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Reasons for Canceling a Listing Agreement

by Meribeth Phipps

Sometimes life situations pop up at a moment's notice, even when you're trying to sell your home. If you're working with a listing agent, depending on the terms of the brokerage agreement, you may be found in breach of contract for terminating too early. But generally, most real estate agents allow you to cancel a listing agreement as long as you have a valid reason for doing so.

Agent Dissatisfaction

Your real estate agent has a fiduciary responsibility to you, meaning as agent to the seller, she's required to represent your interests only. Most real estate agents are members of the National Association of Realtors, which requires members to act professionally and ethically. If you're dissatisfied with your agent's performance, you may contact her managing broker -- the supervisor at the brokerage firm that employs her -- to cancel the listing.

Refresh The Listing

Sometimes a listing receives low foot traffic due to a slow market, or perhaps the season of the year. When this is the case, you may wish to take your home off the market for a while and re-list it when the market picks up. This can be a good marketing move, because it makes your home look like a new listing, which may increase showings.

Personal

Real estate agents are aware that unexpected situations that impede your ability to sell your home may occur unexpectedly. Circumstances such as a serious illness, death in the family or a change in marital status can negatively affect any seller, and the status of a listing agreement by extension. Discussing unforeseen circumstances with the listing agent as soon as they come up may remedy the situation, even though canceling the listing agreement could be inevitable.

Property Upgrades

Some homeowners make minimum repairs before placing a home on the market. The repairs help the seller gauge buyer interest once the property listing goes live. After a poor performance on the market, the homeowner may decide to install more upgrades to improve the home's saleability. In this case, the seller may collaborate with the listing agent to take his home off the market temporarily while renovating the residence.

About the Author

Meribeth Phipps has been a real estate broker since 2000, specializing in residential new home sales. She holds a bachelor's degree in business and marketing.

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