How to Easily Switch Real Estate Agents

Woman having an argument with her real estate agent and looking at him in disbelief.

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There are myriad reasons for wanting to change your real estate agent. Perhaps the realtor can't adequately answer your questions or doesn't respond promptly to your inquiries. Since your agent may have many clients, they might appear more interested in other buyers.

If you're unhappy with the services your agent is providing you, it's important to know what options you have so that you can find one who assists in your house hunt the way you want them to.

Key Takeaways

  • As long as you have not signed a buyer's broker agreement, you are free to switch real estate agents.
  • If you have signed an agreement and wish to work with someone else, you might not be able to terminate the relationship.
  • Even if you have a list of grievances, be professional and courteous.

Switching Agents in Mid-Shop

Everyone is unique, and people tend to get along with others who have traits or qualities similar to their own. You might find yourself not getting along with your current real estate agent and might have found another. If so, at that time you probably had ample grounds for switching agents. Your current agent might not be happy about it, and there might be some type of conflict, but you can make the transition somewhat easier for both of you.

You are free to switch agents as long as you have not signed a buyer's broker agreement. Without that agreement, you are not obligated to use a specific real estate agent, and they have no right to try to hold on to you as a client.


If you have signed an agreement and wish to work with someone else, you might not be able to terminate the relationship. Most realtors will agree to it, but some might not.

Your Contract Specifies What You Can Do

If your agent wants you to sign an agreement, you should read through it carefully, because it may contain essential clauses that you should consider. One of the most important clauses to look for is a cancellation clause.

There may be an exit clause granted within a specific period, such as 48 hours. Both the broker's and buyer's duties and responsibilities to each other will be written out. If your broker is in breach of those duties, you can report those errors. You can also create a list of grievances and refer to the contract once you've made the decision to stop working with that broker.

A cancellation clause allows you to legally part with your agent before the contract expires. You should also look for other provisions, such as a broker protection clause that may have been included. A broker protection clause generally states that if you signed a contract, and the broker found you a house or a buyer, and you purchase or sell the home within a certain amount of time after the contract expires, the broker receives a full commission from the sale.


Some brokerages may have arbitration or mediation clauses in their buyer's broker agreements. These agreements keep you from taking any legal action if you find that they are not acting in your best interests, and you're under an agreement.

There may be a termination agreement written into the contract already that supports either party wanting to end the relationship. The termination rights will be clearly stated.

In most cases, you should be able to cease working with the real estate agent by presenting a letter of cancellation or termination. Check your contract, and understand the actions you need to take to be able to terminate it. There is nothing wrong with asking the agent, before signing, how you can cancel the contract if you are not happy with their services.


If you do terminate your contract, make sure you get a signed termination letter from the real estate agent so that you can prove that your parting was legitimate.

Writing a Letter of Termination

This is an important step—it protects you from having to pay a commission if an issue were to arise after you've terminated the relationship. Do this after you have informed the agent that you would like to end the partnership. You don't have to explain why, but do create it when you want to officially part ways. That will ensure that the agent won't continue to search for homes for you.

Use Diplomacy

Even if you have a list of grievances, be professional and courteous. Acknowledge that your specific needs aren't being met, so that you can both learn for the future. Most real estate agents will agree that it's in both parties' best interest to end the relationship, especially if the telltale signs have been apparent for a while. By being honest and upfront, and parting amicably, the relationship may be able to continue in other ways.

A good real estate agent may even suggest other agents for you to work with or may even make referrals. You can say that you would like to continue to work with the real estate brokerage firm overall if your broker is a part of a larger entity. Ask whether there is a colleague they might suggest if you are parting on good terms. That way, you can save your relationship with the firm.

However, if the relationship has degraded so much that you feel there is no recourse but to find another agent, thank them for their time and inform them that you have chosen a different agent.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What's the difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is professionally licensed to help you sell, buy, or rent real estate. A broker is a real estate agent with additional licensing and training, which allows them to hire other real estate agents to work for them. A Realtor is a real estate agent or broker who has been licensed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and must comply with the organization's strict ethical code.

How many real estate agents can I work with when I'm buying a home?

You can use more than one agent or Realtor when buying a house. However, using multiple real estate agents could be considered unethical, since it could prevent one of the agents you are working with from getting paid for their services. The code of ethics that Realtors follow prevents them from interfering with another agent's sale, so they are unlikely to work with you if you are also working with another agent.

Does the buyer or seller pay a real estate agent's commission?

The commission paid to a buyer's real estate agent comes out of the closing costs or purchase price of the home, so the buyer pays it, though it is not a separate cost on top of the cost of the home. A seller's agent is paid by the seller, though most sellers will try to make enough of a profit that the commission will be covered by the sale as well.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. "What Is an Exclusive Buyer-Broker Agreement?"

  2. California Association of Realtors. "Earning a Commission, C.A.R.’s Residential Listing Agreement (RLA)."

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