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October 25th, 2011

How quickly can you fire your Realtor?

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The following post was written by HSH.com contributing writer Lynnette Khalfani-Cox.

rejectedWhen 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?

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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.

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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.

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2 Responses to “How quickly can you fire your Realtor?”

  1. Sign Laws: Not Just for Realtors Says: February 6th, 2012 at 8:00 am

    [...] How quickly can you fire your Realtor? (hsh.com) [...]

  2. Jerry R Williams Says: November 11th, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Can you tell me how I might be able to terminate a Texas TAR form Property Management Agreement? The TAR form gives the broker the capability of terminating an agreement with an owner for any reason or at any time with only providing a 30 day notice. However the Owner is not indicated on the form as having the same right! I was/am extremely upset with the manner that my broker/property manager has performed. I sent him an email stating that it was my 30 day notice. He replied that I did NOT have a right to terminate. I had to allow the complete length of the contract (two years) to pass before I could terminate. That is, to me, obviously very one sided. Is there anything I can do about this?

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HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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