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 lawyers 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 hear....it 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 "Amendment 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/action...it is not. When a contact is expired...it 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When an agent gives the Seller that same Amendment but instead of saying that the contract is "expired" it says it is "withdrawn", the property is taken off the market...BUT .....it is taken off the market and cannot be listed by another agent until the expiration date of the original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They are agents who use this withdrawn contract state for a period of time until a Seller makes improvements or repairs.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.