Learn How Long Your Home Should Be Listed for Sale

Large home with for sale sign


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After selecting an agent to list your home, one key negotiable factor to discuss before you sign the listing agreement is to determine the length of the listing contract.

The length of your listing is your decision; it is not your agent's decision. Your agent may suggest a time period, but it is up to you to choose the length that works best for you. You have the final word.

Key Takeaways

  • When you list your home with an agent, you can choose 30 days, 90 days, 180 days, or longer.
  • The number of days you choose should coincide with the average number of days homes take to sell in your area at that time.
  • Property types that cater to specific clients also have different marketing lengths and costs.

Reasons for a 30-Day Listing Length of Time

If the market is steaming hot and homes are flying into pending status within days, your agent might be agreeable to a 30-day listing. This way, if every other home on your street is selling within three weeks, and yours is still sitting without an offer on day 29, you can easily get rid of your agent and hire somebody else.

Before you refuse to relist with your agent, though, first look at your price. If it is too high, no agent is going to sell it.

Reasons for a 90-Day Listing Length of Time

In normal markets, 90-day listings are more common. During the first 30 days, you should get a lot of showings if your house is priced right.

Ask your agent for buyer feedback, and follow up on suggestions to improve the condition of your home and/or price.

Reasons for a 180-Day Listing Length of Time

If the average DOM (days on market) exceeds two months, you're probably trying to sell in a buyer's market, and you will need a longer listing term.

If you go into contract on a 90-day listing, it might expire while in escrow. In that event, your agent might require you extend the listing, so it makes more sense to start out with a 180-day listing.

Ask your agent when you initially sign the six-month listing whether they will give you a personal guarantee that you can cancel at the end of 90 days if you are unhappy. If the agent won't give you that guarantee, then list with an agent who has more confidence to make you that offer.

Reasons for a One-Year Listing Length of Time

If you live in a rural area where nothing ever sells in less than one year, a 360-day listing may be the norm in your area. Unique properties, large parcels, and expensive estates might take longer to sell, because they might appeal to a more limited number of buyers.

Private islands and lavish vacation homes require a longer marketing time, and agents may not be willing to shell out the big marketing bucks for a short-term listing.

Let's not forget the short sales and distressed situations. Over the years, banks have improved their response times on short sales, but many still require three months or longer to negotiate. Buyers who walk out prior to acceptance simply lengthen the time frame.

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