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How to get out of an estate agent contract?

Estate agents contracts can be confusing and lengthy. Before you sign any agreements, it is vital that you understand what you are agreeing to. Consider your rights, length of the contract and the procedure and implications of cancelling the contract.

How to get out of an estate agent contract?

If you feel that you have been pressured into signing an estate agents contract, it is important to be aware of a 7 day cooling off period. All estate agents are now obliged to offer this cooling off period and if this is not offered, you may be able to withhold the fee for selling the property.

I have decided not sell, what do I do now?

If a buyer has not yet been found for your property, normally there will be no fee charged. However in some cases charges may be incurred for advertising and marketing.  Again, check your contract!

I don’t have faith in my chosen estate agents.

The first step is to speak with your estate agent. Explain your concerns and see if they resolve the issues for you. If you still want to change estate agents, it is worth following the two steps below first.

  1. Check your contract agreements for any fees incurred by cancelling.
  2. Check the terms in the contract. Can you change to another estate agent? There may be an exclusivity clause in the contract that runs for a set number of weeks or months.

I have already found a buyer myself.

Depending upon the type of sales contract you have signed, you may still need to pay agency fees. In some cases you can pull out without owing any money, as long as you can prove the buyer was not introduced to you by the estate agency.

Other agencies may still insist upon a fee if this is stated in the original agreement.

How much will I have to pay the estate agent?

Unfortunately this is again dependent upon the type of contract you have signed. That is why it is vital to understand your agreement in the first instance.  Take a look at our article How Much Are Estate Agent Fees for our guide.  To calculate the estate agents fees, you can also try our Moving Cost Calculator.

What are the different types of contract?

There are four main types of agency agreements as detailed below.

Sole selling rights - this is becoming a less popular type of contract. In a sole selling rights contract you will be bound to agency fees even if you find a buyer yourself. You will also not be able to instruct another estate agency to act on your behalf.

Sole agency - When you sign up to a sole agency contract you will be unable to instruct other estate agents during the agreement period. However you will still be free to sell privately without paying any commission to the agent.

Joint agency - A joint agency contract is where you sign up to two agents. Both agencies must agree to enter into this arrangement and may decide to share commission, regardless of which agency actually sells the property.

Multiple agency - As the name suggest, the vendor is free to use multiple agencies to advertise their property. The agency who sells the property earns the commission. This type of agreement usually has a very high fee.

If you do need to find a new estate agent, you can compare on Netanagent

Comments (4)

  • Johnny House Seller

    posted on 3 Oct 2018

    They are to inform you of a 14 day cooling off period if they dont you can cancel whenever.

    F ward

    posted on 29 Oct 2018

    Our estate agent we appointed is not returning our calls or answering our emails. We only know how the sale is progressing through the solicitor. We don’t know what is going on.


    posted on 23 May 2019

    My property is on sale with estate agent but I haven't signed a contract with them. can I now appoint a second estate agent.


    posted on 19 Sep 2019

    i have put my house on the market with PURPLEBRICKS the agen promised she could sell the property within 3 weeks, as she has never had a property in this area on any longer than that, in the 40 days i have been with them i havent had a viewing. My agent left 2 weeks after getting us to sign up, and i have been passed from one person to another over the phone since. I have finally spoken to the new agent and explained everything, and that we want to remove our property off the market. I asked where is the contract we signed i havent seen one, she said you clicked the button on line to agree to terms and conditions, that is signing a contract with us, We have to pay them weather we sell or not, even the £300 for assisted viewings which we havent had any viewings , we were not informed that we had a cooling off period of 2 weeks by the agent either, as we havent ever been given a copy of the contract we have signed online to read through, they now want £1,199 from us for doing nothing, I asked the agent today to remove the property asap but it is still online and now i cant log into my account, what are my rights regarding payment.

    Reallymoving response

    Hi Moira,

    I'm sorry to hear this has happened - you may want to chat with Citizens Advice about this, or look in property forums as there have been stories from other people this has happened to.

    Kind regards,


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