How Long is a Standard Listing Contract For Sale?

Westcoe Realtors, Riverside Ca…One of our internet readers asked us this question today.  It seems they were getting ready to list their home for sale with a local broker, and were getting all kinds of conflicting information about the duration of a standard listing contract, so they asked us if we could simplify the answer…and yes, we can make this very simple for any seller.

There is no standard time frame for a listing, and every seller has the right to list their home for as long, or short, a time period they and their Realtor can agree.  In essence, it is totally negotiable between the seller and the real estate agent.

In most cases, the Realtor wants enough time for whatever marketing they intend to do for the seller to have time to work.  Not many agents are willing to spend the money and time to market a home if the time frame is too short to see the results of the agents efforts.  However, there is also a reasonable time limit to how long a seller is willing to commit to an agent, and this makes sense as well.

So…what is reasonable?

That depends on two major factors….the general activity of local real estate market, and the price range of the sellers home relative to the average sales price for the area.

If the local market is really slow, with few houses selling (for whatever reasons…high interest rates, no jobs in the area, etc.), then a seller can expect a listing broker to ask for a longer time frame for the listing…something that will more than cover the average time it takes to sell a home.  Every area is different, but the agent should be able to give a seller the average time it takes to sell a home, and then both parties can take it from there.

When it comes to price range, just remember that the more the home is priced above the average sales price, the longer it can take to sell.  That make sense, as in any market, there are always more buyers at the lower price ranges than at the higher range.  Having a home that financially works for the most buyers will generally lead to a faster sale than a home that financially works for only a few.

In the end, just remember that the length of time for the listing contract is completely negotiable between the broker and the seller.  Try to find the balance between too long and too short (anyone remember Goldilocks?), and all will be well….and if that doesn’t work, then keep your listing contract between 90-120 days, and that should work for both parties.  Remember, you can always extend the time frame if the broker has done a good job.

Take care, and as always, thanks for reading our blog.

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