When to Fire Your Real Estate Agent – And Should You?
Did you hire a real estate agent you don’t know and now you have doubts about their ability to do the job well? Not all real estate agents are equal in terms of experience, skill, commitment, and marketing strategy. While the thought of firing your Realtor may give you some anxiety, a real estate transaction is likely one of the biggest financial transactions of your life and you need to trust the professional who will guide you through the process, negotiate on your behalf, and help you achieve your goals.
Firing Your Realtor: Is it Possible?
When the relationship sours or you begin to have serious doubts, the idea of firing your Realtor may enter your mind. Because you most likely signed a contract, firing your Realtor isn’t always easy unless there’s a breach of duty.
If you aren’t happy with the relationship and feel your agent has failed to communicate or otherwise failed to live up to your expectations, it’s usually best to negotiate first. Most agents are willing to release clients from the contract after a calm discussion. If your agent refuses to release you from the contract — which is a possibility — you can try contacting the boss of the brokerage and explaining why you want out of the contract.
If your agent has clearly breached the contract by failing to meet basic services like responding to offers, returning your calls, showing the home, or allowing you to view homes, you can make a case, but it will likely introduce more drama and escalate the situation.
It’s usually best to let the contract lapse on it’s own if the time is almost up, whether you signed a 90-day or 180-day contract, instead of firing your Realtor. Just be aware that if you’re selling your home, the agent can have protection for up to six months to receive a commission if the buyer learned of the home while the listing agreement was in effect or was shown the home by the agent.
Firing your Realtor and terminating a contract early can have ramifications if the agent did not breach the contract. Some agents are now putting early termination fees in their contract (which should be a warning that you shouldn’t sign!) while others may ask for expenses to be paid like marketing.
When to Fire Your Realtor
There are many situations in which it makes sense to break up with your agent. Here are important reasons you should think about firing your Realtor, whether you’re a buyer or seller.
You Change Neighborhoods
In large cities like Long Beach, Realtors often specialize in a specific area of town. While an agent can show you a house in any area of the city, if they don’t work in the area, they won’t be familiar with schools, taxes, and local issues that will be important to you.
Your Agent Does Not Return E-mails or Calls
Problems with communication are among the most commonly cited complaints about real estate agents. Do you feel like you’re constantly chasing down your agent for updates on new listings or feedback on showings? It’s a good idea to agree ahead of time on the type of communication you each prefer, but an agent who is not communicating regularly may have too much on their plate to give you the attention you need.
The Agent is Trying to Push You in a Specific Direction
A buyer’s agent is supposed to help you find a home that is right for you and guide you through the home-buying process, not push you into a specific home. They may be trying to get you to spend more than you want to pay to get a higher commission or simply get the deal over with faster, but it’s a good sign that firing your Realtor is in the future.
Your Agent Doesn’t Put Your Priorities First
As a seller, you should expect your agent to effectively market your home. This includes using high-quality pictures, scheduling open houses, and following through on the marketing plan you discussed, not relying on buyer’s agents to market your home to their clients.
As a buyer, you should expect your agent to contact you about new listings and potential homes quickly while finding good fits when they hit the market. If you are finding potential properties online faster than your agent, or you have an agent showing you homes that don’t match the priorities you discussed, it may be time to move on.
Your Agent Overpriced Your Home
Inexperienced real estate agents who need a listing sometimes over-promise, especially when it comes to how much they can get for your home. On the flip side, some sellers make the mistake of automatically hiring the agent that promises the highest list price. Agents that list homes too high have a strategy: promise the moon to get your listing, then encourage you to reduce the list price after several weeks have passed. This strategy wastes your time and makes your listing to stale. It can also make buyers assume you are either not a serious seller when you ask too much or that something is wrong with the home when you have to reduce the price.
While overpricing a home may not always be a reason for firing your Realtor, it’s definitely a sign that there’s a problem.
In the future, make sure you meet with a few agents before choosing someone you feel will do the job well and protect your interests. Always read the contract carefully when you first hire an agent to make sure you understand the responsibilities of each party, ensure the contract will cover your rights, and outline what the agent will do for you.
If you are thinking about firing your Realtor, be sure you understand your contract and any repercussions you will face. The next step is finding an agent who will look after your best interests and help you achieve your real estate goals. At Evergreen Properties and Investments, we believe in building strong relationships with our clients to help them make informed, smart real estate decisions. Whether you’re selling a home in Long Beach or looking for the home of your dreams, we can help with a focus on communication and expert advice. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your Long Beach real estate needs.
From the Author: My name is Dan Barcelon and I believe that Real Estate can be one of the most valuable assets you’ll ever own. I’m dedicated to educating and guiding my clients on how to manage and leverage their homes to create an Evergreen legacy for themselves and their family. I primarily consult both home buyers and home sellers on reaching their personal and financial goals through Real Estate in the following cities of Southern California: Long Beach, Carson, Cerritos, Signal Hill, Torrance, Lakewood, Cypress, Downey, Bellflower, Norwalk, Wilmington, La Palma, and Artesia.
If you’d like to discuss if buying, selling, or investing in real estate is right for you at this time, feel free to reach out. You can call/text me at 562-270-5812, or you can e-mail me at danb@EPIrealestate.biz.