Robert D. Paulbeck, Attorney at Law
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How do I get out of my real estate contract?

If you are trying to sell your home in Trenton, you want a real estate agent who will aggressively market your property to potential homeowners who are interested in and able to afford it. Sometimes their efforts fall short, or you are simply dissatisfied for other reasons.

Under those circumstances, how can you graciously bow out of a contractual agreement? Very carefully, but it will be easier if you lay the proper groundwork before you ever sign any contracts.

People should not sign contracts from which they cannot be released on request of either signatory. There may be penalties imposed under some circumstances, but there should be an out for both in the event of unresolvable disputes.

But even if you failed to get all of your ducks in line before putting pen to paper, there is still hope of being released from contractual hell.

It should be noted that threats of one-star Yelp reviews or other negative reports may actually work against you or be construed as blackmail. Instead, kick it up a notch on the professionalism scale with the following advice.

To cancel your buyer's agency agreement

Write the agent and politely request a copy of their Termination of Buyer Agency form. Then, fill it out to cancel written or verbal agreements with the agent/agency.

Agents who want to duck out on noncompliant clients could offer to soften the blow by suggesting another agent who would be a better fit. To manage to salvage something from the ashes of a broken deal, offer the client a written referral to an agent willing to pay referral fees.

To cancel your listing agreement

It never hurts to ask your agent to cancel your listing. Understand, however, that it is within their rights to have reasonable protection clauses in place for these situations. Try not to take it personally — it's just business.

If your agent doesn't agree to cancel, call the broker and ask them to cancel your listing. Still being stonewalled? See if the broker will agree to assign a different agent to you. Make sure that you are documenting all of your reasonable resolution offers electronically.

When all else fails, you may need to retain a Trenton real estate attorney to resolve your dispute.

Source: The Balance, "How to Fire Your Agent or Client," Elizabeth Weintraub, accessed Nov. 03, 2017

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