As 2023 opens, the economic hangover due to the free spending and pandemic handouts continue. One of the craziest segments of the last two years was real estate. Prices and inventory of course, but the massive influx of "hobby agents" over this period was a lesser covered negative result. The number of real estate agents soared to record highs, as did buyer remorse and complaints. It is likely that a frequent question in 2023 will be; can you fire a real estate agent in Georgia? YES, but the devil is in the details of the brokerage agreements.
Fire a Buyer’s Agent in GA
EVERYTHING hinges on the buyer brokerage agreement that was signed. These change annually, sometimes more frequently. Some agents add stipulations and conditions. Buyers MUST READ and understand what they sign. Even better, the buyer should REQUIRE the agent to explain the Georgia buyer broker agreement; every section. Ask pointed questions, do they know what they are talking about?
The document lays out the requirements of each party. In short, it says that the buyer agrees to work exclusively with the agent during the search for the home. While “termination” of the agreement is mentioned, the only substantive section is Sec B, item 7g (2023 GA version).
If your buyer’s agent in Georgia is a dud, do not waste time firing them. Keep a written log of activities, email them about your concerns and copy their broker. Develop a WRITTEN file and request confirmation of receipt. Again, READ and UNDERSTAND what you sign and are contractually held to. If it’s not working, end it before you get into a major financial disaster.
Fire a Listing Agent in GA
Everything above applies here. The wild card with listings is how money spent by the agent on preparation is dealt with. Some agents cover all costs up front, some have sellers pay and agents reimburse them at close, others have all marketing covered by the seller. READ the contract and look for stipulations inserted by the agent.
Firing a listing agent tends to have more drama than firing a buyer’s agent. Sect C, item 8a touches on events considered seller default. Item c in that same section assigns the seller all responsibility for reimbursing the agent for marketing and incidental costs.
As above, get ahead of problems well before they start by maintaining written communication with the agent and broker. Have a paper trail with examples of poor performance, the broker should be (operative word) proactive and try to solve the problems. That’s not a given so keep a file.
Forms to Terminate a Real Estate Agent
Keep a contemporaneous log, record issues as they arise. Either party can terminate brokerage agreements and they can be mutual or unilateral. Note that fees may still be expected from the client; especially with listings. Again, READ the forms and understand what they mean. Every situation is different and there isn’t one set answer for things like this.
The single best way to avoid disaster is to QUALIFY every agent considered and speak to at least three. Do not feel obligated to use ineffective relatives or friends out of guilt, that is a consistent recipe for disaster. Also understand that real estate agents in Georgia have NO FIDUCIARY responsibility to clients; they are not required to act in your best interest. Agents practicing dual agency are a perfect example – both buyer and seller think their best interests are represented when clearly they are not. The agent is interested in a double commission. Another reason to find an agent more driven to ensure their client wins than by collecting a commission.
- Hank Miller is not a lawyer. This is not legal advice; this is his interpretation of the process. The forms and language are subject to interpretation, every situation is different.
- GA has NO performance standard for agents. It is the direct responsibility of every buyer and seller to do their homework and research agents and the sale/purchase process.
- The number of people with buyer’s remorse over the last few years is insane. Lawsuits are being filed for misrepresentation as clients whine “it’s not my fault”. Those law suits are frivolous, will fail, and it is ultimately your fault.
- TREAT THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF A HOME LIKE THE MAJOR BUSINESS TRANSACTION IT IS.