Canceling an Existing Listing Contract

Between listing their home for sale and getting the home sold, some sellers find that the relationship with their real estate agent went bad. Maybe you hired an agent with a prestigious firm who is too busy to devote time to selling your home. Maybe you hired someone who just isn't willing to do what it takes to market your home and lets it languish on the market. If you find yourself in this position, what can do you?

Signs that it’s Time to Fire Your Agent

Not all real estate agents are equal, and sometimes the best thing you can do is end the relationship with your agent. Here are some signs your agent is clueless about their job, lazy or does not have what it takes to represent you.

Cancel Listing Contract
Signs that it’s Time to Fire Your Agent

No plan of action

What does your agent plan to do to market your home? How are they going to reach your target market? You should ask for copies of any marketing materials prepared by your listing agent, including links to where your listing appears online and copies of any email marketing.

No updates

Even with very little activity on your home, something should be happening. Your agent should be updating you regularly about what is going on with the market.

No feedback

Someone once said, "Success can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have." A good agent will be willing to have these conversations with clients about many things. This includes discussing things you may be doing that are holding you back, such as not maintaining the home well.


There are many disagreements and you are not seeing eye-to-eye. Too much conflict can make it very difficult to have a functioning business relationship with your agent.

Preparing Your House for Sale

No attention

You feel ignored by your agent; when given the important job of helping sell your home, you need to feel that your needs are being met and that you aren’t being left to handle everything on your own.

How to Cancel Your Agreement

If you have decided that your agent is not a good fit for you, but you already have a contract, it is important to learn how to get out of it the right way. The single best way to cancel a listing agreement is through mutual consent. Be aware many listing agreements have early termination fees, which can range from $295 to $495, before you proceed.

How to Cancel Your Agreement

First, ask the agent to cancel the listing. Keep in mind that Exclusive Right-to-Sell listings, which account for the majority of listings, contain protection or safety clauses. This clause entitles the agent to a commission after the listing is canceled or expires. If a buyer was introduced to your home through the agent, the agent will receive a commission -- even if the listing agreement was canceled before the buyer made an offer.

If the agent refuses to cancel your agreement, you can move up the chain and ask the agent's broker. If you still have no luck, you can ask the broker to assign another agent to your listing. Most brokers will, however, cancel a listing if the seller insists to maintain a good reputation in the community.

If you are still having no luck, your last option is contacting a real estate attorney for termination assistance, but you need to tell the broker of your intentions.

Breaching the Contract

Finally, keep in mind that asserting a breach of contract is usually not the best way for you to end a relationship with an agent. That is because this type of dispute can quickly escalate into a lawsuit if you sell the house and refuse the pay the fired agent a commission.

Even if the agent has truly breached his end of the deal, trying to make the case will probably create more stress and trouble than you want.

Are you ready to save THOUSANDS when selling your home?