One of the most frequently asked questions that real estate agents receive is: ‘How long should my house be listed for sale?’ Many sellers also wonder how long it will take for a listing to expire if the property doesn’t end up selling. The answer is partially up to you. It depends on how urgently you need to sell your home, the type of market you are selling in and a number of other factors. The duration of your listing, as well as a number of other aspects of your contract, is negotiable and is quite important. You won’t want to sign your listing agreement until you’ve carefully thought about how long you want the listing to be; according to your specific needs. The most important word used here is ‘you’: the length of the real estate contract is entirely up to you and shouldn’t be something that you let the real estate agent dictate. They may help you make this decision by suggesting a realistic time frame, but you also need to think about what duration will work out best for your needs.
Common Time Frames
Some of the most common lengths of time for listings include 30-day, 90-day, six-month and one-year listing contracts. Your agent will typically expect you to choose one of these four options (unless you live in NSW, where the most common time frame is 42 days) for your real estate listing agreement – all of which have their own purposes.
Reasons for Choosing a 30-Day Listing
If you are fortunate enough to be selling your home in a market which is favourable to sellers, also known as a ‘hot’ or ‘sellers’ market, it’s typical for properties to be sold quickly. In a truly hot market properties can be listed as pending within a couple of days or weeks after being put on the market. This type of scenario could lead to your estate agent suggesting a 30-day listing. This way, if similar houses in your suburb are selling in a matter of weeks but yours has lingered on the market until the listing expires, you have the option of leaving your first real estate agent for one who may better suit your needs.
But before you leave your first estate agent, you’ll want to review the reason that your house didn’t sell.
Reasons for Signing a 90-Day Listing Agreement
In a normally functioning real estate market, the average time period for a listing tends to be 90 days. With a well-priced home, the first month will be when you show your property and hold open-house inspections. If the house doesn’t sell during this time, you could ask for buyer feedback. This could give you vital insight into what is turning off buyers, whether it’s your sale price or the property’s current condition. You may need to carry out a bit of maintenance to improve your chances of a sale in this case, but you still have roughly two months to sell.
Reasons for Signing a Six-Month Real Estate Agent Listing
If the current market conditions are ‘cold’, then the average time a home tends to sit on the market is over two months. This is also known as a ‘buyer’s market’ and you may need to plan on listing your home for a longer time period. This helps protect you in the event that your agent’s listing expires while your home is still being held under rules of a pending sale or in escrow. If this occurred, you would have to extend the listing agreement which could be troublesome.
One tip to keep in mind is that it’s best to ask your agent for a written guarantee allowing you to leave after 90 days if you are dissatisfied with their services. This helps you from becoming completely locked into your six-month contract if you find that your real estate agent just isn’t working out.
Reasons for Signing a One-Year Listing
There are some situations in which you can expect your sale to take even longer – if your home is located in a rural area, for example. Although a listing period of one year may sound like a long time, it could be the norm for your particular market. This could be true for homes that are expensive, unique or on a large piece of land. It also holds true for fancy holiday homes, mansions or even private islands, which require extensive marketing time to find the right buyer. A good real estate agent won’t agree to spending money marketing properties like these unless they are given enough time to make the sale.
The timeframe of a listing agreement is only one factor to consider as you start planning to work with a real estate agent. You will also want to look at their experience, check references and ask them a number of questions before you sign any paperwork.