Home buyers and sellers do their best to choose a real estate agent who will represent their interests and advise them throughout the stress of a real estate transaction. But, like any other partnership, sometimes the relationship doesn’t work.

We asked Robin Kencel, an associate broker with the Robin Kencel Group of Compass Real Estate in Greenwich, Conn., for advice about how to know when to say goodbye to your real estate agent. For buyers, Kencel said, there are a variety of signs that indicate it may be time to consider changing agents.

“First, if you feel that your agent is not keeping you abreast of new inventory coming on the market or you’re finding new inventory and telling your agent about it,” Kencel wrote in an email. “Second, if your agent is clearly not knowledgeable about the local market, this is a big problem. Local knowledge of the ins and outs of neighborhoods, streets, etc. is a critical value-add that working on your own (via an online real estate site) cannot possibly provide. An agent who does not intimately know the town, the inventory or the agents on the other side of the bargaining table puts you at a great disadvantage. Third, an agent who is not accessible, communicative or timely is not okay. Anything can happen any day and every day in real estate; you need an agent who is plugged in and has you as a top priority.”

From the seller’s perspective, Kencel pointed to three experiences that could indicate it’s time for a change:

“First, if your agent does not provide market and showing feedback and is generally uncommunicative,” she wrote in an email. “Second, if your agent has an initial marketing plan for your property and then makes no suggestions for adjusting, improving or changing the original plan based on buyer feedback and response. And third, if every time you get off the phone or meet with your agent, you are discouraged, depressed or feel like there is no one driving the bus to get your property sold.”

How to break up with your agent

Even after coming to a decision, breaking off the relationship isn’t easy. First, Kencel warns, you need to check your contract. Ideally you would have negotiated an easier release before signing it.

“A contract is binding, so being released from it is not automatic,” she said. “No agent that is client-centric and professional should hold a client to a contract if the relationship is not working. A savvy buyer or seller may want to add language to a contract that gives them the right to be released from the contract in cases of gross negligence or misconduct. A real estate attorney can provide guidance on the appropriate language.”

Aside from contract issues, Kencel has other tips for how a buyer or seller should end the relationship with their agent.

1. Remember, it’s a business decision. Keep your business hat on and your emotions at home.

2. Have your “script” ready. Start with a few positives and thank your agent for their work. Respect them and the energy that they put into the assignment.

3. Keep it short.

4. Do not let them know that they are being discontinued by email or text. Do the right thing and call them.