Definition of "Open listing"

Teresa Welch real estate agent

Written by

Teresa Welchelite badge icon

Keller Williams Realty

Open Listing is a type of Listing where home sellers allow a real estate agent to sell their house, while not providing any kind of exclusiveness: other agents can also attempt to make the sale. Whoever brings an acceptable offer first,  gets the sales commission. And that’s not all: if the home seller finds, by his/her own merits, a buyer; no agent gets the commission!

Normally, home sellers choose an Open Listing to make the sale process faster – after all, each agent has their own clientele and the competition creates a sense of urgency that might make the real estate agent go that extra mile for your property. Also, because if the home doesn’t sell or the home seller changes his/her mind about selling it and decides to pull it out of the market, he/she won’t have to pay anything to the agents trying to sell their home.  

However, beware: because of this risky and competitive scenario, many real estate agents shy away from Open Listings. They might favor their Exclusive Rights to Sell Listings and pay less attention to your property. Also, Open Listings can be perceived by potential home buyers as a way to sell difficult or overpriced properties. “If it’s such a nice house, why would its owner need to spread the sales duty through so many agents instead of just one? Maybe he’s had no success, so he’s desperately trying to see if anyone else can sell it”, they might think to themselves. This is a situation the home seller wouldn't want to have, because it means the home buyer will try to lower the Fair Market Value of the house in the negotiation.

So, whenever you decide you want to sell your house, evaluate if an Open listing is the best listing option for your case.


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Thinking of doing an Open Listing  for your house? Hosting an Open House event might be a good option for you to reach possible home buyers and agents. Check our article on how to "Optimize Your Next Open House" for more tips.

Don't think Open Listings are the way to go? No problem; Open Listings are just one out of 5 types of listings. Check our Glossary Terms for the other types of Listing like the Exclusive Right to Sell Listing, Exclusive Agency Listing, Multiple Listing and Net Listing.

Still confused? Use The OFFICIAL Real Estate Agent Directory® and find a  trustworthy real estate agent to guide you through the listing best suited for your property.

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