Cannot get rid of agent

by Jon Talus on April 23, 2009

We listed our home 4 months ago and have rarely seen our agent. When we call the office they give us his cell phone number but only reach his voice mail. When he finally returns our call he says we must reduce our price if we want the house to sell. If that’s all it takes we would not have agreed to pay him such a large commission (5%). The listing agreement expires in 2 months. How can we get rid of him now?

This post was submitted by Jon Talus.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Not A Realtor April 24, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Jon, You can usually cancel a Realtor’s contract with a phone call. After you cancel the listing agreement, there is a 30 day (or more depending on your contract and law of the state you live in) waiting period. And you are FREE to go..

Talk to the local board or association of Realtors and/or the manager of the brokerage where the Realtor is employed. You shall find a solution. Good luck.

Jon Talus April 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Yeah, “good luck” is right! The listing agreement is printed by the local MLS and there is nothing in it about canceling 30 days. It only has a beginning date (2/23/09) and an expiration date (8/23/09) In fact, it goes on to say that the broker is “protected for 90 days” after the expiration for any buyers that came through the home. We already called the local Board of Realtors and they told us to try and “work it out with our Realtor”. Where is an MLS by you that allows a seller to “cancel” the agreement?

Randy from Canada April 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Well, if you have to wait 90 days, cancel today and wait 90 days instead of waiting 2 months for the contract to expire and then waiting 90 days.

In Canada, You can cancel and re-list with another agent without any waiting period. If you want to cancel and sell to someone “you know” without an agent..then there may be more to this story than we know from the above post.

Mike April 26, 2009 at 1:44 pm

You need to call your agent and tell him that it’s not working out and you’re unhappy with the results or lack of marketing of your property. Have him write an Amend/Extend Listing Contract to terminate the expiration date. Instruct him to write the following clause:
The Listing Agreement is hereby terminated as if the expiration date were today. All other terms and conditions, except the expiritation date, specifically including those that provide for compensation in the event of a subsequent sale to one who was disclosed properly to Seller, shall remain in full force and effect.
Seller warrants that Seller is not seeking this termination with the intent of selling the Property to a prospective purchaser procured or discovered during the term of this listing. If such is the case, the indicated commission shall still be due to Broker.

You are obligated to pay the commission for any purchasers that he was the procuring cause. Meaning that those buyers that looked at your property while his sign was out front and/or found your property through the local MLS that he is a dues paying member and pays fees monthly and probably hourly to submit your property. You agreed to those terms in your contract. Now if one of those buyers decided to make an offer directly to you trying to bypass your Realtor then that would be considered a breach of contract and thus fraud.

The reason the holdover period is in a listing agreement is because there are fraudulent sellers that once a purchaser is found they try to go around the Realtor,so not to pay commissions, thus save money. People have been trying to do it for years and that’s why there are stringent laws against it. Brokers have access to property records to make discovery as to the property sold information.

One more thing. The commission is split with the Buyer’s Agent. Depending upon your area it’s probably about 50/50.

This has been a very difficult time in our nations economy. It is still very difficult for the average Buyer’s to get financing. Check your local markets stats monthly to determine average days on market in your area and for your price point. Also, stay on the internet and stay up to date. If your property is priced correctly it will sell!

Jon Talus April 28, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Randy from Canada says you can cancel a listing agreement at anytime. Wow! I wish wecould do that here in the states. Instead my agent said, “We have a contract and it will end when it expires on the date we agreed to.” I wish I lived in Canada! What law is that? We do not want to cancel the listing agreement to sell to our own buyer. In fact, if we had our own buyer I would have our agent do the deal b/c at this point I could care less about the commission. But let me ask you REALTORS out there a question, What the hell do you do for your 5%?

Lee Ali April 28, 2009 at 10:07 pm

I really wonder why sellers complain about commission. You are NOT paying “such a large commission.” Your agent is hardly getting 1.25% of the commission. Also, what are your choices? Sell it yourself? If you did, then you would do yourself a disservice. Check these out:

http://activerain.com/blogsview/995920/Price-Fixing-of-a-Different-Kind

http://activerain.com/blogsview/1036839/ShhhDont-Talk-About-the-Built-in-Price-Fixing-of-the-Realtor-Network-Continue-Talking-About-Commission-Structures

Listen to your agent when he suggests that you lower the price. The longer you stay in the market the lower your sales price is going to be. I can guarantee you that if you went to another agent, he is going to list the house at a low price. He may charge you 4% but you are going to be at the short end of the stick regardless.

Realtors are sellers friends. Stop focusing on the wrong number (commission) and start focusing on the right number (price inflation in the Realtor network.)

Jon Talus April 29, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Lee Ali,

You say, “…the agent is hardly getting 1.25% of the commission”. OK, but that doesn’t explain why am I paying 5%! You say, “Listen to the agent when he suggests that you lower your price.” Perhaps I should reduce the price by 5% (the commission we’re paying) the house will sell. You imply an agent charging less (4%) will put me at a disadvantage. Using that logic, we should pay a higher fee, say 10%, we would get better service and a higher sales price, right? Again, I ask you REAL-A-TORS, what the hell do you do for your 5%?

frank May 12, 2009 at 2:43 pm

You fellas have every right to complain. Do you know that in UK although agents will try for 2% it is normal to get a rate of 1% + VAT.
If your property is over 500,000 then the rate drops to .75%. I know, I just sold a property in UK. Here in Canada the demand is 5%. I don’t care how much they do, that is pure ripoff. The rate for design and construction of a house by a professional architect used to be 6% – and he would have full legal responsibility for the project. As far as I can see realtors have no responsibility whatever. By the way, these fixed fees are actually illegal, but it will require a class action to change things

Chani May 15, 2009 at 7:33 pm

In my experience, if the price is right – the house will sell. Selling houses IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. Don’t be fooled into thinking it is complicated. There is usually only one thing that stops a house from selling. P.R.I.C.E! Stop being a road block in the sale of your home. LISTEN to your agent, take on board their experience in the market. For every day you stand your ground the value of the home could drop. It becomes stale on the market and nobody wants it.

peter May 15, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Hello there!!
I feel your pain, but in todays market the buyers have the upper hand not the sellers when they dominated the market 5years ago. when they charge a commission it’s their hard earn money, just like the average person with a 9-5 JOB, think also if the property is priced right it will attract more potential buyers qualified that is with all the banks reforms (that would be another subject), and now the agents would show the property with the best pay. Now think if you are an agent with choices of home to show & sell wouldn’t you like to sell the highest paid commission property????

peter May 15, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Hello there!!
I feel your pain, but in todays market the buyers have the upper hand not the sellers when they dominated the market 5years ago. when they charge a commission it’s their hard earn money, just like the average person with a 9-5 JOB, think also if the property is priced right it will attract more potential buyers qualified that is with all the banks reforms (that would be another subject), and now the agents would show the property with the best pay. Now think if you are an agent with choices of home to show & sell wouldn’t you like to sell the highest paid commission property????

Bob Wray May 16, 2009 at 3:59 am

The fundimental problem here is the preception created by most listing agents. In their listing presentations, they sell you on how great they are or how big their company is or how many homes they’ve “sold”. The reality is, it doesn’t matter who you list with. Your house goes on the same local MLS as every other agent in your area. The listing agent doesn’t do anything until an offer comes in. Your price is the only reason you aren’t selling. Buyer’s agents don’t care who you’re listed with, they just want to find a home for their clients and get paid. Price is the only reason you aren’t selling.

Leslie Blair, Realtor May 16, 2009 at 7:38 am

In our state (KY) your listing is with the company/broker not the agent. If that agent moved away, you are still listed with that company. So you would call the broker/owner to cancel.

Also, if you are buying a home after you sell, you are likely to get a great deal on the buy end, so its not so bad to take a hit on the sale.

Out of Product, Price, Place & Promotion, it is usually a combination of all 4 that have prevented you from selling. What is the feedback on your home? Is your home the Best Priced for he Best Condition? (the winning combination!) And “Place” also included hours of operation–have you ever turned down a showing? In this market turning down a showing is like turning down an offer–they almost never re-schedule, they will find another home. Do you make it easy to show? “Leave message and go and show” or do you require notice? complicated showing instructions? So long as your agent took great photos, uploaded the maximum photos and wording allowed on the MLS, gets people in the door–then if it was PRICED right, it would sell. That’s just my experience. (9+yrs) Good luck!! And the 5% goes to marketing, negotiating, from active, to pending, to closing, & lots more details–check out About.com real estate advice Elizabeth Weitraub. Several months of work. But you need to have trust between agent and client, and understand they are representing you & trying to help you sell your home. You need to go back over your motivation and time frame. If you dont need or want to sell, maybe its not the time. But its a great time to buy and get locked into a great rate & buy a great deal!

Tony Fantis May 17, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Hi Jon,

Sorry to hear about that!

First, I’d recommend checking with the listing brokerage manager or principal broker. Sometimes they can re-assign you a new agent, though you’ll probably need a compelling reason.

It’s common to “not see” an agent very much when they’ve listed your home. However, you should definitely be hearing from your agent regularly. It’s the most common complaint in the real industry.

Like most professions, you’ll find some great agents and some not-so-great. The problem is it’s kind of like finding a good dentist. You just don’t know until you’ve tried them out.

I can’t guess from here about your price, though I can say that price is the number one reason a house doesn’t sell. Condition and neighborhood play into it, as well…but then again, price ultimately determines whether you sell or not.

Once you’ve got an offer, a skilled agent can make a huge difference in what your ‘final’ price is. That’s where a great agent is worth his or her weight in gold.

Best of luck with this! It is always frustrating when you’re trying to sell your house and you’re not sure why things aren’t moving.

Regards,
Tony Fantis

slcagent May 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

5% does not seem that large, it is usual to charge 6%, 3% for the listing agent and 3% for the selling agent. Have you tried asking for the listing to be released? If the agent thinks that it is not selling because the price is too high, then you would think that they would be glad to release the listing.

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