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Home > Home Buying Tips > How to Break Up with your Real Estate Agent

How to Break Up with your Real Estate Agent?


While many people dream of owning a home each year, the process of actually making that dream a reality is not always a smooth path. Instead, it can often be fraught with bumps along the way. Of the many problems that can occur in the home buying or even selling process, there may come a time when you realize that things simply are no longer working out with your real estate agent.

There can be many problems that can occur. Perhaps you are trying to sell your home and it does seem as though your agent is doing enough. Maybe you are in the market to buy a home and you find you are not able to reach your agent as often as you would like. It could be that your real estate agent just does not seem to understand your needs.

Whatever the case may be, when things are no longer working out with your real estate agent, it is important to know how to break up with your real estate agent. For many buyers and sellers, this can be easier said than done. The key lies in knowing how to tactfully and properly exit the relationship and also understanding the guidelines that may govern your relationship with your agent regarding whether you are working with them as a seller or buyer.

Tips for Buyers

If you are a buyer, it must be understood that agents typically only earn a commission when it is paid by the seller. The commission fee is split between the agents that handle the seller's side and the buyer's side. Typically speaking, no fee is actually paid by the buyer. As a result, buyers are not usually involved in any type of contractual obligation with their real estate agent. In some instances, an agent may be known as a buyer's agent. In this case, the buyer will be asked to sign a contract that is known as an exclusivity agreement. This means that the buyer promises not work with any other agents. This is rare; however.

In most cases, any type of agreement with the agent is verbal. Buyers do always need to keep in mind that while they do not actually pay the agent anything, real estate agents do commonly spend quite a bit of time working with buyers to find the right property for them and handling a variety of other details related to the buying process, including writing contracts, presenting offers to sellers, reviewing property disclosures, etc. With that said, if you are not committed to actually purchasing a property yet, it is important to be upfront with the agent and let them know about your situation so that they do not devote an undue amount of attention to your situation when they could be spending that time on buyers who are ready to make a purchase.

Take your time and carefully research agents before deciding on one. Ask around for references. Attend some open houses. Read reviews online for various agents. This will help a great deal in terms of choosing an agent that is compatible with your needs when you are ready to commit to buying a home. If you find yourself in a situation where the relationship simply is not working, be honest about it. Explain to the agent why you feel things are not working out. This may open the opportunity to work things out, and if not, the agent will at least have some constructive feedback they can utilize with future clients.

Tips for Sellers

Sellers will usually find themselves in a somewhat different situation than buyers. This is because sellers pay an agent's commission and will usually sign a contract with the brokerage firm that employs the agent. Although listing agreements can vary, the most common is for a six months listing. This means you are contractually obligated to work only with that brokerage firm during that time period. You will still be obligated to pay the brokerage the commission even if you located a buyer on your own.

While there is not much leeway left to sellers who feel their agent is working out for them, it is a good idea to inform the agent of your feelings while there is still a bit of time left on the listing. This will provide the agent with the opportunity to make amends and possible work things out. An honest and ambitious agent will certainly attempt to do so. If you are still not able to work out things with your agent, you can certainly do so once your listing agreement has expired. At that point, you are free to list your property with any other agent or brokerage firm, or even try to sell it on your own.


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