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How long are real estate agent listing agreements?

A real estate agent listing agreement

One of the most frequently asked questions that real estate agents hear is how long houses should 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 that this is partially up to you. It depends on how urgently you need to sell your home and what type of market you are selling in, among other factors. 

One of the first steps in selling your home is selecting the right real estate agent for your needs. You can get started with this by registering your details at However, after this you must start thinking about listing agreements, including how long you want the listing to last. This aspect of your contract is negotiable, and is also 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 simply be left in the hands of a real estate agent. 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, 6-month, or 1-year listing contracts. Your agent will typically expect you to choose one of these four options 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 ditching your first real estate agent in favour of someone who may be better able to suit your needs.

Yet before you leave your first estate agent, you'll want to review your current sale price and see if it is overpriced. In this type of situation, not even the most experienced agent will be able to sell your home. You can find and compare potential agents by using the free services at

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 houses. 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 home's sale price or current condition. You may need to carry out a bit of maintenance to improve your chances of a sale in this case.

Reasons for Signing a 6-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 for 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 the pending sale in escrow. If this occurs, you would have to extend the listing agreement. It's better to be prepared and go into the sale with a longer term contract.

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 too locked into your 6-month contract if you find that your real estate agent just isn't working out. If they are unwilling to provide this clause for you in writing, you will probably want to look elsewhere before signing anything.

Reasons for Signing a 1-Year Listing

There are some situations in which you can expect your sale to take longer. If your home is located in a rural area, for example, it could take longer to sell. Although a listing period of one year may sound like a long time, it could be normal 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 fancier holiday homes or private islands, which require extensive marketing time to find the right buyer. A good real estate agent won't agree to spend 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 and check references before you sign any paperwork. Get started with comparing qualified agents in your area by registering now at With over 5,500 agents listed, you'll be sure to have plenty of options to choose from.

What's next?

You can also read our related articles for more information:

is the average sales commission charged by real estate agents in Australia. In your area, it's...
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