If you’re unhappy with your Realtor, can they FORCE you to finish the term of your contract with them?

In other words, if your not happy with your Realtor can you FIRE them?

Continuing on the trend of my recent post Biggest MISTAKE Sellers & Buyers Make When Signing Real Estate Documents today I talk about the documents you sign when you hire a Realtor.  

If you want to know more about protecting yourself with a Buyer’s Agent check out my post called  “Do You Actually [Need] An Agent To BUY a Home?

Did you know you can’t [technically] fire your Realtor? 

There are many different kinds of contracts used in real estate. 

The two most popular contracts used in residential real estate are a Buyer Representation Agreement and a Listing Agreement. 

Technically (legally) you have not hired a real estate agent to work on your behalf or represent you in any professional capacity unless you have signed one of the above agreements. 

BUYERS:

Let’s talk about BUYER REPRESENTATION AGREEMENTS very quickly.

There are many advantages for you (as a buyer) in signing a Buyer Representation Agreement with an agent, including the requirement that your agent provide you with full fiduciary duties to protect your interests. 

There are so many important benefits in choosing a buyer’s agent to work with and signing a Buyer Representation Agreement. 

I actually find it astonishing that every buyer doesn’t insist on it! 

But since there are so many benefits I can’t cover them all in this quick video so if you’re curious just get in touch with me and I’m happy to explain. 

Maybe I’ll do another video post about that specific topic. 

SELLERS: 

Let’s talk about LISTING AGREEMENTS real quick.

If you hire a real estate agent to sell your property, you must sign a Listing Agreement in order to receive all fiduciary duties and services from that agent. 

Similar to a Buyer Representation Agreement, all legal agreements (including Listing Agreements) must contain a “start” date and an “end” date in order for the Agreement to be legally binding. 

Although a Cancellation of Listing Agreement & Cancellation of Buyer Representation Form does exist, it’s important to know that the option and decision to cancel a Listing Agreement belongs solely to the listing brokerage and the listing agent, not the client. 

During the process of signing a Listing Agreement many people focus on the listing price and commissions. 

As a result, they forget to ask the agent about the term of the Listing Agreement. In other words, when does the Listing Agreement expire? 

Tip: You should always ask the agent to actually show you (on page 1 of the Agreement) where the start and end dates of the Listing Agreement are filled in. 

You are not forced to keep your property listed for sale if you change your mind about selling or if you refuse to continue working with the agent you hired. 

However, the listing agent does have the option of suspending your listing, which takes your property off the market. 

But it still keeps you (and your property) bound to the Listing Agreement for the duration of the term. 

Thus you’re not able to list your property for sale with a different agent until the original Listing Agreement has expired. 

Sadly, I’ve had many clients who unknowingly found themselves in this situation. 

They’ve called me because they were having a bad or unsuccessful experience with someone and were referred to me to step in and help. 

Unfortunately nothing could be done until the TERM of their existing agreement expired because in some cases the Agent was NOT willing to cancel the agreement. 

I have absolutely no idea what an agent thinks they can achieve by forcing an unhappy clients to stay under contract with them, or tie their hands from doing what they want to do. 

And thankfully most good & ethical agents would be reasonable and not do this. 

But for the point of this post IT IS POSSIBLE & YOU SHOULD KNOW YOU’RE RIGHTS. 

I pride myself on building my real estate business primarily on referrals. 

And referrals only come from extremely happy clients. 

Therefore, I personally do not believe in forcing clients to remain bound in an Agreement with me if they are not satisfied with my service. 

Thankfully, I don’t recall having to allow a client to cancel a Listing Agreement with me. 

However, as a way of making clients feel more comfort- able in hiring me, I offer to write on my Listing Agreements— so that it is legally part of the contract—that if clients are not completely satisfied with my service during the term of the Agreement, I will agree to cancel it. 

This not only reinforces (in clients’ minds) my confidence in my ability to provide an exceptional experience and outstanding results, but it also eliminates any risk to them in choosing me as their agent. 

When you interview real estate agents to assist you with the sale of your home, you should ask if they are willing to do the same. 

Remember, if agents tell you they will allow you to cancel the Listing Agreement, you should only sign the contract if they include that promise in writing as part of the Agreement. 

And don’t forget to get your own copy of the Agreement before they leave your home (unless signed by electronic signature)

Many people forget to get their own copy. 

If you want to talk more about hiring a Realtor or real estate contracts I’m always happy to chat.