Like many aspects of real estate that have been relegated to slang and catchphrases, the term “Listing” gets used for so many different actual topics and actions. It’s used as a noun, a verb, it really gets stretched around! It mostly is used in describing the written contract that defines the relationship between seller and broker, outlining obligations, conditions, and payment for services.
The origins are from the mid-1900s, where real estate companies did not share information with their competitors, and they would have a “list” of properties that they had signed contracts with sellers to represent. Buyers had to visit the different offices to look at pictures and typed up information on properties and then drive out to the homes to actually see them. Each brokerage’s “list” was proprietary (this is long before Multiple Listing Services came into being). Thus, a property would be “listed” with a company. And yet, to “list” was a verb used to describe the action of entering a listing contract relationship, and furthermore, the brokerage’s inventory was their “list”, thus, a “listing”. With the advent of Multiple Listing Services, the term even refers to a broker “listing” it on the MLS, even though there is not a specific listing agreement between broker and MLS, rather a general agreement in the form of membership. Talk about fluid!
The listing contract between seller and broker defines the basic terms, conditions, duties, obligations, and payment for services between the two parties, i.e., broker duties: marketing, MLS, key boxes, and seller responsibilities: (i.e., don’t prevent the normal marketing of the property). It’s really quite stripped down, and while most other brokers do not provide guarantees above and beyond this basic form, we consider it a duty to provide you with a rider, a commitment to you, defining what we do to go above and beyond the normal requirements as well as beyond the majority of other brokers, providing extra value in consideration for your choosing us as your representatives, and to guarantee that you and your property receive the best exposure, positioning, and advocacy as possible. While very few agents provide this to potential clients in advance, our approach to our practice is that we discuss all aspects of our procedures in advance, to maximize our results for our clients.
If you've sold a home in the last 20 years here in the Puget Sound region, you'll recognize the standard NWMLS listing contract, but if you haven't done that and would like to see one,here's a link to the standard contract that all MLS brokers use, when inputting listings into the NWMLS database, with some markup to help explain the different aspects of it, for your perusal.
Talk with you soon!
Bruce, Mark, and Will