How quickly can you fire your Realtor?by Tim Manni
The following post was written by HSH.com contributing writer Lynnette Khalfani-Cox.
When you are buying or selling a home and working with a Realtor, it’s not uncommon to sign a buyer representation agreement or a listing agreement. These are legally binding documents that outline each party’s rights and responsibilities in a real estate transaction. And many such contracts have six or 12-month terms.
But what if you want to terminate your Realtor before the contract period expires?
Fortunately, real estate experts say you can do so at any time simply by providing written notice to the Realtor or the broker he or she is working for, stating that you would like to end the agreement.
In some cases, a simple email to the Realtor and/or broker will do. In other instances, you must fill out a form stating your intentions.
Rules differ in different states
In Texas, for example, a person can fire a buyer’s agent by filling out and signing form TAR 1503, Termination of Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement. Likewise, homeowners in The Lone Star state who wish to fire a listing agent can do so by completing form TAR 1410, Termination of Listing.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, one standard form–called a Termination of Agency Agreement and Release–can be used to end a relationship with a buyer’s agent or a listing agent.
You may need to pay up
In some scenarios, a fired real estate agent may request that certain fees be paid. For instance, a Realtor may seek a commission if a buyer ultimately does purchase a home that the Realtor first showed the buyer.
Also, if an agent did a lot of marketing work (producing brochures, fliers, signs, etc.) for a home that was listed, the agent may ask to be reimbursed for such costs.
Neither of these would be unreasonable requests, especially in cases where a prospective buyer or homeowner simply had a change of heart about a Realtor.
If, however, the reason for the termination is because the agent was clearly ineffective, failed to perform, or in some way didn’t meet professional standards, then a homeowner should express his or her concerns to the Realtor or broker and decline to pay any fees.
Overall, though, “It’s different everywhere,” says Leanne Jernigan, a spokeswoman with the National Association of Realtors. When homeowners have problems with their Realtors “we encourage them to check with their local association or licensing board.” But there’s no law that says you have to stick with a Realtor until a contract expires. “You can work with whoever you want,” says Jernigan.