Getting out of a contract with your real estate agent

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Getting out of a contract with your real estate agent

Cost-effectiveness isn’t the only reason to end a contract with a real estate agent. Say goodbye to one who doesn’t honor your preferences, and who contacts you only at their own convenience. Even reasonable agents who make prompt phones calls and emails in the beginning can pull surprises in the end. Firing an unreliable agent can reduce the stress and uncertainty of buying or selling. And that means keeping an eye out for the following signs and evidences.

[1] Your real estate agent tries to overpower you

When working with a real estate agent, you have the right to alter the contract according to your needs. Unfortunately, many prospective home buyers and sellers don’t realize how important having a good relationship with their real estate agents is. They sign a contract that gives them less control and less protection than they ever thought. The most common mistake is with an agent who is also working with a builder or affiliated with one. You are offered firm prices on the house and closing or completion date that is in their favor.

The agent and builder controls everything from supervising the progress of construction to closing cost that you become a pest if tried to intervene at any stage. You will not be allowed to provide suggestion other than offering a budget for certain items that they allow to customize, such as carpet, wall color, countertop material, cosmetic add-ons and lighting fixtures. Don’t make a mistake here. Talk to your agent and come up with a better term that suits your requirements and budget, not theirs. Steer clear of those agents whom you have no control of when it comes to negotiating price or delivering the project within a certain time that is convenient to you.

[2] There are communication barriers between you and your agent

In today’s world, there are many modes of communication you can utilize if you want to get in touch with a real estate agent. Emails, video chats, phone calls and in-person meetings are some of them. You may have to write several emails or make plenty of phone calls before finding a real estate agent willing to work with you. Experienced agents are smart enough to communicate the right way and take on only as many clients as they can properly manage. Unfortunately, not all agents fit this bill. You could just walk into a real estate agency right across the street, but you’d end up with someone who had a lot of time to spare. Worse yet, hiring an agent who is hard to understand or predict. You stand the highest likelihood of losing, monetarily or otherwise, if you have a real estate agent with communication problems.

To avoid this mistake, check him or her out before signing anything. Ask for referrals he or she has worked with over the course of the past two years. Most issues associated with the agent start showing up in a week or two. Visit the broker and talk to them. If time permits, contact a courthouse and find out any lawsuits or liens associated with the agent. See if there are many complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. If you have already hired an agent, measure his or her knowledge of the real estate market. The agent should not only be diplomatic but honest, compatible, ethical and loyal as well.

[3] Your real estate agent sidelines you

One type of agent that is worth steering clear of is an agent who does not have your interests at heart. Cathy, an executive assistant, says, “Right from the start, I thought I’d never be able to find a home of my choice. My agent and I began looking houses that were either beyond my budget or overpriced for the market. But every time I found a place that I liked and pointed it out to my agent, he said the house was way overvalued and the prices may come down if we sat it out. It never really made any sense.” Well, it is clear here, that Cathy’s agent was advocating for someone else’s interests.

Agents who are showing two storey houses when your preference is a single storey are not to be trusted. Better yet, don’t sign a contract unless you are sure that the agent is reliable. You may meet a very friendly agent who says they can write up your offer instantly for a home that is not ‘your’ type. That agent is probably representing a builder or seller, whose interests, including liquidating the house and obtaining the best price, will be put first.

[4] Your agent is out of touch with the market

Says an experienced agent Sam Smith, “When working with my clients, I show them the comps, required disclosure format, inspection report sample and everything that is involved in buying/selling a house before we even go out house hunting. I answer all of their questions about real estate, explain each clause and phrase and encourage them to even do their own research.

An agent may be a new hire or has been in the business for quite sometime, either from the same locality or a different state, but if they are clueless about market, they are also clueless about how real estate works. Your agent is like a team captain who should be knowledgeable about local real estate and market in general. He or she should coordinate other players in the team – brokers, sellers, buyers, lenders and everyone else. The agent should know how to draft an offer or other written statements to include terms and price. The agent should be able to summarize the process, discuss, update, negotiate with the other parties, handle timelines and manage everything from start to finish.

[5] Your largely ignored by your real estate agent

Take the case of a couple, James and Jenna, who’s names have been changed for privacy in this example. Both had been looking for a bigger house in a desired neighborhood for months with zero luck. Although their agent was local and had twenty years of experience in real estate, there just wasn’t a house that they could afford. The couple was about to give up when a family friend who was selling his house called and let them have a peek into the house. The place was never even advertised on a popular website that they would frequent. They ended up terminating the agreement with their agent and buying their friend’s house.

One of the misconception when it comes to hiring a real estate agent is that once hired, they can’t be fired for certain reasons. How much would you lose firing an agent depends on the terms of your agreement with the agent. So if you think it is worth, for multiple reasons, to let go of the agent rather than continue dealing with him or her, make sure to be prepared well ahead of time. Before anything, try to insert a clause at the outset that lets you release the agent without penalty if things don’t work out as expected.


There are a wide range of elements that go into selling a house and marketing is one of them. It is the responsibility of your agent to advertise your house in different marketing channels. This could be a task as simple as listing it on the MLS or creating a YouTube channel with 3D elevation. The end result is to make the property fly off the market with multiple bids. If the agent isn’t showing interest in marketing your house or not responding to prospective clients, you may want to move on. Of course, if you can fix this issue with a simple conversation, more power to you. But if that’s fruitless, you may want to end a working relationship with the agent.

If you would like more personal advice on how to go about switching real estate agents, or would like to arrange viewings without the pressure of signing a contract upfront, feel free to contact us.