Anyone who has ever bought or sold a home knows just how critical it is to hire the right real estate agent. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get mixed up with the wrong person because it’s a saturated industry and has relatively low barriers to entry; it’s easy for someone without sufficient real estate experience to enter the business.
Sometimes, things go awry, and it’s necessary to part ways with your agent. Below are good reasons for firing and also how to actually 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 you should consider looking for another agent.
- Lack of communication – Purchasing or selling a home is a very stressful situation and probably one that you can’t stop thinking about during the entire process. Being in the loop and communicated with at key moments in the transaction is very important for your peace of mind and to ensure things are going smoothly. If your agent is not communicating with you during important periods while buying or selling, then you may want to consider parting ways with them and working with another agent.
- 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 all the big websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor. To go the extra step, they should also be willing to host open houses, provide staging advice, promote your listing on social media websites and Google.
- Lack of ethics – When someone becomes a Realtor registered with the NAR, they pledge to follow a code of ethics. They pledge to put their client’s first through honesty and respect with all members of the transactions. But if your real estate agent is not a Realtor (or even if they are – many are not, and typically this is just fine), and 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 or other reasons are true, then you may wish to consider firing your agent and picking another one. Below are some steps to effectively breaking a relationship with the person 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
Once you’ve fired your previous 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 because it 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.