Can You Get Out of a Listing Agreement with Your Listing Agent When Selling a Home? 5 Important Legal Considerations Plus Tips 

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Posted: 29th August 2023 by
Lawyer Monthly
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When selling your home, the partnership with your listing agent is vital.

However, there might be instances when you might need to part ways with your agent. 

Some reasons why you might want to steer clear of a listing agreement include unsatisfactory service, lack of results, or general discontent with how things are going. The good news is that it’s possible and entirely within your rights as a seller. 

In this article, we will explore several vital legal considerations and tips on how you can make this process of terminating a listing agreement smoother and hassle-free. 

#1 - Have a Detailed Understanding of Your Contract

Understanding your contract thoroughly is critical to exiting a listing agreement with your agent. 

Essentially, you need to know that a listing agreement is a legally binding blueprint of the relationship between you, the seller, and your agent. It spells out specifics like services to be rendered by the agent and terms for termination. 

Understandably, it's essential to go through each clause carefully. Particularly, pay attention to parts that discuss what happens if you want to exit the agreement prematurely. Some agreements have an expiry date, after which they're null unless both parties renew. 

So, ensure you understand the agreement's details before signing to equip yourself with the knowledge needed to navigate the agreement successfully should the need arise. 

#2 - Understand all Contractual Exit Routes 

Another crucial aspect of escaping a listing agreement is familiarizing yourself with all the contractual exit routes or termination clauses.

It's important to note that some listing agreements provide a cancellation clause, allowing you to withdraw from the contract without penalty. As beneficial as this sounds, not every listing agreement will include such a provision.

Other contracts may feature varying termination clauses detailing various circumstances under which the agreement could end. These could range from unsatisfactory services, lack of communication, or even unethical conduct on the part of the agent.

Therefore, ensure that you are acquainted with every single detail about these exit routes before deciding to sever ties with your listing agent. 

#3 - Be Proactive and Positive in Your Communication With the Listing Agent 

If you're thinking about changing listing agents, you will want to keep open lines of communication with your agent. Expressing your concerns on time, mainly when dissatisfied with their services or performance, may lead to a productive exchange and possible amends. 

It's recommended to start with a candid conversation regarding your dissatisfaction and whether there are more creative ways to market your property or improve communication. In many cases, challenges can be resolved through better cooperation between the client and agent.

Remember, as much as you have the right to expect specific standards of service, it's also essential to approach communication positively. If things, unfortunately, don't improve after this conversation, you may consider referencing the termination clauses in your contract. 

After all, it's all about finding mutually satisfying solutions whenever possible or taking decisive action only when necessary. 

#4 - Make Complaints in Case of Ethical Violations

In situations where your agent isn't meeting their contractual obligations or behaving unethically, it's important not to stay silent. Instead, consider making a formal complaint.

A decisive first step would involve speaking with the broker or contacting the local real estate board. Ensure your concerns are well-documented and specific. For example, if your agent is consistently unresponsive or not marketing your property effectively, these may be valid reasons for voicing dissatisfaction.

Remember that complaining can be a significant step forward against unethical behavior or poor service delivery. Each case has its unique traits and possible outcomes.

What matters most is standing up for your rights as a home seller and ensuring that everyone involved in the process respects ethical considerations and contractual obligations. This action often paves the way for better professional relationships moving forward. 

#5 - Involve Legal Professionals from the Onset

Entering a listing agreement is a significant step in selling your home. It's therefore advisable to consider involving legal professionals from the start, even before you contemplate breaking such agreements.

qualified attorney can help you understand the contract terms and conditions before signing. They can also advise you on any implications or consequences of termination clauses and how to best address them.

If disputes arise regarding the performance of duties under the agreement, an attorney can interpret breach allegations against what's stipulated in the contract, providing invaluable guidance. Furthermore, they can support you with negotiation tactics or even represent you if needed. 

While hiring a lawyer might add additional cost, the benefits of their expertise could save you plenty in the long run. They will help ensure that all dealings are conducted professionally, fairly, and within legal frameworks, an aspect that adds substantially to peace of mind when navigating real estate arrangements. 


Navigating the process of terminating a listing agreement smoothly is achievable, though not always straightforward. 

However, it's crucial to remember that ending a listing agreement should serve as a stepping stone to what ultimately matters: finding the right fit that makes selling your home an enjoyable and rewarding venture. After all, it's about turning a house into your cash asset. 

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