Types of Real Estate Listings Study Guide for the Real Estate License Exam

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General Information

There are six types of real estate listings. The listing types vary as to the rights of the seller, buyer, and real estate agent.

Exclusive Agency Listing

In this type of listing, the seller reserves the right to sell the property themselves. The seller does not pay commission to the broker unless the broker was directly responsible for the sale.

Exclusive Right to Sell Listing

In this type of listing, the broker earns a commission on the sale of a property no matter who sells it—themselves, another broker, or the property owner. While on the surface this may seem like a disadvantage to the seller, it does benefit them in that the broker they have hired is typically more eager to promote the property and make a sale. Most single-family dwellings are sold using an exclusive right to sell listing.

Limited-Service Listing Agreement

In this type of listing, the seller pays the broker upfront, typically in a non-refundable flat fee. Few services are typically rendered other than submitting the property to the MLS, and any inquiries on the home would be directed to the seller. If the seller would like the broker to represent them at closing, they typically must pay the broker an additional fee.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

A Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a coordinated effort between brokers to pool the properties they are selling. Brokers from different agencies each submit their properties to a shared database, giving sellers more exposure for their property, and buyers access to multiple properties while only working with one broker. In an MLS listing, if Realtor John is selling the Smith home, and Realtor Nancy has a couple interested in buying the Smith home, Realtor John would give a portion of his commission to Realtor Nancy for helping him complete the sale, in accordance with established MLS agreements. MLS listings are popular in metropolitan areas, and members pay a fee to cover the expense of operation.

Net Listings

In a net listing, the seller names a price they would like to receive for their property, and any amount over this price is kept by the broker as commission. For example, if a seller wants $150,000 for their home and it sells for $180,000, the broker makes $30,000, but if it sells for $150,200, the broker only makes $200. Because net sales can lead to brokers taking advantage of sellers who do not know the value of their home, they are generally frowned upon in the real estate business, and in some states they have even been made illegal.

Open Listings

In an open listing, the seller offers a broker a commission only if they are directly responsible for selling the property. The seller can also list the property with other brokers or sell the property themselves. If there are several brokers working to sell the property, only the one who makes the sale earns the commission.

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