Breaking up is hard to do: Even with your real estate agent

Although it is not overly common, there may be a time that you want to change your realtor. However, if you have signed a contract to work with your agent, chances are you are stuck with them for a while. The top reason a client may want to change is they blame the agent as to why their house didn’t sell. Other reasons can be that the realtor over-promised in their pitch convincing the owner a selling price over the market value or added services such as staging or marketing materials were not up to their standards.

Homebuyers can get frustrated if they keep losing out on bids or question the expertise and advice given to them by their buying agent.

If the house isn’t selling the real estate agent is not going to cancel the contract so both parties are at in impasse and just wasting time. 

How to start the process:

The first step is to voice your concerns to the agent to see if they would be willing to break the contract. If that is not possible speak to the agent’s manager and ask to work with another agent in the company. Switching agents within the same brokerage does not contravene the original contract which is usually signed by the brokerage not the agent for 60 or 90 days. The homeowner can also file a complaint with the Real Estate Council of Ontario which can be laborious and time consuming.

The simplest way is to wait for the contract to expire, pull the property off the market and relist it with a new realtor.

John Pasalis , president of Realosophy Realty, says his company always adds a special clause in their contracts that allows clients to leave at any time even though it is not standard Practice in the industry. He doesn’t see the point of preventing a client leaving if they are not happy.Pasalis suggests homeowners and homebuyers interview two or three realtors before committing . Ask yourself if you trust this person and their advice and experience, and the likelihood of them delivering on their promises. 

The best way is to hire someone based on a referral and before you sign a contract see if the period of time can be negotiated. Pasalis also says that potential homebuyers are usually not asked to sign a contract until the first offer is made. The contract could be added to the pile of papers needed to sign for a bid and before you know it you could be locked in to a six month contract. He recommends taking preventive measures and see if you can negotiate a clause that allow you to cancel.

Adapted from Linda Nguyen, Financial Post