How to Cancel a Realtor Listing Agreement

It's always best to read your listing agreement closely before you sign.

It's always best to read your listing agreement closely before you sign.

Signing a listing agreement doesn't mean you're stuck with the real estate agent forever. If you've decided to go with someone else, keep your property, or sell the property on your own, generally, you can simply cancel the agreement and get the listing removed without a problem. The actual agreement spells out what cancelling the deal will mean for you – and how to proceed.

Find or request the listing agreement and read the cancellation section. Familiarize yourself with the terms so you know what to do and what to expect. Most agreements will let you cancel without penalty as long as both you and the agent are okay with it -- but real estate agreements can vary. If the agent is upset that you’re pulling the listing, you might have to cough up a fee – which you’ll find noted in your agreement.

Call the agent and let her know that you're canceling the agreement if you feel comfortable with it. For example, if you were happy with the agent's service but have changed your mind about selling, go ahead and simply call.

Call the agent's broker if the agent is giving you a hard time – or if you’re uncomfortable discussing the cancellation with your agent. Tell the broker that you're canceling the agreement and want the listing removed.

Put the cancellation in writing to cover yourself. Include the date of the original agreement, your home's address, and the names of those on the agreement. Make a copy for yourself. Send a copy to the agent and the agent's broker.

Pay any cancellation fee noted n the agreement. Send the payment to the broker with a letter that identifies the agreement. Keep a copy of your payment for proof. Ask for something in writing waiving your fee if you are told the fee isn't necessary.


  • Most real estate agreements last 180 days -- but you can request one for a shorter term. If you’re unsure about an agent – or about selling your home – ask for an agreement with a 3-month term.


  • If your agent invested money marketing your home and you cancel the agreement, you might be liable for expenses that the agent incurred during the listing period.
  • Once you cancel the agreement, read through it again. Agreements often include clauses stating that if the property was shown to any person while the listing agreement was in effect and that person buys the property within six months to one year after the agreement is terminated, the listing broker is still owed a commission.

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About the Author

Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

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