How to list a property that's already listed.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC BK607690

for saleDo you ever take post dated listings? What I mean is, a potential Seller calls you up and wants to get together and discuss placing their property on the market, the catch is, they are currently listed with another company. What do you do? Well, I'll tell you what I do, I go over and take the listing. Did you know this was perfectly ethical?

What you can't do is try to convince them to cancel their existing agreement or bad mouth their current Realtor. Also, you must post date the listing agreement. But other than those three things, this is an acceptable way to do business. I actually run across this quite often in my business and never hesitate to take the listing.

My feeling on this is that, these Sellers just want to sell their house, if their current situation is not working out for them, then, I am more than happy to give them another option. How do you feel about this? Do you do it?

Would it make you angry if I did this on one of your listings?

Well, I've never had it happen on one of my listings but don't think it would bother me at all. I too want my Sellers to sell their house and if for some reason I can't get the job done, I would want them to seek another REALTORS(R) services. Heck I may even make a recommendation to them.

Here's the section in our Code of Ethics that covers this situation.

Standard of Practice 16-6

  • When REALTORS® are contacted by the client of another REALTOR® regarding the creation of an exclusive relationship to provide the same type of service, and REALTORS® have not directly or indirectly initiated such discussions, they may discuss the terms upon which they might enter into a future agreement or, alternatively, may enter into an agreement which becomes effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive agreement. (Amended 1/98)

So, the next time this situation presents itself, go take the listing. Don't feel bad about it, just do it. It's all a part of good business practices and it helps the consumer out. And that really is what it's all about. What say you?

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Re-Blogged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Larry Amorosso 09/18/2009 01:46 AM
  2. Carolyn L-MIS 09/18/2009 02:57 AM
  3. Sandy McAlpine 09/18/2009 03:45 AM
  4. 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity 09/18/2009 07:09 AM
  5. Jeremy Brandt 09/21/2009 09:30 AM
  6. Tim Ludemann 09/22/2009 05:03 AM
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Champions Real Estate Group - Rosenberg, TX

Yes, it WOULD tick me off!! I would be upset with myself for not anticipating my Client's needs.

Sep 20, 2009 04:28 AM #250
Jackie Hawley
Coldwell Banker Professionals - Oxford, MI
Southeast Michigan Real Estate

Regarding the issue of 2 signs- What about when you list a house that was previously listed (post dated or not) and the first agent hasn't bothered removing his sign? Would the attitude be just as foul about an old listing agent who has his sign in front of another agent's listing?

Sep 20, 2009 04:41 AM #251
Trish Giassa

Nice post and commentary!  Love to start a controversy, don't you?  It's fun!  Thanks for sharing

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Sep 20, 2009 07:39 AM #252
Pam Canova
Long & Foster, Aspen Hill/Leisure World Plaza - Aspen Hill, MD
Realtor, Montgomery, Frederick, Carroll Cty, MD.

Wow!  I didn't know that was allowed.  Thanks for the information.  I will need to check the laws in my state.

Sep 20, 2009 09:19 AM #253
Peter Rozsa
Cupertino, CA - Cupertino, CA

I never forgot something I learned when I was a kid: "It's easier to get forgiveness than to get permission".

Meaning that we all know it's unethical to even indirectly attempt to get a listing from another agent by asking the seller even indirect questions, but how is anyone going to prove that your questions provoked the seller into thinking why the house hasn't sold and cancelled the listing to go with you.

In legalese, you cannot arrest someone for having bad thoughts or intentions, which is almost impossible to prove. They can't arrest me for telling a cop I'm thinking of robbing a bank.

A few years ago I had a seller cancel my listing with him and he went with a national franchise. He beat me to it, because I was going to release him anyway. Totally unreasonable in every way. No lockbox, must schedule an appointment 24hr. in advance and after 5pm only. OH only on Sat. no Sundays (his day of rest). Refused to clean up and de-clutter his home, refused to pay for property and termite inspections. He said if buyer wanted it bad enough, let them pay for it themselves. This was the only listing that I had ever cancelled. Wished the other agent good luck.

As it turned out, it became a short sale after 8 months on the market, and eventually became an REO.

PAM: There is no law in any state that said you can't solicit another listing. It's unethical, but not against the law. The difference is local ethical guidelines vs. law.

In CA the lowest priority is given to complaints about one agent against another. I've heard horror stories where the accusations were outrageous, but nothing was done about it.

Sep 20, 2009 11:26 AM #254
Risa Liebster
Ramsey-Shilling Associates - Los Angeles, CA
Toluca Lake Real Estate

Great post doing what a great post should do - demanding to be read and commented on! I believe the moral (no pun intended) of the story including all 257 comments thus far is: KNOW and REFLECT UPON your personal ethics, UNDERSTAND the difference between legal and ethical, READ your state's laws and NAR's COE, ASK your broker if you're not sure about something. And, of course, it would be wonderful if all REALTORS, brokers and licensees behaved legally and ethically at all times - if that were the case the public would have a higher opinion of us all.

Sep 20, 2009 09:06 PM #255
Geoff Thomas

I'm not going to read all 256 comments but will say according to the standard of practice it appears you can only list the house AFTER the current listing has expired.  You can set up the cotnract prior to the expiration of the current one only if it doesnt' take effect until the current contract has expired.  In that case yes it would be ethical and legal to take the listing once the previous one has expired.

However I don't think it would be ethical to take the listing and actively market the house before the current listing has expired.  Nor would it be ethical or legal to tell or even insuinuate that they need to cancel the current listing so that you can take it over. 

Sep 21, 2009 12:49 PM #256
Tim Ludemann
Ochopee, FL

Great post!...Get the home marketed and priced to sell and agents wouldn't have to worry about there listing expiring and a more aggressive agent getting it!

Sep 22, 2009 05:02 AM #257
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

BB, you've certainly got a variety of opinions don't you?  If I was everyone, I would check out the possibilities in case it happens to you (or could happen) with your local board & broker if you feel your stepping on toes.  I'm just surprised we have a bunch of people that never took a listing right after it expires?  OR gonna expire?

Sep 22, 2009 05:09 AM #258
Joy Caldwell
Coventry Glen Realty - College Station, TX

Well with the discount brokers that we have, what if the relisting agent offers a lower commission, do you think the seller would negotiate in good faith if he could save some money? It may be ethical but this is why we won't be considered a profession any time soon.

Sep 22, 2009 09:48 AM #259
Kristina Pratt
St. Louis' Illinois Suburbs - RE/MAX Preferred Partners - Edwardsville, IL

Wow.  That was one of the most interesting reads I've had on AR in a long time.  Way to go, BB - you cheating, lying, unethical slimeball.  Ooops... I forgot to add "snake" in there.  :)

Sep 22, 2009 04:48 PM #260
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


You also forgot to mention that he's a prick :)

He wears that label proudly :)

P.S. And you Guys thought I wasn't paying attention. Ha :)


Sep 24, 2009 02:37 AM #261
Martin Kalisker
Greater Boston Association of REALTORS - Boston, MA
Professional Standards & Legal Assistant

Peter -

I do hope that you are not being serious with your comments.  Unethical behaviour, whilst not "illegal" is distasteful and it gives the industry a black eye.  I can't even believe that you would even think that way!

I hope that you are not some broker's agent in CA.  If you were mine and you expressed something like this in a public forum such as Active Rain, you'd have a big "DEHIRED" stamp on your forehead!


Sep 24, 2009 08:48 AM #262
Troy Erickson
Diverse Solutions Realty - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Bryant - I've never had this issue come up, but didn't know that I could actually take the listing.  Now I know exactly what to do.  I look forward to getting my first post-dated listing.

Sep 28, 2009 09:35 AM #263

It may be legal, and it may be ethical, but I believe that it is in violation of at least our MLS rules, because you are not to post date a listing. I prefer to have them cancel the first listing then sign mine. That way I avoid the fine, and feel okay with myself.

Sep 30, 2009 09:34 AM #264

It may be legal, and it may be ethical, but I believe that it is in violation of at least our MLS rules, because you are not to post date a listing. I prefer to have them cancel the first listing then sign mine. That way I avoid the fine, and feel okay with myself.

Sep 30, 2009 09:34 AM #265
tbd tbd
Lake Mary, FL

This is the greatest post in the history of all real estate post ever! Human nature at its best and worst. Real estate practices at its most hypocritical.

Real estate is a business.

Business is about profit.

You wouldn’t be in real estate if you didn’t want to profit.

Ethics are relative.

Many say it’s unethical to earn a percentage of sale based on sale price!

Almost all of you touting “not ethical” or “I wouldn’t do it” still take that percentage from those homeowners. They said it’s unethical. You think it’s ethical. Now a business practice you don’t agree with is unethical?

***Those thinking this is NOT ethical don’t realize how you are being “unethicated” against with your everyday common needs. You play right into many unethical business practices with living habits by companies you can’t live without.***

Nobody is looking at the big picture anymore.

We're all trying to justify our beliefs saying my puzzle piece is right and your piece doesn't belong ... yet every piece forms the big picture, interlocked together to make a united and awesome display.  It's about the completed picture, not the individual piece.

Oct 14, 2009 01:13 PM #266
Andi Grant
310-508-4354 | - Los Angeles, CA
Helping 1st time buyers and home sellers in LA!

Wow, I'm reading this over a year after you originally posted because your brain was picked clean and gave me a page of listing presentation links to read in the meantime. Boy have I've been entertained.

I knew of post-dating placement on the MLS, but had no idea you could post-date a listing while a seller was already under contract because of signature date.  It has simply never came up and I've heard no discussion of it during meetings or watercooler talk. 

I of course have had to hunt down AWOL listing agents to sign Listing Cancellation Agreements before.  Unbelievable...I get more referrals from AWOL agents.



Oct 25, 2010 10:10 AM #267
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Hi Andi. I see you are taking the Broker Bryant Blog tour!! As you can see this article created quite the stir. The seller's signature does not need to be post dated. Just the start date for the listing. The start date for the listing is when the property goes into the MLS. I have done this many times. It works like a charm.

Oct 25, 2010 10:20 AM #268
Woodie Wills
The Listing Firm - Houston, TX

Question; if an agent saturates an area with their marketing materials and is contacted by a homeowner who received their mailing but, has an active listing agreement with another agent could it be considered the agent made 'initial contact' through their direct marketing?? 

Apr 13, 2012 04:27 AM #269
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