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Real Estate News

February 27, 2012

How to Break Up With Your Real Estate Agent

- — The road to buying or selling a home is often a long one. Along the way, you may discover that your relationship with your real estate agent just isn't working anymore. Maybe the agent is moving faster than you’d like. Or they’re not as available as you need them to be. Maybe they just don’t get you.

Now what? Is it OK to break up with your real estate agent? And if so, how can you gracefully end it? The answer depends on whether you’re working with an agent as a buyer or a seller.

Advice for Buyers

Real estate agents earn their commissions from sellers, which are split between seller’s and buyer’s agents. As a general rule, as a buyer, you won’t be asked to enter into a contractual or financial agreement with a real estate agent. Though there are some agents who ask buyers to sign an exclusivity agreement, in which the buyer agrees not to work with another real estate agent but this isn’t the norm.

Instead, a buyer makes a handshake agreement with the real estate agent. You’re basically agreeing to exclusively rely upon that agent. And that’s fair. Agents often work hard and spend a lot of time engaging with buyers, watching the market, writing contracts, showing properties, reviewing disclosures, and so on. Imagine how they’d feel after spending months working with a client, only to be informed that another agent found them the home they want?

If you’re not quite ready to be tied down to a particular agent, it’s better not to engage one until you are ready. That said, it’s OK to look for agents even if you’re a year away from making a serious move into the market. Some buyers need data and advice as they tip their toes into the market. Just be honest. A good real estate agent will read your situation well and provide the appropriate amount of attention. They’ll act as a resource and be available when you need them. A big turn off for buyers is an agent who puts on the full court press when they are not nearly ready to buy.

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