On How to Fire Your Realtor: 101

You're FiredBeing fired just sucks. It burns like taking a shot in the chest and it doesn’t matter how many times we’ve experienced it; it still leaves a mark.  And firing someone, unless you’re Donald Trump, isn’t an easy trigger to pull, either.

So here’s my Emily Post on the matter:

As real estate agents, in addition to scheduling appointments for customers to view properties, we highlight neighborhoods, introducing them to restaurants, local gems, new friends, new business contacts, child care providers, and interior designers and so on.  It’s easy to go way beyond just selling or renting a home because we get to know our customers rather well.  Buyers, Sellers and Renters talk to us a lot—about their kids, their jobs, their spouses, their exes, their finances and sometimes even more intimate details about their lives that we’d rather not know.   Typically we don’t get paid to do anything else but sell or rent a home and of course that “possibility” of a commission is why we, as agents, often go above and beyond our job and also because our customers have pulled us in, like a new family member, with all of that way too “personal” information.

So, when we have worked our arses off for months and sometimes for years for our customers and then, they seem to fall off the face of the Earth:  We know somethin’s up, so just be straight with us, like we have been to you.   Don’t just ignore us, thinking that’s all you need to do to fire us and we’ll get the picture, eventually.  That’s so not cool on so many levels.

Look, we’ve been doing this for a while, Renters, Buyers, Sellers:

  • We know there are going to be those days when you are cheating on us by viewing properties with another agent or interviewing other agents to take over listing your property.
  • We know you might just walk into an open house without us and impulsively purchase/rent that home with the agent hosting the open house.
  • We know that you might feel it is better to purchase a “For Sale By Owner” or even sell/rent your property on your own, even if we, as your keepers-of-your-personal-secrets, have provided you a real estate education—that foundation for you to do such.

What you don’t know, Renters and Buyers:

  • We register your name with the listing agent/homeowner in order to schedule a viewing for you (for security reasons).
  • We are often required, per the listing agent, in addition to just your name, to provide a short bio about you, including your job title and where you work (and sometimes your yearly income), prior to showing you higher-end properties.
  • And because of the two bullet-points above, you are a known entity. You’re not anonymous when viewing properties.

And as much as real estate agents are known for being “cut-throat,” most of us in the biz, have established a good working relationship with our peers over the years.  It’s very common for us to receive a call or email from one of our colleagues, “Just thought you should know that Bob Buyer, who you showed my listing at 123 Main Street a few weeks ago, just sent me an email to see my other listing at 345 High Street and said he wasn’t working with anyone,” or that they met our buyer/renter at one of their open houses.

So, how should you inform us it’s time to part ways or we’re just not a good match for you?

If we have showed you more than a few properties or performed a listing presentation for you, don’t go MIA on us. That’s just rude, especially since you’ve shared so much of your personal information with us over time, like a dear family member. If you don’t have the guts to give us a call, having a conversation about your decision to not continue working with us; send us an email, something like: “We really appreciate all of the time you have spent with us, but we feel it is time to move in a different direction.”  And send it sooner than later (because we’re probably still working behind-the-scenes, searching new listings and marketing campaigns for your property).  And please don’t just send a text, adding “TY,” that’s beyond tacky.

Finally, on rare occasions, I have had customers who have even sent flowers or gift certificates thanking me for my time, even though they have chosen not to work with me anymore.  They’re class-acts, who know how to alleviate a bit of that burn of being fired.

And, That’s a Wrap.


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