How to cancel your home listing agreement ?

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Thinking about selling your home this time of the year? Well you must read what it entails. Selling a home with a realtor has its own pitfalls and legal and monetary consequences. Sale of your most prized asset can become a nightmare if the person responsible for the sale does not acts the way you thought they would. What options would you have than and how well you will be able to handle those ? If this has not happened to you, its very possible this very sale may get to you in a jam. How can you cancel a listing contract with realtor? Not easy.. not at all. That is why they call it a listing contract.

Ever thought about it the person handling your most important asset can be incompetent, making high promises, deceitful  and never delivers ?  How would you know that? Time only tells how people behave.  Once the listing agreement is signed, all those glossy presentations aside, and phone calls that you were taking, and pressure you were under to sign the listing, will the listing agent will continue  in the same spirit of the contract ? Will the agent preform with utmost due diligence in selling your house? Is this the only listing they have and if they don’t sell the listing can they still survive and move on?

What about you ? Can you survive financially if you cannot sell your home in a reasonable time? How would you protect yourself against rogue agents, sheer incompetence, and simple lack of knowledge once the listing period begins? Rogue agents don’t come with a sticker on the forehead and yet they are the most difficult to spot when it comes to listing your home. They make glossy presentations, create high hopes, and stop at nothing but making you sign your home for a period of time.

No matter how good you are and even if you are a professional investor selling multiple rehabs a year, you will need some type of club to wean your way out from a binding legal contract and should not be at the mercy of the other side, when it come to your expectations. You deserve better.

How can your enforce your terms of agreement on the listing agent if they don’t perform in a reasonable manner? All these real estate contacts are in writing and all these uniform listing agreements are drafted by the local real estate boards and lobbies which do not favor the consumer and may require an intervention by an attorney to simply get you out without paying a commission. For example the CAR listing agreement in California simply implies you will owe a commission if the listing is withdrawn before expiration, canceled or made unmarketable by the acts of sellers. You will owe a whopping  5% to 6% commission of the purchase price, if that is what your agreements calls for on the first page and if you agreed to it.

If your agent performed horribly and your dissatisfaction reached unbearable levels what would you do? Beg at their office to let you out of the contract? Than you will see those glossy presentations and friendly vibes come to a full circle. You may end up calling the Department of real estate and any other authorities that govern the real estate law in your State and have them investigate and make a ruling. That all takes time and many people just simply cannot wait for weeks. You would be very lucky if the same agent who came by your house begging for a listing, lets you out without a scratch. Sometimes they do, just to avoid a complaint to the Department of Real Estate or the governing authority, and that too takes a long time and is a frustrating experience. Some agents just don’t care and you will be stuck with them.

Here is what a friend of mine asked me the other day. He wanted to list his retirement condo in Miami and he has seen me go through all these trials and tribulations while listing properties. Here is what I sent him via email. This is by no means a comprehensive language you can write, its simple and basic and does not speaks of legal jargon. This is something you can model on your own and attach to the listing agreements or any agreements you make. You can have an attorney devise a far more devastating language,  but that takes more money doesn’t it ? I am not dispensing legal advice here. I use common sense, and easily understood intent of the contract, and you should too.

Have this written in your listing agreement under additional conditions or as attachment and have the agent sign it.

1. The Sellers at their own, sole discretion, can cancel this listing agreement anytime prior to the expiration date of this contract without any monetary compensation to the listing broker/agents.

If the listing agreement is canceled brokers/ agents shall cancel the listing immediately from multiple listing service and remove it from online sites within 1 business day.

2. Brokers will perform with due diligence in all matters relating to the sale of this property and exercise utmost care.

3. Broker/agent shall provide a weekly status  report, once a week showing activity, offers etc and other data related to sale.

4. Brokers/ agents will return all phones calls, emails,text messages same business day or next morning before 12:00 pm if the communication is placed after normal business hours.

5. Brokers/agents will advertise this listing on online real estate sites like Zillow.com, trulia.com, realtor.com, Redfin.com and maintain the accuracy of information on these sites and have their cell phones or sales numbers appear on the listings. This is to insure that seller gets maximum exposure to the real estate market during the listing period.

 

The number one complaint I have found in my experience and I have gone through myself, that once the listing agreement is signed, brokers/agents don’t return phone calls. If you are busy, and away from town, and works all the time, it descends into a horrible insecurity on your end.

They just go back doing what they do actually- not returning phone calls and harvesting another listing like yours. The more listings they harvest, the better the odds that some other broker in the multiple listings will bring a buyer and they can coin in a 2.5% commission. It is a numbers game, throw everything on the wall some will stick. I have been at the mercy of text messages and voice mails, that are never answered, phones calls never returned, and unable to get any feedback on open houses and activity, and not knowing what to expect in the immediate future.  You may need to talk to the agent/ broker about that first ( if you can get hold them ) and remind them about this listing clause in the contract.

Personally I always sign my agreements for 3 months, keeping the listing period as short as possible. If the realtor asks 6 months I ask the question “ Why do you need 6 months to sell the property when homes like mine are selling in 30 days? You have to be reasonable here though.

As experience has shown, if it is a single family home and in good condition and under $500,000 and not a commercial property and if the markets are strong, and the economy on the upward slope it should not take more than 3 months to sell the property. There are however exceptions here and you should know about them in your local area.

You can add a lot more of your own here…If the agent balks don’t sign the listing agreement, period.

What it boils down to if you start right, you will finish right, or you can risk losing a whole lot. This has been tested, time and again, and many folks have walked this path before.

 

Dantanner is a  stock market pro and a real estate investor and prolific writer, and has been investing in asset classes for a number of years

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