What to Look for in a Listing Contract with a Real Estate Agent

Selling a home is usually easier if you use a real estate agent to help you with the details and the deals. When you do use an agent, you will normally have to sign a listing contract or agreement to start the ball rolling. This may be the first paperwork you do regarding selling your home, so it makes sense to learn about it before you go to your first meeting with your agent.


The dates of the contract are very important. If you want to get started right away, you will want the start date to be set for the current date. Another thing to factor in when thinking about the dates on the contract is that you might not be satisfied with this real estate agent. You might not want an indefinite or very long-term contract, at least not at first. Do not accept any date you are given blindly, but have your say about how long you want to commit to the contract.

List Price

You and the realtor will determine the price you want to set for the property on the listing. This figure will be included in the contract as the listing price. This does not mean that you will be bound to sell the house at that price in every situation. It means that you have agreed on a price for the property for listing and marketing. It could also affect you if you back out on a deal.

Compensation for the Realtor

A section of the listing contract will outline the way the real estate agent will be paid. It will say whether the fee is a flat fee or a percentage of the total amount of the sale. Then, it will set out the amount for that fee, either in dollar amount or percent.

When the Seller Pays

The next part of the listing contract will define the terms and conditions relating to when the seller will pay the realtor. These may be complex. They may include provisions for what happens if you abandon the contract. There also may be a clause that compels the seller to pay the commission if the real estate agent has found a qualified and willing buyer who will pay the asking price, even if the seller reneges on the deal.

Working with Other Real Estate Agents

The listing contract may include details about how the real estate agent may cooperate with other real estate agents. If so, it will also spell out how those other realtors are to be compensated.

Responsibilities of Seller and Agent

The responsibilities of the seller and agent will be explained in the listing contract. The seller is generally required to tell the agent important information about the property. The agent is required to convey all the rules and regulations that apply to selling the home.

Signing a listing contract is a big step. There are many factors to consider and it is important to understand the paperwork in front of you. Make sure you understand all the parts of the contract before you sign on that dotted line.

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