What Is a Net Listing? Definition, Example, 10+ Facts

A Net Listing is an apartment or home listing where the owner agrees to accept a specific amount for the home in exchange for allowing the buyer to sell it at a higher price through their own real estate agent.

What Is a Net Listing?

A net listing is an agreement between a house seller and the broker responsible with finding a buyer. In the majority of listing agreements, the broker is entitled to a commission calculated as a percentage of the selling price.

What Is a Net Listing?

Under contrast, in a net listing agreement, the broker’s compensation is equal to the difference between the sale price and the net price agreed upon by the seller, if the sale price is greater.

Since this might put the broker in a position to take advantage of the seller, it is banned in many places.

Definition of Net Listing

Imagine being a real estate agent who helps individuals purchase and sell properties. Every day, you get to make dreams come true. If you are fortunate, business will be thriving and you will amass a fortune.

However, this is not always the case, and intermittent revenue can be unpleasant. Additionally, you may be required to pay a portion of your commission to the broker, thus reducing your profits.

The type of listing an agent is selling impacts how much they will earn from the transaction. A net listing permits the agent to retain any amount of money in excess of the selling price established by the seller. In other words, if the home sells for more than the seller’s asking price, the agent can retain the difference, sometimes known as the ‘net’ profit.

It is crucial to note that in many states, net listings are prohibited. While they are allowed in California and Texas, both states have regulations in place to protect vendors and prevent difficulties and possible lawsuits.

The anger of Net Listings

By employing a net listing, an unethical agent might put their own interests above those of the seller. Here’s one conceivable scenario:

A real estate agent recommends a net listing for the seller’s home.

The agent offers that the seller will receive $200,000 from the transaction, and the agent’s commission will be anything over that amount. The standard buyer’s agent commission may also be deducted.

The Protections Against Net Listings are Strong

Net listings are banned for most real estate agents

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) prohibits its members from posting net listings. Realtors cannot put net listings in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the database used by real estate professionals to find houses for sale.

Because more than 1.4 million of an estimated more than 2 million agents in the United States are NAR members, nearly 70 percent of real estate agents are essentially prohibited from accessing internet listings.

Net listings are illegal in most states

The majority of states have taken decisive action against the practice. However, Internet postings are authorized in three states with significant home markets: California, Florida, and Texas.

However, even in these states, net listings are utilized sparingly and with restrictions.

Which States Are Net Listings Legal?

The states of California, Florida, and Texas permit net listings.

Nonetheless, all three states have enacted restrictions on the availability of net listings. California, for example, restricts the use of net listings to “very intelligent clientele” who are aware of the inherent conflict of interest.

Are Net Listings Illegal?

In the majority of states, postings on the Internet are unlawful.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) prohibits its members from using net listings, regardless of state legislation.

Since the majority of the two million active real estate agents in the United States belong to NAR — which has around 1.5 million members — it is highly improbable that the ordinary U.S. home seller will see a net listing.

Reasons to Avoid a Net Listing

Even if Internet listings are permissible in your area, use caution. They pose an unneeded danger that might cost you a considerable amount of the revenues from the sale of your house.

First, a net listing agreement puts the interests of the seller and agent at conflict. If your property sells for more than the asking price, your agent will receive a larger commission, but you will have less opportunities to profit from the sale.

With contrast, in a normal commission system based on a percentage, both parties benefit from a greater sale price.

This danger increases when the seller is unaware of the real worth of their property. A dishonest agent might convince a seller to accept an artificially low listing price in order to maximize their own commission.

Net Listing Examples

A real estate agent contacts a homeowner to discuss utilizing a net listing for their house. The real estate agent guarantees the homeowner a profit of $400,000 from the sale of their property.

What Is a Net Listing?

The homeowner accepts without understanding the home’s true worth.

The property is sold for $500,000 by the agency.

On the sale of a $500,000 home, the agent makes $100,000 rather than the standard six percent commission, which would be $30,000.

Instead of $470,000, the homeowner receives $400,000 for their home.

As can be seen, the interests of the listing agent and the homeowner are not aligned. The listing agent exploits the homeowner and defrauds him or her of $70,000.

Other Types of Listings

There are four common types of listings: open listings, exclusive right to sell listings, exclusive agency listings, and net listings.

Open Listing

A non-exclusive contract is an open listing. This type of listing allows the seller or buyer to hire an unlimited number of agents.

With an open listing, all contractual brokers can promote the property or look for properties at the same time, but only the broker who delivers a ready, willing, and able buyer to the seller or who locates the buyer’s chosen home will get a commission.

However, the customer is not required to pay a commission to the broker if he or she purchases or sells the property on their own. Open listings are so uncommon since they provide the least certainty that the broker would be compensated for his or her services.

Exclusive Right to Sell Listing

Exclusive right to sell listings are the most common form of listing agreement. In accordance with the terms of this contract, the broker has the exclusive right to advertise the property for a specific time period.

Regardless matter who brought the buyer, the seller must pay the agreed-upon commission if the property sells while the broker holds the listing. This reduces the likelihood of a dispute with the seller regarding who was responsible for acquiring the buyer.

What Is a Net Listing?

Exclusive Agency Listing

An exclusive agency listing agreement grants a broker the right to promote and sell a property for a certain length of time, however the owner maintains the right to locate a buyer and sell the property without paying a fee to the broker.

Only if the residence is sold by the broker or an authorized agent or subagent of the broker is the seller required to pay a commission. This form of listing is uncommon in residential transactions since it raises the likelihood of a dispute between the broker and the seller on who was responsible for the sale.

Why would a customer permit the listing of their house as a net listing?

The customer may wish to sell his home swiftly if, for instance, he has already chosen a new residence and wishes to move soon.

A net listing might provide the agent with an incentive to swiftly place the home under contract at a high sales price, since the agent would benefit more the higher the selling price.

A net listing may be an opportunity to earn extra money, as opposed to other types of listings where the agent keeps a certain amount as compensation.

Alternatives to net listings

Standard exclusive right to sell listing agreement Agree to engage with a single agent who will seek to sell your house for the highest feasible price.
Companies that buy houses Contract with an iBuyer or a firm that buys properties directly from sellers for cash.
For sale by owner (FSBO) You can sell your home without a real estate agent and avoid listing commission (though you’ll likely still have to pay commission to the buyer’s agent).

Real Estate Net Listing Agreements

Understanding Net Listing Agreements Through an Example

To better comprehend how net listing agreements function in the actual world, it is helpful to examine a basic illustration. Consider a couple who owns a house in North Texas.

Within the following two months, they intend to relocate to the opposite side of the state due to a new employment opportunity. They must sell their residence quite fast. The couple chooses to sign a net listing agreement with a local realtor.

Both parties agree that the home’s basic price will be $200,000. In this instance, the real estate agent retains any amount in excess of $200,000 If the property is sold for $235,000, the commission will be $35,000.

What Is a Net Listing?

However, if the house is only sold for $205,000, the fee will be reduced to $5,000. A net listing agreement gives the excess to the real estate agent.

The Risks of Using a Net Listing Agreement

Similar to any other fee structure, there are advantages and disadvantages to operating under a net listing agreement. Despite this, net listing agreements are commonly viewed as particularly dangerous for real estate professionals.

On one end of the range, a real estate agent may work with a seller who accepts a price that is substantially lower than what market circumstances truly support. This might result in a real estate broker performing a substantial amount of labor for little or no monetary recompense.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a customer may sue a real estate agent who is overly successful (obtains a price substantially beyond what the seller anticipated). A client may feel taken advantage of if their house sells for a significantly higher price than anticipated. Even in places where net listing agreements are permissible, authorities frequently discourage real estate agents from employing them.

Are You Ready to Become a Real Estate Agent?

If you are interested in becoming a real estate broker or salesperson, you will be needed to pass your state’s licensing examination. These examinations are infamously challenging. In several states, fewer than fifty percent of those who take the real estate exam pass.

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With current real estate sample examinations and well selected study aids, our real estate test preparation system will put you in the best possible position to pass the exam. From real estate net listing agreements to a broad array of other topics, our test preparation resources cover all you need to know.

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What Is a Net Listing?

Sign an exclusive right to sell listing agreement

Working with a real estate agent is the most frequent approach to sell a house, with the majority of agents using exclusive right to sell listing agreements.

In accordance with this agreement, you will engage with a single agent who will list, advertise, and facilitate the sale of your house.

In exchange for your real estate agent’s services and out-of-pocket charges, you will pay a commission (often 5 to 6 percent of the sale price of your house).

Our partners at Clever can help you enjoy the benefits of dealing with an agent while saving thousands on commission. They have established a nationwide network of top-rated agents that provide complete service for a fee of 1% or $3,000.


Net listing is one of the most important tools when it comes to real estate investing.

A net listing will list properties at discounted prices on sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and even Craigslist. It’s the best way to find deals in any area.

You can use the same methods to generate leads for yourself or sell them to a broker. It will make it much easier for you to find listings at the right price and get into the market as quickly as possible.

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Pat Moriarty
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