How to Fire a Real Estate Agent? Steps and Recommendations


|13 min read

Choosing a real estate agent is no small decision. You’re entrusting this representative to guide you through one of life’s biggest financial moves – buying or selling your home. But what if, after working with one, you realize it’s just not a good fit?

You might find yourself thinking, “I need to drop my agent. But how do I even do that?” It’s an awkward spot to be in. The right agent should be there to support you, answer every question, and find you a home within your budget. If things aren’t aligning, it’s okay to make a change.

Can You Fire Your Real Estate Agent?

The straightforward answer is yes, you can. But it’s not always that simple.

The foundation of the relationship with a real estate agent is the written contract. This legal agreement outlines the responsibilities and expectations of both the client and the agent. Before making any decisions regarding potentially ending the relationship, review this document thoroughly. 

In the contract, check for the terms, including the length of the agreement, the specific services the agent promises to provide, and any clauses about the early termination of the partnership. Some contracts may have precise stipulations or penalties for concluding the relationship prematurely. Others may offer more flexibility. 

You never have to sell or buy a home with a real estate agent who you signed a contract with, but you might have to wait until the contract expires before you can hire a new real estate agent.

Reasons to Consider Firing Your Agent

When you’re on the path to securing a new home or selling one, the expertise of a real estate agent is invaluable.

But sometimes, you might feel the partnership isn’t meeting your expectations. What are some reasons that might lead you to reconsider your choice of agent?

Ethical Red Flags

Trust is essential when buying or selling a home. Integrity should be non-negotiable and real estate agents are bound by ethical requirements.

Watch for any corners being cut or blurred ethical lines. For example, an agent representing both sides of the deal without fully disclosing it is a big no-no, as is sharing confidential details.

An agent works for you – they should guide you carefully and keep you informed every step of the way. If they seem unprofessional, dishonest, or like they may have something to hide, that’s a sign it’s time to part ways.

Lack of Knowledge or Experience

Your agent should know the market you’re working in.

When buying or selling a home, your property and needs may require specialized knowledge – like experience with equestrian estates, waterfront properties, investment opportunities, etc.

If your agent seems unsure or unfamiliar with the type of property you seek, it’s a red flag that they may not have the right expertise.

Poor Communication

Do you feel left out of the loop? If you’re constantly chasing updates or missing out on potential homes because your agent’s gone silent, it’s a problem. Effective communication is the backbone of an agent relationship.


You and your agent don’t need to be best friends, but you should communicate comfortably. If you constantly disagree or dread interacting, it’s likely a poor match. Home buying/selling needs cooperation, not clashes.

Not Getting the Right Advice

Your agent should steer you toward smart decisions, not mistakes. If their advice seems off or lacking, it’s not the right fit. A good agent provides wise counsel based on experience – not just what you want to hear.

Limited Connections

A great real estate agent should have a wide network of contacts, including fellow agents, contractors, and lenders. That network unlocks doors and opportunities in your home search. If your agent lacks connections, you could miss out on homes or insider information.

Reactive Rather Than Proactive Approach

Your real estate agent should actively scout listings and monitor the market – not just react to what you send their way. If they lag behind or you’re doing the heavy lifting, they may not be fully invested.

The relationship with your real estate agent is a vital part of the buying or selling process. It’s essential to feel confident in your agent’s abilities and trust them to act in your best interest. If you feel that the relationship isn’t working, it’s okay to consider making a change to ensure you have the best possible real estate experience.

For Sellers: More Reasons to Reconsider Your Agent

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to hire the wrong real estate agent to sell your home.

By nature, most real estate agents are outgoing and easy to get along with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are great at selling homes. When selling a property, you want to make sure you’re getting the highest price and are represented by a professional with the skillset and determination to deliver.

It’s a high-risk transaction, so working with a top real estate agent is essential. The longer your property is on the market, the more likely it is for the listing to go “stale,” and stale listings sell for less.

If you’re struggling to work with your agent, connect and read reviews of professional agents in your area with FastExpert. FastExpert makes it easy to find the right agent to sell your home.

Ineffective Marketing Strategies

A top real estate agent utilizes both traditional marketing tactics like yard signs and open houses, as well as modern digital marketing across platforms like social media and real estate sites.

If your agent does not seem to have a comprehensive marketing plan to promote your listing, they are likely missing out on potential buyers. You want someone who is actively networking, advertising, and finding creative ways to showcase your property.

Encouraging Quick, Underpriced Sales

A real estate agent should help you set a competitive but realistic asking price and then work hard to get you the highest reasonable offer.

Some agents, unfortunately, push sellers to accept the first lowball offer that comes in just to close quickly. You want someone who strategizes on pricing, negotiates firmly on your behalf, and only recommends accepting an offer if it makes sense for you.

Slow Sale Turnaround

While the market dictates timelines, a skilled agent will generally be able to sell your home within a similar timeframe as other comparable properties in your area.

If your home has been sitting on the market substantially longer, your agent may not be doing enough proactive work to get showings and drum up interest. 


From showings to inspections to relevant conversations with potential buyers, your agent should be readily available throughout the sales process. Your agent should be responsive, hands-on, and on top of every detail. 

If your agent is difficult to reach or seems distracted, important opportunities can slip through the cracks. 

Proper Steps to Terminate the Realtor-Client Relationship

If you’re thinking about ending things with your agent, it’s important to go about it in a clear and professional manner.

Breaking up in a professional setting can be tough, but having a game plan makes the process smoother for both of you.

Review the Agent Agreement

First, take a look back at the agreement you first signed with your agent.

This document lays out the terms of your relationship, so reviewing it will help you understand any commitments you made or the potential consequences of terminating early. Getting reacquainted with the fine print will prepare you for the conversation ahead.

Open Communication with the Agent

Next, talk openly with your agent. Honest, compassionate communication gives you both a chance to air any grievances, better understand each other’s perspectives, and hopefully find solutions.

Your agent may offer compromises or assurances that could resolve your concerns. If parting ways still feels right after a discussion, at least you know you gave it a fair shot.

Escalating to the Broker

If your concerns remain unresolved after direct communication with your agent, the next step is to reach out to their supervising broker.

Brokers have a broader view of the agency’s operations and can provide additional insights, mediate the situation, or even suggest alternative agents within the same agency if that’s a route you’re considering.

Consulting a Lawyer

In situations where there are potential contractual disputes or if you’re unsure about the legal implications of ending the relationship, consulting with a real estate lawyer is beneficial.

They provide guidance on your rights, any potential liabilities, and the best way to proceed without legal complications.

The Complaint Process

If you believe your agent has violated ethical standards, you have the right to file a formal complaint. The Code of Ethics provided by the National Association of REALTORS® outlines the standards of professionalism and ethics expected from agents. Initiating a complaint involves detailing the perceived violation and may require supporting evidence. 

The complaint process against a realtor involves several steps. 

  • Understand the code of ethics set by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to identify any violations.
  • Gather evidence that demonstrates how the real estate agent acted against your best interests.
  • Consult with a real estate attorney.
  • File a formal complaint— Write a letter or fill out a complaint form provided by your state’s real estate commission, describing the agent’s misconduct and attaching supporting documents.
  • Know the statute of limitations — Be aware of the time limit within which you can file a complaint, which varies by state.
  • Cooperate with the investigation process, providing any additional information or evidence as requested.
  • Verdict and consequence – If the commission finds wrongdoing, penalties can include fines, license suspension, or orders to cease operations, but insufficient evidence can also lead to dismissal.

While the decision to end a relationship with a real estate agent is significant, approaching it with informed steps ensures a smooth and professional transition.

Finding a Better Real Estate Agent

If you felt let down by your last real estate agent, it may be time to find someone new to partner with on your home-buying or selling journey. The right realtor can make all the difference, so how can you choose one that will lead to a more rewarding relationship?

FastExpert helps you connect with top-rated local real estate agents who will provide the exceptional service you deserve. From negotiating the optimal deal to seamlessly guiding you through closing, we’ll help you match with an agent equipped to help turn your real estate dreams into reality.

Here are some tips to help you find a better agent:

Importance of Sales-to-List Ratio

Find an agent who understands all aspects of the local property market and pays close attention to sale-to-list ratios and what they reveal about current buyer and seller dynamics.

The sale-to-list ratio shows how final sale prices compare to original listing prices. An agent who knows how to interpret this indicator will have valuable insights into negotiating trends. They can advise clients on what to expect when making or accepting reasonable offers.

Record of Successful Transactions

When selecting a real estate agent, consider their track record of career results and client satisfaction as indicators of future performance. An agent with a proven history of consistently closing successful transactions has demonstrated deep market expertise, hard-earned over many industry cycles.

The Advantage of a Strong Professional Network

In the real estate industry, who you know can be just as important as what you know. An agent with an extensive web of professional connections can offer distinct benefits. Their networking relationships may provide early access to properties not yet widely listed.

Exceptional Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is arguably one of the most critical skills in real estate dealings. An agent adept at the art of back-and-forth is well-positioned to help clients obtain optimal terms. 

Involvement in the Local Community

Nothing provides more value than an agent who is truly plugged into the local community fabric. Agents connected with the neighborhoods they work in just “get” an area in a way outsiders can’t match.

Finding the Perfect Fit with FastExpert’s Top Realtors

A harmonious realtor-client relationship is the cornerstone of a successful real estate transaction. If you ever find the need to change direction, remember the steps and considerations outlined above. And when you’re ready to find a better fit, FastExpert is here to connect you with the top realtors in your area. The right agent can make all the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you switch agents in the middle of a sale?

Absolutely. If things aren’t working out with your current agent, you can consider a switch to a different agent. Just be sure to check any seller’s agent or buyer’s agent agreement you’ve signed to avoid potential complications.

Is there a financial penalty for firing an agent?

It’s possible. If you’ve signed an exclusive deal with your agent, there might be costs involved in ending it early. Always read your contract’s fine print.

How to ensure a new agent is a better fit?

Communication is key. Interview multiple realtors, and discuss your needs, check your agent’s track record, and meet in person to gauge compatibility.

Can you fire an agent after signing an agreement?

Yes, but be cautious. Review your seller’s agent or buyer’s agent agreement for any clause about ending the relationship, and consider seeking legal advice if unsure.

Kelsey Heath

Kelsey Heath is a real estate content specialist with an extensive background in residential, industrial, and commercial property. She has been involved in the industry for a decade as a professional and personal investor, gaining a deep understanding of the market and trends. With a passion for written communication, Kelsey loves helping people understand the sometimes-complicated concepts behind real estate and is now a sought-out guest and ghostwriter.

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