Over the past two years, I have been approached by various sellers with an “offer” to list their property with an “Open” or “Non Exclusive” listing. I did take an open listing early in my career, because I fell in love with the cottage, and it was in Walker Lake Estates – my uncle used to have a lakefront home there, and I was overcome with wistful nostalgia.
An open listing differs from an exclusive listing in that the seller is free to “list” his property with as many real estate
brokers as he wishes. On the surface, this sounds like a good thing, but in this day and age, an open listing benefits no one, least of all the seller.
Open listings can create a bit of a circus atmosphere if the seller allows real estate signs on the property – have you ever driven by a property and seen several for sale signs from various brokers scattered about? Chances are you’ve seen an open listing – ain’t it a pretty sight? (blech.)
The fact is, back in the days before the Multiple List Service became the norm, it was to a seller’s advantage to list his property with several offices; this was ensuring that every office in the area knew about the property.
Today, we have the MLS (Multiple List Service) to do that for us. Open listings are not allowed on our MLS. And if the lisitng is not on the MLS, it is not on any of the agent’s websites with MLS feeds…and it is not on Realtor.com. Additionally, it will not show up on franchise websites such as Weichert.com. Nor will it be automatically syndicated to the hundreds of portals that accept MLS feeds, like Zillow and Trulia.
At best, it will appear on the agent’s own website, if the agent HAS one (why would you list with an agent who does not have his or her own website? What does that tell you about their internet savvy?). Chances are, the listing will be briefly circulated around the office, possibly posted on a bulletin board, posted once or twice on CraigsList, and then stuck in a drawer until that perfect buyer comes along…IF that buyer happens to find the agent, that is…
An exclusive right to sell listing will get put EVERYWHERE – and EVERYONE will have an opportunity to bring a buyer. Exclusive listings end up on everyone’s website that features an MLS feed. They are on Realtor.com, and they will be on Zillow, Trulia, Weichert.com and hundreds of other sites.
In a nutshell, an open listing hurts the seller more than it helps anyone. Additionally, I’m not willing to pour my heart, soul, and financial resources into marketing a listing that is just as likely to be sold by Joe Schmoe down the street and leave me with a lot of wasted time, energy, and money on my hands.
Open listings are just not smart business, period. Maybe they were years ago in the dark ages of pre-MLS real estate, but welcome to the present.