Need to Fire Your Texas REALTOR®?
Is your REALTOR® not living up to their end of the bargain? There is an old saying that you never regret firing someone, you just regret not doing it sooner. If your gut is telling you it’s time to terminate your relationship with your REALTOR®, you do have options under Texas law. Of course, termination of the agency relationship should not be for minor disagreements and should be your last resort. As is often the case, time is of the essence and financial and or time constraints may force you to terminate the agency relationship out of necessity.
The relationship between a principal (real estate customer) and an agent (REALTOR®) is governed by Texas agency laws. Agency relationships can be terminated at any time by either party. However, an early termination without cause may expose the terminating party to liability under the agency agreement. Once an agency relationship is terminated, the agent may not continue to offer the property for sale without the consent of the principal. If an agent fails to remove signs and cease advertising the property, the agent and broker would be in violation of the Real Estate License Act.
In Texas, you can terminate a listing agreement or buyer’s representation agreement with your agent by using forms provided below. There are two forms, one terminates buyer representation agreements and the other terminates a listing agreement.
Follow these steps to make sure you make an amenable effort at terminating your agency relationship with your agent.
1. Document everything.
You should document the reasons for being dissatisfied before you terminate the relationship. If your realtor failed to make the house available for showings or is non-responsive to you, document why you feel this way. This will help prove your claims if you need to with the realtors supervisor or supervising broker or with a judge if it’s not an agreeable termination.
2. Review the agreement you signed.
First, determine the type of listing agreement you have with your agent. Did you sign an exclusive listing agreement or a buyer’s representation agreement? An exclusive listing agreement gives the listing agent sole responsibility and benefit, in the marketing of the property. A buyer’s representation agreement is between a customer searching for a property and an agent. IN either type of agreement, is there an early termination clause (i.e., “satisfaction guaranteed, terminate for a certain fee)?
3. Try and work it out.
If the agent works for a brokerage, contact the brokerage where your agent holds his license. You can visit the Texas Real Estate Commission’s website to determine the broker. Present your documentation and complaints to the broker and see if the broker will release you from the agreement and sign a release relieving you of any liability. The broker may see it as good cause for the termination and good for their business reputation to work something out.
4. Seek legal advice from a real estate attorney.
In Texas, written agency agreements are private contractual matters subject to Texas civil laws. Accordingly, if the matter ends up in court, the advice of an attorney may be prepare you for what to expect if the agency termination is not amicable.
5. Send written notice of termination.
a. Terminating a Buyer’s Agent
In Texas, you can terminate your buyer’s agent by completing form TAR 1503 (“Termination of Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement”). This form will require you to state the date when the initial buyer’s representation agreement started, state the date the agreement terminates once this form is signed, defines any fees owed for services rendered, lists specific situations where you would still owe the broker money after the termination, and lists the fees owed should those events occur. The final section is a release from all obligations.
b. Terminating a Listing Agent
In Texas, you can terminate your listing agent by completing form TAR 1410 (“Termination of Listing”). This form is much like Form 1503. In this form, you must declare that you have no current negotiations pending or contemplated with anyone for the sale, lease, or exchange of the property. It also states any fees owed for services rendered and gives specific situations where you would owe the broker after the termination. The final section is a release from all obligations.
6. Hire a Houston REALTOR®!
Once the termination of the agency is finalized, the terminated broker may not take actions that would or can prohibit the principal from engaging the services of another broker or otherwise buying, selling, or leasing the property upon termination of the agency relationship. If you are interested in hiring a new Houston REALTOR®, contact our responsive, friendly, and competent REALTORS® at West End Realty! We are here to help and available to quickly list your property, prepare a comparative market analysis report, or represent you in your search for new properties!