About Seller Brokerage Agreements
If you entrust the sale of your home to a real estate brokerage, you will be required to sign a Seller Brokerage Agreement or Seller Designated Brokerage Agreement, otherwise known as a listing agreement. The brokerage agreement establishes a professional relationship between you and your brokerage for a given period of time. It documents the obligations of the brokerage and the seller. As a legal contract between the two consenting parties, sellers are strongly encouraged to read their contract carefully so they understand the obligations of both parties to the contract.
Remember: Be aware that your agreement is a contract. You cannot simply back out of the contract without the consent of your licensee and their broker. If your licensee says that you can cancel the listing agreement at any time, ensure that you get this in writing.
TYPES OF SELLER CONTRACTS
The services you receive as a seller depend on the type of listing agreement you enter with the brokerage. There is no “industry standard” commission or contract duration. The commission payable, the services rendered and the length of the contract are negotiated between a brokerage and a seller.
WITH AGENCY: EXCLUSIVE LISTING CONTRACT
This type of contract guarantees the brokerage and their efforts to sell the home will be compensated at the time of the sale.
The seller can also expect their brokerage to devote maximum time and effort to sell the property. The brokerage will cooperate with other brokerages unless instructed otherwise by the seller. In an exclusive contact, the seller may choose to have their property advertised on the MLS® system, or marketed only by the brokerage. Choosing the MLS® system invited cooperation from licensees representing buyers, as the property is marketed online at realtor.ca.
WITHOUT AGENCY: MLS® CONTRACT
Fee For Service Agreement
In a fee-for-service agreement, the seller selects which services they which to purchase from a set list of services offered by the brokerage. The list of services may range from signage and advertising, posting to the MLS® system, to hosting open houses and contract negotiation. With this agreement, there is no agency relationship between the brokerage and the seller.
Mere Posting Agreement
A mere posting agreement provides the minimum level of service a brokerage may offer. When a brokerage and a seller enter into a mere posting agreement, the brokerage is responsible for posting the property on an MLS® system, which will then appear on realtor.ca. This is the only service the brokerage provides and you, as the seller, are responsible for everything else, including signage, advertising, viewings and negotiating the sale. In a mere posting, there is no agency relationship between the brokerage and the seller and no fiduciary duties apply.
BEFORE YOU SIGN
To make the most out of the relationship it’s important to clarify your needs and expectations. To avoid misunderstandings later on, it’s important not to make assumptions in regards to any terms of your agreement. Take time to discuss what your licensee expects from you and what your obligations are. Document this in your agreement so that all parties are aware and agree to these expectations. Discuss all of the services that will be provided as several contract items are always negotiable, including but not limited to:
- duration of the agreement;
- commission fees (remuneration);
- terms for consideration; and
- specific services offered.
The holdover clause in the Seller Brokerage Agreement/Seller Designated Brokerage Agreement is designed to protect the brokerage for the work it did during the duration of the contract. The holdover clause requires you, the seller, to pay the remuneration to the brokerage should you sell your property to a buyer that was introduced by the brokerage when the agreement was in effect, and that you completed the sale after the agreement expired. This is to prevent buyers and sellers working with brokerages from waiting until the brokerage contracts expire to place and offer and avoid paying remuneration to the brokerage. The standard holdover clause is 180 days however, that timeframe is negotiable.
IMPORTANT ITEMS TO KEEP IN MIND
- A service contract signed between you and the licensee is legal and binding on all parties.
- The contract must be in writing and have a start and an end date (a contract cannot have more than one end date), be signed by all parties to the contract and you must receive a signed copy.
- Remuneration (commission) is set by the brokerage with which the licensee is licensed. There is no set percentage or standard commission to which a licensee is entitled. Before signing the contract, you can negotiate any offered commission but, the licensee does not have to agree to it.
- The duration of your agreement with the licensee is always negotiable.
- Whatever terms you settle on, be sure you understand exactly what you will be getting in return for that commission. If you negotiate a smaller commission with the Licensee, the licensee may want to exclude some services that he or she would normally provide. Make sure you will be entitled to all services that are most important to you, and be sure these are in writing.
Read more about specific aspects of your agreement in Your Transaction.