OPEN LISTING AGREEMENT: Definition and Everything You Need to Know (Updated!!!)

open listings
Open Listings Logo (PRNewsfoto/Open Listings)

Property owners have various alternatives when it comes to selling their homes. They have the option of going with an open listing, which allows an agent to display and sell their home. This non-exclusive listing agreement enables the owner to hire multiple brokers at the same time. In this article, we’ll be discussing all you need to know about open listing, agreements, real estate, app, and open listing vs exclusive agency.

The major difference between an open listing and a listing that allows only one agent to promote and sell a home is that in an open listing, the owner usually only pays a selling broker’s commission. The owner isn’t represented in any way. This is around half of the usual fees.

Owners do not pay a broker to represent them, but the broker who represents the buyer does. And if the owner finds the buyer on their own, there will owe no commission to anyone.

What Is an Open Listing, and How Does It Work?

An open listing has two implications in real estate. An open listing is a property for sale that has been listed with many real estate agents in order to attract as many potential purchasers as possible. The agent who brings in the winning buyer for the property will receive the commission.

An open listing can also refer to a seller who is selling their home or property without the assistance of a real estate agent (and thus without having to pay a commission to them).

In either scenario, an open listing is the polar opposite of an exclusive listing, in which the property owner hires a real estate agent who is the only way to bid on and acquire the property. This agent has a one-of-a-kind, or exclusive, right to display and sell the property.

What Is the Difference Between an Open Listing and an Exclusive Listing?

Home sellers may have the choice of selling an exclusive listing or an open listing to a real estate agent. A property with an open listing allows other nearby real estate agents to compete to find a buyer. An exclusive listing motivates the only agent to strive diligently for the sale.

What Are the Three Most Common Types of Listings?

In order to find a buyer for a property, commercial real estate agents employ one of three different listing strategies. You can choose between an Exclusive Right to Sell, an Exclusive Agency Listing, and an Open Listing.

Open Listing Definition

In the first instance, a nonexclusive listing arrangement with one or more real estate brokers is referred to as an open listing. All agents involved in the sale of this property are entitled to a commission only if they bring in the buyer. There are several reasons why a seller would use multiple agents. It’s possible that a property will need to be sold soon. The house, on the other hand, has been on the market for some time and has previously had problems finding purchasers.

In the second case, the seller may be attempting to save money (i.e., the agent’s commission) by managing the property’s offers directly. You will regularly see “For sale by owner,” signs on such properties. This status may appeal to budget-conscious buyers who believe the asking price for the property will be lower because the seller won’t have to factor in commissions. A real estate agent’s commission is typically based on the property’s final purchase price; the agent’s cut comes directly out of the buyer’s payment during the closing, before the seller receives any money). They may also believe that negotiating directly with the owner will make the transaction go more smoothly and quickly. whereby no third party will be involved in the negotiations.

Which Listing Contracts Do Most Buyers Prefer?

A listing with an exclusive right-to-sell is the most prevalent form of listing. It grants the broker the sole right to earn a commission by representing the owners and attracting a buyer directly or via another firm. As the property owner, you are responsible for both the listing and selling broker costs.

Is an Open Listing Unilateral or Bilateral?

A “unilateral contract” describes an open listing agreement between two parties. Due to the fact that the other party in the contract is not obligated to deliver, the contract is a unilateral promise.

Open Listing Real Estate

Open listings are non-exclusive agreements that allow homeowners to sell their homes without the assistance of a real estate agent. They can market their home as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) or open listings with multiple real estate brokers to reach a larger number of potential purchasers. In that instance, they only pay the real estate broker who brought the home buyer once the house is sold.

Whereby the seller has no commitment to working with them exclusively. A real estate broker may be hesitant to take on an open listing. Hence, the seller will gain from the agreement because it gives them more flexibility and options when it comes to locating possible purchasers. In addition, the seller is likely to pay only half of the standard commission to the agent who brings in the bidder with a winning offer. This is due to the fact that that agent is usually solely involved in the buyer’s side of the transaction. Because the seller is responsible for all aspects of the property’s marketing, there is no need for a selling agent. The seller may assume that the property would be in such high demand that finding buyers willing to pay her price will be relatively simple.

Real Estate Business

Real estate businesses may have policies governing whether or not their agents are allowed to engage in open-listing situations. Some firms, for example, may not advertise open listings, but agents may gain permission to engage clients who are already possible buyers. Open listings might cause real estate businesses to be hesitant to cooperate with them because they are concerned that the seller may locate their own purchasers and close the deal without the assistance of agents. That would be a waste of time and money for the agents. The seller may try to avoid the agents by striking a deal directly with their clients, thereby cutting them out of the process. There may also be fears that the house will be unappealing to potential buyers.

Due to the limited opportunity for agents to earn a commission through open listings, they may prefer to concentrate their efforts on exclusive contracts. Some agents state that they will only deal with properties for which they have sole selling rights.

Open Listing Agreement

An open listing agreement is a contract between a seller and a real estate agent to sell their property on a non-exclusive basis. In order to sell their property, an open listing allows the seller to enter into agreements with other real estate companies. Furthermore, the seller may self-promote and market the property in an attempt to locate a buyer. There will be no commission charged unless the hired real estate agent is personally involved in finding a buyer for the property.

An open listing agreement essentially means that the task of selling your home is shared among several agents. Only the agent who brought in the buyer receives a commission when the property sells.

Advantages include:

#1. The arrangement encourages competition among agents and increases the pressure to sell.

#2. The more agents there are, the more potential buyers there are. Each agent and firm will have its own buyer’s list. They may also speak to a variety of people and target different groups. Rather than just one agent’s contacts, your property can be seen by all of these people at the same time.

#3. You owe the agent nothing if your home does not sell.

#4. You don’t have to keep a relationship with an agent if you don’t want to.

#5. You are also free to market the property on your own. You do not pay commission to any of the agents if you sell the property.

You’ll only be responsible for half of the commission. You just have to pay the ‘selling’ component of the fee, rather than both the selling and purchasing halves. Since the agent is essentially functioning as a buyer’s agent (working for the individual who comes to you with an offer).

Disadvantages include:

Contrary to popular belief, there are a number of disadvantages to using an open listing.

#1. You are responsible for promoting the home yourself, which can be a difficult undertaking, particularly in a down market.

#2. It’s possible that you won’t receive the property you want. This strategy sets agents against one another, making the sale of your home a competition. As a result, instead of focusing on finding the best offer for you. The focus may be on finding a buyer who will offer a price and persuade you to accept it.

#3. The home may appear to be a simple purchase to potential buyers. Buyers will perceive the opportunity to network their pricing and choose the agent best willing to work within their parameters if your property is managed by many agents.

#4. Multiple agents may be perceived wrongly by potential buyers as a hint that your property is difficult to sell. However, signaling that something is wrong with it or that it is overpriced.

#5. The majority of the time, agents will prioritize their exclusive listings over open listings. This implies your home could stay on the market for far longer than you expect. Unless perhaps you consider lowering the price.

Open Listing vs. Exclusive Agency

When you decide to sell your home, you’ll have to make a lot of considerations. One of those considerations will be whether you will hire many agents or just one to advertise your property.

Because it might be difficult to find the proper real estate agent, some vendors prefer to have an open listing, which allows them to deal with a variety of agents. Others, on the other hand, would prefer to have only one agent handle their property’s sale.

Exclusive Agency

Have you ever wondered what an exclusive agency is in this situation? Well, it basically means you give a single agency or agent the exclusive right to market your home. It’s the most common listing agreement used by house sellers.

It implies that the real estate agent you hire will act as your agent for all intents and purposes, working in your best interests to get you the greatest possible price for your home. When you sign a contract, it normally states that the agent has a certain amount of time to sell your home; after that time, you can discontinue their services without penalty.

Why give an exclusive agency to a real estate agent when you can opt for an open listing and have multiple agents working on your behalf? Both types of postings have advantages and disadvantages, but an exclusive agency is worth considering. Find out why in the next paragraphs.

Advantages of having a One-of-a-Kind Listing

An open listing may appear to be a superior alternative at first glance. You pay a lesser commission than with an exclusive agency and can promote and advertise yourself. You do not have to pay a commission to a real estate agent if you sell your house.
While a smaller commission may seem appealing, there are benefits to having an exclusive agency. A higher commission will be required. Advertising and other fees will be greater as well, but an exclusive agency comes with benefits you may not have considered:

#1. With a single real estate agent, you have a genuine working connection.

#2. Your real estate agent will put in extra effort for you.

#3. An exclusive agent will work with you to ensure that you receive the best price for your home.

#4. Exclusive agency are more likely to receive higher offers than open listings.

When you engage with a quality exclusive agent, you can expect them to go above and beyond. They may recommend upgrades that will boost the worth of your home far beyond the expense of the work. They will create a marketing plan for you in order to obtain better offers. You can talk to them about the benefits and drawbacks of selling at an auction.

In other words, when you give a real estate agent an exclusive listing, you are appointing a professional to represent you. Real estate agents may compete in an open listing, however, they may compete against each other rather than operating on your behalf. They may accept any offer they receive and try to persuade you to accept it. It’s possible that your home isn’t a top priority for them. Typically, their exclusive properties will come first.

The drawbacks of having an Exclusive Agency

Before you hire a real estate agent, you should conduct your research. Interview at least three real estate agents and don’t make your pick solely on the basis of commission. Some companies may offer a lesser commission but impose greater fees. Any real estate brokers will charge a little higher fee if the agreement includes some advertising. Is it possible to negotiate real estate agent fees? Let’s provide you with the knowledge you’ll need when interviewing real estate agents.

Step 1

Before you sign an exclusive deal, make sure you read the fine print. Pay great attention to the contract’s duration. Some real estate agents may try hard to get you to sign an exclusive agreement, but then fail to follow through once you’ve signed it.

Step 2

You won’t be allowed to locate another agent until a year has gone if you signed a contract giving them exclusive rights to sell your property for a year. You are not required to sign a one-year contract. Negotiate a shorter term. You’ll have adequate time to evaluate your real estate agent’s work after 30 to 90 days. If you’re not satisfied, you can switch to a different agent after the agreed-upon period of time has expired.


Your real estate agent may not be able to find a buyer willing to pay a reasonable price for your home in a buyer’s market. Whether you choose an open or exclusive listing, this can be a disadvantage to you. If you need to sell your home quickly, an exclusive agent may be able to locate a buyer faster than an open listing, but in a buyer’s market, you may not get the price you want.

The benefits of an exclusive agency usually exceed the drawbacks, but it all depends on which real estate agent you choose. In your region, OpenAgent can recommend reliable real estate agents. Interview each one and choose the one who you believe will provide you with the best service at a reasonable cost.

Open Listings App

Open Listings was an all-in-one house-buying app that aimed to make the process of purchasing a home as simple and economical as possible. We assisted customers in purchasing houses worth billions of dollars and saved them over $25 million in commission fees. Purchase a property online and save tens of thousands of dollars. Open Listings is a free, all-in-one app for home buyers.

is an all-in-one home buying service that makes buying a property more efficient and inexpensive, which was acquired by Opendoor in 2018. They’ve helped purchasers save more than $5 million in agent fees while purchasing houses worth more than half a billion dollars.

Buyers use an app to search for homes, ask questions, schedule tours, and receive property reports in real-time. They’ve partnered with a top-rated local agent when they’re ready to make an offer. Because Open Listings agents only spend time on the contract and negotiating stages of the process, they may return purchasers half of their money – on average $7,000 per home.


Real estate firms may have policies in place that control whether or not their agents are allowed to engage in open-listing arrangements. Some firms, for example, may not advertise open listings, but brokers may be permitted to engage clients they already have as potential buyers. Real estate businesses may be hesitant to cooperate with open listings because they are concerned that the seller will locate their own purchasers and close a transaction without the involvement of agents. That would be a waste of time and money on the part of the agents. The seller may try to avoid the agents by negotiating a contract directly with their clients, cutting them out of the loop. There may also be concerns that the property will be unappealing to potential buyers.

Due to the limited opportunity for agents to earn a commission through open listings, they may prefer to concentrate their efforts on exclusive contracts. Some agents state that they will only deal with properties for which they have sole selling rights.


Yes, open listings are legal. MLSs in California are mandated by law to accept open listings. In addition, MLSs are obligated by law and National Association of REALTOR® MLS policy to accept legitimate exclusive right-to-sell or exclusive agency listings that pay compensation to collaborating brokers – even if they provide only limited assistance.

Is an open listing a bilateral agreement?

An open listing is a unilateral contract since only one party (the seller) is bound to act if and when an agent produces a buyer.

What is the difference between an open listing and an exclusive listing?

In Exclusive agency listing agreement, agents get paid only if the property is sold. While, in open listing agreement, sellers have the freedom to work with as many brokers as they wish. However, if the seller sells the property without the assistance of a broker, he or she is not required to pay any of them.

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