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What are exclusive listings and when you should list exclusively


I want to talk today about exclusive listings. This is a concept that isn’t that common in real estate so you may have questions about what it means and when to go exclusive.


Most often, sellers want to get the most views on their property listings so their agents publish them on a multiple listing service (MLS) like Realtor.ca, the website of the Canadian Real Estate Association where all licenced realtors can post listings. It is widely used by buyers, sellers and agents and is a great resource to attracting buyers and closing sales.


Listing a property publicly on Realtor.ca offers the best chance of a quick sale at or over asking price, which is what we’re seeing in the current market that definitely favours sellers.


This is known as a non-exclusive listing and is what I’d recommend for most single-family homes (semi- and fully detached) in desirable neighbourhoods.


But attracting attention isn’t first priority for all sellers, even though that might sound counterintuitive. In some circumstances, restricting access to a listing might be preferable, and that’s where exclusive listings come in.


An exclusive listing means that the seller’s agent is wholly responsible for finding a buyer through their own network and means. They may work cooperatively with other agents but control all promotion of and access to the property. This reduces the visibility of the listing and promotional material, the number of buyers visiting the home and will likely mean a longer time on the market. But it also gives the seller more control and better qualified buyers.


So, what are some examples of special circumstances that may warrant an exclusive listing?

  • There may be reasons to want to reduce foot traffic through a listing, such as health issues, extended absence or complications managing viewings.

  • Sellers may be completing renovations in preparation to list the home but are still open to entertaining offers while the work is done.

  • Some sellers may need a longer closing date so are in less of a rush to sell.

  • Landlords may want to avoid causing tenants undue anxiety or reason to leave. Unfortunately, some less-than-honest tenants use a property sale as an opportunity to skip out on a lease or debt.

  • Owners of high value homes (or high-profile owners) may prefer less publicity around the listing to maintain more privacy and security over the property or its contents.

  • When a seller has multiple similar properties, they may not want to risk flooding the market by publicly listing them all at once. This could lead to reduced competition on each property and lower sale prices. By listing exclusively, the seller’s agent can more effectively manage multiple sales.

  • Exclusive listings give sellers the chance to test out an asking price before going public. This way they are more equipped to set a price that matches the market demand.

It’s important to note that exclusive listings will likely take longer to sell and be less likely to cause bidding wars than public listings, but for some sellers, the benefits outweigh the risks. This is why it’s so important to work with a realtor you trust to help you make the right decision for you and your personal situation.


So if you want to talk about whether an exclusive listing is the best way to go for you, give me a call today!