SJMN Market Wise Q&A: Will an Exclusive Listing Reduce the Number of Potential Buyers?

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News

Q: We are planning to sell our home and the agent we've chosen to represent us requested a couple of weeks to sell it herself as an exclusive listing. She claims fewer people will trample through our home, etc. My wife loves the idea. I think it is a waste of valuable time and we should get the house on the market and be done with it. Are there any other advantages of this arrangement besides avoiding looky-loos?

Got ethics ?

A: Rarely. Some sellers will opt for a low-key selling process by eliminating yard signs and open houses; they choose to rely on the Multiple Listing Service and its co-operating real estate professionals to individually show the home to their respective buyer-clients. However, by reducing a property's exposure to the real estate industry and its Web sites (not to mention word-of-mouth in the immediate neighborhood), the sea of potential buyers shrinks to a very small pond. The one fishing that pond is the agent whose bright idea it was to double the brokerage fee by representing both the buyer and seller while simultaneously ensuring that the absolute best buyer, price, terms and conditions are excluded. In some of these cases, real estate attorneys are more than happy to point out how the agent breached his/her duty to protect the client's best interest.

Granted, when and if a seller requests an exclusive listing it's either because a member of the family residing in the home is ill, or a property is so expensive it simply becomes a looky-loo destination.

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