Should You Fire Your Real Estate Agent?

Evelyn Long

Feb 19, 2021

real estate agent

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“Can I fire my real estate agent?”

Many prospective homeowners have asked this question throughout their pursuits. It’s possible to fire your real estate agent — but before you call it quits, it’s essential to know why you’ve decided to do so. There could be a way to find a solution to your issues so that you can move forward together.

Take a look at this guide to see when, why and how you should fire your real estate agent, as well as some tips for finding a real estate agent you can rely on in your next home purchase or sale.

a toy plastic house on a table with house keys next to it

What Problems Necessitate a New Real Estate Agent?

There are a few concerns that can arise as you work with an agent to find a home. While it’s not always easy to find a “perfect” agent, it’s also important not to settle for a mediocre agent who makes this process more difficult than necessary. You want someone who can work with you professionally and competently.

It’s most common to find communication issues as the central problem. You may also notice that your agent hasn’t taken any initiative to market your home — and that’s why it hasn’t sold yet. They could even lack negotiation skills or other vital abilities. Do these issues ring a bell? If so, it’s likely time to explore other options before you have any regrets.

You may have noticed a strain on your relationship. If you’ve become excessively anxious and overwhelmed by this situation, it’s best to take a step back. You shouldn’t work with someone who causes you to feel those emotions. Your buying or selling experience needs to make you excited and hopeful for your future.

Another reason why someone may choose to fire a real estate agent is if they’re not putting your best interests first. Some agents simply want to make a sale and disregard all of your wants and needs. If they cannot get on the same page as you, then it might be time to either be more transparent with them or find a new real estate agent.

Real estate agents should know the market in your region like the back of their hand. However, if they don’t know the market, whether it’s because they’re new, work in a different area or just seem clueless, they probably aren’t a good fit. While an agent doesn’t have to know everything, they should be able to give you specific information and research the market.

Unethical behavior is also grounds for firing a real estate agent. Hopefully, this isn’t something you’re dealing with, but if it is, then feel free to let go of your agent. Under the Realtor Code of Ethics, if the agent fails in any part of this, they could be fined, reprimanded or even have their license suspended.

A small disagreement you can smooth over isn’t a reason to say goodbye. In short, it’s viable to fire your real estate agent if they’ve caused significant issues that have put a damper on your experience. Once you’ve decided to fire your agent, it’s time to learn how to do so correctly.

How to Fire Your Real Estate Agent

It’s not often you can simply say goodbye and part ways. There may be legal matters you and your agent have to handle before you hire someone else. In any case, it’s essential to know how to fire your agent properly. Here’s how to navigate this situation, whether you’re a buyer or a seller.

As a Buyer

As a buyer, you should be able to have a discussion with your agent. You may have signed an Exclusive Buyer-Broker Agreement that guarantees your agent earns money. In that case, it’s essential to talk about how you can terminate it. If you haven’t committed to a contract, you’ll need to communicate with your agent about your desire to take another path.

Make sure to meet with your agent to have this “break up” if possible. You should be upfront and honest about your views, but it’s also crucial to set your emotions aside. Remember that they’re human, too. Don’t ignore their calls and look for another agent when you can have an adult conversation.

Then, you’ll be free to hire another agent who better suits your goals.

As a Seller

This situation can be a little trickier when you’re a seller. You’ve probably entered into an agreement with your agent. This contact likely gives them various rights related to when and how your house sells. There may also be other notes that further define your relationship. It’s best to find out how you can void that contract sooner rather than later.

Contact your agent’s broker to discuss and cancel the contract. It’s often that straightforward, as most brokers want to keep you happy enough to continue to work with them. You can then ask about a new agent if you want to stick with the same broker. Otherwise, it’s best to cut ties and research others.

If you’re unable to release yourself from the contract, it’s time to consult a lawyer. You may not want to enter into a legal battle, but it’s sometimes necessary when there’s an agreement involved. Be prepared for this step from the start.

should you fire your real estate agent

What to Look for in a Real Estate Agent

To prevent the possibility of firing your real estate agent in the first place, it’s best to research before choosing. You want this relationship between you and your agent to last so you can get the home of your dreams and then have someone there to help you when you want to put it back on the market.

Finding the right person to take you to the finish line is a job you must carefully consider. Although it would be easier, you want to carefully research your agent rather than blindly choosing someone in the real estate industry. Purchasing or selling a home is a big step in your life, so you want someone you can entirely rely on throughout the process.

Below are some helpful tips so you know how to choose a real estate agent you won’t have to fire.

Determine Your Needs

First, you should determine your needs when considering hiring a real estate agent. Are you buying or selling? What kind of relationship are you looking for in an agent? Determine the qualities that are important to you in a person who is helping you find a home.

You should also consider what type of communication you want. Whether it’s emails, phone calls, text messages or in-person meetups, you should know how frequently you want your agent to contact you or keep you up-to-date on the selling or buying process. Also, think about what you don’t want in an agent at this point as well.

Research the Real Estate Agent Market

Technology has made it possible to research almost anything and anyone. Use this to your advantage. Most real estate agencies list their agents along with information about them.

Plus, there are many tools available that can determine a real estate agent’s sales history. That way, you can see how quickly an agent was able to put a sale through, as well as track records and reviews.

Find Referrals From People You Know

If a close friend or family member has worked with a real estate agent in the past, ask them about their experience. You can better trust a real estate agent and the potential relationship you would have with them if you personally know someone who has worked with them.

You can also get referrals from those who live in your neighborhood or a neighborhood in which you’re considering living. Since they live in that region, they likely have similar housing preferences and backgrounds like you and can connect you with their real estate agent.

Interview Potential Real Estate Agents

Although it seems like a bold move, interviewing real estate agents can be helpful in the long run, especially if you don’t know much about them. The interview helps you establish a professional relationship with them.

You can ask them questions on-the-spot, unlike emailing them or leaving a voicemail for them to reply with a carefully formulated response. During an interview, you can confront the real estate agent about any concerns you have, as well as their work history, references and experience.

Evaluate Their Skills

To ensure you have the perfect real estate agent, you can evaluate their skills as well. Here are some factors to consider before choosing your real estate agent:

  • Do they know the local market? A real estate agent that is certified in your region should know the housing market, and therefore be able to find homes in your budget or sell your home at the right price. 
  • Will the agent save you money in the end? Look at previous sales with a particular agent. If they’re saving a buyer the most money or helping a seller make the most money, then they’re well-versed in the industry.
  • Does the agent have good reviews? Typically, on a realtor’s website, there are reviews. If their website or social media pages have more negative reviews than positive ones, you might want to find someone else.

Of course, there are other skills than just these to consider when searching for a realtor, but the above questions are an excellent place to start.

Ensure They Have Your Best Interests at Heart

When you hire a real estate agent, you want someone who listens to you. They should be putting your interests first, not their own. When you hire an agent, you need to be transparent with them about what you want.

If you notice they’re steering you in other directions or aren’t bringing you homes within your price range or style, then they probably are in it for themselves. Look for someone who wants to benefit you and help you find a home or sell yours for the right price.

a man in a button down signing papers

You Can Fire Your Real Estate Agent, But Not Without Consideration

It’s not uncommon for a buyer or seller to not click with their real estate agent. Your home journey shouldn’t feel extra stressful because you don’t gel with yours. Think about whether or not this information resonates with you. If it does, you know that it’s time to move on.

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