People who make up the real estate market include home buyers, sellers and their Realtor®. In Florida, Realtors work as transaction brokers, unless the customer and broker agree to establish a single agent or no brokerage relationship in writing. As a transaction broker, the Realtor can guide both parties, sometimes simultaneously, through the transaction to get to the closing table.
Considering this is the largest purchase/sale many people make, it’s fair and reasonable for consumers to want the ability to part ways if the job isn’t getting done. But what many people do not think about is whether they can be fired by their agent.
A Realtor is required to treat everyone fairly and not discriminate. There are federal and state fair housing laws in place. Florida’s fair housing law states, “Floridians are entitled by law to rent a place to live or buy a home without consideration of their race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status or religion.” However, it is not against the law for Realtors to be expected to serve a customer who is not holding up their end of the relationship. The relationship should work like a team. Each player assists the other to make a closing win.
Some recent news articles cover a few extreme scenarios where Realtors fired their clients for reasons that ranged from a buyer who summoned ghosts while looking at homes, to unwanted sexual advances. Most Realtors are going to be as agreeable as possible and would have to be pushed pretty hard to decide to let go of a customer relationship.
Listed below are some of the more common reasons a Realtor might fire a customer. Plan to avoid these scenarios while buying or selling property.
Working with other Realtors at the same time. This scenario is more common while working with buyers. When selling a home, a listing contract must be signed. Legally a buyer can look at homes with more than one agent, but that doesn’t mean they should. All Realtors protect their time and effort they’re spending with buyers since there is no guarantee the right property will come along. There is no protection from a buyer buying through another agent. A wise Realtor will stop working with a buyer once he/she finds out the buyer is working with someone else.
Making unreasonable demands. It is fair for a customer to expect their Realtor to be available and responsive, but being at an arm’s length at all hours of the day or night – or demand going beyond the call of duty, like cleaning the house or running errands – then a Realtor might decide to let this customer go.
Being biased or racist. Realtors are required to make sure their customers are not breaking any fair housing laws. If a customer is insistent on violating any laws created to protect specific classes of people at a federal or state level, be prepared to hear “you’re fired.”
Hiding issues with the property. Disclose, disclose, disclose. If a Realtor finds out the seller is hiding material defects, he/she will have to fire this customer.
Constantly making low offers with no basis. Presenting and defending any offer a buyer makes is part of a Realtor’s job. The Realtor may assist one or two times with a low-ball, but a professional Realtor will have to stop submitting offers that can not be justified and backed by recent sales data.
Being disrespectful. Rude, demeaning or condescending behavior is a recipe for the worst customer ever. A Realtor will refuse to tolerate it and will encourage the customer to take their business elsewhere.
This is not a comprehensive list of reasons why a Realtor would want to fire a customer. Instead, take this article as a peace of mind that there are lines drawn in the sand. Bottom line – treat a Realtor with respect and the customer will have a great working relationship and in some cases, a friend for life.