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How to Legally Dissolve a Buyer's Agent Contract

by Amber Keefer, studioD

State laws governing real estate transactions vary. For example, not all states require you to sign an exclusive buyer’s agent contract before the agent shows you homes for sale. Even if the law doesn’t require you to sign an agreement, an agent may still ask you to sign one. While many real estate agents will voluntarily release you from the contract afterward if you aren’t happy with their service, in some cases, you might have to let the contract run out. That is, unless you can show a reason why you won’t be in breach of contract.

Go over the buyer’s agent agreement you signed to see if it includes a clause that allows you and the agent to terminate the agreement by mutual consent. The wording and terms of the contract should be clear and stipulate under what conditions you can cancel the agreement before it expires.

Talk to the agent. Explain your reasons for wanting to terminate the contract early. If you can’t work things out, the agent may offer you the option of canceling the contract.

Ask the agent for a termination of buyer agency form, sometimes referred to as "termination of agency agreement and release." The form should include an explanation of fees for services rendered and the agreement termination date. In addition, it will detail the conditions under which you may owe additional fees following cancellation of the contract. In states where agencies don't use standard termination forms, write a letter to your agent indicating that you want to terminate the agreement. Be sure to sign and date the letter.

Return to the contract if the agent refuses to release you from the agreement. Point out any duties outlined in the contract that she isn’t performing. The buyer's agent agreement may contain a mediation clause in the event you and the agent need help settling any disputes between you. Another option is to talk to the agent's broker, who may be willing to assign you a different agent. Consult with a real estate attorney regarding your rights if you have questions about legal issues that arise.

Attempt to negotiate a smaller cancellation fee if you signed an exclusive agent contract that includes one, suggests Steve McLinden, real estate adviser for Bankrate.com. You may be able to get out of the contract but still be legally responsible for paying the agent a commission or fee if you buy a house using another agent. Whether you will owe the first agent any money depends on the laws in your state and the terms of the contract you initially signed.

Inform the agent that you intend to file a written complaint with the local real estate board and the state real estate commission. This option is available if the agent isn’t fulfilling the terms of the agreement yet refuses to release you from the contract. If he realizes you are serious, the agent might be willing to dissolve the contract before you take the issue to a higher authority.

Items you will need
  •  Written notice requesting termination

About the Author

Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.

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