How to Unlist a Property With a Realtor Before a Contract Agreement Ends


A homeowner hires a realtor to list her home for sale via a real estate listing agreement. The agreement is a contract between the homeowner and the realtor's broker that establishes a business relationship between the homeowner and broker and gives the broker permission to list the homeowner's property for sale. The realtor, as agent for the broker, acts on the broker's behalf. Once the homeowner and realtor have signed the contract, the contract is fully executed and legally binding on both parties. At this point, the realtor begins to market the home in an effort to attract buyers. Since the realtor and broker only get paid if the home sells, a homeowner who breaks the contract by canceling the listing may be subject to fees and other penalties as specified in the contract.

  • Read through your contract to see whether a cooling-off period applies that would allow you to cancel the contract without consequence within a certain period, usually three to 10 days, following the contract's execution.

  • Follow the instructions for canceling during the cooling-off period if such a period exists.

  • Request that your realtor release you from your contract if there is no cooling-off period or if the cooling-off deadline has passed.

  • Write a letter to your realtor if he has agreed to release you from your contract. State that, in accordance with your conversation, you'd like him to release you from your contract so that you may cancel or withdraw your listing.

  • Examine your contract to determine the fee involved in canceling in the event that your realtor refuses to release you from the contract. Prepare to pay the fee upon unlisting your home.

  • Write a letter to your realtor demanding that she cancel or withdraw the listing for your home. Enclose the cancellation fee with your letter.

Tips & Warnings

  • An honest explanation of your reasons for canceling your listing may prompt a broker to release you from your agreement without charging you fees.
  • Your broker may be more likely to release you from your contract if you agree in writing that you'll give him the listing if you put your home back on the market within a specified period. Three to six months is reasonable.
  • Breaking your contract may carry unintended consequences. Contact an attorney if you're not sure you fully understand all the possible consequences.
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