Starting a partnership with your real estate agent can often elicit similar emotions evoked by a romantic relationship. It starts out exciting; the beginning moments full of anticipation of the life changing events still to come. As some romantic interactions can go, however, not all match-ups last forever.
Signed paperwork or not, below we’ve outlined five telltale signs that it’s probably time to break up with your real estate agent.
Getting the Brush Off: We’ve all been there. You don’t want to talk to someone, so you don’t return that text right away, or let their call go to voicemail. Your real estate agent, however, should be available to field your questions, concerns, and help in any way they can in a reasonable period of time. If you are consistently having trouble getting in contact with your agent, it may be time to end your relationship. A lack of communication can lead to a delay in showings, writing of offers, and even completely jeopardize your ability to purchase a home altogether. The same behavior is unacceptable from a listing agent; your agent should not only be available to you but also to prospective buyers interested in your property. If they are unable to maintain consistent and effective communication with you, it’s time to move on to a real estate agent who will give you the attention you and you real estate needs deserve.
Under Pressure: Pushing down on you is certainly not the way your real estate agent should relay information or offer advice. While it is important for your agent to be informed and keep you up to date on current market conditions and statistics, in no way does this mean their expertise should overshadow your family’s needs or desires in a home. Your decision to purchase or sell a home should come directly from a preparedness to do so, not because you’re anxious or feeling influenced into something you’re not ready for. Try talking to your agent; they may not realize how they're making you feel. If after a conversation you feel as though nothing has changed for the better, it may be in your best interest to move on.
Falling on Deaf Ears: Real estate agents help people through one of the biggest events in their life: selling and/or purchasing a home. It is vitally important that they are attentive to their client’s needs and put their own opinions aside in order to best determine what course of action will be best for their buyer or seller. If you feel as though you’re spending loads of Saturday and Sunday afternoons touring homes that are missing many of your required or desired features, it may be time for a conversation to see if there are even homes in your price range with these features. If such discussion doesn’t lead to improvement, it’s best to end the relationship.
All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go: After getting a babysitter for the kids or rushing out of work early, the last thing you want is to arrive at an appointment to find out your agent won’t be able to make it. While life has its ups and downs and no one is perfect, you deserve to have your time respected as much as you respect the schedule of your real estate agent. While a one time emergency certainly isn’t grounds for a breakup, having your appointments cancelled without advance notice is definitely cause for discharge.
You’ve Lost Your Voice: You may have signed a contract saying your real estate agent would represent you, but that doesn’t mean they have exclusive deciding power in your affairs. Regardless of any previous conversations you may have had with your agent, they should never assume they know what you want in any given situation. Anytime a decision needs to be made, your agent should directly consult with you in order to decide how to move forward. While their advice is helpful in determining next steps, they should never take action without your informed consent. If they do, they could easily be putting potential deals in jeopardy. Talk to your agent about their behavior and give them a chance to rectify the situation. If nothing changes, you should start considering your options.
You may be thinking, “I signed a contract; how can I fire an agent when we have a legally binding agreement?” While this certainly complicates things, there are still ways out of the relationship when paperwork comes into play.
Cancelling Listing Agreements
When cancelling a listing agreement, it is best to start by asking the agent. If they refuse, follow up with the agent’s broker to make the request again. Be aware that there is a protection clause in an Exclusive Right to Sell listing agreements, so even if the broker says no, there is room for recourse. If the broker refuses to cancel the agreement, ask to be assigned another agent. If all this fails and you really need to be released from your contract, it is best to seek legal counsel and inform the broker you are doing so. Sometimes in order to avoid any confrontation, a broker will release a client from a contract just at the mention of lawyers. In no way, however, should threats or blackmail be used to get out of the agreement.
Cancelling Buyer’s Agency Agreements
When cancelling from the buyer’s side, you should ask your agent for a form referred to as a Termination of Buyer Agency. It will nullify any oral or written agreements between you both so you’re free to move forward with another agent.
It can be easy to assume that your agent knows best or their behavior is normal and that you’re overreacting to current circumstances. While this may be the case in some situations, the list noted above can indicate a faulty business relationship that will not allow you to best accomplish your goals.
Here at Dwell360, we are confident that we will provide the exact care you need to sell your current home or find the house of your dreams. Give us a call today to experience the difference.
Edward Johnston with Dwell360 is a REALTOR® who services the cities and suburbs of metro Boston. He is focused on his customers and his experience in the residential real estate market is extensive. Search for homes in Massachusetts and then give Ed a call.