Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: 3 Tips for Splitting Up With Your Realtor

by J.R.September 11, 2018

I had to break up with our real estate agent last year during our housing search. It was rough. My wife and I met the Realtor at an open house and we loved her. We had some great conversations and she was enthusiastic about helping us. However, over the next month or so, we grew weary of her negativity for renovated homes.

Since we needed an up-to-date house on a relatively modest budget, flipped homes were our only option. Our agent had a knack for telling at least one horror story of a flip-gone-wrong every time we went out to look at houses. She pressured us into liking homes that we didn’t like. It was taxing, even though everything seemed perfect at first.

“Working with a real estate agent can be like He or she may look good online but once you start working with them, they could fall short of expectations,” said Realtor Susan Matthews.

Breaking up with your agent isn’t going to be easy but it’s a necessary step to finding the proverbial home of your dreams. In fact, I’d go as far as to say you can increase the chances of finding the home of your ideal home are better with the ideal real estate agent. However, if you aren’t willing to end things with your agent, then you might be missing out on the right house… and the right real estate agent.

In this post, we’re going to give you our top three signs that it’s time to break up with your real estate agent.

#1 Some Are in It for the Profit, Not for You

This one can be a tricky red flag to pick up, especially if your lender approved you for a mortgage that’s above what you thought you could afford. A real estate agent who is selfish is going to try and get you to buy a home that maxes out that pre-approved amount and, when this becomes apparent, it’s time to wake up and break up, says Kelly Parks, a real estate agent at Paris Gibson in Great Falls, Montana.

“If your Realtor is trying to push you to purchase at your maximum price or above, stating interest is low and real estate will appreciate, it’s time to break up,” she said.

While it may seem like a dream scenario to get approved for more than you were expecting, Parks said you have to realize that more house usually means higher payments. “The problem is that buyers need to understand what happens when they are maxed out in house payments and something bad happens like they lose their job, get divorced, or the market bubble bursts,” Parks said.

#2 You Dread Talking to Them

You and your real estate agent should have a relationship that’s thriving – clear communication and enjoyable experiences when you’re on the phone at open houses are good signs. However, when your interactions with them feel strained and you’d rather be doing something else than enduring the awkwardness of another conversation with them, it’s time to break up, says Sep Niakan, a real estate agent with Miami-based HB Roswell Realty. Buying a home should be fun, for the most part, and working with your agent should be enjoyable.

“When the relationship is no longer pleasant, it’s time to move on. Buying and selling isn’t always fun, but your Realtor should be your partner, and if you dread talking to them because you just don’t like them or the way they operate, it could be time to move on,” Niakan said.

#3 They Ghost You on a Regular Basis

As someone who has bought a home, I can tell you that communication is crucial to a good buyer-agent relationship. Pay close attention to your agent’s responsiveness in the first few weeks of your relationship. Do they ghost you for hours at a time? Does it seem like they’re too busy for you? It’s a bad sign, Niakan said.

“If your Realtor never answers the phone, doesn’t get back to you promptly, and they don’t have a habit of giving you updates on the regular unless you ask for it, then you may want to reconsider if you have chosen the right person,” he said.

When It’s Time to Break Up, Email or Phone Calls Work

If you’ve decided you need to split up with your agent, there are a few things you should know. First, if you’ve signed a broker-buyer agreement, you’ll need to request that your agent void the contract. They may be hesitant to do so since these contracts typically provide the agent exclusivity with you, Parks said, but a relationship-gone-bad needs to end.

And when you end it, be prepared for a little pushback from your agent. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll face resistance, but it’s not uncommon.

“It’s something that’s totally necessary in certain instances. The best way to do that is to say this just isn’t working out and I think we need to part company,” she said. “Sometimes they get defensive or take it personally but that’s business.”

As for how you break up, Parks said phone calls or email works.

“I think a phone call is a really good method,” she said. “However, some people feel more comfortable in an email. I think it’s less personal but it also cuts to the chase and gets to the point.”

Parks also has advice for real estate agents who on the receiving end of a break up call.

“A lot of Realtors don’t handle rejection well,” she said. “You have to be gracious and courteous and remember that people will remember your reaction to the situation. They’ll remember it. If you handle it badly its’ not a good representation of yourself.”

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About The Author
J.R. is a reporter for, uncovers the hard truths about personal finance through in-depth research and interviews with experts. He has written extensively on topics including credit cards, credit scores, debt, financial advisors, and other personal finance issues.