Exclusive listing vs Open listing

Have you ever wondered why you should give a real estate agent an exclusive listing to sell your property as apposed to selling using multiple real estate agents with an open listing?

You may feel that as a real estate agent, I would of course advocate for exclusive listings, however, I truly believe that in most cases going the route of an open listing will jeopardise the chances of the seller obtaining the maximum price for their property. I have in fact on many occasions advised prospective sellers to remain with their current agent exclusively, rather than list their property as an open listing, as I know this would compromise their position.

Why exclusive listings work best

Usually a sellers objective is to obtain the maximum price that is achievable in the current market. This requires good negotiation skills on the part of the agent. If you have multiple agents selling your property, the prospective buyer will contact all of the agents and find the one they feel is more on their side and then negotiate through them.

As the agents know they are competing against each other to retain the buyer, their alliance may not be aligned with the best interest of the seller.

When a buyer sees that there are multiple agents listed to sell a property, this usually indicates a level of desperation on the part of the seller and empowers the buyer in the negotiation process.

The majority of buyers come from the online advertising, and thus having multiple agents working on selling your property does not increase the number of buyers, it essentially just offers the buyer an option of choosing the agent they feel will work more in their interests.

An agent that has an exclusive agency will invest more time and effort into selling your property as they do not fear all their work will be in vain.

When open listings work best

There are not many situations in which I feel an open listing would work well, however, if you have a very unique property that you feel would not appeal to most people and would require a specialised buyer, then it may be advantageous to approach many agents and see if they have a specific buyer for your property on their database.


Make sure you choose an agent you can trust and that you know will work in your best interest. Giving them an exclusive agency enables them to engage with all buyers from a position of strength and empowers them to negotiate the highest price for your property.

If you feel unsure of the agent, offer them a shorter term of exclusivity (for example, 30 days) and then you will have more options available to you should you be unhappy with their performance.