New Orleans Real Estate Advice
When someone asks me how to get out of a listing agreement with an agent, my typical response is “Why?”. Over the years, I’ve found that there are many reasons that someone might want to cancel their listing.
They might be unhappy with their agent. Sometimes, things just don’t work out between a seller and their agent. It might be a clash of personalities, it might be that the agent over-promised and under-delivered, it might be a lack of communication. We aren’t all going to be a perfect match for each other and the sooner you find that out, the better.
They might be unhappy with the advertising of their home. Here’s a little secret that most sellers don’t know. Each agent does their own advertising. Even within the same brokerage, agents will have different marketing plans and budgets. This discussion probably should have taken place before the listing agreement was ever signed.
The house may not be worth enough to justify moving. This is especially true for many of the people that bought homes in 2006-2008, at the top of the market. If you paid a premium for your house during that time, you more than likely owe more than the house is worth. If your motivation for moving is simply to get something bigger and better, it may be a better idea to stay put while the market corrects.
Sometime, people just decide not to move. Perhaps a job opportunity didn’t pan out. Or maybe there’s been a change in financial or marital status that makes selling the wrong thing to do at this time.
No matter what the reason is, the answer to “Can we cancel our listing agreement” is “Yes, but…”
The but comes in because each brokerage handles cancellations differently – so the best thing you can do is talk to your agent and/or their broker to find out their company policy. Some charge a cancellation fee. If it’s an issue with your agent, some will try to reassign you to another agent in their company. Some brokers want to be reimbursed for any out of pocket advertising expenses. Re-read the listing agreement that you signed. Every line of it, but focus on the clause regarding the length of the contract and any hidden fees that might be in the fine print.
How do we do it? If someone wants to cancel a listing agreement with us, we provide a simple withdrawal form for their approval and remove the house from the market. We don’t hold our clients to an employment contract that they no longer wish to be a party to.
Before signing any listing documents, review them thoroughly. You never know when you might need an escape route.