Your real estate agent is supposed to represent your best interests when buying or selling a home. In an ideal world, they’ll guide you through the process, provide you with advice, and ultimately lead you to a financial decision that you’re happy with.
But what happens when your real estate agent doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain? What recourse do you have if you don’t like your real estate agent?
The Search for a Real Estate Agent
Before we delve into the unfortunate ending of your real estate agent working relationship, let’s look at the beginning. You can prevent most issues with real estate agents by spending the proper time and effort looking for a real estate agent who can serve your needs.
There are many good ways to find real estate agents, such as asking friends and relatives for referrals, networking on social media, or just searching online. But no matter what, you’ll need to:
- Meet lots of agents. Don’t just pick the first person you talk to. This is the fastest path to take, but it runs the highest risk of pairing you with someone you don’t get along with. Try to meet a variety of agents from a variety of brokerages. It’s a great way to figure out what you’re really looking for and increases your chances of finding a reliable professional.
- Ask lots of questions. When you meet your agent, be ready to ask lots of questions. Figure out their education, background, and previous experience in the real estate world. You’ll get a good understanding of whether or not they can serve your needs.
- Evaluate professionalism. Is this candidate professional? Do they answer all your questions transparently? Are they easy to get in touch with? Do they seem genuinely committed to giving you the best possible outcome?
- Get a feel for personality. Don’t forget about personality. It’s important to have a real estate agent that you sincerely get along with.
Good Reasons to Fire a Real Estate Agent
If you haven’t signed an agent agreement, you can simply move on and find a different agent to work with. You can do this at any point.
If you’ve already signed an agent agreement, you may be legally bound to stick with them for the duration of your real estate needs. However, there are some special exceptions that allow you to fire a real estate agent who is not performing their duty adequately.
These are some of the best reasons to fire a real estate agent:
- Bad communication. A single missed text message or poorly worded email is not grounds for termination, but if you consistently struggle with bad communication, you might want to part ways with your real estate agent. It’s important that you’re both able to mutually and regularly exchange information. If you can’t do that, the professional relationship is not going to work.
- Lack of expertise in your area. You may also want to part ways with a real estate agent if it’s clear they have no expertise in your area. If they’re unfamiliar with this type of property or this area of the city, they won’t be able to provide you with reliable purchasing or selling advice.
- Suspicious advice. A seasoned real estate expert will be able to give you nearly foolproof advice in most cases. If your real estate agent gives you a piece of advice that seems suspicious, or if it’s contradicted by other real estate agents, you should take it as a troubling sign. It may indicate that they don’t have as much expertise as they claimed or that they’re intentionally leading you astray.
- Signs of poor ethics. Real estate agents are bound to uphold a code of ethics. Any violation of this code of ethics is reasonable grounds for termination. For example, your real estate agent may fail to disclose to you that they are representing the other party in the transaction, or they may offer you advice that is convenient for them but financially destructive for you. If you suspect an ethics violation, make sure you document it.
- No access to contacts or resources. Your real estate agent should be able to connect you to a host of other people who can help you with your real estate needs, such as inspectors, lawyers, and appraisers. If they have a network that’s practically nonexistent, you have a right to be upset. This may not be clear grounds for termination by itself, but in combination with other concerns and grievances, it could motivate you to part ways.
How to Fire a Real Estate Agent
If you want to move forward with firing your real estate agent, take the following steps:
- Read your agent agreement carefully. Review your agent agreement carefully. This is something you should have done at the beginning of your arrangement, but it doesn’t hurt to get a refresher. Are there valid reasons for firing an agent listed?
- Have a frank conversation with your agent. Next, have a frank and polite conversation with your agent. Explain to them that they are not meeting your expectations and that you would be interested in finding another agent. They may have an explanation for their behavior or they may be willing to adapt and improve their approach to better serve you. They may also be more than willing to part ways, allowing you out of the agreement immediately.
- Talk to the broker. If you can’t make any progress with your agent directly, consider talking to the broker as a form of escalation. Be as specific as possible with your grievances and explain what you would like to happen next.
- Talk to a lawyer. If the broker isn’t allowing you to break the agent agreement, or if they present other problems or complications, your best course of action is to talk to a real estate lawyer.
Having a trustworthy and attentive real estate agent, whether you’re buying or selling, can make your life significantly easier – and put you in a better financial position at the same time. That’s why we strive to hire the best real estate agents in the industry. Contact us to get in touch with one of our agents and start your home buying or home selling journey today!