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Open listings: nightmare or opportunity?

20 October 2016 Tim Neary
Open listings for real estate agents

Open listings, where more than one agent is involved in a sale, can be annoying at best and a waste of time at worst.

However, vendors choose open listings because they don’t have an existing and trusting relationship with a particular agent in their area. 

Open listings are a feature of geographical areas that offer poor customer experience to buyers and sellers, according to Ray White’s CEO for growth, Mark McLeod. 

Mr McLeod said when vendors in these areas want to list their homes, they turn to independent/open agents because they don’t know who else to approach.


“So, for me, vendors looking for an open agent or what they represent, presents an opportunity for our industry,” he told REB from the 2016 Inman Conference in San Francisco.  

“Vendors with a great relationship with an agent are unlikely to go to an open agent.”

Mr McLeod said every industry – including real estate – has a core product.

“It’s not always what you think it is. For example, McDonald’s core product is time. Typically, you go to McDonalds when you are in a hurry.”

In real estate, the core product is trust, and people use open agents because they do not trust anyone.

“So the next level of discussion becomes commoditised, and that happens when you don’t enhance your core product,” he said.   

“And so these vendors have inquired on properties and never got a response or the response has been unsatisfactory. Or they have gone to an open for inspection and nothing has happened.”

Mr McLeod said trust is built over long periods of time, comparing it to a long road” that requires “discipline and hard work.

“We genuinely have, and this is bizarre, a group of agents in our network that are more excited about finding a potential vendor today that tells them they are 18 months away from listing, than they are of finding someone who wants to list immediately,” he said.

“Their percentage chance of getting the vendor to list with them today is poor. Because they will call in four agents, and will probably have to drop the commission or pay for the marketing or get pressure on the method.”

Open listings: nightmare or opportunity?
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