purchasing or selling a home is a very stressful process. Being in the loop at key moments in the transaction is essential for your peace of mind and to ensure things go smoothly. Your agent should communicate with you during each step of the process. If they aren’t, then you may need to fire your real estate agent and consider working with another.
  • Minimal ability – Maybe you discover that your agent is incompetent. This could be because they don’t know how to market a home for sale properly, hire a good photographer or how to price your home properly. Whatever the reason, you’ll know quickly if your agent has what it takes to work on your behalf in a way that earns them a paycheck.
  • Poor marketing strategy – In order to sell your house fast and for the most money, a good marketing strategy needs to be put into place. At a minimum, your agent should take professional pictures of the home and ensure that they are placed on the MLS and major websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. They should also be willing to host open houses, provide staging advice and promote your listing on social media websites.
  • Lack of ethics – When someone becomes a realtor registered with the NAR, they pledge to follow a code of ethics. This includes putting their client’s first through honesty and respect with all members of a transaction. If you feel that your agent is being dishonest or unethical with you, then this could be grounds for termination.

How to fire a real estate agent

If any of the above are true, then you may wish to fire your real estate agent and pick another one. Below are some steps to effectively breaking a relationship with the agent you initially hired.

Step 1: Look at the agent agreement

Did you sign a listing agreement or a buyers agreement? Some agents make their clients and some of them do not. If you did not sign an agent agreement, then you can simply walk away from the relationship.

If you did sign an agreement, make sure you read through it carefully to determine what terms are outlined for terminating the contract – like the ones previously mentioned.

Be careful though, as sometimes there is an early termination fee, which will be stated in the contract.

Step 2: Talk to the agent

Talk with the agent and let them know what you are unhappy about. Provide constructive criticism as to what could make the real estate transaction better. In doing so, you’ll be giving the agent a chance to provide an explanation for their actions. 

If their explanation resonates with you, then you can either stick with that agent, or if you didn’t like their explanation, then maybe it’s time to part ways. Sometimes also, personalities may clash and that is ok. Not every listing agent or buyer’s agent is meant to work with everybody.

Step 3: Contact the broker

If your agent refuses to cancel the agreement contract, then you’ll want to reach out to the broker.

The broker is essentially the person that is the boss of the agents and also the owner of the company the agent works for. The broker can cancel the contract for you but they will encourage you to use a different agent at the same brokerage, as it’s in their best interest to keep you as a client.

Picking a new real estate agent

If you choose to fire a real estate agent, you’ll want to pick a new one. Look at the below items when you are ready to pick a new real estate agent.

  • Sales-to-list-ratio – This ratio is important because it shows the sales price of a home compared to the asking price. As a buyer, you want an agent with a low sales-to-list-ratio. This means an agent is good at negotiation and getting a seller to agree to a lower price.
  • How many transactions – The more transactions a real estate agent has had, then the more experience they will be able to bring to the table. This will increase the value they are providing to you during your real estate transaction.
  • Average days on market – As a seller, you should ask what the agent’s average days on market is as it should be a good indicator for their ability to sell a home, and in a shorter period of time. Make sure their average days on market for the area you are selling the home in is also close to that agent’s average days on market.
  • Pricing accuracy – As a seller, it’s important to determine the accuracy of that agent’s pricing. Meaning, how many full priced offers were they able to pull in vs. ones that came in under asking price. A good number is 98% accuracy.

Thinking About Buying Or Selling A Home?

Get the best real estate advice from local experts in your inbox.

Thinking about buying or selling a home?

Get the best real estate advice from local experts in your inbox.