In general, it is easier to end a relationship with an agent if you are buying than if you are the one selling a home. If you are the seller, your agent has likely put a lot of time and money into marketing your home. Still, there are ways to end it, though it’s not always easy. Some contracts will specify under what circumstances you can sever ties, but this can include a costly penalty and/or a time period where the real estate agent will still be entitled to a commission (if it doesn’t, ask about it). If you are close to the end of an initial contract, it may be smart to wait it out and avoid a potential penalty.
But if you are truly unhappy and don’t want to wait, your agent might be also, and might be willing to release you from your contract.
1. Your Agent is Unavailable
While you have to understand your agent likely has other clients, a life of his or her own and a need to sleep, the housing market is all about timing, and things change quickly. If your agent doesn’t respond to your voicemails, texts, emails or any combination of communication efforts in a timely manner, it may be time to find someone new.
2. Your Agent Doesn’t Listen
Being on the same page about your wants and needs are pertinent when selling or buying a home. If your agent continues to show you properties or propose sale deals that do not fit your criteria, you know they were not paying attention. Continuing to work with someone who doesn’t listen will likely lead only to further frustration.
3. Your Agent Makes You Uncomfortable
Whether it is through pressuring you to make a deal you aren’t sure of, being disrespectful or dismissive of your price range or using you to attract more clients, there are agents who can make you feel bad during the real estate process. But real estate professionals should offer you a valuable service, not make you uncomfortable. Manipulative, aggressive and selfish agents do not deserve your business. You should both be acting in your best interests in tandem and have a safe, open line of communication.
4. Your Agent Isn’t Knowledgeable
Buying or selling a home is a big decision that can have major financial ramifications. It’s important that you work with someone who knows what he or she is doing. You can ask about familiarity with the neighborhood, how many years they have been working and which real estate agencies they’ve been associated with to help determine if you are working with the right person.
5. Your Agent Isn’t Helping
Finally, if your “for sale” sign has faded while every other house on the block has sold or you have not seen a worthwhile property in more than a month, it might be time to move on. Some agents don’t make use of all available resources and some are just unprofessional.
Meanwhile, there’s probably someone out there who is willing to work hard for you and get you the real estate deal you are looking for. Sometimes it’s best to cut ties and start with someone new who is a better fit.