Understanding Agency Relationships in California: The Listing Contract

Agency relationships in the real estate world are essential to understanding the relationship between a seller and an agent or broker. A common question is, what type of agency relationship is created when a California seller signs a listing agreement with a California licensee?

Agency Relationship Options

The following agency relationship options are presented:

  • Single Agency: In this type of relationship, the agent exclusively represents one of the parties in a transaction.
  • General Agency: Here, the agent has general and broad authority to act on behalf of the client in a series of transactions or in a specific type of transaction.
  • Unlimited Agency: A form of agency in which the agent has complete and unrestricted authority to act on behalf of the client.
  • Subagency: It is created when an agent delegates some powers to another licensee.

The present case and Analysis

In this case we are faced with a Single Agency. A listing contract signed only by a seller and a licensee creates a single agency, since the agent represents only one party. Most listing contracts give the agent limited authority and are therefore a special type of agency, not general or unlimited. A subagency is created when an agent delegates some powers to another licensee, which is not the case in a seller-agent listing (CC 2079.13).


When deciding to sell property in California, it is crucial to understand the implications and responsibilities related to the type of agency relationship that is established. A single agency ensures that the agent or broker exclusively represents the interests of the seller, providing clarity and confidence in the sales process.

Legal and Tax Disclaimer

Please be advised that the content presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The articles and information provided here are written from the perspective of a real estate agent affiliated with Keller Williams, and do not represent legal or tax counsel.

As the author, I am a licensed real estate professional under Keller Williams, holding Brokerage DRE License Number: #02197031. However, it is important to note that my expertise is in the field of real estate, and not in legal or tax matters. The insights and opinions shared on this blog are based on my experiences and knowledge in the real estate industry and should be treated as general guidance rather than definitive legal or tax advice.

For specific legal or tax concerns relating to any real estate transactions or investments, readers are strongly encouraged to consult with a qualified attorney or tax advisor who can provide tailored advice based on your individual circumstances and the latest legal and regulatory requirements.

The information on this blog is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, and I, along with Keller Williams and its affiliates, disclaim all liability for any loss, damage, or misunderstanding arising from reliance on the information contained herein.

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