DEFINITION of 'Exclusive Listing'
A real estate sale transaction in which a specified real estate agent stands to gain a commission if a property sells within a specified number of months, no matter how a buyer is found. The purpose of an exclusive listing is to motivate the agent to sell the property quickly and at the highest price possible. However, if a homeowner signed an exclusive listing agreement with an agent and also placed an ad for the property, and if the buyer found out about the property from the ad, the real estate agent would still earn a commission unless the seller has also established exclusive agency (the right of the seller to sell the property himself and avoid paying a commission despite the exclusive listing agreement).
BREAKING DOWN 'Exclusive Listing'
The exclusive listing agreement may also provide for a protection period to prevent the seller from abusing the agreement to avoid paying a commission and to reward the agent for doing his job. The protection period would allow the agent to still receive full commission after the expiration of the agreement if a potential buyer the agent brought to the house during the listing period came back later and decided to complete the purchase.