Exclusive listings are the most common type of sales listing in the NYC real estate market. In this listing type, a prospective seller signs an exclusive contract with a real estate agent or agency for the purpose of selling their property. The agent or agency is solely responsible for marketing the property and matching the seller with the right buyer, and they usually have a fixed time frame to do that (3-6 months), after which the contract expires. Sellers are only expected to pay the commission if the exclusive listing agent manages to find the right buyers.
The exclusive listing contract can take two forms. If it’s an exclusive right to sell, then the seller is not free to sell the property on their own. Even if they manage to find a buyer on their own, the agent/agency might be eligible for the commission. This is not an issue with the exclusive agency contract, where only one agent or agency has the exclusive right to market the property, but the seller can find a buyer on their own and sell it directly without paying a commission to the agent.
Exclusive listings may inspire more dedication from the agent, but they also tie a seller’s chances of selling (in part) to the agent’s abilities and contacts. This is why it’s recommended to properly research and vet multiple agents before signing an exclusive listing contract with one.
An open listing is akin to an open offer to any real estate agent to bring potential buyers to the seller. If the seller accepts their buyer, the agent/agency will be eligible for a buyer’s agent commission – half of what an exclusive listing agent earns and splits with the buyer’s agent. If the seller manages to sell the home by themselves (FSBO), they don’t owe any commission.
The benefit of an open listing is that it puts a property on the radar of several different agents and gets more eyes on the property, which may help a seller fast. However, a weakness of an open listing is that agents may not exert the same level of effort as they would in an exclusive listing because there is always a chance that they may earn nothing for their efforts.
A pocket or whisper listing is not published on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) platform where potential buyers or buyer’s agents might see them. They are not marketed online. Instead, a pocket or whisper listing relies mostly on an agent’s personal connections and contacts. They only disclose the availability of the property in small/closed circles to attract the right buyers. One benefit of a pocket/whisper listing is that apart from the buyer and agent, few people know how long the property has been on the market. It’s a good way to gauge if there is any interest in the property before officially putting it on the market. It also makes sense when sellers want the process to remain discreet and private.