In most cases, a simple phone call to tell a realtor you chose another agent will work best. If you’ve signed a contract and have already spent a lot of time working with an agent, however, you may need to meet with their broker to explain your decision.
Being honest and up front with the realtor is your best bet, regardless of the exact circumstances.
Communicate your reasons for choosing another agent — though you don’t need to tell them who that new realtor is — and politely ask how to get out of any agreements you may have already entered into.
- Be courteous and professional with your explanation.
- Provide clear reasons for your decision to work with another agent.
- Give constructive feedback on your experience.
- Review the buyer’s agency agreement or listing agreement.
- Thank the agent for their time and effort.
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How tell your buyer’s agent you chose someone else
🕐 Early stage: Before researching homes
If you’ve only spoken to the agent a few times and you haven’t signed a buyer’s agency agreement, you’re free to talk to or sign with any other realtor.
A less personal approach may be your best bet. You can send them a simple phone call, text message, or email to inform the agent of your decision. You don’t need to provide a lengthy explanation, but being polite and respectful is always a good idea.
🕔 Middle stage: While you’re viewing properties
Some agents require prospective buyers to sign a buyer’s agency agreement BEFORE even looking at homes. This locks you into using the realtor for a specific period (usually three to six months).
The best way is to call the agent with a detailed explanation of why you no longer need their services. Consider meeting at their office or a coffee shop to ease any tensions.
Provide specific reasons why you want to use another agent, for example:
- The agent’s schedule doesn’t allow you to view as many homes as you require.
- You missed out on a house you wanted because of the agent’s scheduling conflicts or negotiating.
- The agent is performing well, but you found another one that is simply a better fit for you.
Explaining your reasoning gives you a better chance of getting out of your buyer’s agency agreement without any penalties or fees AND allows you to maintain a positive relationship with the agent.
🕦 Late stage: While you’re submitting offers or negotiating with sellers
Changing realtors at this stage is tougher and rare, but it’s still possible.
The agent has already invested hours of their time to help you. More than likely, you’ve already signed a buyer’s agency agreement to work with the agent’s brokerage.
Ask the broker-in-charge to provide you with an agent that better suits your needs. Discuss your reasons for wanting to change agents this late in the home buying process.
- Be honest about your decision.
- Acknowledge all the work the agent has already done for you, such as sending you home listings that match your buying criteria, showing you homes, and writing up offers.
- Be respectful and try to leave the agent on good terms, if possible.
Review your buyer’s agency agreement first (if you have one). See if there’s any termination fees charged by the brokerage for breaking your contract. If the contract is unclear, consider consulting a real estate attorney.
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How tell your listing agent you chose someone else
🕐 Early stage: You only received a home value estimate
If you’ve only spoken to the realtor a few times and received a comparative market analysis but haven’t signed any contracts, then it should be pretty easy to get out of a relationship with them.
A simple phone call, text message, or email should be enough. Thank them for their time and for providing you with a home value estimate or market report (if provided), but you don’t need to go into too much detail about your decision.
🕔 Middle stage: While you’re preparing your home for sale
If you’ve signed a listing agreement (but your home is not yet listed on the MLS), review the agreement’s terms and conditions for any termination clauses for using another realtor.
The best way to break up with them is with a detailed phone call or in-person meeting. Be honest and transparent about your reasons for canceling the contract.
Most agents will let you out of the agreement without issue because they don’t want to receive negative reviews. But you should still provide clear reasons for your decision and offer any feedback, if requested.
The agent may have already invested money in marketing (photos, videos, 3D tours), and they may ask for reimbursement for those expenses. If so, make sure you get access to the marketing materials and permission to use them.
Types of real estate listing agreements
🕦 Late stage: When the property is already listed
This is a more delicate situation, since you’d need to take your home off the market. Be prepared for some time off market between listings.
Your listing agreement may restrict you from selling with another agent until the terms of your agreement have expired. There may also be fees to cancel the listing.
You can still choose to work with another agent, but the process won’t be immediate. If you’ve already accepted an offer on the home, a better solution might be to ask your agent’s broker to take over.
Regardless of the exact circumstances, make sure you maintain communication with all parties: your current agent and their broker, the new agent, and your real estate attorney (if necessary). The two agents may need to communicate with each other to facilitate the process.
📧 Tip: Communicating via email helps you keep a paper trail in case of future disputes. If you’re worried about the legal and financial consequences of terminating a listing agreement early, consult with an attorney for more specific guidance.
Why you should trust us
This article was written and reviewed by real estate professionals who have a combined 18 years of experience in the field, working as both buyer’s and seller’s agents.
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