An exclusive listing means a brokerage get priority access to a home for two weeks and allows for the agent to make both the buyers’ and seller’s commissions. If the property fails to sell, the listing is then posted on the MLS and opened to all agents.
“We generally only use exclusive listings as a tool in unusual circumstances – more often than not as a tool for allowing us to make sure we have a listing locked down while getting it ready for MLS,” said Brendan Powell, a sales representative with Sage Real Estate in Toronto.
“Generally though, in the Toronto market, it wouldn’t be in the interests of a seller not to be on MLS, as that is obviously the way to get the most exposure to the market,” he added.
“I can imagine using an exclusive for a very unusual seller or property, if there were extra privacy concerns.”
For Powell, exclusive listings are mostly a stopgap before or after a proper MLS listing, when agents don’t necessarily want to open a place up for constant public showings, or when there is a reason to not have a record on MLS of the property being for sale.
Earlier this year, Powell did have an exclusive listing result in a sale. After being listed on MLS and receiving several offers, the seller decided not to sell for personal reasons.
“A couple of months later things changed, but it was summer, so with the intention to list on MLS again in the fall, we chose to sign an exclusive, so that we could go back to those who had showed interest earlier, but if things didn't work out, we didn’t want that effort to show on MLS if we ended up back there in the fall,” he said.
It’s a tool seldom used by Realtors and unfamiliar to most sellers, especially in a hot real estate market like Toronto, but exclusive listings do have a place, says one agent.