My salesperson needs to take a leave from work for personal reasons, so she can no longer help me sell my home. What happens now?

It’s important to find a salesperson you can trust when selling your home — someone you are confident will look after your unique needs. I am sure you did a lot of homework and chose someone you felt comfortable with, so it is unfortunate that you can no longer work with this sales representative.

However, it’s important for you to know that the listing agreement you signed is not with the individual salesperson, but rather with the brokerage that employs the salesperson.

This means that you can turn to the brokerage for help in finding someone else to represent you. You’ll want to contact the broker of record to assist you in making this transition. Chances are, the brokerage has another salesperson who can help you list and sell your home.

They may recommend a replacement salesperson from the same brokerage, but as you likely did when looking for your current agent, take the time to interview that person and let them know what you expect of them.

Ask questions about their experience and the specific services that will be provided since services are not standard across all salespeople or brokerages. Certainly, different salespeople use different marketing methods to drive interest in a home that’s being sold.

If you are satisfied with another salesperson from the brokerage, you will want to make sure that everything you discussed with your new representative — including anything new you agreed upon — is included in your listing agreement with the brokerage.

If you can’t find a suitable replacement for your original salesperson, you can approach the brokerage and ask if your listing agreement can be terminated so that you can look elsewhere for another agent. However, it’s important you know that since the agreement is a legally binding contract, you are typically bound to working with only one brokerage for the stated amount of time (the contract expiry date), unless the brokerage agrees to end the agreement.

Moreover, you need to be aware of the “holdover clause,” which may bind you to your original brokerage for a certain amount of time after you have ended or terminated your agreement.

Be sure to ask your brokerage for clarification on this, or consider speaking to your real estate lawyer. If you don’t, and you sign a contract with another brokerage, you could still be under some contractual terms with the first brokerage, leaving you exposed to potential legal and financial consequences.

But it is likely you will find a suitable new salesperson in your existing brokerage.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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