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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Can I Fire My Real Estate Agent?

I received the email below from a BlogArizona.com reader, whose personal information has been changed for privacy reasons.  We'll say this email was from 'John' in Mesa:

"I am selling my home in Mesa and building a new home- my agent is both selling my home and is the agent on the new build-( new build to be done in a few months on final phase with builder)

Unfortunately my agent is not motivated to sell my existing home- but is very eager for the new build- I would like to work with another agent who is more aggressive with my current home. However,  what are my options with the new build situation?

Am I locked into this agent for my new build?"

There are several things to consider here.  First, is there a written buyer's agent agreement, or is the listing agreement somehow dependent on a buyer's agent relationship (i.e. did the agent agree to sell the house for a lower commission if you hired him as a buyer's agent on your new build?).  If so, John has to look at the written agreement(s) for the answer to his question.  If not, there are still other considerations.  If the buyer and seller transactions are independent of each other, has John's agent failed to perform as a buyer's agent, or has he somehow breached his duty/obligations as a buyer's agent?

While John might not be 'locked into' this real estate agent for his new build, I seriously doubt the builder will pay a commission to anyone else at this point.  So if he fires his current buyer's agent, John could end up with no buyer's agent at all, unless of course John wants to pay the buyers agent's fee out of his own pocket.  So the question becomes, is his current buyer's agent worse than no agent at all?  If the answer is yes, John might also want to consider hiring an attorney to review documents rather than hiring a new real estate agent to represent him.  It just depends on what level of representation he wants.

As far as hiring someone else to sell John's current home, here are a few more questions that might be relevant:  What does the listing agreement say?  Has the real estate agent breached the listing agreement?  Is he failing to perform to standards, or are there other reasons John's home is not selling?  Is the purchase of John's new home contingent on the sale of John's current home?  I would guess it's probably not, or else John's real estate agent would be very motivated to sell his current home.

From the email, it sounds like John's real estate agent would probably be willing to cancel the listing and let him hire someone else to sell his home.  If not, however, John has to look to his listing agreement to determine under what circumstances he could 'fire' his current listing agent and look for a new one.  And there may be penalties for cancelling the listing early, depending on what that agreement says.

So in summary, as always, IT DEPENDS!  It's also important to remember that I'm not an attorney.  Therefore, I addressed this question from a real estate agent's point of view.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, be sure to consult an attorney, as this should not be considered legal advice!

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on July 12, 2007 | Permalink


Great post! I am gonna share it with my own blog readers at jason.landbrokr.com ! Thanks.

Posted by: Jason Ganz | Jul 14, 2007 7:23:04 PM

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