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Listing agreement: Real Estate License Explained

A real estate listing agreement document next to a symbolic image of a real estate license
In this article

In the world of real estate, there are many important documents and agreements that play a role in the buying and selling of properties. One such document is the listing agreement. In this article, we will delve into what a listing agreement is, why it is important, and even provide a real-life example. So, let’s get started!

What is a Listing Agreement?

A listing agreement is a legally binding contract between a real estate agent or broker and a property owner. This agreement grants the agent or broker the exclusive rights to market and sell the property on the owner’s behalf. It outlines the terms and conditions under which the property will be listed and sold.

Listing agreements are typically used when someone is looking to sell their property and wants to enlist the help of a professional in doing so. By signing this agreement, the property owner is essentially giving the agent or broker the authority to act as their representative in the sale of the property.

Within the listing agreement, there are various details and provisions that need to be agreed upon, such as the listing price, the length of the agreement, the agent’s commission, and any specific terms or conditions. These terms are crucial in ensuring a smooth and successful transaction.

One important aspect of a listing agreement is the determination of the listing price. The agent or broker will work closely with the property owner to analyze market trends, comparable properties, and other factors that can influence the price. This collaborative effort aims to set a competitive and realistic listing price that will attract potential buyers while maximizing the property owner’s return on investment.

Another significant element of a listing agreement is the length of the agreement itself. The duration can vary depending on the specific circumstances and the preferences of both parties involved. It is essential for the property owner and the agent or broker to agree on a timeframe that allows sufficient time for marketing, showings, negotiations, and closing the sale. A well-defined timeline can help create a sense of urgency and ensure that the property is sold within a reasonable period.

Furthermore, the agent’s commission is a crucial aspect of the listing agreement. This is the compensation that the agent or broker will receive for their services upon successfully selling the property. The commission is typically a percentage of the final sale price and is agreed upon in advance. It is important for both parties to have a clear understanding of the commission structure to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes later on.

Lastly, listing agreements may include specific terms or conditions that cater to the unique needs of the property owner. For example, if the property is being sold as-is or if there are any restrictions on showings or open houses, these details should be clearly outlined in the agreement. Additionally, any contingencies or special provisions, such as the inclusion of certain appliances or furniture, should be addressed to ensure that all parties are on the same page.

In conclusion, a listing agreement is a comprehensive contract that establishes the relationship between a property owner and a real estate agent or broker. It sets out the rights, responsibilities, and expectations of both parties, ensuring a smooth and successful sale of the property. By carefully considering the listing price, agreement duration, agent’s commission, and any specific terms or conditions, the listing agreement becomes a valuable tool in the real estate transaction process.

Understanding Listing Agreement

Before signing a listing agreement, it is essential to fully understand its implications and what it entails. For property owners, this means having a clear understanding of the agent’s responsibilities, their marketing strategies, and how they plan to attract potential buyers.

On the other hand, agents and brokers should ensure that property owners are aware of their obligations, such as maintaining the property’s condition, granting access for showings and inspections, and disclosing any known issues.

Listing agreements are typically written in a standard format, but there may be room for negotiation and customization based on the specific needs of the property owner and the market conditions. It is crucial for both parties to review the agreement thoroughly and, if necessary, seek legal advice to ensure that it aligns with their interests and protects their rights.

One important aspect to consider when entering into a listing agreement is the duration of the agreement. Most listing agreements have a predetermined timeframe, typically ranging from three to six months. During this period, the agent will actively market the property, utilizing various channels such as online listings, social media, and networking with other agents. It is important for property owners to understand that the agent’s efforts may take time to yield results, and patience is key.

Another factor to consider is the commission structure outlined in the listing agreement. The commission is typically a percentage of the final sale price of the property and is paid to the agent upon successful completion of the sale. Property owners should have a clear understanding of the commission rate and any additional fees that may be incurred during the selling process, such as advertising costs or staging expenses.

Furthermore, it is important to discuss the marketing plan with the agent before signing the listing agreement. A comprehensive marketing strategy can greatly increase the visibility of the property and attract potential buyers. This may include professional photography, virtual tours, open houses, and targeted advertising campaigns. Property owners should feel confident that the agent’s marketing plan aligns with their goals and expectations.

Lastly, property owners should be aware of their rights and options in the event that they are not satisfied with the agent’s performance. Most listing agreements include a termination clause that allows either party to end the agreement under certain circumstances. It is important to carefully review this clause and understand the process for terminating the agreement, should the need arise.

In conclusion, signing a listing agreement is a significant step in the process of selling a property. Both property owners and agents should have a thorough understanding of the agreement’s implications, obligations, and potential outcomes. By carefully reviewing and discussing the agreement, seeking legal advice if necessary, and ensuring that all parties are on the same page, property owners can confidently move forward in their real estate journey.

Why is a Listing Agreement Important?

A listing agreement is an essential document that provides clarity and protection for both the property owner and the real estate professional involved in the transaction. Here are a few key reasons why a listing agreement is important:

  1. Exclusive Representation: By signing a listing agreement, a property owner gives the agent or broker the exclusive right to market and sell their property. This ensures that the agent has the authority to act on behalf of the property owner and streamlines the selling process. It also protects the property owner from having multiple agents marketing their property simultaneously.
  2. Defined Terms and Conditions: Listing agreements outline the terms and conditions under which the property will be listed and sold. This includes details such as the listing price, the length of the agreement, and the agent’s commission. Having these terms clearly defined helps prevent any misunderstandings or disputes later on.
  3. Professional Marketing and Exposure: By entering into a listing agreement, property owners gain access to the professional expertise and marketing strategies of real estate agents. Agents have the knowledge and resources to market properties effectively and attract potential buyers.
  4. Legal Protection: Listing agreements are legally binding contracts that protect the rights and interests of both parties. They provide a framework for the transaction, outlining the obligations of each party and specifying any potential consequences for non-compliance.
  5. Streamlined Selling Process: With a listing agreement in place, the property owner can rely on the expertise and guidance of the real estate agent or broker throughout the selling process. This helps ensure a smoother and more efficient transaction.

Example of a Listing Agreement

To provide a better understanding of how a listing agreement looks, let’s consider an example:

John is a homeowner looking to sell his house. He decides to hire the services of a real estate agent, Sarah, to assist him with the sale. After discussing the terms and conditions, they agree on a listing price, a commission rate, and a six-month listing period.

The listing agreement they sign includes details such as the property address, the agreed listing price, and the terms of the agent’s commission. It also outlines the agent’s responsibilities, including marketing the property, coordinating showings, and negotiating offers on John’s behalf.

By signing the listing agreement, John has granted Sarah the exclusive right to sell his property, and Sarah is now obligated to work in John’s best interests and diligently market and sell the property within the agreed-upon terms.

Why is a Listing Agreement Important in Real Estate?

In the realm of real estate, a well-executed listing agreement is crucial for various reasons:

  • Protecting the Property Owner: A listing agreement safeguards the property owner’s interests, ensuring that they have a trusted and knowledgeable professional representing their property. This protection extends to marketing strategies, negotiations, and legal considerations throughout the transaction.
  • Providing Clarity and Structure: Listing agreements provide structure and clearly outline the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of both the property owner and the real estate agent. This clarity minimizes misunderstandings and potential conflicts, creating a solid foundation for a successful sale.
  • Building Trust and Confidence: By signing a listing agreement, property owners signal their trust and confidence in the real estate agent or broker. In return, agents are motivated to work diligently and effectively for their clients, knowing that they have the owner’s full support.
  • Establishing a Professional Relationship: Listing agreements solidify the professional relationship between the property owner and the real estate agent. They set the expectations and parameters for collaboration, allowing both parties to work together seamlessly towards a common goal.


A listing agreement is a vital component of the real estate transaction process, providing structure, protection, and clarity for property owners and real estate professionals alike. By understanding the significance of a listing agreement and its implications, property owners can make informed decisions and ensure a smooth and successful selling experience.

Remember, when entering into a listing agreement, it’s essential to thoroughly review and understand the terms and seek legal advice if necessary. With a well-executed listing agreement, property owners can confidently embark on their journey to sell their property, knowing that they have the support and expertise of a trusted real estate professional by their side.

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