The Listing Contract

What Is A Real Estate Listing Agreement?

Also referred to as a listing agreement, the listing contract gives a licensed real estate professional authorization to act on your behalf in the sale of your home. It is a legally binding contract between Broker and Seller and should be entered into with full understanding. Listing contracts come in all shapes and sizes, but there are characteristics which are common to all.  Among the elements of any valid listing contract are:

In Writing

All real estate contracts must be in writing.


The listing contract is a personal services contract between you and the broker.  It contains all of the terms and conditions of employing the broker and authorizing the broker to represent you in marketing and selling your home.


For any contract to be valid, there has to be compensation.  The listing contract will specify the amount and timing of payment to your broker.  Typically, payment is an agreed upon percentage of the sales price, payable at closing.  It is important to note that your obligation to pay your broker may not absolutely depend on a finalized sales transaction.  For example, if the broker finds a bona-fide buyer who is willing to pay your asking price and agree to the terms you have offered, but you get cold feet at the last moment and decide not to sell, the broker has done his job and is entitled to be paid under the terms of the listing contract.


All listing contracts will ask who has title to the property.  Property can't be sold unless everyone with holds title interest in the property are part of the sale.

Marketing and MLS Plan

In some listing agreements, a time frame for placing a home advertisement to other Realtors and to the public by entering your home in the Multiple listing Service (MLS) is provided. This varies among agents with their personal marketing plan for your home. Make sure that during your Realtor interview process, you ask what an agent's marketing plan is for you and your home and where your home will be advertised, and how your listing will be syndicated to other listing sites to which local MLS's promote your listing. Some involve consumer comments and Automated Valuation Metrics ( AVM's ) that may not be reliable as to value of your home. For the most reliable valuation of your home, ask your Realtor for a Realtor Valuation Model, (RVM) that is supplied by Realtors, found within Realtor's Property Resource, exclusive to Realtor only members and brokers, and is a reliable source of sales data via the MLS and public data sources. Our team at Home Sales of Tallahassee at Armor Realty has a marketing plan for your Tallahassee area home that is unmatched. To see our Marketing Plan when Selling your Home, Contact Us today.

Termination Date

You shouldn't sign any listing contract without a specific termination date.  The most common duration is 180 days.  If the contract has an indefinite duration such as until sold, or no duration specified at all, don't sign it.  The listing contract is a legally binding document and you don't want to get locked into one with no clearly defined termination date.  If the contract expires before your home sells and you still want to keep using the same broker, you can simply sign a new contract.

There can be and often are other elements to a listing contract.  As with any legal document, you should read the listing contract very carefully and be sure you understand exactly what you are agreeing to before signing.  If you have any questions about your listing contract it would be wise to consult a lawyer for clarification.