What to know about a listing contract
When you put your home on the market, you list it on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Signing a listing contract with an agent to sell your home gives the agent the authority to list your property on the MLS, which all real estate agents have access to.
Putting a listing on the MLS is one of the ways real estate agents advertise properties that are available for purchase. It signals to buyer’s agents that they can make inquiries about a property on behalf of purchasers.
Difference between a withdrawn listing and an expired listing
A withdrawn listing may still be listed for sale with a real estate agent, but it’s no longer listed on the MLS. Withdrawal doesn’t sever the ties between a seller and the agent, because the contract between them is still in place.
During the period that the listing is withdrawn from the market, the clock is still ticking on the original listing contract, pushing toward the expiration date. But sellers can’t be approached by another real estate agent to represent them, nor can they sell the house straight to a potential buyer.
Properties are withdrawn for a number of reasons. Sometimes a seller has a family situation that needs to be resolved or a repair that needs to be made before the house can be sold.
An expired listing is a property that has not sold by the end of the period stipulated in the listing contract between the seller and the listing agent.
When a listing hits its expiration date, the sellers have the option to stay on with their current agent and list it again or go with a new agency without incurring any penalties for changing representation.
Whether you stick with your current agent or hire someone new, the property will have to be relisted again, creating a new listing on the MLS. There’s no such thing as an automatically renewed listing. It has to be redone in writing. You can have a verbal agreement, but an agent can’t just relist on you, and it really should be in writing.
That said, if a property is already under contract when a listing expires, a sale may be in the process of closing soon. In that case, you are legally bound to stick with your listing agent and allow that agent to complete the sale. Don’t try to skirt the fees your selling agent stands to collect at closing by reaching out to the buyer’s agent to complete the transaction—it’s just shady.