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What is a Listing Contract?

The agent will most likely ask you to sign a Listing contract. There are a few different Listing contract types:

  • Open - This is basically where you pay any agent who finds you a buyer. You may often see ads that say: "brokers welcome at two percent". The broker that brings the buyer will get the two percent.

  • Exclusive right to sell - This is what most real estate agents want. It gives the agent the right to claim the agreed commission, usually six percent no matter who sells the home.

  • Exclusive Agency -This type of agreement means that if you get the buyer yourself you do not have to pay the agents fee. If you have an idea of someone who may want to buy your home this may be a good idea.

A contract should at the very least include the following:

  • Time period for which the contract is valid, usually 60-90 days
  • Commission Rate - Usually six percent, although it may be negotiable.
  • Marketing Plan - What the agent is actually going to do to sell your home. This may include open houses, advertisements in local papers, including your home information in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This should be spelled out clearly.
  • Any permission granted - This includes such things as allowing the use of a lockbox.
  • List Price - This may also include the terms of sale and what's included in the sale such as appliances.
  • Time the agent is protected after agreement - If an agent has a buyer and the contract has expired (there is usually a time period, 30 days is common), then the agent is protected and still gets the commission.

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