Updated May 10th, 2019

Moving is always stressful. Finding the right realtor is still a critical part of the process. However, a good agent is not always easy to find. Luckily, if you find yourself in a listing agreement that isn’t exactly your cup of tea, it’s not impossible wiggle your way out. There are ways to cancel a listing agreement. How you handle it depends on your situation and listing.

Your home is up on the local MLS and able to be viewed online, so everybody has equal access to home listings. The target audience is likely either a potential buyer who lives in the community or a buyer who is moving there from elsewhere. Now that you understand the narrow scope of potential buyers, you should poke around and ask your agent what he or she has done with past clients to market these two groups. Would a new agent do something better?

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How to Terminate a Listing Agreement

Most listings are a bilateral contract, meaning the agent must perform and the seller must perform. The first step to cancel a listing contract is to establish the grounds for cancellation. Many agreements allow you, the seller, to cancel the listing without a penalty, as long as the agent agrees to withdraw it, too.

I don’t know about you, but I say you can never be too careful or too prepared. The absolute best time to ask about how to cancel a listing is the moment you sign the listing contract. Ask your real estate agent if he can release you from the contract if you become unsatisfied. So if things do make a turn for the worst, tell your agent immediately you are unhappy and want to cancel. Do not–I repeat, do not–delay this communication. It is a good idea to put this request in writing and document your expectations. An email will do just fine. Also, you must realize that your listing is between the brokerage and you, not you and your agent. The broker will ultimately decide on what to do next. If you are unhappy with your agent, it might be entirely permissible and more accessible for all parties if you ask the agent’s broker to assign another agent to you.

Top Reasons to Terminate a Contract

There are endless reasons people have for terminating a contract. Not all of them are acceptable, but many are. Here are some of the most common complaints you’ll find:\

Less-Than-Stellar Communication

Selling a home is a two-way street. If you’re expecting daily or weekly updates from your agent (expecting because you’ve specifically asked for it, not because you’re assuming that’s how often they should contact you). If they aren’t providing it, that’s a good reason to cancel a listing. Before you yank the listing, give your an agent to improve her communication skills.

Terrible Photographs

The right marketing is going to go a long way to get your house sold. Photos are the most critical aspect of marketing. Curb appeal used to be where all the magic of the first impression happened, today the hook happens with online listing photos. If your photos are not professional grade, you might have a good reason to cancel the listing agreement.

No Internet Exposure

Put your property address into a search engine. What do you get? If the listing is popping up all over the place, you have pure evidence for the complaint you’re about to file.

Mismatched Personalities

You won’t match with everybody. So it’s OK to cancel a listing if your personalities just don’t jive.

Unethical Behavior

Agents don’t typically have unethical motivations, but unfortunately, it can happen as the process unfolds. If you feel like your agent is not working towards your best interests, it might be time to call it quits and start the search for a new agent.

You Cannot Terminate If…terminate listing agreement

While you may have reasons to cancel a contract, other reasons may be entirely unreasonable and unacceptable. Whey they might make perfect sense to you, I bet you’d have a hard time meeting any real estate agent who would freely agree to cancel a listing without a substantial reason. You might have a hard time terminating the agreement if a seller decides to renegotiate the commission, a seller wants to relist with a less expensive company (maybe a discount agent), or a seller accepts an offer from a neighbor or a friend and does not want to pay a commission.

Terminating any listing agreement can become a sticky situation. If you have laid out the reasons you want to cancel the listing and the agent still refuses, you might have to hire a lawyer. There is no guarantee that a lawyer has the power to get you the outcome that you desire.

Working with a real estate agent is smart, but only if they have your best interests in mind. That’s why you should work with Clever. Call us today at 1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.