Over the last few years we’ve had a lot of home sellers ask us to explain the difference between Exclusive listings and MLS® listings. Exclusive listings are a bit controversial, and are rarely seen in Yellowknife, but there is at least one type of situation where they are potentially preferable to MLS® listings.
The MLS®, or Multi-Listing Service®, is a co-operative marketing and information exchange agreement between the Realtors® in a given city or area. In Yellowknife the MLS® is operated by the Yellowknife Real Estate Board and all sixteen of its members use it to help market their listings. When your home is listed through the MLS, you have one REALTOR®, known as your “Listing Agent”, advertising your home, but all the other Yellowknife Realtors® compete with each other to find you a buyer. So basically, you get sixteen Realtors for the price of one.
Another big advantage of MLS® listings is that they are advertised not only on your listing agent’s website, but on Realtor.ca as well. Realtor.ca is a website operated by the Canadian Real Estate Association. It is the number one real estate website in Canada and is relied on very heavily by buyers moving to Yellowknife from outside of the territory.
When a seller agrees to an Exclusive listing, she is instructing her listing agent to not use the MLS® to assist in the sale of her home. Only her Listing Agent/Brokerage will be able to bring in a buyer and her listing will not appear on Realtor.ca. In other words, she is giving her Listing Agent the exclusive right to sell her home.
Clearly, from a marketing perspective, an MLS listing has a big advantage over an Exclusive listing, but there can be situations where Exclusive listings are appealing. For example, if a homeowner doesn’t want to publicly broadcast the fact she is selling her home she may list Exclusively so that the sale can be conducted in a very quiet and controlled manner. This is the only type of situation in which we at Prospect Realty would agree to an Exclusive listing, and it occurs very rarely. In 99% of sales, it is in the homeowner’s best interest to advertise as broadly as possible, and to involve as many Realtors as possible.
Arguments are sometimes made for Exclusive listings in situations where a property is expected to be very hard to sell, or where Sellers are unwilling to pay for full marketing services, but in our opinion the potential hidden costs of limited marketing – including a longer than necessary sale period and a lower final sale price – are much higher than perceived benefits.
By listing your property through the MLS, we leverage our own advertising expertise with the direct sales expertise and competitive nature of sixteen professional Yellowknife Realtors® and thousands of Buyer’s Agents across the country through Realtor.ca. It’s hard to argue that this is a very powerful tool, and is likely the number one reason sellers choose to list through Realtors in the first place.
If you’re not sure if your listing is Exclusive or MLS, just take a look at your feature sheet on your listing agent’s website. You should be able to find either the word Exclusive, “EXCL”, MLS, an MLS number, or sometimes the MLS logo at the top of the page.
The trademarks REALTOR® and MLS® are owned or controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA (REALTOR®) and/or the quality of services they provide (MLS®)