Helping Home Sellers



Listing agreements

Length of Listing Agreement:

How long to list your home:
Agents want you to list for as long as they can get you to agree to. You should limit the original agreement to 60 or 90 days. Of course, it could take longer if you’re headed into a really slow sales period, down market or reside in a rural area where buyers and sales are scarce.

You want a timeframe that’s long enough to see how you and your agent work together, but not so long that the agent just sits back and lets the house sell itself. The listing can always be extended for any agreed upon time period, typically 30 or 60 days.

Listing agents may object to a short listing, pointing out the easy cancellation clause in the agreement. An early exit may have been agreed on, but agents know that a lot of people are too intimidated to cancel and will just let it ride to the end of the agreement.
How long to sell:
Actual selling time is primarily tied to how well a property is priced, the time of year and the market conditions. Now throw in the condition of the home, the ease of showing by the seller, the location, motivation factors, etc. Even if all these questions had answers, no one knows when the right buyers will come along.

Owners that have used the services of a home stager swear by their services. The more mainstream a house is, the more it will appeal to the largest audience and thus sell quicker. Single stories sell best in some areas, two stories in others. Bi-levels, tri-levels and quads have less universal appeal and could take longer to sell. The same holds true for nontraditional houses like log cabins, contemporaries, tec. Selling time will be effected by a number of factors, but in a boom market, an outhouse could move fast–so to speak.
Average selling time:
Don’t base a prediction of your home’s selling time on what is considered to be the current “average time” on the market. This is a very misleading number. As an example, if agents tell you that the average selling time is 61 days, you would assume your home would sell in about eight to nine weeks. Of course half the homes could have sold the first week on the market and the other half in four months. No one can forecast an accurate selling time.

Even real cream puffs sell slower in a dead market.


Ocassionally you'll see a statistic related to the inventory of homes and selling time. It's referred to as the average days–on–market (DOM) for homes sold. Like the average time is 52 DOM which is a great improvement over last year for this month when it was 74 DOM.  The fallacy here is that this figure is calculated using the time on the market from all the properties current listing period. 

In other words, say a home that is on the market for 180 days and then the listing ends. If the home is put back on the market, even with the same agency, then the clock starts all over again.

Suppose this home gets a contract the first day on this second go around. When figures are used to come up with the average days on the market for homes in an area, this home sale will be counted as one day on the market, not 181.

This doesn’t really reflect an accurate estimate of the average selling time.


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