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Open Listings Are Bilateral Agreements: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to real estate, there are different types of listings that you can choose from. One of the most popular is an open listing. But what is an open listing and how does it work?

In this article, we will delve into the world of open listings and explore the benefits and drawbacks of this type of agreement. We’ll also discuss how open listings are bilateral agreements. So let’s get started!

What is an Open Listing?

An open listing is a type of agreement between a seller and a real estate agent. The seller agrees to work with any number of agents or brokers who bring in interested buyers. The agent who successfully finds a buyer for the property receives the commission. The seller, however, reserves the right to sell the property on their own without involving any agent or broker.

Open listings are typically non-exclusive, meaning that the seller can work with multiple agents at the same time. This type of listing is often used by sellers who want to maximize their chances of selling their property quickly. By opening up the property to multiple agents, the seller increases the pool of potential buyers.

Benefits of Open Listings

There are many benefits to using an open listing, including:

1. Flexibility: An open listing gives the seller the flexibility to sell the property on their own or work with multiple agents simultaneously.

2. More exposure: By listing the property with multiple agents, the seller ensures that more potential buyers see the property, which could lead to a quicker sale.

3. No exclusivity: An open listing allows the seller to avoid committing to one agent or broker, which can be beneficial if the seller has had a bad experience with a particular agent or broker in the past.

Drawbacks of Open Listings

Despite the benefits, there are also some drawbacks to using an open listing:

1. Limited motivation: Since multiple agents are involved in the sale of the property, there may be less motivation to sell the property quickly. This can lead to the property staying on the market for a longer period of time.

2. Confusion: With multiple agents working on the sale, there can be confusion about each agent’s responsibilities and the terms of the agreement.

3. Commission disputes: Since only one agent will receive the commission, there can be disputes between agents who feel they deserve the commission.

Open Listings Are Bilateral Agreements

As mentioned earlier, open listings are bilateral agreements between the seller and any number of agents. This means that both parties have to agree to the terms of the agreement and fulfill their responsibilities.

For example, the seller must:

1. Agree to work with any agent who brings in a buyer.

2. Be responsible for showing the property to buyers or providing access to the property.

3. Be ready to negotiate the sale of the property when an offer is made.

On the other hand, the agent must:

1. Market the property effectively to potential buyers.

2. Bring in interested buyers to view the property.

3. Represent the buyer’s interests during negotiations.

4. Be responsible for preparing and submitting the offer to the seller.


Open listings are a popular type of listing in the real estate industry. They offer flexibility and more exposure for the seller, but they also come with some drawbacks. If you’re considering an open listing, make sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully before proceeding. Remember that open listings are bilateral agreements, so both parties have to work together to ensure a successful sale.