Market Wise Q&A column: How Do We Replace Our Agent?

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News Q: We were assigned an agent in the sale of our house. He is a very personable fellow. My husband and he hit it off immediately.  However, he is woefully unprepared every time we meet.  He has yet to answer any of my direct questions and instead claims, “Everything will just fall into place.” My husband feels our home will sell itself; therefore, the agent really doesn’t matter. I agree our house will sell quickly, but that’s not the point. Having what I think is an inept professional in charge of our home sale is reckless. My husband disagrees.  How does a seller replace an agent anyway?

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A: “It depends,” is what real estate attorneys will tell you.  Legal issues aside, you did not mention how you were “assigned” your current agent.  Are you going through Relocation Company with a work related move? If so, relocation companies usually use agents with a proven track record ~ although, they also recommend new agents with great personalities in order to learn the “relo” ropes.  On the other hand, was the agent appointed to guide you through the home selling process via an internet lead-generation company? If so, he was charged with handling your important transaction in more ways than one.  Lead-generation companies sell buyer and seller leads to the highest bidder. Either way, real estate attorneys will tell you that agents have a duty to counsel and then advise on the ramification of decisions ~ which are many.

Granted, affable real estate agents tend to do the most business.  However, many of these “personalities” have uneven results due to a lack of the aforementioned state mandated dialogue. Since buyers file most residential lawsuits over property issues, sellers needs a pro, not a friend, to protect his interests before, during and after a transaction. It’s time you went back to the source and ask to have this rep replaced with one who can and will answer all your questions ~ in great detail. Only then will you be ready to negotiate from a position of strength on multiple fronts. It’s faster and more economical than having a real estate attorney determine how to legally fire a seller’s agent.

5-1-10

E-mail questions to Pat at pat@www.siliconvalleybroker.net