Can I Change My Realtor After Signing a Contract? | Redy

May 16, 2023 9:00:00 AM / by Erin Brown

Can You Switch Realtors While Under Contract as a Buyer or Seller?

When buying or selling a home, you need a real estate agent to help you navigate the complex process. But what happens if you're not happy with your agent?

If you're in this unfortunate situation, you're likely asking, "Can I change my realtor after signing a contract?" The answer isn't always clear-cut. In some cases, you can switch agents without any problems. But in other cases, you may be locked into a contract with your current agent.

Here are some essential factors to consider when switching agents:

  • The contract terms with your current agent

  • The state you live in

  • The reason you want to change agents

  • The availability of other agents

If you're thinking about changing real estate agents, you must first research and understand your options. Contact a real estate attorney or other qualified experts to get additional information.

Can You Switch Realtors?

Usually, you sign a contract while working with a real estate agent. This contract outlines the terms of your relationship, such as the agent's compensation and what services they will provide.

Here's an overview of your options for changing agents:

  • You can switch anytime if you haven't yet signed a contract with an agent.

  • If you have signed a contract, you can change agents if the contract terms permit it.

  • If your contract does not allow a switch without penalty, you might be able to pay a cancellation fee to end the arrangement.

  • The cancellation fee will vary depending on your contract terms and state laws. 

There are some key differences between the freedom of buyers and sellers to change agents, such as: 

  • Buyers can generally switch agents anytime, even if they've made an offer on a home.

  • Sellers may need to give their current realtor a notice before switching agents. 

  • Sellers' agents typically have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of their clients. 

  • If a seller switches agents without giving their current agent enough notice, the agent may have cause to sue the seller for damages. 

While switching real estate agents can be a hassle, doing what's best for you is important.

Why Fire Your Real Estate Agent?

You might want to fire your real estate agent for several reasons. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Poor communication: This is the most common reason for switching agents. If your agent doesn't update you on your sale or purchase status or if they're difficult to reach, it's time to find someone new.

  • Red flags in their performance: If your agent makes mistakes, doesn't follow through on their promises, or acts unethically, you need to let them go. 

  • Contract breaches or legal violations: If you've signed a contract with your agent, you may have trouble backing out, even if you're unhappy with their performance. However, there are some exceptions. If your agent has breached your contract or violated specific laws, such as the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), you may be able to get out of the contract without penalty.

Remember to thoroughly research and understand your available options before considering the termination of your real estate agent.

Changing Agents for Buyers

Is it possible to switch to another agent? Yes, you can switch agents, but keep a few things in mind. First, you'll need to read your buyer's agent agreement carefully. This agreement will outline the terms of your relationship with your agent, including how you can terminate the contract.

If you're unhappy with your agent, you should talk to them about your concerns. You can terminate the agreement early if you're still unsatisfied after an honest conversation with your agent. Depending on your agreement's terms, however, you may need to pay your agent a fee.

Once you've terminated your agreement with your old agent, you can start looking for a new one. When choosing a new agent, interview several agents before deciding. Ask about their experience, market knowledge, and communication style.

You should ideally pick the right real estate agent from the beginning, but switching agents could be an option if you're not satisfied with the one you have.

Changing Agents for Sellers

Selecting the best real estate agent when selling your house is critical. If you don't like your current agent, you might wonder how to find a different one. There are several important factors to consider when switching listing agents.

First, review your listing agreement. Some contracts may have a provision that forbids you from changing agents for a predetermined amount of time. You'll then need to pay for any marketing expenses incurred by your current agent, such as open houses, print ads, and online listings. Finally, you must sign a listing agreement with your new agent. This agreement will outline your relationship terms, such as the agent's commission rate and the length of time for the listing.

Read the fine print carefully before committing to an exclusive listing agreement. Make sure you understand the agreement, ask any questions you have, and think about the following terms and conditions:

  • Duration of the listing agreement

  • Commission rate

  • Marketing expenses covered by your agent

  • Right to terminate the contract early

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How to Cancel an Exclusive Agreement

Before canceling an exclusive agreement, make sure to understand your options and the potential consequences. Here are a few areas of your contract to review when making a termination decision: 

  • Early termination provision: This specifies the circumstances in which you may terminate the agreement early. For instance, if the agent doesn't carry out essential duties, you might be able to end the agreement.

  • Duties clause: This clause outlines the agent's responsibilities under the agreement. Typical agent responsibilities include marketing your property, showing it to potential buyers, and negotiating the sale price.

  • Safety/protection clause: This protects the agent from liability in certain situations. For example, the clause might state that the agent is not responsible for any property damages that occur during your agreement. 

  • Early cancellation fee: This is the fee you'll have to pay if you cancel the agreement early. The fee amount will vary depending on your contract terms.

Review these clauses carefully before deciding whether to cancel the agreement.

Break Up Etiquette

Breaking up with a business partner is difficult, but you must maintain professionalism. Here are some tips for breaking up with an agent in a respectful way:

  • Communicate in person: Meet with your agent in person to break the news. This shows that you respect them and their time.

  • Be honest and direct: Avoid beating around the bush or making excuses. Be honest about why you're breaking up with them and deciding to switch agents.

  • Be respectful: Even if you're unhappy with your agent, be respectful and civil. Avoid name-calling or making personal attacks.

  • Thank your agent: Show appreciation for the time and effort your agent spent working with you. You should still thank your agent, even during a breakup. 

  • Offer feedback: Offer your agent feedback on why you're breaking up with them. This feedback can help them improve in the future and provide better service to their clients.

By following these tips, you can break up with your agent respectfully and professionally.

How to Find the Right Agent

Whether you're buying or selling a house, choosing the right agent is crucial. An expert agent can ensure a smooth transaction and help you reach your goals. Here are a few things to take into account while picking an agent:

  • Personal preferences: Do you prefer to work with someone more traditional or laid-back? Do you want someone who is very responsive or more hands-off?

  • Communication style: How do you prefer to communicate? Do you prefer phone calls, emails, or text messages?

  • Experience: How long has the agent been in business? What is their track record?

  • Expertise: Does the agent specialize in the type of property you're buying or selling?

Once you've considered these factors, you can start interviewing agents. Meet with around three agents before making a decision. The right agent will make buying or selling a home a lot easier.

At Redy, our first-of-its-kind marketplace connects home sellers with top real estate agents who submit proposals to represent their home sales. Each proposal includes a listing term, commission rate, information about the agent, and cash bonus. By putting all the negotiating cards on the table – and having the agent invest in the home sale upfront – we empower home sellers to make more informed decisions.

Bottom Line

Finding a dependable agent can make or break a successful real estate transaction. If you're unhappy with your current agent, consider switching to a better fit. Changing agents is relatively simple if you follow these steps:

  1. Notify your current agent in writing that you're terminating your contract

  2. Find a new agent and sign a contract with them

  3. Provide your new agent with all the relevant information about your property or the property you want to buy

  4. Let your new agent take over the process

If you are looking for a great real estate agent, Redy can help. We connect you with motivated local agents and help you find the right fit for your needs and budget. Access a network of top-rated realtors to make your experience smooth and successful by creating a free Redy account today!

To learn more about selling your home, visit our Home Seller Resources >

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