What Is Open Listing In Real Estate? You Might Be Surprised!

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Written By Tommy

DealBloom aims to share the latest tips and strategies to help realtors, brokers, loan officers, and investors navigate the world of real estate.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, you need to know about open listings. But what is open listing in real estate? This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about open listings in real estate to help you make the right decision.

Table of Contents

What is Open Listing in Real Estate?

What is open listing in real estate? An open listing is a real estate listing in which the property owner agrees to work with any real estate agent who brings a buyer for the property. The owner is not obligated to work exclusively with any agent and may work with multiple agents simultaneously.

The agent will only get paid if they successfully sell or rent the property. Therefore, the property owner always has the option of finding their buyers or tenants.

How do Open Listings Work?

Working with open listing is simple, but there are a few things buyers and sellers need to know:

  1. Home sellers usually start by looking for multiple brokerage firms and asking for open listings. Unfortunately, not all firms will do this, so it may take a while to find brokerages that will work with you.
  2. Then the seller agrees to sign a nonexclusive contract, and they will have the contract terms and commission spelled out.
  3. The real estate brokers and agents compete for the listing. Simultaneously, if a buyer approaches the seller, the seller can initiate a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) transaction.
  4. The agent and broker who sell the house will get a commission. However, who pays for that commission depends on the terms of the listing agreement. But remember that only these agents and brokers who make the sale will get paid.

How Does an Open Listing Differ From a Traditional Listing agreement?

An open listing allows a homeowner to list their property with multiple real estate agents without being exclusive to any agent. A traditional listing agreement is exclusive, meaning the homeowner can only work with one agent.

With exclusive rights, you’re the only real estate agent and a brokerage firm allowed to sell a home. 

An exclusive listing means you only have one broker showing your property. But you still have the right to try and sell your home on your own.

What are the Advantages of Open Listings?

They’re not exclusive

Open listing agreements are generally non-binding, meaning you can work with as many other agents and brokerages as you’d like or sell your house independently without paying any commission to anyone. The only agent who earns the commission is the one who finds you a buyer.

More buyers

By not putting their home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) homeowner has difficulty marketing their property and finding a buyer. To remedy this, the homeowner can sign an open listing with a real estate agent. This will give an agent or multiple real estate agents the right to find the buyers, and if they find and buyer, they get a percentage of the commission.

You only pay if the deal closes

You only pay your agent if they successfully find you a home and close the deal. If they fail to do this, you don’t pay them anything.

Disadvantages of the Open Listings

Most real estate agents aren’t interested in signing open listings because they usually don’t pay the agent any commission. Even if they do, this contract rarely works out for the listing agent.

Frequently Asked Questions

What describes an open listing?

An open listing is a real estate listing in which the property owner agrees to allow any qualified broker who brings a buyer to list the property for sale.

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

An open listing is a type of real estate listing in which the property owner agrees to allow any qualified broker who brings a buyer to list the property for sale. An exclusive listing, on the other hand, is a listing that gives one broker the exclusive right to sell the property but allows the owner to find a buyer on their own and not pay a commission.

Is an open listing legal in NY?

Yes, an open listing is legal in NY.


So, what is open listing in real estate? Open listings in real estate can be a good option for many home sellers. An Open Listing is a style of selling a home in which the owner allows any licensed Realtor to show their home to potential buyers. They are not required to use one realtor and can work with multiple simultaneously. If you have any questions about selling your home, be sure to consult with a qualified real estate agent who can help guide you through the process.