Mh, Other/Just Looking in Seattle, WA

I want to fire my agent and have discussed this with them. The agent refuses to release the MLS listing so

Asked by Mh, Seattle, WA Tue Mar 18, 2008

that anyother agent can relist it. The agent told me that any other agent can sell it with her still holding the listing but I would prefer that she not be a part of it at all. How can I do this?

Help the community by answering this question:

Answers

28
Hi Mh,

I just wrote a post on a different thread and different subject matter where I agreed fully with Gary. This time, I do not.

A listing agreement is a legal contract. Depending upon the terms in that contract, the listing broker may not be required to release a listing. If the listing broker failed to meet his/her terms of delivery, the lsiting broker may be in breach of a contract, and that may be cause for the release.

If the terms of the listing agreement do not allow a unitlateral cancellation on the part of the seller, and the listing broker has met the terms of the contract, that option may not be available. Some listing agreements provide for an early termination with payment, as Gary suggests. Comparable examples might be: Cancelling a cell phone contract early may require an early termination fee. Bringing back a car rented for a week after only 3 days may cause a re-rate of the rental rate. Cancelling a hotel reservation may hold you still liable for payment....for a deposit....or the full stay. Cancelling an airline ticket where the fare is $109 and the cancellation fee netted me a credit of $9 for future use. I cancelled the flight a week in advance, but I was still responsible for paying the $100 cancellation/reissue fee to the airline. Sure, I would like to say to the airline that no services were provided and I cancelled a full week in advance......but the terms of the ticket were provided before the ticket were issued.

You, as a seller, can always hire another Realtor, you might still be liable for the payment in full to the current listing broker.

If you believe the agent failed their duties, address that to the broker and see if the broker will work with you. If there are provisions in your contract that you believe provide you the right to cancel, you can enforce those provisions. Refer to your contract.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
Rob,
Mh may have legitimate reasons for wanting to fire her agent. We don't know that. As a Broker, I have had selelrs attempt to cancel their listing in order to do a deal w/ a buyer without any agent and save the commisision. In these instances, I have not released the lisitng. Since the company pays for the marketing and advertising for a seller's property, only it takes a broker to release the listing.

I can't say from the limited info here that Mh is being strong armed. If I were the broker, I would need more information to determine an appropriate and fair course of action. To predetermine, from limited info, is irresponsible. You, as an agent, would not want your broker to predetermine a course of action without hearing facts from you.

On Voices, it is sad that too many agents are quick to condemn another agent without knowing the facts.

Perhaps the listing agent should be reprimanded or disciplined, even. But, you don't know that form the data here. So, how can you assert that she is strong arming a client inappropriately?
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
Yikes....Mh,
Not only do I think you should fire her, I think this should be reported to the broker and the local association.

I would be horrified if a seller client of our company called me and reported such behaviors. I don't even know how to categorize the "taking a shower" routine. Other than to tell you I was horrified to read that.

Helping herself to coffee and leaivng coffee mugs in the sink is just plain rude. I wouldn't do that at the home of a good friend.....not even a thought.

Allowing people to tour your home unescorted is a failure of her duty to you. An agent has a responsbility and allowing buyers to run through unescorted is completely unacceptable.

Telling a buyer there was another deal that is better down the street is a complete failure of her fiduciary duty to you as a seller client.

As a broker, I would do the following....

First, I would I would request that you jot a few of these things down in writing, sit down w/ the agent and discuss this situation immediately. If the agent did not deny the actions, I would terminate the agent. If the agent presented another story, I would investigate further before taking action. I do believe you, though. I don't think someone would make up such outrageous behavior.

I would ask you to allow our company to continue to represent you. I would request the oppty to service your listing properly and go above an beyond any level of extraordinary service. If you insisted you did not want our company to represent you, I would release the listing. Your highest level of care may come from the current broker. I would also probably reduce your fee to compensate for the service failures.

Mh, I do think you should report this agent to the local association office. The person seems to not think there is anything wrong with her behavior and perhaps only a formal complaint is enough to wake her up.
As you describe the situation, she didn't seem to be embarassed by the shower incident, nor is she embarrassed about coffee mugs in the sink. Frankly, I would know if someone took a shower in my home...and I would be outraged.

Mh.....I still stand on my earlier posts that I won't condemn an agent w/o info....but, sure to believe, I will react swiftly and appropriately. If I were the broker, I would have already been reaching to the agent via every method possible...email, cell, home, number, office voice mail, etc.

As you describe the situation, you have been way more than patient and tolerant. I wish you would have posted on Trulia sooner or contacted the Broker sooner.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
Thanks Mark....and in no way do I wish to hold back support of a customer if and when their agent has failed.

Mh.....Please know that my position is one of fairness and complete support of a consumer. If you care to share the details, you might get some more opinons. In any event, a call to the broker may be in order. There, you can discuss the details and find a solution.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
Thank you, Deborah, for correcting Rob. Coming to this post a little late, it seems that the first response should have asked "why do you want to do this." There are plenty of agents out there that do not provide adequate service or expertise to their clients. And conversely there are plenty of clients that are not honest or straight forward with their agents.

It's hard to tell which assumptions should be made by the way Mh poses the question.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Hi,

I am also shocked at the lack of professionalism of your agent. My recommendation is to contact her broker immediately and explain the situation. Realtors are supposed to be held to a higher code of ethics than most business people, and this is definitely unprofessional. Realtors are supposed to put their clients interests above their own. I would also report this agent to the NWMLS.

I sincerely wish you luck and hope that this doesn't cause you to look at all realtors this way. There are lots of good, ethical, caring, and professional agents out there.

Christine Baker
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
Wow-THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL THESE ANSWERS-I never expected this many responses.

If my current agent had gone the extra mile like you people are doing, I probably would not be asking about firing her.

Here is more information since some of you asked why I want to fire her.

She is really a nice person who I hired because I seemed to connect with easily. A few months into the listing I noticed some odd behavior whenever she was in my home.

As an example:

I mentioned that I could not meet her the next day at her office because I was going out of town. The next day arrived and my appointment was canceled so instead of leaving town, I went shopping for about 2 hours. When I got home, I noticed the agents car parked in my driveway so I quietly came on in thinking that she was showing the house to a client. All of a sudden, I hear water running in the shower in my guest bathroom and I find the agent taking a shower. I didn't want to embarrass her but when she came out she said that she was waiting for a delayed client so I hope that I didn't mind if she freshened up. OK, I'm thinking, she lives a distance away so I'll accept that excuse.

Then there is the time that I overheard her tell an interested potential buyer that she had a better deal down the street so just go through the motions that you are interested.

Then there is the matter of her allowing groups of people to tour my house and they are left unescorted to run through it. I have come home and found personal drawers and my undergarments missing as well as personal items used. Someone even used the toilet for number 2 and left it without flushing and they stuffed and whole roll of paper in it-didn't even take it off of the roll.

Last Friday, I come in from a day of work and I find her waiting for yet another client with her stocking feet up on my coffee table reading a book from my library. I guess that I should be thankful that she at least didn't take it into the shower this time. Then she made this comment that I was out of instant coffee which explains why I keep finding cups in my sink even though everything was washed and put away before I left.

I'm beginning to think that this agent doesn't have a home of her own and really needs this sale.

So what do you think-should I fire her or not.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
This was an easy question and I agree with most of the answers. Just call the Broker directly and that should solve all your problems. Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 29, 2008
That's just stupid. I can't understand why an agent would try to hold on to a listing when the seller wants him/her gone. It sounds like your agent is trying to get a piece of any sale that happens in the future. It's that whole "procuring cause" thing. I personally believe this was designed to protect agents from unscrupulous sellers, but some agents twist it to benefit themselves when they should just bow out gracefully. The other answers are right--Contact the broker directly. That should do the trick. If not...Brokers just hate to receive phone calls from the MLS...And the only thing worse than that is a phone call from Olympia...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 27, 2008
Agree withtheother real estate professionals. I would contact the broker. In the market I work in, this would not be tolerated per MLS rules.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
In many MLS organizasations, you can just write a letter to the broker and the mls and say you want to be released from the listing with the reasons why. Since you have an agreement with the broker, he can choose to release the listing or not. Based on what has happened with your agent, almost any broker would fire her and release the listing due to the unprofessionalism of his / her agent. This is the kind of agent that we professional agents want to see leave our industry.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
HI Mh -
This question has been well answered, but I did want to echo one thing that Christine said below - PLEASE don't think that all REALTORS are like this. I have never heard of any REALTOR I know acting in this way at all.
Get that listing canceled and good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2008
I'm shocked at the agent's lack of professional behavior. And I agree with the posts regarding identification of the issues you have, making an appointment with the broker, reporting her to the NWMLS and Board of Realtors for ethics violations, and see if you can get the Broker to fire the agent. As a matter of policy, if I have a Seller who is frustrated, doesn't want to continue to work with me, etc, I am happy to release them from the listing.

Good luck.

Debbie
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
We had a realtor in an office I worked in who refused to withdraw a listing (to be fired) as a matter of policy. In Texas, our listing agreement states that either party can cancel the agreement before the scheduled date of termination. One of her listing clients came into the office on day absolutely hysterical and refused to leave until someone made her cancel the listing.

I agree with the previous respondee: contact the agent's broker. If that doesn't give satisfaction, contact your local board of realtors and the state real estate commission to find out what your options are. There should be grievance procedures in place that you can use, hopefully, as a last resort. You could just be dealing with an inexperience agent who needs some education rather than someone acting with intention.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2008
Please ask for a meeting with the agents manager Broker and discuss this with them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Mh,
I won't comment on how you should get out of a contract, but I am shocked and sickened by the lack of professionalism displayed by the agent. I haven't read all of the other answers, but I would be surprised that all of this couldn't be figured out by making a phone call to the Broker of that agent. It has been my experience that most disputes arise from a lack of communication or a lack of setting expectations. I suggest to be firm with your agent in regards to your expectations and firm with the brokerage to make sure you and your property get the attention it deserves.

Best of luck to you...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Ok, so maybe I overreacted with my initial response, but now I stick by my advice. I recommend clearly documenting each of these incidents and sharing the information with your agents broker and MLS.

I hope this incident doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth. I am floored that an agent would be so inconsiderate and rude.

Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Ouch...what a tough situation. I first read this response this morning but didn't post an answer yet because I wanted to continue to see what came in. The NWMLS forms that you signed does put you into a contract for a specific time period. My personal belief is that I will let clients cancel (unless I feel they are taking advantage of me, as some have mentioned). If a client is not happy with me it is too miserable and not worth it to force them to work with me. I am in a relationship and service driven business, and once those have been shattered I might as well just walk away humbly.

You should be able to protect yourself and get out. Obviously, this agent is doing several things that they should not be doing. As Deborah mentioned...maybe you can keep your listing with the same office and just switch actual agents. Talk to the broker first with your concerns. Most brokers around here would not want an agent in their office doing these things.

Depending on the broker's actions...contact the King County Association of Realtors...your realtor is not representing your best interests and should be disciplined. Don't let this realtor strong arm you. Assuming that the broker will take care of you....don't go overboard. However, THINK OF YOURSELF FIRST here....obviously, your agent is not.

Good luck and sorry about this bad experience. We're not all bad agents who take advantage of our clients =)
Web Reference: http://www.agentsamuel.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
NOW I stand by my initial answer............100%

That is like the time I entered a home and found two carpenters "going at it"...Oh wait...That was that HBO show...

Weird
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Mh:
Read your agreement. If it gives you an out and you really want out than exercise it. However, if it is because your hopuse is not selling, it may be partly your fault.
A seller needs to realize that they choose their Realtor for their marketing expertise and exposing your property to the masses. But that only does so much. You as the seller must also participate in the process. Are you preparing your home to look in its best light all the time. Have you looked at your price, is it competitive?
Realtor and client is a marraige of sorts and in order for it to work both sides needs to do their part. If your agent is not doing their part then replace if you are not doing your part then listen to the experts. They know what they are doing. If your agent is not call their broker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
The Listing Agreement that both you and your Agent signed legally give you each certain rights. I would suggest that you pull out the signed Listing Contract and review it as well as The Law of Real Estate Agency pamphlet you received.

The Law of Agency describes your legal rights in dealing with a real estate broker or salesperson. Once you have gathered that information and read it, then call the Broker or Branch Manager at the Office that is representing your home sale to discuss your options and obligations. Perhaps by sitting down will help to resolve the issues.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
This does not sound like a good situation. In our State the listing belong to the broker and not the sales associate.

I would make an appointmet to discuss this with the broker so you can come to a meeting of the minds on how this will be handled.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA
MVP'08
Contact
Mh,

This sounds ugly and stressful for you. Sorry you are going through this. If you no longer want to work with your current agent, I would recommend severing all ties with them. Call the office # for your agent and ask to speak to the broker manager of that office. Explain the situation to them and insist that the agent cancel the listing. You may also want to contact the NW MLS. The # is (425) 820-9200 or 1800-541-0455. Inform them of the situation as well. My concern is if the home sells and the current agent would have a claim to a comission. The situation could very well get ugly.
On separate note I have to say it bothers me that there are agents out there that are attempting to "strong arm" clients into continuing to work with them. You have made it clear that you do not want to work with her any more, she can be disappointed, but ethically should immediately cease marketing the home and cancel the listing. Shame on her.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Hi,
I wanted to clarify where and how I agree w/ Gary and where I did not. Gary is 100% correct in stating that a listing agent may not keep a seller's property actively listed in the MLS. No seller has to sell their property, and it does no one any good to have a property in MLS if the seller does not want to sell. Upon request, an agent must remove a lsiting from MLS.

A seller may not have the ability to be released from the contractural agreement in the listing contract.....meaning you may have to pay that listing broker his/her fees if you sell the property within the time periods covered by the listing period (which may not be the exact lisitng dates.)

Where I did not fully agree w/ Gary was in the filing of a complaint w/ the local board. If the agent takes you off the MLS, per your request, but has legal rights to hold you to the terms of the contract, a complaint w/ the board will not change the legal rights of the parties to a contract.

The broker manager of the office is your first point of discussion if the agent will not release your contract. That broker manager will either release the listing or inform you why he/she is not making that decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
Hi MH and welcome to this group.

I am assumming that the MLS service that you are speaking of is the Northwest Multiple Listing Service?

If this is correct, canceling your listing is easy and does not require the agents participation. Send a letter to the NWMLS directing them to immediately release the listing and to remove from publication.

You should be aware though that cancelling a listing DOES NOT CANCEL your obligations under the contract, but it may cancel the agents obligations to you. What could occur is that you wind up listing with another agent (under another contract) and be liabel to both if the property sells. Both agents could also make a claim that they are entitled to full compensation (not shared) under contract law which is a court matter separate from any MLS hearing.

If you do not relist the property or allow the first agent to continue their marketing efforts, they could make a legal argument that you have unreasonably prohibited a potential sale and could again make an argument for the commission.

My company has a supplemental agreement that is signed and it extensively covers what will happen if a listing is removed or if a buyer does not allow showing (there is a several thousand dollar penalty and we place a voluntary lien on the property through authorization within the contract). My addendum has been legally challenged and succeeded in the courts.

Many agents lose commissions when some unscrupulous sellers decide that they want the commission to go to a relative or a friend who just got their license so they usually "temporarily" remove the property from the market until the listing expires and they relist with them. This is unfortunate for them because much of the hard work (and costs) are at the beginning of a listing. By having clear documentation in place, it can avoid a later dispute.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
OK, Deborah is right and got my up vote.

Here is the caveat. There is a ton of Case law that has upheld the client in that the contract states that the seller may cancel with "the Brokers approval". The wording of Brokers approval has been what the courts have shot down. If there is a cancellation clause in the contract and it specifies that you may cancel with a fee, then the broker has given prior approval by naming a fee.

I am not saying to take this as advice and cancel using that clause. I am saying that the Agent cannot refuse to cancel. Contact the BROKER; get a "FULL RELEASE" and then and only then move forward. Also, have an attorney check your release. I saw a release that stated that they would release the client with a 700 day protection period. (WTH) The client ended up paying two commissions.

Thanks Deb, for keeping me honest ! !! :>)

Gary De Pury
Broker-Owner
Bay Vista Realty & Investments, Inc.
Director, Florida Association of REALTORS®
Chairman, Communications Committee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Call and send that broker a letter stating that effective "today's date" you no longer want the agent concerned listing your property.
If that does not work, call/write your local Real Estate Board.
Web Reference: http://iansellsnola.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Read your listing agreement. It has a provision for cancellation. Use that provision. Then file a complaint with the Local Association of Realtors. You may have to pay a few bucks for the agents work and advertising, depending on how the listing agreement was laid out, but it might be the way to go. An agent cannot refuse to remove your home from the MLS. It is against the MLS Rules, Code of Ethics and the law.

Gary De Pury
Broker-Owner
Bay Vista Realty & Investments, Inc.
Director, Florida Association of REALTORS®
Chairman, Communications Committee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer