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When You Have an Exclusive Contract with a Real-Estate Agent

James Anderson

April 11, 2022

When working or dealing with a real-estate agency, you will be met with many contracts and signatures through to the end of the transaction. It is important to understand these contracts, what they mean, and what happens if you sign them.

One of these contracts is an exclusive listing. To undertake this, let’s take a look at how listing in the real estate industry works.

Listing in real estate

This is an agreement between a seller and a real estate agent. When someone lists a house, they put it on the market, whereby the agent will help find a buyer.

The agreement between the two parties is known as a listing agreement. There are three types of listing agreements:

  • Open listing
  • Exclusive agency listing 
  • Exclusive right-to-sell listing

Open listing

In an open listing, a seller chooses to sell the house themselves, and they may have one or more open listings with other agents.

The owner only pays the agent commission, which is normally lower since most of the effort is made by the owner. This means that if there is no external aid by agents in selling the house, the agents get no payment.

Exclusive right-to-sell listing

A listing with exclusive right-to-sell means that the agent has the ability to sell the property without your consent and retains the right to receive compensation or commission even if you use another agent to sell the property. This means that breaking the terms of the agreement will result in you having to compensate the agent out of your own pocket.

While under this agreement, you cannot, as the seller or buyer, sign another agreement with another agent for a better deal.

Exclusive agency listing 

In this contract, a seller or a buyer has the option to hire another agent, even if they already have one representing them in the purchase. Although several agents may be involved in the transaction, the commission is awarded to the agent who makes the most compelling offer.

This may not be as damaging as it appears, as an agent may not object to the assistance of other agents in order to complete the transaction.

The exclusive contract

Exclusive contracts, once signed, restrict the ability of either the seller or the buyer to associate with other realtors who are interested in completing the transaction. According to the exclusive listing agreement, the terms of the sale are specified.

Conditions of use

Before signing an exclusive contract, it's important to understand what you're getting yourself into. Before a contract can be signed, both parties must agree on the terms of the agreement in question.

If any of these terms are violated, the party who is at fault is required to pay a fine under the terms of a civil court order.

Tips when signing an exclusive contract:

The contract states the duration of the agreement and the necessary steps to be taken if either party is not satisfied with the other.

The contract's terms also outline the type of property the buyer is looking for, as well as the area in which the buyer wishes to purchase the property. In the case of a buyer, this is a helpful tip because it takes advantage of a loophole that allows you to collaborate with agents from different geographical areas.

As a home buyer, you have the option of specifying a price range for the house you are interested in purchasing. This means that you can hire another agent who is outside of the agreed-upon price range without breaking the terms of the agreement with the first.

If you want to terminate the contract for any reason, make sure it is in writing and signed by both parties.

Happy Soon To Be Homeowners About To Sign An Exclusive Contract

Why go for exclusive contracts?

In terms of time, efficiency, and marketability, among other considerations, the exclusive contacts may not appear to be as appealing to the buyer or seller as they appear to be. They, on the other hand, have both advantages and disadvantages depending on which party they belong to.

The buyer

An exception exists in the case of a buyer, who only pays the agent's commission from the sale of the house if the agreement is exclusive. The majority of agents will push for an exclusive contract in order to maximize their earnings from their clients.

The buyer's contract is negotiable and adaptable in nature. They can work with their agent to narrow the timeline, which is usually 90 days but can be reduced to as little as 30 days if they so choose.

The buyer has the option to include exceptions in the contract. These include things like family, building types, and geographical locations.

When purchasing a home, a buyer can specify that they will not pay a commission if they sell the home to a family member or that they will only pay a commission if they purchase a specific type of home in a specific price range, for example.

The seller

Upon signing an agreement with an agent, the seller agrees to have their home sold by the agent, and any contracts that may be involved should be strictly followed. Although it may appear to be more cost-effective to sell the house yourself by listing and advertising it, working with an agent under an exclusive contract may be more beneficial than you realize.

Due to the fact that you only have one agent, they will devote a significant amount of time and effort to finding the best possible deal for you. Because the commission has already been established, there is less room for negotiation between you and the agent.

Your home will be advertised using the most effective methods available to the agent in order to achieve a faster close and ensure that the best buyers are reached as soon as possible.

Signing an exclusive contract also relieves the seller of some of the pressure of the sale. The sale of a house can be time-consuming, especially when loans are used to pay for renovations and the sale of the house, which puts a premium on timeliness as well as cost-effectiveness.

The house is less likely to sit on the market since there is an experienced agent working to find a buyer, unlike when the seller lists the house themselves.

What’s in for the real estate agent?

A listing agreement that grants an exclusive right to sell ensures that an agent's efforts are not in vain because the owner must still pay a commission if the house is sold outside of the contract. It is discouraged for a homeowner to work with another agent due to the fact that they will be required to pay two commissions.

Real estate agents are compensated on a commission basis, which is their reward for their efforts after a long period of time. Some of these are appropriate for a home buyer, such as:

  • Working with the homeowner for a period of months or longer
  • Introducing the owner to potential mortgage lenders for a property
  • Searching and sending listings the buyer might be interested in
  • Booking appointments for the buyer to view the properties, sometimes even viewing multiple properties on the same day.
  • Comparing similar listings on the market in search of a lower price

It is a time-consuming process, and as exciting as it may be for a buyer to find another different property from a different agent, it effectively negates all of the agent's previous efforts. The exclusive right to sell contracts eliminates these difficulties by guaranteeing that the agent will be compensated even if the buyer purchases from someone other than the agent.

Avoid signing an exclusive contract with a large number of agents if you are a buyer or seller to avoid having to pay commission to all of them at the end of the transaction.

Perks for a house buyer with an exclusive contract

A single agent working solely on your behalf to find your home has a number of advantages.

During this time, the agent will be on the lookout for new listings and will keep you informed based on your desired price range, location, and size of the house.

As a result of the contract, the buyer can rest assured that there will be no need for follow-up questions or progress checks because the two parties are now bound together.

It will also be easier to visit open houses if you use an agent because they will filter their lists based on the buyer's requirements. This increases the likelihood of reaching a favorable agreement with the agent.

Frequently asked questions

How long should an exclusive contract last?

Listings are typically active for a period of time determined by the state of the housing market.

A 30-day listing is typically used for a house in a desirable location with a strong housing market and a high likelihood of selling quickly.

Generally speaking, in a normal market, a house will sell within 90 days of being listed. This includes showcasing the home as well as waiting for a buyer to come forward.

When the housing market is not particularly active or cold, a six-month listing is used. It is possible that the house will take a long time to sell and that the agent will require additional time.

House listings that are active for a year or for a period of more than a year are typically used for expensive or large properties that require the appropriate amount of time to find a buyer. An agent would not want to make a shaky pact with the client by devoting only a short period of time to the transaction and failing miserably.

How to hire a good buyer’s agent

As a home buyer, it is obvious that you do not want to become entangled in a toxic contract between you and your real estate broker.

So, how do you go about finding a reputable real estate agent who will assist you in purchasing a quality home as soon as possible?

  • If you are moving to a new area, ask your friends and family who they know who they would recommend as a buyer agent for you if you are looking for one.
  • When you search online for the listed houses, you will find the names of potential agents, but they may be more focused on representing the seller than the buyer. In order to find a potential buyer agent, look for buyer agents in top-ranking firms and on websites.
  • During open houses and showcases, it is likely that you will encounter a real estate agent, and this is your opportunity to speak with them. Get their business cards and look for an agent whose terms are reasonable for you and who isn't just looking to make a quick buck on your behalf.

How do I get out of an exclusive contract?

Sometimes a contract simply does not work out, and you may decide to terminate your relationship with your agent. There are a few strategies you can employ to improve your current situation.

  • Waiting out the expiry date of the agreement
  • Trying to fix things with the agent by talking about what you don’t like
  • Requesting another agent to be reassigned to you
  • Read the contract to see if there was a measure put in place in the case of an agreement like a written notice that has to be signed by the agent.
  • Request to have it terminated. Working with uncooperative people in a business may not be comfortable, which may make the agent willingly terminate it.

After the agreement has been terminated, ensure that the termination form is written and signed by both parties.

Should you sign an exclusive contract with every real-estate agent?

It is not necessary to enter into an exclusive contract, and some agents may not even bring it up at all during the negotiation process. Because the agreement is bilateral in nature, both parties must agree on the conditions of the contract.

As a result, if the terms of the contract are favorable to you, you should proceed with signing it because it has several advantages.

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