Exclusive Listing vs. A Syndicated Exclusive Right to Sell: Privacy, Exposure, and Finding the Right Balance

Dated: May 3 2023

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When it comes to selling a property, sellers often face the decision of choosing between an exclusive listing and a exclusive right to sell (MLS) listing. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, the choice ultimately comes down to the seller's priorities and the property's specific circumstances.

Exclusive Listing: The Benefits of Privacy

An exclusive listing is a real estate agreement where a single agent or brokerage represents the seller, and the property is not widely marketed on public platforms like the MLS, Realtor.com, or Zillow. This type of listing can be advantageous for sellers who prioritize privacy or have unique property conditions that require a more controlled marketing approach. Some Benefits for this approach might include:

  • Privacy for high-net worth individuals: Exclusive listings can be particularly appealing to high-net-worth individuals who wish to maintain their privacy and keep their property sale discreet. This can help protect the seller's personal information, prevent unwanted attention, and reduce the risk of security breaches. And since, 80% of the homes are sold by 20% of the agents, the seller benefits from a more targeted approach to marketing to those agents who have the most experience and skill, especially when it comes to significant renovations and development issues that may be faced when dealing with regulations imposed by city/town hall and local politics.
  • Vetting potential buyers/investors/developers: For properties in need of significant renovations or with unique development potential, exclusive listings can allow the seller to carefully vet potential buyers, ensuring that they are qualified and fully understand the scope of future planning of the project before entering negotiations.

Exclusive Right to Sell (MLS) Listing: The Power of Competition and Exposure

On the other hand, an exclusive right to sell listing, also known as an MLS listing, is a more conventional approach to property marketing. With this type of listing, the property is widely advertised across multiple platforms, including the MLS, Realtor.com, and Zillow. This approach can lead to increased competition and higher sale prices for the seller. The benefits to this include:

  • Increased exposure: By listing the property on multiple platforms, the seller's agent can leverage the power of the internet to reach a broader audience of potential buyers. This increased exposure can lead to more offers and potentially a higher sale price.
  • Competition drives price: With more potential buyers aware of the property, competition can drive the price higher, ultimately benefiting the seller.

Balancing Privacy and Exposure with the Four Ps of Marketing

As a former marketing exec, I look at the world through the 4Ps (and several other P’s too, but that’s a separate blog post) of marketing. Regardless of the listing type chosen, the seller's agent should create a marketing campaign that stimulates interest by having a deliberate understanding of:

  1. Place: This involves choosing the right platforms for marketing the property, whether it's an exclusive listing or one that is syndicated across multiple platforms to the end user as well as the top agents.
  2. Product: The agent should highlight the property's unique features, present condition, and the potential for improvement or development.
  3. Price: The agent should work with the seller to determine a competitive price that takes current market conditions and competitive behaviors into account when balancing against the product itself.
  4. Promotion: The agent should create a comprehensive promotional strategy that includes professional photos/video/aerials if needed, property descriptions that tell a story, a variety of open houses so maximize traffic and variety of buyers that see the property, and targeted advertising to reach the right buyer demographic; i.e. persona profiles representing similar groups of a targeting audience to develop messaging that speaks to them.

The decision between an exclusive listing and the syndicated exclusive right to sell listing depends on the seller's priorities and the property's unique circumstances. While privacy concerns may lead some sellers to opt for an exclusive listing, the increased exposure and competition offered by syndicated listings often result in higher sale prices. By understanding the pros and cons of each approach, sellers can make an informed decision that best aligns with their goals and maximizes their property's potential value.

Blog author image

Moses Oliva

Moses Oliva is a licensed Real Estate Broker Associate with Weichert Realtors® where he is a top performer. Moses was recently selected to chair of the NJ Association of Realtors® Po....

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