Get Offer

How to Terminate a Real Estate Listing Agreement: A Lifesaver Guide for Homeowners

By The HomeGo Team On 2020-06-22

The average American will move 11.5 times in their lifetime based upon U.S. Census data. And after age 30, you may only move twice.

Many of these moves do not involve homeownership, it’s no wonder that few home sellers feel like experts when selling their home. Many see little choice but to trust their listing agent for the big decisions.

But not unlike sellers, real estate agents have varying degrees of expertise to sell a home. Too often, you find out too late that selling with an agent is not the best route for you.

If you find yourself frustrated with your agent, you’ll need to know how to terminate a real estate listing agreement. As a reminder, a real estate listing contract is legally binding, so if you do choose to proceed with canceling, it may be in your best interest to speak with an attorney or other legal professional to ensure that you are following the correct steps for your situation.

Why Terminate a Listing Agent Agreement?

If you see these signs of a lousy listing agent, you probably have a good case for cancellation.

The listing agent may have stopped returning your communications promptly and asked you just to trust them when you need to stay informed.

You may start to notice “little things” like they don’t know how to use social media or market online. Or they skipped the step of hiring a decent photographer—big problem.

As a result, you’re not getting any interest from potential buyers.

Incompetence aside, you could be dealing with the other end of the spectrum. They’re successful but spreading themselves too thin.

Or the agent may even suggest unethical tactics like not telling a buyer about the flooding basement in order to secure a sale.

Whatever the case, the house isn’t selling. And the longer it sits, the lower bids go. You need to know how to terminate a real estate listing agreement and consider other options.

How to Terminate a Real Estate Listing Agreement

Follow these steps to terminate a real estate listing agreement.

1. Study Your Contract

It will likely explain how to cancel and what constitutes a cancellation. Most contracts are either exclusive right to sell or exclusive agency.

According to U.S. Legal, Exclusive right to sell means the agent gets the commission in almost every circumstance. So even if you end up selling the house to a friend of a work friend, you could owe the agent.

how to terminate a real estate listing agreement study your contract

Exclusive agency means that if you, the seller, found a buyer, the agent doesn’t get paid. You cannot, however, hire another agent to find a buyer under this rule. This is additionally known as “exclusive agency to sell”.

2. Find out Acceptable Cancellation Reasons

Look for a section specifically about cancellations. The contract may include clauses about the agent’s behavior and productivity expectations.

If there is no clear, acceptable reason for a cancellation or if you’ve requested one and not had any luck, it might be time to contact an attorney.

3. Speak With Your Agent About a Release

This is tough. But it’s the adult thing to do. If you can’t meet face to face, please at least call. Don’t text, message, or leave a voicemail.

If it’s an ethics issue, then telling your agent you’re going to file a complaint may be enough for them to let you off the hook. But please do not do this unless something truly unethical took place. They could lose their license.

If it’s something else, share your reasons, and cite the contract to make your case. If they don’t agree, contact an attorney if the agent is not letting you out, but you feel you have valid grounds for cancellation.

4. Pay Anything That You Owe

Settle up any debts. For example, if your agent invested time and money into marketing, staging, etc., you may still have to pay a fee if you cancel without the home selling.

This is generally not that much money and the right thing to do.

Then get it in writing to part ways.

How to Sell Without an Agent

If you’ve had a bad experience with an agent, you will likely not trust a different agent not to make the same mistakes.

You’ve probably wasted some time and money with the lousy agent and want to sell quickly and avoid any more expenses.

We’d like to share an option that’s faster and less hassle — sell with HomeGo instead. We make same-day, cash offers, so you avoid the pain of selling traditionally. With HomeGo, there is no prep work, repairs, staging, showing, or waiting!

Needs work? Renters? It doesn’t matter. HomeGo will make you a firm, cash offer that won’t change later on. You can have cash in hand in as little as 7 days and move out when you want with our flexible leaseback arrangement.

You may also like:

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.