Q: Did I make a mistake in choosing a real estate agent? I put my house on the market in mid-summer with a broker who encouraged me not to list it with the local multiple listing service.
I’ve had very few viewings and only one offer, which disappeared after a week. I feel like my broker has abandoned me and I stupidly signed a contract agreement with her until year end.
I want to remove my house from the market and perhaps put it back on next spring or summer. If I tell her I’m no longer selling, does that mean that I have to give it to her again next year given the fact that I am pulling it from her 3 months before the contract expires?
Please help me – I feel like my house and my pocket is suffering here. Thank you.
A: Your first mistake, which you’re already aware of, was signing a listing agreement for longer than 90 days. The best part about a short listing agreement is that you can always renew it if you’re enjoying the experience and have confidence in your agent.
But if you if you change your mind about selling, or if you lose confidence in your agent, and it sounds as though you have, you have the option to pull your house off the market.
But another mistake was not signing a listing agreement with an agent who is not affiliated with the local multiple listing service. This is like selling by owner, but having to pay a full commission – it’s the worst of both worlds.
If you’re going to use an agent or real estate broker to sell your home, and pay what I assume is a full commission, part of what you pay for is to list your home in the local multiple listing service.
Most home buyers start their search for a home on the Internet, and look at websites that feature homes listed in local multiple listing services. Most home buyers use agents who are affiliated with the local multiple listing service, and those agents go straight to their MLS computers to pull up a list of homes for sale.
By not being listed in the MLS, you are missing out on a huge segment of the market. As any good real estate agent can tell you, you’ll increase your odds of selling for a good price as you increase the number of people walking through your home.
I haven’t seen your listing agreement, so I don’t know what it says. But, if it’s an ironclad agreement, you may not be able to pull your home off the market until your agreement expires.
However, if you go to your agent and tell her that you are disappointed in her marketing efforts, that you feel she has abandoned your listing and she does not seem to have the sale of your home in mind, you may be able to persuade her to cancel the agreement.
Do you have to use her again? I think not. But you should talk to a local real estate attorney about what your listing agreement says and what options you have for canceling the contract.
By the way, your pocket isn’t suffering because you haven’t actually sold the home and you’re still living in it. What you’re feeling is “listing remorse.” You realized that you didn’t make a smart move financially and just want out.
Fortunately, your situation can be fixed, even if you have to wait until the end of the year to do so.