Can I Change My Realtor After Signing a Contract?

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|10 min read

It is extremely important to get along with your real estate agent during the buying and selling process. You will talk to this person almost daily until your closing appointment and will have to work through complicated financial decisions with them.

You need to trust that your agent has your best interest at heart and has enough experience to provide solutions to any problems that arise. This is why we encourage anyone who needs a real estate agent to interview multiple candidates before hiring the best one. 

However, not everyone chooses the right Realtor for their needs. Once you start the home sale or purchase process, you might realize you made a mistake working with your agent.

If you are asking, “Can I change my Realtor after signing a contract,” know that you have options. Here are some steps you can take when firing a Realtor and finding a better one. 

Can I change my Realtor after signing a contract? 

Your contract is the first place to look if you want to switch agents.

It will outline the terms you agreed to when hiring them so you can understand your rights when firing them. Here are three sections to look for. 

Exclusivity Clause

The first thing to look at is the exclusivity agreement. If you have an exclusive listing agreement, then you can only work with one listing agent at a time. To switch agents, you will need to terminate your agreement with your current Realtor. If you do not have an exclusive agreement, you might be able to hire another real estate agent to see if they can find a buyer for you. 

With this option, you will still need to work with your current Realtor if they find a buyer. Whoever finds the buyer wins the commission. You will also have to work with multiple real estate agents at the same time. Switching agents is often easier than trying to work with two individuals who are marketing your home. 

Contract Duration

The next section of your contract to read is the duration. Most real estate contracts last 90 days, with some lasting six months in certain markets. It can take more than 90 days to close, but the agreement means that the real estate agent will have three months to find a viable buyer. Once this period is over, you can switch real estate agents if you choose. 

Look at the day you signed the contract and count the number of days left in your contract. It might be worth your time to wait until the contract expires before switching agents.

Listing Status

The final factor that determines whether you can change real estate agents is where you are in the home sale or purchase process. If you are a seller, it is much harder to switch agents if you already have a buyer under contract. Even if you find a new Realtor, your current agent will still earn a commission on the sale because they found a buyer for you. At this point, it usually isn’t worth the effort to find a new agent and most Realtors won’t work for free. 

However, if you cannot work with your current agent any longer, consider working directly with the real estate broker or a partner within their team. This way your main point of contact will be someone else within the agency but you won’t break your agreement.

What is a safety protection clause and why is it important?

One of the most important clauses if you have already signed a contract with your agent is the safety protection clause. This clause protects the agent’s commission if they find a buyer for your property.

While you can still fire a Realtor and complete a home sale with the help of a real estate attorney, this clause states that you will still need to pay a commission fee to your agent.

Without this clause, anyone could hire a Realtor, wait for them to find a buyer, and then fire them before the closing appointment. The agent wouldn’t receive any money and would essentially be scammed out of their work. This clause protects the hard work of your agent and the buyer’s agent as well.

Keep in mind this only applies to the final buyer who closes on the property. If your agent finds a buyer but the deal falls through, you might be able to switch listing agents. As long as your property isn’t under a legally binding contract with a qualified buyer, switching Realtors is usually possible.  

The Process of Switching Real Estate Agents

There are a few steps you will need to take if you want to move forward with changing real estate agents.

These actions will ensure your intentions are clear and the relationship ends professionally. Here’s how to fire your Realtor and end your agreement early. 

Communicate with Your Current Agent

It’s important to treat your Realtor like any employer treats an employee or contractor. It’s unprofessional to fire them out of the blue without going over any issues you have first. Even if you want to change agents, have an honest conversation with your Realtor first review highlight your concerns. List concrete issues and identify ways for your agent to improve. 

For example, if your Realtor doesn’t respond to your phone calls or text messages, mention that you aren’t happy with their communication strategies. If they only bring in lowball offers or unqualified potential buyers, discuss the marketing strategy and listing price of the house. 

After you have this talk, give your Realtor time to improve. They may be doing their best but your goals were misaligned. If you notice improvements, you might not have to change Realtors after all. Also, be sure to highlight these actionable changes.

Show your Realtor that you notice the effort they are putting into the sale and appreciate how they are working hard to get the job done.

Negotiating Contract Termination

If you still want to change agents, go over your listing agreement and contract. You might need to find a new agent to take over the property or temporarily pull your house from the market until you switch Realtors. Check to see if you need to pay an early cancellation fee or other charge for ending the relationship. 

Many agents won’t try to force you into staying with them. It’s becoming less common to pay a cancellation fee because Realtors don’t want clients who dislike them to stick around. They would rather end the relationship so both parties can move forward with people they are happy with. 

Knowing your contract terms can give you a reasonable out to end the relationship. Once the contract period ends, you can simply end the relationship and move forward with another agent.

Ethical and Professional Considerations

You can only control your own actions when you decide to switch Realtors. You cannot control how your agent reacts to this news. Remember to act professionally at all times and approach your agent with empathy.

It’s understandable for them to be upset that they are losing your business but remember you aren’t supposed to be treated unethically. It means they are missing out on the commission money and potentially hurting their good reputation. Not only are they losing this sale, but they likely won’t get any leads from you in the future. 

If possible, create a paper trail of communication as you switch Realtors. Recap phone conversations and in-person meetings via email so you can document each step. If your agent claims that you were rude or fired them unfairly, you will have these documents to prove your innocence. You can also bring in the agent’s broker throughout the termination process so they can serve as an objective third party.

Also, if you end the contract early, note whether you have to pay commission fees to your current Realtor. If your Realtor already found a buyer, they are entitled to the commission on the sale. State that you will pay the agent’s compensation but you still want to work with other agents through the closing process.

Finding a New Real Estate Agent

Your next step is to find a great real estate agent to replace the Realtor you just fired. Start by interviewing multiple agents to see how they are different from your former one. You can be honest about why you are hiring a new Realtor and review why the last agent didn’t meet your needs. This doesn’t mean you are slandering your former agent, but rather highlighting to your new agent what you expect from them. 

Once you find the right agent, you can sign a contract with them to sell your house. Changing Realtors isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Most agents will understand if your past Realtor wasn’t a good fit and will be eager to take on the listing.

It’s Better to Switch Real Estate Agents Than to be Disappointed 

Your Realtor is responsible for creating a successful real estate transaction between two parties. If your listing agent has a hard time finding buyers or marketing your property, it might be time to find another one. Changing agents is a common process during the home sale process. You can switch anytime as long as you don’t have a buyer under contract. 

To find a better listing agent, turn to the professionals at FastExpert. You can look through our vast profiles of Realtors to find better options for your needs. You can also interview these agents before hiring them. 

Everyone deserves to feel safe during the home buying and selling process. Whether you need a buyer’s agent or listing agent, use FastExpert to find Realtors you can trust today.

Amanda Dodge

Amanda Dodge is a real estate writer and expert. She has worked in the field for more than eight years. She spends her time writing and researching trends in real estate, finance, and business. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Communications from Florida State University.

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