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, a 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. Here's a list of how long your agent should take.

Reasons for a 30-day Listing Length of Time

  • If your market is steaming hot and homes are flying into pending status within days, your agent might be agreeable to a 30-day listing. I wouldn't do it, but your agent might.
  • 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 the price. If your price 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 you are 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 exceeds two months, you're probably trying to sell in a buyer's market and will need a longer listing term.
  • If you go into contract on a 90-day listing, your listing might expire while in escrow. In that event, your agent may require that 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 if the agent 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 out in the boondocks where nothing ever sells under one year, then a 360-day listing might be the norm in your area.
  • Unique properties, large parcels, and expensive estates might take longer to sell because they may appeal to a limited number of buyers.
  • Private islands and lavish vacation homes require a longer marketing time, and agents might 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 time on a short sale but many still require three months or longer to negotiate, and buyers who walk out prior to acceptance simply lengthen the time frame.

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, CalBRE #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.