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Legally speaking: Can two brokers co-list a property?

By Peg Ritenour, OAR Vice President of Legal Service/Administration

The OAR Legal Assistance Hotline receives an array of real estate-related legal questions — including license law issues, disclosure, contract law, ethics and commission problems, among others. In an effort to help you work within the law, our “Legally Speaking” series spotlights some of the timely questions that are being asked by REALTORS. This one involves the legality of two brokerages listing the same property…

Q:  I am a broker in the Lake Erie area and have been approached by a seller from Columbus who wants to list his property with me and with a Columbus brokerage. Because the property is located on the Lake, it will be attractive to not only people who live in this area, but also to potential buyers in central Ohio who are looking for a second home on the Lake. The seller wants me to market it locally and to also list the house with a Columbus Broker he works with frequently. Can two brokers co-list a property?

A: Yes.  Although co-listings aren’t common, there are situations where a seller may want to have more than one broker represent him in the marketing and sale of his property. While this is certainly possible, as is usually the case, the devil is in the details!

To make a co-listing work, there are many issues that need to be thought through by the two brokers in advance. For example:

  • Will one or both brokers “for sale” signs be on the property?
  • Will both brokers put the listing in their respective MLS?
  • How will showings and other appointments at the property be handled  (i.e., will the local broker handle the showings, attend inspections, etc.?)
  • Who will present offers and handle contract and closing  issues with the seller and any cooperating REALTORS?
  • And, most importantly, how will the two brokers split the listing side of the commission?!

The more details that are handled upfront between the two brokers, the less likely it is that there will be misunderstandings later between the brokers. Moreover, it is important that the seller have a clear understanding of these details and each broker’s responsibilities.

Of course, the  agreement regarding the co-listing arrangements should be reduced to writing and be signed by both brokers and the seller to assure that all parties are on the same page.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking