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How to Fire Your Realtor

A friend stopped by today looking a bit down. When I asked him what was up, he started telling me about his house, and the fact that it has been on the market for a while without any offers.

"They're telling me it's a hot market and my price is right, but nothing is happening." He's asking $299,000 and a local builder told him it would cost $300,000 just to replace the house. Never mind the panoramic view or the ten acres of old growth trees behind the house.

So what's wrong? He listed with a major franchise chain and a top-selling agent. BUT that agent has been on vacation for the past month.

Everyone knows that agents get a commission even if they sell another agent's listings. But they get half…and generally have to share it with the office. In a hot market they may not need to go beyond showing their own listings. And if they do, they'll show the ones closest to the office. That was the other mistake my friend made: listing with a firm more than 20 miles from his home. Even his own agent will show the easiest listings first. Laziness is an unfortunate part of human nature.

What can my friend do? Fire her. But carefully.

If you, as a seller, are unsatisfied with the service you're getting, the first step is to call the agent and state your concerns. Ask to see what's been done to sell your house, how many showings they've had, what the buyer comments have been, and if they have any recommendations on price, minor repairs, etc. Tell the agent that you expect some showings, or in a slow market, good communication. If your agent is not available or refuses to return your call… go to the broker of the firm.

Then, give them a week to get on track. If you're still unhappy, call back and tell them you are canceling the listing and you'll be in to pick up their signed release. This is an important point. Do not withdraw your listing, because that signifies that the house is merely going off the market. If you sell it yourself or list it elsewhere, you will still be bound to paying a commission if the purchase agreement happens prior to the last day of their listing.

If the broker refuses to let you out of the contract and you feel you have good cause to cancel, call your state Board of Realtors. They should be able to help you without you needing to pay an attorney. A listing IS a binding contract, but if one party refuses to act in good faith, the other one does have a right to break the contract.

The two most important points to remember are the word cancel and the signed release. Without those, you could end up paying a double commission. And nobody wants to pay someone for not giving service.

One last word: don't try to fire your Realtor if they've been giving service but you happen to stumble over a buyer on your own. It's dishonest, unethical, and the money you save isn't worth the price of knowing you've been a cheat.

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Marte Cliff, Copywriter
1794 Blue Lake Road
Priest River, ID 83856

P.S. If your business needs a better web presence, call me! I specialize in writing search-engine enhanced web copy that gets results!