Most of the time, the relationship between an agent and a home buyer or seller is a healthy one, but there are times when the relationship goes south. When tensions begin to rise and a real estate agent fails to meet your expectations, when do you know if it’s ok to call it quits? In our blog this month, we want to give you justifiable reasons for why you should switch agents, whether you’re in a contract with them or not.
Before Signing a Contract with an Agent
First of all, if you haven’t signed a contract, you’re not owned by any real estate agent. You’re not obligated to use any particular agent and you’re free to switch and “shop around” if you prefer.
Here are some deal-breakers for real estate agents:
- The agent has poor communication skills.
- The agent does not have adequate knowledge to answer your questions.
- The agent is unfamiliar with your neighborhood and area of town.
- The agent continues to show you homes that do not meet your specifications.
- The agent does not respond promptly to inquiries about your home.
- The agent generally does not seem interested in your needs.
- The agent is not organized, is easily confused and/or distracted.
- The agent displays evidence of a weak ability to negotiate on your behalf.
If you there’s another agent that is a better fit for you based on the indicators listed above, then you have ample grounds for switching agents.
On a personal note, it’s best to not promise your real estate business to friends and family, but to remain objective to find the best professional relationship with a person that you can easily work together with toward your real estate goals. If you do find yourself in this position, save yourself the heartache now and be clear with them about using a different real estate agent. It’s better to be honest up front then to damage a relationship with a close friend or family member.
After Signing a Contract with an Agent
If you’ve already hired an agent, but the relationship continues to deteriorate, you may still have grounds to breach the contract.
Here are some legitimate reasons to “break up” with your agent:
- The agent has been dishonest and you lack trust.
- The agent has failed to fulfill the obligations outlined in your contract.
- The agent repeatedly lowers your asking price without data to back up the change.
- The agent lacks communication with you.
- The agent overall has a bad attitude—to either you or to potential buyers.
- The agent has failed to market your property.
- The agent has failed to present all offers to purchase your property.
- The agent has disclosed personal information about you to potential buyers.
Before you jump the gun and tear up the contact, you need to take some steps first to make sure that all of your bases are covered:
1. Take the issue to the agent’s real estate firm. Give them an opportunity to make things right.
2. Check your contract and look for a cancellation clause, which allows you to end your listing agreement before the contract expires. Without this clause, your agent is not obligated to end your agreement before the contract expires. However, they probably won’t want to force an unhappy client to remain in their contract.
3. Communicate the situation and respectfully make a request to terminate the agreement, and the agent will more than likely agree.
If you go this route, you may still have some strings attached to that agent. For example:
• You could owe the agent a termination fee to cover their up front costs.
• You could have to wait out the rest of the contract period before you can list your home with another agent.
• If you sell your home to a buyer who first viewed the home while the contract was in effect, you may still have to pay a commission to the original agent.
*** Take note: these are all points to consider before you sign an agreement.
4. The last and final step is to sign documentation for canceling the relationship.
Find a Real Estate Agent You Can Trust
Our agents are more than just agents- they’re advisors that provide a higher level of service and real estate professionals that are deeply respected in our community. Our advisors are truly experts that provide unique insights about the real estate market and accurately price your home in the context of both historical and recent data.
They see all the details in the process of buying or selling a home and they will work to negotiate on your behalf so that you can have the greatest peace of mind.
Give our office a call at 225-218-0888 to speak with an advisor today!