There are three major kinds of property listings; open listings, exclusive listings and multiple listings.
Open listings are listings in which homeowners list their property openly with many agents. There are no guidelines as to how many agents can represent an open listing. Open listings are often attractive to homeowners as they are able to have numerous agents working on selling their home simultaneously. Unfortunately, this method usually does not result in fast and successful home selling as agents become de-motivated from the high competition amongst themselves. There is little financial security for the work that is put into “selling” the listing.
Exclusive listings are often thought of as an attractive listing method by agents, as the homeowner agrees to give only one agent the rights to sell their home. With exclusive listings, agents are confident that they are the only individual who will get the commission from the home sale and, therefore, are highly motivated. Unfortunately, homeowners are discouraged to sign their property as an exclusive listing due to the potential significant decrease of market exposure.
The multiple listing was developed to encompass the benefits of both the open and exclusive listing. The multiple listing requires that a homeowner lists with only one agent, guaranteeing that agent rights to the commission of the home sale if it is sold before the listing expiration. However, unlike an exclusive listing, the multiple listing ensures vast market exposure as every agent has the right to sell that home and share in the commission. A multiple listing service provides that there is both a listing agent and a selling agent and that these two agents share the commission. The listing agent represents the homeowner and is responsible for drawing attention to their listing, while a selling agent represents buyers and is responsible to meet their buyer’s needs.
In order for Multiple Listings to be successful, an exchange of information among agents to ensure that listings are getting full market exposure needs to be established. BEAVA, the association of professional real estate agents, is establishing such a service.
The Multiple Listing Service (or MLS®) provides a means of advanced data sharing where all association members can quickly access information about MLS® listings. This system is very successful as homeowners know that to get full market exposure they need to list their property on the MLS®. Using the Multiple Listing Service entitles agents to secure compensation, homeowners to extensive market exposure, and prospective buyers to a comprehensive and detailed list of properties for sale.