Q: We had our house listed for sale by owner, but did not get any offers. So we then listed it with a local agent. Before we signed her listing agreement, we asked her to “promise us you will not disappear after we list with you”.
She responded “We are a complete, full-service real estate agency”.
Well, we have not heard from her in a week. I had a couple interested in looking at the house, but they called her and got no response from her. On another occasion, a real estate agent tried to call her and received no reply.
Between my husband and me, we have tried to call her more than 5 times in a week with no response. She told us she was in a building, her cell phone broke, she got a new cell phone, and she was out of the coverage area. These sound like excuses to me.
We want to fire her. She is not holding up to her end of the contract. Can we get out of the contract legally without having to pay any money once we get a buyer?
A: Probably. Your agreement is technically with the real estate firm not with your agent, and it is up to the real estate company to make sure you’re a satisfied customer. To determine whether you can cancel the agreement, you may need to consult with a real estate attorney. Before you do, you should talk to the manager of the office in which your broker works.
You have to let them know there is a serious problem with your agent. Call the managing broker of the firm or a supervisor or other person with authority in your agent’s office, explain the agent’s bad behavior and ask him to recommend another agent who can fulfill the terms of the contract. Then, meet with the new agent and see if you like him or her.
If you can’t find another agent in the firm who seems like he or she would be a good fit, you can then ask the managing broker to cancel the contract. If they won’t help you find another agent to help you, they don’t have one or won’t cancel the deal, you can seek help from a real estate attorney and the governmental office that regulates real estate agents in your state.
It’s unfortunate that your experience has worked out this way, but move on this now so that you can get on with the business at hand — selling your home.
Aug. 14, 2005.