Sometimes life situations pop up at a moment's notice, even when you're trying to sell your home. If you're working with a listing agent, depending on the terms of the brokerage agreement, you may be found in breach of contract for terminating too early. But generally, most real estate agents allow you to cancel a listing agreement as long as you have a valid reason for doing so.
Your real estate agent has a fiduciary responsibility to you, meaning as agent to the seller, she's required to represent your interests only. Most real estate agents are members of the National Association of Realtors, which requires members to act professionally and ethically. If you're dissatisfied with your agent's performance, you may contact her managing broker -- the supervisor at the brokerage firm that employs her -- to cancel the listing.
Refresh The Listing
Sometimes a listing receives low foot traffic due to a slow market, or perhaps the season of the year. When this is the case, you may wish to take your home off the market for a while and re-list it when the market picks up. This can be a good marketing move, because it makes your home look like a new listing, which may increase showings.
Real estate agents are aware that unexpected situations that impede your ability to sell your home may occur unexpectedly. Circumstances such as a serious illness, death in the family or a change in marital status can negatively affect any seller, and the status of a listing agreement by extension. Discussing unforeseen circumstances with the listing agent as soon as they come up may remedy the situation, even though canceling the listing agreement could be inevitable.
Some homeowners make minimum repairs before placing a home on the market. The repairs help the seller gauge buyer interest once the property listing goes live. After a poor performance on the market, the homeowner may decide to install more upgrades to improve the home's saleability. In this case, the seller may collaborate with the listing agent to take his home off the market temporarily while renovating the residence.
- MSN Real Estate: What To Do If Your Home Isn't Selling
- National Association of Realtors: Real Estate Resources: 2012 Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
- Mortgage News Daily: Fire Your Real Estate Agent, Broker or Realtor
- North Carolina Real Estate Commission. "Working With Real Estate Agents," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- Georgia Real Estate Commission. "The Georgia Brokerage Relationships in Real Estate Transactions Act," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- Justia. "2011 Kansas Code Chapter 58. - Personal and Real Property Article 30. - Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons 58-3035 Definitions," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- Justia. "2009 California Civil Code - Section 1086-1090 :: Article 6. Agency Listings for the Transfer of Certain Property," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- National Association of Realtors. "Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy Section 3: Definitions of Various Types of Listing Agreements," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- National Association of Realtors. "Multiple Listing Service (MLS): What Is It," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- U.S. Justice Department. "Competition in the Real Estate Brokerage Industry," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- National Association of Realtors. "Commission/Cooperative Compensation Offers, Section 1: Information Specifying the Compensation on Each Listing Filed With a Multiple Listing Service of an Association of REALTORS® (Policy Statement 7.23)," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- Georgia Real Estate Commission. "Georgia Real Estate InfoBase Contents - Chapter 8," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
- State of Massachusetts. "Consumers Should Be Aware of Dual Agency in Real Estate Transactions," Accessed Dec. 6, 2019.
Meribeth Phipps has been a real estate broker since 2000, specializing in residential new home sales. She holds a bachelor's degree in business and marketing.