Relocate to Wisconsin : Can I Fire My Real Estate Agent ?

Can I Fire My Real Estate Agent ?

  We can only answer this question from the FAQ's that come our way from the view of a Wisconsin licensed agent.   With our niche in Divorce...people fire Questionlawyers and agents with some regularity.  Most listing contracts are written for a minimum of 6 months.  Unusual or more expensive properties often have longer times.

     The answer is.......Probably.  Now that answer may not be the one you WANT to may be the one you have to hear. If for whatever reason a Seller is not pleased with the performance...or more likely, the lack thereof, of an agent...and they wish to part company....they may ask to have the contract terminated.  

         In Wisconsin, this is done with a form called an "AmenListing Contractdment to an Listing Contract."   The contract is amended to have an earlier expiration date that it had originally. The part of this that can become "sticky" is that some agents may choose to WITHDRAW the contract which sounds like it is a different word for exactly the same result/ is not.  When a contact is has a specific date of expiration and on that date, the relationship between Seller and the agent has ended.  There may be some compensation to the agent for their professional photography, time, signage and other marketing expense....and there may not be...that is up to the parties involved.

     When an agent gives the Seller that same Amendment but instead of saying that the contract is "expired" it says it is "withdrawn", the property is taken off the market...BUT is taken off the market and cannot be listed by another Limboagent until the expiration date of the original contract.  The contract is held in mid air...a limbo sort of state unti that original date passes at which time the Seller(s) are free to list the property with another agent.  Sellers are not always aware of the difference in the terminology.

   They are agents who use this withdrawn contract state for a period of time until a Seller makes improvements or repairs.  This, in theory, prohibits the Seller from being bombarded with offers from agents to list the property because it is actually still listed and to the approach the Seller would be "jumping the sign" and not permitted.

      We have had agents who did not want to give up the listing even though clearly the relationship, like many divorces, had reached the stage of "irreconsilable differences."   The Seller(s) may then go to the Agent's broker and state their case which may result in having the listing expired so that the Sellers can go on with their lives and list the property with another agent.

   CAN  AN AGENT BE FIRED ?  Probably...check with the department in your state to be clear on what the rules/procedures are for taking that action.

       This is public service announcement brought to you by Sally K.  & David L. Hanson, Broker Associates with Keller Williams proudly serving southeastern Wisconsin.


Sally K. & David L. Hanson, ABR, CDPE, CSS, e-Pro,ILHM, REDS

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Comment balloon 21 commentsSally K. & David L. Hanson • June 20 2017 07:18AM


Good morning Sally.  It is different in my state.  I do have a question however, if you are appointed as an agent in a divorce by a judge etc., can you be fired by the client, or is that up to the judge?

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) 11 months ago

Sounds like it depends on the contract.  But usually in most transactions the client (consumer) is the boss in more ways than one.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 11 months ago

This is good information for consumers. They should seek legal help if they are not sure what they can do.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) 11 months ago

Good explanation Sally and David. Sometimes, it's best for all concerned to part ways...

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) 11 months ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson Thank you for explaining this nuance to the Wisconsin Listing process. I am sure many do not understand this.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty One Group) 11 months ago

Good morning again Sally. Every state is different. In NJ where I practiced you could be released conditionally or unconditionally. The first held the seller hostage until the original listing expired. The second allowed the seller the ability to list the next day.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 11 months ago

Good morning Sally K. & David L. Hanson ,

Great questions and information for consumers. When in doubt always contact a real estate attorney to be sure.

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) 11 months ago

Good morning, Sally and David... even though buyer agency and listing agreements are contracts, I give all my clients my "easy exist agreements" up front to say that if I'm not performing as promised, I can be fired. Fortunately, I've never been fired. But I also remind my clients that in return, I can fire them if they are not living up to their end of the deal. And I have fired a few clients in my lifetime. At the end of the day, contract or not, if for some reason a client really doesn't want to work with you, why would you hold them hostage to the agreement?

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) 11 months ago

Great explanation some sellers are deceived is just amazing!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) 11 months ago

Good morning Sally and David. Most of the time when irreconsilable differences arise the best course of action is to let the listing expire, not to just withdraw! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker (Wayne M Martin) 11 months ago

Good morning, Sally and David -- as usual you show you not only have vast knowledge of your market but you understand the minute details of the necessary contracts and paperwork in Wisconsin.  

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) 11 months ago

This is an important topic. I prefer an easy release agreement in advance. 

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) 11 months ago

Good morning Sally and David.  Yes, there are some fine lines that must be understood when trying to terminate an agreement with an agent.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 11 months ago

Good Morning Sally and David - this is information that is very helpful nice it is not generally understood by sellers. 

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 11 months ago

Good explanation, Sally and David. Things work a little differently here in CA, but no surprise there. If someone really wants out of the contract, it's better just to part ways and move on. But you have to do so by following the regulations for your state!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) 11 months ago

Sally and David,

We have definitely given the listing back to unreasonable people without any conditions, whatsoever.  In our opinion, we believe that when folks are not a match, they should just part and not make a federal case ourt of it.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) 11 months ago

Sally and David I had not heard the difference between "expired" and "withdrawn" before.  Thank you for the explanation.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) 11 months ago

We talked about this last night in real estate prelicense class. In TN the client can fire the agent but there could be costs involved.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) 11 months ago

Sally, I am so aggressive when it comes to pre-qualifying the sellers, that by the time I take the listing I know we will get through thick and thin and sell the property.... I can only recall "firing" one seller and he came back a year later because he had about 15 land listings to sell and asked me to give him another chance....Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 11 months ago

Sally and David

The sellers can request that the listing be concealed . . . . the brokers will have to agree.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) 11 months ago

Hi Sally K. & David L. Hanson It is the same in our market. If it is withdrawn, they cannot list with another agent until it expires. If it is cancelled, it can be re-listed. Sometimes, it is better to end the relationship then to hold a divorce. 

Posted by Janice Hope Zaltman Realtor,LEED AP (United Realty Group) 11 months ago