How do I terminate a listing contract?

I received this question from a blog follower about a year ago. Because the person was represented by a realtor, I couldn’t respond: we cannot communicate with a client who already has a realtor without that realtor’s express written consent. But here are my thoughts on this common question, which is essentially — what do I do if I’ve signed a listing agreement and changed my mind?

I signed a listing agreement three days ago to sell my Ottawa condo.  But I have a huge personal problem now.  My daughter who was living in her boyfriend’s parents’ home can no longer do so and as I’m moving , I want to give her the condo I’ve listed as she has nowhere to go. As this is a very new listing & there have been no showings or anything can  I ask my realtor to cancel the listing?

A listing agreement is like any other contract. It is entered into by consent, and it can only be terminated by consent. My advice in this situation is to discuss the matter with the realtor. Hard for me to imagine a situation where the realtor wouldn’t agree to cancel the listing, but it does require a form that has to be signed by both parties and approved by the listing agent’s brokerage.

The listing agent may have already paid some costs; eg: hired a  professional photographer, purchased a website, bought newspaper ads, and so on. In those circumstances, the seller may need to negotiate reimbursement of those costs; after all, it’s not fair to the agent, who is not at fault, to be out of pocket simply because the client changed their mind.


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