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Q&A: What is a listing agreement?

Q: I went to a Realtor to sell my house after living there 40 years. I was told I need to sign a listing agreement. What exactly is this document, and what are my obligations?

A: A listing agreement is a contract between the Realtor and the seller. It consists of a data form (the information about the house, including property taxes, year built, school district information, section, lot and block number, area, etc.); a disclosure form used to define the agency (that is, who you are working for, seller or buyer, or both); a lead-based paint disclosure form (if your home was built prior to 1978, you will need to fill one out); and a listing contract form that states the agreement (commission and terms), says Catherine Lindstadt, a licensed associate broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Huntington. “Typical agreements are usually six months," she says.

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