An open listing is a property that uses multiple real estate agents to find buyers. The agent who brings in the buyer that ultimately ends up buying the house then gets the full commision for the property. Open listings are usually homes that either need to be sold quickly, or have been on the market for awhile and have not attracted enough interest from one agent to successfully sell the home.
The open-endedness of these deals can sometimes make them unattractive to agents, because they have no guarantee of a commission. These deals are mostly designed to benefit the seller, and it gives them a lot of flexibility on how to list their house. Because of this, many agencies have rules against open listings, or at least guidelines that govern how their agents can interact with open listings. For example, some agencies won’t advertise open listings, but they will allow their agents to bring potential buyers to them if they are already clients. Because of a combination of these reasons, there is a limited potential for agents to earn a commission on an open listing. This may lead them to focus their energy on exclusive contracts instead, because they know they will be able to earn that commission.