What Is a Listing Agreement?

Maria Marconi-Fricano Designated Managing Broker August 19, 2021

What Is a Listing Agreement?

When it’s time to sell your home, you’ll likely interview several real estate agents until you find the one that best fits your needs. Once you’ve settled on an agent, you’ll be asked to sign a listing agreement. But what is a listing agreement, and how does it work? Here we’ll answer some common questions we often get about them.

What is a listing agreement?

Simply put, a listing agreement is a contract between a seller and a real estate agent or company. It is legally binding and gives the agent the ability to sell the home on the seller’s behalf.

Are there different types of listing agreements?

There are a few different types of listing agreements. The most common include:

  • Exclusive Right to Sell — This is the most common listing agreement and it gives the agent or brokerage complete control over the transaction as well as the agreed-upon commission.
  • Exclusive Agency — This listing agreement gives one agent the right to sell the home. The seller can also find their own buyer, and the agent would not receive a commission if they do.
  • Open — This listing agreement has the lowest commitment. Any agent who finds a buyer can get the commission or the seller can find their own buyer without paying a commission.

What’s included in a listing agreement?

A listing agreement will contain details about the entire home sale. This includes how the home can be marketed, laws that need to be followed, how disputes will be mediated or resolved, and rights to use photos, videos, descriptions, etc. of the home. If you’re the seller, then be sure to read the listing agreement closely so you know exactly what you are agreeing to.

Can listing agreements be negotiated?

Everything in real estate is negotiable, including the listing agreement. If there are aspects of the typical agreement that make you uncomfortable, then talk to your agent. Items that are often negotiated include commission, expiration date, list price, seller and agent responsibilities, and the type of listing agreement.

Do listing agreements expire?

Listing agreements usually contain an expiration date and will vary from seller to seller. They typically last between two and six months and are often influenced by current market conditions. The expiration date is a part of the agreement that can be negotiated.

Can a listing agreement be terminated?

Since the listing agreement is a contract, there are no specific terms for termination. If you’re concerned about this, then you can ask the agent to include terms for ending the contract early. In many cases, if you are not happy with the service you are receiving from one agent, then you may ask to work with another agent in the same brokerage.

Is there a cost associated with a listing agreement?

There is no upfront cost associated with a listing agreement. Instead, the listing agreement will outline how the agent will be compensated for finding a buyer for the home. Listing agreements may also contain clauses that if the contract is terminated early, then the seller will compensate the agent for any expenses that were incurred.

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