Relationships can be rough. And I’m not talking about the romantic stuff. Your doctor, your therapist, your accountant — it can take a little trial and error before you land on a winner. The same goes for your real estate agent. If things aren’t working out, don’t suffer through it. No matter how much your friend raved over a particular agent, and depending on agreements you may have signed, it is possible to end the relationship. Here are two signs it’s time to fire your real estate agent — and how to do it.
Your Agent’s Level of Communication Sucks
This is a huge red flag, even in this time of social distancing and working remotely. And it may simply be that you have different expectations when it comes to how often you should be communicating. Ideally, the ins and outs of communication are discussed upfront, when you can lay out your preferred methods and frequency. If not, and if you have different ideas of what’s appropriate, that disparity is going to be problematic —particularly in a tight market where you have to move fast. Try bringing this to your agent’s attention. If you’re still having trouble reaching your agent or getting timely call-backs, consider it a sign that you should find someone who can better accommodate your needs.
Your Fundamentals Clash
This is a working relationship, clearly, but if you’re fundamentally at odds, things could get rough. Do you want an agent who will push you past your comfort zone somewhat in order to get you the house you want? Does the idea of someone like that immediately freak you out? While it’s not necessary to befriend your agent for life (though some of us do!), a professional and courteous relationship based on trust should be the goal. If you’re finding yourself routinely irritated or angered by the actions (or inactions) of your agent, you don’t have to tough it out. Do yourselves both a favor and find an agent more your speed. But first, spend some time pinpointing what exactly went wrong. What didn’t you like? What do you think you need instead? Before jumping into bed with another agent, have a frank conversation about your expectations so you don’t make the same mistake twice.
Best Practices for Firing a Real Estate Agent
First things first — check your agreements. If you signed contracts with your agent, you may have agreed to work together for a specific timeframe. But if things are really miserable, you can request early release from the agreement, so don’t panic just yet.
The actual firing should be a conversation. Don’t do it in a text message or an email. Everyone deserves the courtesy of direct contact for these kinds of conversations. Be polite and direct — let your agent know you are ending your professional relationship and will no longer need their services. You can follow up with an email if you want it in writing, but start with the phone call.
Firing someone can be awkward, but remind yourself that buying a house is a big deal. Your agent is guiding you through what’s likely to be one of the biggest purchases of your life, and you deserve to work with someone you trust.