Listing Agreement

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 3,979 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Listing Agreement?

CREATE A FREE PROJECT POSTING
Post Project Now

What is a Listing Agreement?

A listing agreement is a contract between a property owner who hires a real estate agent to act as their broker. Upon agreement, this agent is tasked with searching for a home buyer to sell the owner’s property to. The contract treats the real estate professional as an employee since he or she is paid commission for their services.

The listing agreement is not considered a real estate contract because there is no exchange of property between the main parties directly involved. The real estate agent acts on behalf of the people selling their home but only to the extent that is requested.

Listing agreements are very common for real estate related services, but they sometimes are used by security issuers and financial exchanges who want or need to have a contract in place since a third party contact is being made by the indirect party.

To get a better understanding of what a listing agreement is, view this article .

Are listing agreements legally binding?

Yes, a listing agreement is a legal contract that is legally binding. Most states require a listing agreement be put into writing when a real estate agent agrees to represent property owners. It is also common for real estate licensing laws to require a broker to be the party in charge of listing, selling, or renting another’s property.

Common Types of Listing Agreements

The listing agreement category is made up of a few different agreement types and the most used ones are listed here for your review:

Open Listing:

An open listing agreement is non-exclusive meaning that owners have the right to sell their property on their own. Owners opting to work under this agreement can work with as many real estate brokers they want to.

A benefit of an open listing agreement is that the owner is only obligated to pay commissions to the broker who successfully sells their home under the agreement’s requirements. A seller agent fee does not need to be paid because the owner represents his/herself. If the owner finds a buyer without any assistance from a broker, then no fees or commissions will need to be paid.

Despite the pros of this option, closing costs and other fees will still need to be paid. A lot of real estate brokers steer away from open listings because they rely on commissions and cannot risk not being paid.

Exclusive Agency Listing:

An exclusive agency agreement is one where a chosen broker represents the owner but the owner still has the authority to sell their property alone. If the owner is able to sell the property without assistance, then no commission fees will be due.

In this type of listing a broker is free to work with other brokerage agencies who can bring a buyer forward. Listing and selling fees are both required in an exclusive listing agreement. This option is best for owners who do not believe they will be able to sell their home without help.

Exclusive Right-to-Sell Listing:

The most frequently chosen listing agreement is the exclusive right-to-sell because it guarantees payment to a broker for representation of the owner and finding buyers. A broker will be paid commissions regardless of whether they brought forward a buyer solely or if they had help from another brokerage company.

Typically, an owner cannot sell their property alone under this option without paying a fee to the broker. However, there are cases where an exception might apply and fees or commission can be avoided if the owner finds a buyer and gets an official contract signed within a set number of days.

Similar to an exclusive agency listing, an owner is the responsible party for paying listing and selling fees in an exclusive right-to-sell listing.

To get a good idea of which listing is best for you, view this article .

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Bryan B.

97 projects on CC
View Profile

Kelvin R.

10 projects on CC
View Profile

Kristen R.

39 projects on CC
View Profile

Wendy C.

2 projects on CC
View Profile

Essential Terms to Know in a Listing Agreement

If you are going to be writing a listing agreement or simply have the need to understand what content is included in one, then you will want to take a look at the following essential terms you will likely come across:

  • Start and Finish. A beginning and end date of representation should be listed. This will prevent prolonged efforts from being allowed to continue if the job is not getting done.
  • Listing Price. The price that the property is being sold for should be written in the agreement so that undesired negotiations on pricing do not happen.
  • Compensation and Fees. The commissions, fees, or other compensation that will become due to the broker need to be added in the agreement. It should be clear as to when the broker will be paid and if payments will be made in full or in increments based on particular duties or completed milestones.
  • Terms and Conditions of Payment. An additional section should be included to express what terms and conditions the broker must meet to receive payment. If payment will not be made under certain circumstances or if it will be reduced in the event something is not completed as planned, then the agreement must state the facts regarding this.
  • Permission to Bring on Brokers. This section should detail whether the main broker will be permitted to bring on other brokers or brokerage firms to assist in efforts to find a buyer. If this will be allowed then statements should be made as to what fees or commissions will be paid to these brokers by the owner and if the main broker’s pay will be affected in any way.
  • Transparency. The agreement needs to contain a section discussing whether the broker will be obligated to inform the owner of any and all offers received for the property for sale, or if the broker can keep that information to his/herself.

Realtors, or members of the National Association of Realtors, are required to have the content listed above included in their listing agreements. It is suggested each listing agreement contains those terms though regardless of realtor status to make sure all bases are touched and nothing important is left out.

In addition to the terms previously listed, there are many other things you may want to have in your listing agreement. See below:

  • Description of the Property. Exactly what is included in the sale must be clear (house, fence, hot tub, etc.).
  • Advertisements. How the listed property will be advertised should be stated in the agreement. Will it be posted online and on what websites, will yard signs be put up, will a home brochure be published?
  • Photographs. Photographs or other images will document what the property looked like at the time of agreement so that if anything changes it will be known.
  • Exclusivity Clause. If the broker and owner choose to work exclusively with one another without bringing others into the search and sale process then this clause should be included. If any exclusions to this clause apply then they need to be clearly expressed. Read more about exclusivity clauses here.

To view more about essential terms to include in a listing agreement, click here .

ContractsCounsel Listing Agreement Image

Image via Pexels by RODNAE

Can a seller back out of a listing agreement?

You may wonder if a seller is legally permitted to back out of a listing agreement after it has been fully agreed upon. The answer to this question is yes but only in some scenarios.

Although the listing agreement has legal standing it can be terminated if unfortunate events occur such as death, failure to properly conduct business as agreed to, bankruptcy, poor mental wellbeing, or unexpected damage to the subject property.

If there is no termination clause included in the listing agreement then you may find it challenging to get out of the contract before the job is complete.

Get Help with A Listing Agreement

If a listing agreement sounds like a necessary document for you to have based on your situation, then reaching out to a good team of real estate lawyers for a consultation should be your next move. Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to receive free bids from vetted lawyers.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Listing Agreement Lawyers

John P. on ContractsCounsel
View John
4.9 (9)
Member Since:
November 5, 2021

John P.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Seattle, Washington
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in WA
University of Akron

As a veteran software engineer from international blue chip corporations, I focus on legal aspects for regulated and technical businesses. My legal experience includes civil litigation, intellectual property guidance, and market competition, at both private practice as well as Federal and State institutions.

Jessica P. on ContractsCounsel
View Jessica
Member Since:
November 8, 2021

Jessica P.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Safety Harbor, FL
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
Stetson University College of Law

Ms. Penovich partners with clients to overcome complex challenges and find innovative solutions. Ms. Penovich has served as General Counsel at J.W. Cole and an Adjunct Professor of Estate Planning at the MUMA College of Business at the University of South Florida. She is a member of the Florida Bar, and has over 15 years of progressive financial services experience developed at top-tier financial firms including Transamerica, Raymond James, and Citi.

Josiah Y. on ContractsCounsel
View Josiah
Member Since:
November 10, 2021

Josiah Y.

Managing Shareholder of The Law Office of Josiah Young, PC
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Sacramento, California
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, NY
American University Washington College of Law

Attorney licensed to practice in both California and New York, Josiah is focused on helping people understand what's in their contracts, and do business with confidence.

Natalie A. on ContractsCounsel
View Natalie
Member Since:
November 13, 2021

Natalie A.

Commercial Counsel
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
17 Yrs Experience
Licensed in AK
Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec - LLB Civil Law

I am an experienced in house counsel and have worked in the pharmaceutical, consumer goods and restaurant industry. I have experience with a variety of agreements, below is a non-exhaustive list of types of agreements I can help with: Supply Agreements Distribution Agreements Manufacture Agreements Service Agreements Employment Agreements Consulting Agreements Commercial and residential lease agreements Non-compete Agreements Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements Demand Letters Termination notice Notice of breach of contract My experience as in house counsel has exposed me to a wide variety of commercial matters for which I can provide consulting and assistance on. I have advised US, Canadian and International entities on cross-functional matters and have guided them when they are in different countries and jurisdictions as their counterparties. I can provide assistance early on in a business discussion to help guide you and make sure you ask the right questions even before the commercial agreement needs to be negotiated, but if you are ready to put a contract in place I can most definitely help with that too.

Jeff C. on ContractsCounsel
View Jeff
Member Since:
November 16, 2021

Jeff C.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Denver, Colorado
37 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CO
Creighton University

Jeff Colerick has been practicing law for over 30 years and has devoted his professional career to providing clients with intelligent representation and personal care. His experience as a lawyer involving complex matters has resulted in a long history of success. Jeff has built a practice based on a deep understanding of real estate assets and corporate activities. He combines his industry knowledge with a practical and collaborative approach to problem solving. Jeff’s client relationships are strong because they are built on mutual respect. Jeff talks the language of real estate and understands that it is a vehicle to deliver your business strategy. Jeff provides practical, responsive, and strategic advice related to real estate acquisition, construction, leasing, and sale of a wide range of real property types, including office, retail, medical, industrial, industrial flex-space, mixed-use condominium, multifamily and hospitality. As leader of the Goodspeed Merrill real estate practice group, Jeff represents clients with commercial and residential transactions, purchases and sales, land acquisition and development, real estate investment and financing, financing liens and security interests, and commercial leasing and lease maintenance, including lease enforcement support and advice. The firm represents clients in matters concerning construction, lending, developers, contractors and subcontractors, cell site leasing, property and boundary disputes, common interest community law, and residential condominiums and planned communities.

Chia-Fen Y. on ContractsCounsel
View Chia-Fen
Member Since:
November 16, 2021

Chia-Fen Y.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Elk Grove, CA
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of California, Davis

Attorney Yu represents clients in business and real estate transactions and has successfully handled more than 200 cases. She has experience in corporate law, including forming legal entities, employment law and workers’ compensation law matters pertaining to wage and hour violations, industrial injuries, misclassifications, and other employment-related torts and contracts. Attorney Yu works with employers to address employee relationship issues, develop effective policies and craft employment agreements. Attorney Yu regularly advises clients on the legal and business aspects of potential investments, ongoing business operations, debt collections, shareholders and partners disputes, business purchase agreements, risk assessment, intellectual property disputes, and potential contract disputes. She regularly handles real estate law matters such as landlord-tenant disputes, lease agreements, buy-sell disputes, title disputes, and construction disputes. She also has substantial experience settling debts, and she drafts, reviews and negotiates settlement agreements. Attorney Yu conducts extensive legal research and provides on-point legal advice to both corporate and individual clients.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call