Dec 2 2016 24277 1

Dec 2 2016 24277 1

Is it OK to break up with your real estate Broker?

Is it OK to break up with your real estate Broker? And if so, how can you gracefully end it?

Buying or selling a home rarely happens overnight, and it’s not uncommon for buyers or sellers to interface or even work with multiple agents. Best-case scenario, the right agent shows their face early, and the relationship (and transaction) is a huge success.

But it’s possible though that, along the way, you may find that your relationship with your real estate broker 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. Sometimes personalities clash and most of the time you're not the only one feeling it. Although the realtor you're working with may be sad to lose a commission they more than likely know the relationship isn't working.

So what do you do? Is it OK to break up with your real estate broker? And if so, how can you gracefully end it?

The answer depends on whether you’re working with a broker as a buyer or a seller.

 

Advice for buyers

Real estate broker earns their commissions from sellers, and the money is split between the sellers’ and buyers’ broker. As a general rule, as a buyer, you won’t be asked to enter into a contractual or financial agreement with a real estate broker.

Instead, a buyer makes a (sometimes non-verbal) handshake agreement with the real estate broker. You’re basically agreeing to exclusively rely on that broker. And that’s fair.

Brokers 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 broker found them the home they want?

Before you shake hands, do your homework. Ask friends for references, and check out online broker reviews.

Going to open houses is a good way to meet and interview broker who works where you want to buy. Don’t jump in with the first broker you meet. Like any relationship, start slow and feel it out. It’s harder to break up with your broker if you have too deeply engaged.

If you’re not quite ready to be tied down, it’s better not to engage a broker until you are ready. Early on, a good real estate broker should read your situation well and provide the appropriate amount of attention as needed. They’ll act as a resource, and be available when you need them. Once the search kicks into high gear, brokers and buyers will spend lots of time together and communicate often.

If you do find that a relationship is not working, be honest and upfront before more time passes. Offer the brokers constructive feedback about why it’s not working for you.
 

Advice for sellers

Since the seller pays the real estate broker's commission, the brokerage requires the seller to sign a listing agreement upfront.  During the listing period, you’re contractually obligated to work exclusively with the broker and brokerage firm, specifically on the sale of your home.

In fact, even if you find a buyer on your own (such as a friend), the listing broker/brokerage firm is still due to their commission.

Just as a buyer must do his homework, it’s even more important for a seller to do their research, given the commitment. Most listing agreements state that if the listing broker brings an offer at the listing price and the seller doesn’t accept it, the agent is still due a commission. This scenario happens sometimes when the listing broker and seller aren’t getting along.

In most situations, if the listing broker isn’t doing a good job but there’s still time left on the agreement, you should simply tell the broker it’s not working out. A good, fair and honest broker will apologize for not meeting your expectations and will agree to release you from the agreement ahead of schedule. But that’s not always the case, and sellers typically respond by no longer agreeing to open houses or considering offers from the agent.

Sometimes, a broker wants to break up with the seller. Maybe the seller insists on keeping the price of the home too high or isn’t cooperating to accommodate showings. The broker simply feels they can’t be successful with the seller, no matter how much time they put into the job. Remember your broker is trained and should be a professional, so listen to their suggestions. 

If you’re a seller whose broker wants out of the agreement because you aren’t taking the necessary steps to sell your home, it’s best to let them go — and to give serious consideration as to whether you’re really ready to sell or not.


Joshua Waters Headshot
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Phone: 505-314-6833
Dated: December 2nd 2016
Views: 323
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