About changing real estate agents when one has a written contract

Asked by Nolaseller, New Orleans, LA Wed Dec 8, 2010

An agent has been trying to sell my house for nearly two years and she has put in a lot of time with open houses, showings, etc. Although I credit her with time put in, I believe that she has made a lot of mistakes in estimating price, dealing with potential buyers, etc. She gets very emotional and wastes time justifying her actions. I have no confidence in her. We have a written contract for her to offer the house that goes for four more months. Do I have to wait out the contract or can I get out of it? What are the legal issues?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Shannon Shar…, Agent, NEW ORLEANS, LA
Wed Dec 8, 2010
You may always ask for an early termination of the listing agreement. That being said, it is ultimately up to her Broker if they will actually release the listing. If they won't; you will have to wait it out.
Good Luck!
1 vote
David Stewart, Agent, Slidell, LA
Fri Jun 8, 2012
I commend her on her efforts but at after two years chances are the pricing isn't in line with the current market value. If she has told you this already and you would not entertain a price reduction then you should probably do a price reduction and give her a fair shot at selling the property. However, if she has not brought this to your attention and had documentation to back it up then I would consider changing agents. As difficult as it is for us as agents to ask a seller for a reduction if needed it's our job. The seller is paying us to market as well as advise them towards the sale of there home so if its a property is over priced its our responsibility to make the seller aware of that.

As far as canceling the contract I allow my client to cancel a listing agreement at anytime after the first 6 months. I work very closely with my clients and I feel that if we are no longer a fit anymore then it would be best for both parties to part ties. Good luck!
0 votes
Daniel, , Baton Rouge, LA
Mon May 21, 2012
ohhh please! 2 years??

you didnt know what your home was worth??

you dont know how your home compares to the neighbors??

If your home has not received a qualified offer in 2 years,

either its a over priced or its a dump.

sorry hun, just that simple
0 votes
Judi Werkema, Agent, Lady Lake, FL
Fri Dec 10, 2010
It is time for a NEW company and hire only the top selling Realtor/Broker they employ. You can call the office with the most signs in your area or the one doing the most newspaper and web adverising and ask for the managing Broker. Tell them you want to interview their top selling Realtor for your area and your type of home. Two years is a long time, but the selling market is VERY soft in some area wihere there is a shortage of jobs. Good Luck

Judi Werkema
JAWerkema Realty Broker LLC
The Villages, FL 32162
0 votes
Manu Kapoor, Agent, New York, NY
Fri Dec 10, 2010
The home owner is the boss and you can give written notice to withdraw the listing any time.
But since the agent put a lot of time and u feel about this, then at least give her a chance.
0 votes
ian cockburn, Agent, New Orleans, LA
Fri Dec 10, 2010
The problem is that after two years of not selling your house is probably priced too high.
As a minimum, you should have gotten a CMA showing the ACTUAL SOLDS for the PAST SIX MONTHS showing what the competition/houses like yours sold for.

Your agent is probably a wonderful person, but wonderful people do not sell houses anymore...buyers want deals..and bottom line, they want 5 to 10% below what ever the ACTUAL SOLDS show, and they want the house completely renovated...if it does not have granite countertops, etc., expect to drop your price some more.

In the past, sellers would go with the agent that made them feel good...but not neccessarily get their house sold. Separate emotions to real numbers...ask the agent for these numbers and go through them first, come up with a 90 day plan and work the plan.

Your agent needs to provide you with the reports as noted above, and a daily or weekly report showing how many and when potential buyers have been looking at your home online..and correlate that information with actual calls and showings.

Armed with this information from the agent website, reporting from online video websites(not virtual tours) and mls details you all can then make the best decision possible and attract the buyers that are out there...and yes they continue to come into New Orleans on a daily basis...for the draw of our food and culture has created a monopoly of fun and festivals matched nowhere else in the world.

For additional pointers on what it takes to sell a home in New Orleans, visit my website and have your agent use some of these tools and techniques to get your home sold, not selling.
Web Reference:  http://iansellsnola.com
0 votes
Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Wed Dec 8, 2010
First of all you are not contracted to list with an agent, your listing agreement is with the company not the agent. Agents don't like to think this way but it is real estate 101. The company and specifically the broker-in-charge or principal broker is the owner of the listing agreement. They can switch agents anytime they want to, it may cause grief in the office but that is not your problem. As far as the agent listing at the wrong price, this is your property and you are the boss. Tell your agent what to list it for and do it your way.

If you want out of that office completely, go see the broker in charge and talk to them. If they have had it listed for 2 years they may want to wash their hands of it too.
0 votes
Amy Perdomo, Agent, New Orleans, LA
Wed Dec 8, 2010
Dear Home Seller,
You have peaked my curiosity. When you say that your agent has made mistakes in estimating your listing price, do you feel that your price is too low or too high for the current market? When you state that she has made mistakes with potential buyers, how were the mistakes made? Besides investing her time with showings and holding open houses, which other resources has the agent invested into your listing. Has the agent invested herself financially as well? Can you ball park the $ amount spent on advertising/marketing. Does your listing run in print media as well as internet? I respect and value seller feedback, so please feel free to be candid with your response as you are shielded by anonymity.
0 votes
Edith Karoli…, Agent, Winnetka, IL
Wed Dec 8, 2010
I am sure by now you have all your answers! I am just wondering why NOW, it seems that you have worked with this particular Realtor for almost 2 years and now you want to get out before the last 4 months, what has changed?

As far as pricing goes, sit down with her and have her present to you current competing homes, even go and look at a few of them with her, then let her show you what homes at what price similar to your home or to your current price have recently sold..... You will then be well informed!

It may be your home, its size, location, age, updates or floor plan, or it may be the current asking price...
Discuss with her, now that she has put in so much time and effort, what TOGETHER you can change...
May be you take the suggestion of doing some up to date color painting, even if only one wall in certain rooms or a hallway etc. have the agent take new photos, may be get a staging professional to come in and
help you and your Realtor to move around some furniture, or even remove some furniture.... Curb appeal etc.

Remember in reality you and your Agent are in this "Boat" together, she as much as YOU are interested in selling the home, remember she does not get paid anything until and when your home closes, all her time and expenses come out of her pocket until.....

So try to work it out, it seems to me, that a feeling of desperation, makes you think that another agent will do
better or will do "miracles", if the new agent will come in and suggests painting, staging, curb appeal changes, even some minor repairs and then YOU MUST LOWER THE PRICE to get offers...... YOU MAY AS WELL DO T H A T with your current Agent, you obviously trusted to higher in the first place.

But to answer your legal concern, all the other agents below have given you the information you need, so I do not want to repeat.

Good Luck to you and I hope you can work it out, and get your home sold, It is a difficult market because of the economy, and in most parts of the country if not all we are in a buyers market, i.e. there are more homes available than there are ready and willing buyers, so good times for buyers, not so good for sellers.

Edith YourRealtor4Life and Chicago Connection
Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients
Web Reference:  http://tinyurl.com/MeetEdith
0 votes
Raymond Garc…, , 02050
Wed Dec 8, 2010
As you can see from the previous answers, your best option is to speak to the agent and see if they'll release you, the worst they can say is no. However, if your house comes under agreement all of a sudden, and the agent was the procuring cause, that's when things could get sticky.

Good luck,

0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Wed Dec 8, 2010
Keep in mind that the listing belongs to the brokerage (the agency), not the agent. The agent is merely the facilitator of that contract.

If you go to the managing broker, lay out your case clearly, concisely and calmly (as you have here), it's very possible that the broker will let you out of the listing. It's possible that they'd be relieved, as they haven't been able to sell your property, and marketing it is costing them money every month.

As Shannon so correctly points out, it's up to the broker as to whether they'll let you out or not. Good luck.
0 votes
Sunny Fellman, Agent, Chatham, MA
Wed Dec 8, 2010
All good answers below. If you want to get out of the contract you have the legal right to do so if you are not happy with your service-depending upon what your contract states. If not you may still be able to be released from the contract but it is up to the listing firms managing broker. It may be worth speaking to the managing broker of the firm you are currently listed and discussing your options for listing with another agent within that firm. Not only has your current agent put a lot of her time into selling your home but the listing firm has most likely spent a lot of marketing dollars advertising your home. Your current agent most likely has language in the contract to the effect that if anyone she has shown the house to in the past purchases the home that she is due her commission. The date for how long that is in effect can range so check your contract.

I suggest being honest with your agent about why you would like to terminate your contract. She deserves to know and hopefully it will motivate her to change her behavior and not make the same mistakes in the future.

If you feel more comfortable cutting ties with the company entirely that is fine too. When looking for a new agent be sure to ask for references from past clients, give them a call and be sure to ask the questions that are important to you.

Lastly, don't feel bad becasue this type of thing happens in Real Estate, especially with so many agents to choose from. Do what is best for you, do what feels right.

Good luck to you!

-Sunny Fellman, Realtor
Cape Cod, MA
0 votes
Abraham Walk…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Wed Dec 8, 2010
Contact the broker about the agent. Most brokers will let you break the contract if you have a valid issue. Two years is a long time. Good luck in the future.
Web Reference:  http://www.abrahamwalker.com
0 votes
Patti Faulder, Agent, New Orleans, LA
Wed Dec 8, 2010
It happens... You say thank you for all your effort that you really appreciate what hse has done for you. You just cancel the listing with her. Tell her you are taking it off the market for a while and re list with whom ever you want. In her contract she probably has that if anyone purchaes the home that she has shown it to previously, she is to get the commission. Look on your contract to see how many days are written in, normally 180 days. There are no legal issues. Price your home to lead the market .. not to follow the market to sell faster! A well priced home will sell. Best of luck in selling your home!
Web Reference:  http://www.pattifaulder.com
0 votes
Lisa Heindel, Agent, New Orleans, LA
Wed Dec 8, 2010
Great answer, Shannon. I would add that if there is another agent in her office that you are comfortable with, the broker more than likely will allow you to just switch to them. Review your listing agreement to determine if there is any language in it that would require you to remain with or relist with the same brokerage. Most brokers don't want any bad press and will work with you to make you happy - whether that means releasing you from the listing agreement or assigning you to a more experienced agent.
Web Reference:  http://westbankliving.com
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more