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How To Break Up With Your Real Estate Agent

Hanna Kielar May 17, 2023

Selling a home is a big decision that involves a lot of time and trust. You want to make sure you’re comfortable with the process, which often means taking matters into your own hands. However, things don’t always go as planned.

There are a lot of factors that go into buying a home. Hiring the right person to be your real estate agent can be critical to your success. Your agent should be able to understand your needs, list your property, obtain an offer and successfully close the deal. If they are not meeting these criteria, it might be time to stop doing business with them.

42847518 - real estate agent reaches for handshake with sale sign and new house behind.

Read on to learn about why you might want to break up with your real estate agent, and the best way to move forward.

Reasons You May Want To Break Up With Your Real Estate Agent

There are many reasons you may be unhappy with your agent. You may feel that they are dragging their feet, incapable of closing a deal successfully, or that they do not produce quality marketing materials. They may also have more personal flaws, such as being unprofessional, unpleasant, or lacking in communication skills.

Whatever the reason, you will want to start the firing process by doing plenty of research to know exactly what your real estate agent was or wasn’t doing and what you will now be responsible for.

Do Your Research

Before you decide to go out on your own and not work with an agent, make sure you understand everything selling a home on your own entails. You’ll need to be able to confidently answer questions such as:

  • Why do I want to sell?
  • How much prep work do I need to do?
  • What’s my goal for selling my home? Is it to make a profit or to simply relocate?

You’ll need to gauge your finances, assess your home-selling approach, and be strategic in your pricing. We created a helpful, free, three-step guide to give you more information to lead you through the process of selling your home on your own.

You will also want to be sure to research the steps necessary to protect yourself legally during the selling process. Some basic steps that you can anticipate are putting everything in writing, understanding who you should allow to see your home, and potential liabilities that having pets in the home present.

Consider Your Contract

Have you signed anything with a real estate agent? If so, it’s likely the paperwork included a contract of representation, which is a document that locks you into working with that agent for a set number of days. These contracts may contain a clause that protects the agent in the case that you choose to terminate the contract.

Sometimes this means that you will have to pay the real estate agent’s commission, even in the case that you fire them. These contracts are legally binding and can be hard to get out of, so read the fine print carefully.

Talk To Your Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are reasonable professionals who want to do a good job. The best course of action is to sit down and have an honest conversation with your agent and let them know how they aren’t meeting your expectations.

If your agent works for a brokerage, they may ask for you to speak with someone from the firm after your conversation. This gives you the opportunity to express any concerns to someone who can make necessary changes in the future or help you to find an agent you would rather work with. If you decide to sell your home on your own, it can be helpful to have a conversation with a professional who knows the area well and can help advise you as you begin the process.

Most real estate agents will want to stay in your good graces and maintain a good reputation, so many may graciously step aside. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to know the worst-case scenario: your agent may be offended or make it difficult to get out of the contract. Make sure you keep your tone professional and stick to the facts – keep emotion out of it.

Put It In Writing

Once you’ve had the verbal conversation with your agent, summarize the conversation in writing. This can be done via a quick recap email. It’s important to have this in writing to prevent any confusion or misinterpretation from either side.

After you’ve put it in writing via email, you may want to ask your agent to give you a form called the Termination of Agency. In most cases, the signed agreement you have will be with your agent’s brokerage office rather than with that person specifically. They may want to have a conversation about you working with a different agent within the brokerage or they may agree that parting ways is the best solution. Realty is a referral-based business and they will likely want to maintain a good relationship and reputation, thus respecting your decision to sell your home without a real estate agent.

Give A Gift

If there aren’t personal or ethical concerns, consider referring your agent to neighbors or friends. Additionally, you may want to make an additional personal gesture to show appreciation for the time and effort that they put into listing your home. A $50 gas card as a parting gift serves as a thoughtful token of appreciation. Add a kindly written note thanking them for their time to help soften the blow a bit.

The Bottom Line

Remember that at the end of the day, a real estate agent-client relationship is a business one. Even if the agent is a friend or a family member, ending the relationship with grace will help preserve the connection and allow you to move forward on your terms.

If you’ve decided you’d like to try selling your home on your own, we’re here to help. has myriad resources to help you sell like a pro and give you the guidance you need. With Rocket HomesSM, you’ll be backed with expert advice to help you feel confident every step of the way.