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Agents & Listing Agreements

Your Agent & the Selling Price

If you hire a real estate agent, they will either be an independent broker or an agent working for a broker.  Before you hire them, you may want to ask your agent about their experience in your neighbourhood and with your type of home (e.g. condominium, detached house, etc.), two factors that might affect your decision to hire.  Your agent will often start by touring your home.  They will then usually provide you with their opinion about the appropriate listing price for your home after reviewing data for recent sales of comparable homes in your area.  Before you make a final decision on the selling price of your home, you may want to review the comparable sales data with the agent or ask more than one agent for their opinion as to value.

Listing Agreements

After you decide on a selling price, the real estate agent will ask you to sign a listing agreement.  This is a legally binding contract between you and the agent that entitles the agent to list your home for sale.  There are two basic types: Multiple Listing Agreement, and Exclusive Listing Agreement.  The following table compares the two.

Multiple Listing Agreement

Exclusive Listing Agreement

Most people use this type.  Homes usually sell faster.

Homes usually do not sell as fast under exclusive listing agreements.

All agents and brokers who are members of the Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”) will have access to information about your listing.

Only your agent and broker will be offering your home for sale to their clients.  They may advertise, but not on the MLS.

The buyer’s agent will be entitled to share the real estate commission after completion of the sale.

Other agents are not entitled to share in commissions unless your agent agrees to cooperate with them.

Commission rate is usually higher than under an exclusive listing agreement.

Commission rate is usually lower than under a multiple listing agreement.

The term of both types of agreements is usually between 60 and 90 days.  In both cases, real estate commission is usually payable to your agent even if you found the buyer yourself during the term of the listing, or even if your home was sold within 60 to 90 days after the agreement expired to someone introduced to your home by your agent during the term.  Commission may even be payable if a buyer who was introduced by your agent fails to close the transaction.

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