You thought it was going to be a match made in heaven. They said all the right things and you felt like you were on the same wave length and could maybe even become friends. Then you started the search and things didn’t go quite as expected. Perhaps you had a difficult time connecting or you felt your questions just weren’t getting answered. Regardless of why, you think it’s time for a change – how do you change realtors?
Buying or selling a home is a business process. But it’s relational, too. And sometimes those relationships just don’t work out. Some typical reasons why agents and clients have problems include:
- Poor communication skills and/or perceived poor customer service
- Lack of knowledge in the neighborhood or showing you homes outside your defined parameters
- Lacks confidence when answering questions/seems like they just don’t know your needs
- Shows weakness in negotiating
These are some warning signs, but that doesn’t mean you can just fire your agent and walk away. Whether you’re buying or selling, most clients sign some form of a buyer’s broker agreement or a listing agreement. This is a binding contract, written by attorneys, to protect both the agent and client in this real estate transaction. So it’s not easily broken.
If you never signed an agreement then you are free to walk away. Simply tell the agent you don’t feel like the arrangement is working out and you’re planning to go another route from this point forward.
Assuming you’ve signed the contract, then what are your options?
Address your concerns
It may not be easy to point out what you want and need versus what you feel like you’re getting, but sometimes those expectations need to be spelled out more clearly. Don’t be afraid to express specifically what it is that you need from your agent.
Request a new agent within the same brokerage
Many times your agent is with a larger group of realtors and you can work with someone else under that same brokerage. This clearly requires another difficult conversation, but if your needs aren’t being met, you need to have better help.
Try to wait it out
Contracts can range wildly in lengths, but you and your agent are the ones who agree on the timeframe. Many have options to re-sign at the 90-day mark, so you can always just wait things out and opt to not re-sign with the same realtor. The downfall for this approach is that this can cost you valuable time.
Request to be released from the contract
Let’s face it, the realtor may want out as well (maybe you’re an over-demanding client). You can always ask to be released and see what happens. Quite often a realtor will not feel comfortable working with you when you are clearly not happy with them and it’s best to part ways.
Ways to avoid this whole scenario
Be extra thorough when you begin your search
Get references and recommendations. Don’t feel obligated to go with a family friend or niece or an inexperienced realtor just to help them out. This is an important financial decision and you want the process to be positive and have a great ending.
Discuss the ‘what ifs’ in advance
What if there is conflict? What if you’re showing us houses out of our price range? What if you aren’t listening? What if the 40 calls a day aren’t being answered? Talk about these possibilities and whether or not you’d both be okay with releasing each other from a contract early. It’s better to have these conversations upfront, than to waste 90-days or more with little results.
Be upfront about your needs and expectations
If things go south, attempt to remedy the situation. And if all else fails, ask to be released from your contract and start over. The bottom line is you need someone you can trust to help you with this major financial decision, so don’t settle for anything less.
The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.