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When To Fire Your Realtor

When to fire realtor

You’re buying your first home and have found a buyer’s real estate agent. You start out hopeful, but he isn’t responsive, never sends you viable homes, and asks you to go to open houses if you'd like to see the inside.

Let me know when you’re ready to make an offer, he says.

You were expecting more. Is it time to fire your agent? It could be. But before you do, here’s what to consider, including a new law that could make firing your Realtor harder, and why that's a good thing.

When Is It Time to Fire Your Realtor?

It could be either party’s fault if your agent isn’t meeting expectations. Either your expectations are too lofty or the agent didn’t communicate what you should expect. This mismatch can lead to disappointment.

Here’s when you might consider moving on from your agent. This is by no means an all-inclusive list.

1. Doesn’t Help You Think Outside the Box

A great Realtor will dig up properties that they think will work for you, even if they are a bit outside your initial criteria. (Hopefully, you had an in-depth conversation about what you were looking for.) Your agent should have enough market knowledge to challenge your assumptions and give you creative solutions. Can you buy a fixer with a renovation loan? How about a house with an ADU where you can collect rental income?

2. Demonstrates Inexperience

When finding a Realtor, you should ask how many homes they close for buyers each year. Two or three is not enough to become an expert at their craft. If the agent is inexperienced, it’s not your responsibility to be their practice subject.

3. Treats You Like You’re Not Important

An agent should make you feel like a valuable client even if you're buying a modest house, especially since they are probably not helping as many clients as they were a few years ago.

4. Unreachable

You can lose a house if your agent doesn’t respond quickly enough. Often, you need to tour a home and make an offer within hours of it going on the market.

5. Won’t Show You Homes

Realtors often don’t drive clients around anymore, but they should be willing to meet and walk through the home with you. If you’re an out-of-town buyer, they should give you a virtual tour via Facetime or Zoom and give you their impressions.

6. Gives In To the Seller’s Realtor Too Easily

By the time you figure out your Realtor is a bad negotiator, it’s probably too late to fire them. But if you’re just starting, ask about a time when they had to negotiate hard for a client. This will tell you if they’ve demonstrated negotiation skills in the past. You don’t want an agent that lets the seller run over you so the sale will close faster.

How To Fire Your Agent

If it’s not working out, it might be time to break up with your agent.

1. Have an Open Conversation

Initiate a face-to-face or phone conversation. Be honest about how you feel. You might find that this is enough to coordinate expectations and meet in the middle.

2. Determine Whether You Signed an Agreement

In July 2024, written agreements between buyers and Realtors will become mandatory due to a commission settlement involving the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Currently, agent-buyer relationships are often undefined. If you didn’t sign an agreement, simply tell your agent you no longer need their services. If you signed an agreement, you have more steps to complete.

3. Request Contract Termination

Ask your Realtor to terminate the contract. If they refuse, ask the Realtor’s brokerage (the company they work for) to release you. The brokerage may ask you to use a different agent in the same office. This could be a good way to change Realtors without finding a way out of the contract, says Colorado real estate agent Laura Gallant. Whatever happens, don’t ignore a written agreement with your Realtor: you may owe them a commission if you buy a house using someone else, Gallant notes.

4. Get Legal Help…Or Just Leave It

You may have to find a lawyer to help you be released from a contract. You have to prove a breach of contract on your Realtor’s part for this to work. Hiring a lawyer gets expensive fast. You might end up much richer by slogging through the home purchase with your current Realtor.

Find a lender and agent here.

How The Commission Lawsuit Will Make it Harder to Fire Your Realtor

It will soon get more difficult to fire your Realtor. But new rules could help you avoid the need altogether.

An NAR settlement means that by mid-July 2024, agents must enter into a written agreement with buyer clients. The agent must define the relationship before showing a home. The agreement spells out how they get paid and services they will perform.

This will be a fantastic opportunity to get on the same page about your expectations before you commence the business relationship.

However, it will be more difficult to change Realtors. Discuss conditions under which you can terminate the agreement before signing.

Re-Start Your Home Purchase

If your homebuying goals have stalled due to your agent, it’s time to start again.

Get started by finding a lender and agent here.

About The Author:

Tim Lucas spent 11 years in the mortgage industry and now leverages that real-world knowledge to give consumers reliable, actionable advice. Tim has been featured in national publications such as Time, U.S. News, MSN, The Mortgage Reports, and more.

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