Real Estate Selling

7 Good Reasons to Fire Your Real Estate Agent (And How to Do It)

Selling your home will probably be one of the biggest (and most nerve-racking) transactions of your lifetime. The process is riddled with anxiety—getting your property open-house ready, worrying that your house won't sell for what it’s worth, dealing with buyers regularly traipsing through your home. That's why it's so important to have an experienced seller’s agent by your side every step of the way. But sometimes a house languishes on the market. While this could be the result of market forces or conditions specific to your property, sometimes your agent may be at fault, in which case you may want to move on to another agent. Here are 7 good reasons to fire your real estate agent—and some suggestions for how to go about it.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Communication Issues

Most of an agent’s job is communication, whether it’s with you, the buyer’s agent, or other key personnel in a real estate transaction, such as the lender, title company, and inspector. An agent who repeatedly fails to communicate and as a result causes you to lose out on potential buyers is a huge warning sign and enough reason to go with someone else.

Outdated Marketing Strategies

No two real estate agents have the same exact marketing strategy, but at the very least you should expect that your agent will be using 21st-century approaches, including social media and online listing sites, to get the word out about your house. If your agent doesn’t market your home appropriately for the modern real estate world, it might be wise to choose another professional who will.

Related: 9 Things Not to Say in Your Real Estate Listing

Your Home Isn’t Selling the Way It Should

If homes in your neighborhood barely get a chance to put up a “For Sale” sign before they’re pending, there’s probably no reason for yours to have been sitting on the market for more than a month. In a seller’s market, barring anything like a newsworthy market dip or your holding out for an unrealistic sales price, you should expect that your home will go quickly—and you may want to find a new agent who can move it faster.

Related: 11 Things Not to Do If You Ever Want to Sell Your House

Poor Image Quality on Online Listings

Modern real estate transactions live and die by their online listing photos. If they’re poor quality (grainy, small, or insufficient for showcasing your home’s best features), then buyers may not bother making an appointment to view. If you suspect your unimpressive listing photos are the reason your house isn’t generating interest, you should consider finding another professional who knows the importance of a good photo.

Related: 11 Awful Real Estate Photos—And How to Make Yours Great

Multiple Disagreements or Arguments

Emotions can run high when you’re selling a home, which is why your agent should strive to alleviate your stress and prevent conflict. If you’ve had multiple disagreements or even a full-blown argument with your agent, the relationship may not be a good fit, and you should look into options for moving on.

Ineffective Negotiations

Real estate agents have to be skilled not only at marketing your home to potential buyers, but also at representing you at the negotiating table to make sure you get fair value for your house. If several deals fall through and potential buyers walk away, the agent may not be an effective negotiator, and you may have reason to find another professional who will get the job done.

Related: 10 Real Estate Negotiation Tactics That Can Really Backfire

Failure to Answer Questions

Real estate is notorious for tricky jargon and a slew of “what-if” questions that can be confusing, especially for first-time buyers and sellers. A good agent should take time to educate clients and answer any questions they may have. If you feel you’re being brushed aside or not getting clear responses to your concerns, search for someone who will take your questions seriously. 

Related: 10 Things You Never Knew Your Real Estate Agent Can Do for You

How to Fire Your Agent

Firing your real estate agent is not like firing an employee, even though it may carry the same emotional weight. The main difference is that when you hire a listing agent, you sign a listing agreement. This is usually an exclusive-right-to-sell contract that grants your agent the sole right to market and sell your home for a period of time (typically three to six months). Until that period lapses, it can be difficult to sever ties with your agent.

If the listing term is almost up, your best bet is to just let the contract expire and not renew. If you’ve still got a good chunk of time left, though, you can ask if the agent will consider canceling the agreement. If the agent resists, your next best option is to ask to switch agents within the same firm, which typically won’t be a violation of your contract.