If you’re considering selling your home, one of the most important steps will be to find a qualified listing agent and sign a listing agreement. A listing agent is a real estate professional representing you in selling your property.
Why is your selection of a listing agent so important?
A good listing agent will have extensive knowledge of the local market to help you determine a reasonable asking price and advise you on any improvements you should make before advertising your home. They should have strong connections with other realtors in your area and effectively market your home to buyers’ agents and prospective homebuyers. Once offers roll in, you’ll depend on your listing agent to be a strong negotiator and get you the fairest price in the sale.
After you find the real estate agent you feel will serve your needs well, you’ll be asked to sign a listing agreement. If this is your first home sale, you may not know what’s included in an agreement or what the terms mean.
What should you expect in a listing agreement?
This contract makes the designated real estate your official representative. It lays out the duties and expectations of both parties: you and the agent. Here’s an overview of what will be included:
- Contact details. As with most contracts, the document will outline the names and contact information of all parties involved.
- Listing price. You will agree to a specific asking price for your home to avoid misunderstandings between you and the agent. You can change the price later using an amendment form.
- Agent fees. Real estate agents charge a percentage of the selling price of a home as a commission. This is how your agent earns their living. A typical commission is about 6%, and most contracts will outline that it should be split between the buyer and seller. However, most negotiated sales contracts will include a provision for the seller to pay the full commission.
- Agent duties. Everything you expect your agent to do should be outlined in this section. For example, you should make sure listing your home on a multiple listing service (MLS) and hosting regular open houses are included.
- Property description. This section outlines important items that will or will not be included in the sale. For example, you should clarify what will happen with large appliances not affixed to the structure, like washers, dryers, window air conditioning units, freezers, and refrigerators. If you are taking something that is usually left behind (like a favorite chandelier), ensure it is included, so there is no confusion by any party in the sale.
- Agreement duration. This is the timeframe that you are locked into this contract with your real estate agent. An appropriate duration will depend on how quickly homes sell in your area. If it’s too short, your agent may not find it worthwhile to try to sell the house fast enough, but if it is too long, you won’t be able to choose another agent if the first one isn’t working out. You should also see a protection period that will require you to pay a commission even after the agreement duration if a previous prospective buyer returns to buy your home after the agreement duration expires.
- Conflict resolution. You and your real estate agent may have a disagreement or be unsatisfied with the other party. This section should outline how conflicts will be resolved. If your contract includes an arbitration or mediation clause, you might not be able to hire an attorney to represent you in the event something goes wrong.
- Type of listing agreement. This section should indicate which type of agreement applies to your contract:
- Exclusive right-to-sell listing. This is the most common and provides the listing agent and their brokerage exclusive rights to sell your home and get the sales commission.
- Exclusive agency listing agreement. This is similar to the exclusive right-to-sell provision except that it provides a carve-out to allow the sell on their own without any agent to avoid paying a sales commission.
- Open listing agreement. In this situation, the seller can use multiple agents to advertise the home, and the agent who finds the buyer is the one who will earn the commission.
- Net listing agreement. These are illegal in some states. In this agreement, if the agent sells the home for more than the listing price, the agent gets to keep the extra proceeds.
As you can see from these descriptions, the listing agreement includes essential information about your sale process. It is a formal contract, and you should take the time to read it carefully and ensure it accurately reflects your expectations. Most provisions are negotiable, so it’s best to have a conversation with your real estate agent about any questions or concerns you have.
Ready to sell your Southern Oregon home?
The best place to begin your journey is with an experienced real estate agent like Gail Schoeneberg. Gail has extensive experience and knowledge, including marketing financing and buyer and seller representation in the Southern Oregon market. Armed with current information about home sales throughout Southern Oregon and a long list of potential homebuyers at the ready, Gail will help you make good decisions to achieve the best price for your home in the timeline you have for selling it.
Contact Gail Schoeneberg today at 541-840-1909. Together, we’ll get your home sold.