Your Agent Wants a Six Month Listing? Seriously?

Real Estate dinosaursThis was a dinosaur I thought long extinct, particularly in what has been one of the most active real estate markets in the nation.

Yet yesterday I spoke to a former client, who listed with a friend of the family as seems to happen far too often, who signed a six-month listing agreement with the agent. And now that the listing agent doesn’t seem to be doing much – no communication, little to no marketing … hell, not even any photographs other than those provided by the sellers themselves – these folks may just be trapped for another three months.

By all means, insert the disclaimer that real estate is local. If you’re an agent in a very quiet market, I get the six month concept.

But here in the Phoenix area? For a non-short sale listing? You’ve got to be kidding me.

Realistically, an agent should be able to prove he or she is doing everything she promised within the first 30 days. That’s when the sign goes up, the photographs are taken, the home’s marketing gets kicked into gear and, not coincidentally, when the most traffic the majority of homes will see comes through.

At the end of 60 days, the seller and agent should have a pretty good idea if this partnership is working out. And it should be viewed as a partnership, not so much in the particulars of how the house should be marketed – yell all you want for open houses, they’re largely a waste of time – but because each of you have a common goal in mind.

By 90 days? Hell, most newlyweds are ready to boot their spouse out the door at the end of 90 days. Of course, that contract comes without a set expiration date so you’re really kinda stuck then.

That’s not the case with a listing to sell your home, or at least it shouldn’t be. At no point should a seller feel trapped and at no point should an agent, even one with the sheer gall to ask for a six-month listing, refuse to release a seller early when it’s clear things aren’t working out. And especially so when it’s the listing agent who’s been sitting on his thumbs for months figuring an MLS listing with one photo’s good enough.

If someone walks into your home asking for a six-month listing and you’re not going to be short selling your home, kick them out the door. As quick as you can.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • TBoard 5 years ago

    You should mention that real estate is local.  I generally won’t take a downtown condo listing for less than six months because I want the contract active right up to the close. The average cumulative days on market downtown excluding short sales is 307 days excluding short sales.  . . with that said I was able to sell the last downtown condo I had on the market in three months and it closed with in four.

  • JonathanDalton 5 years ago

    @TBoard Good point. In this case, though, I’m writing on my local blog. Ain’t no reason for a six-month listing here in Phoenix. Funny part is right when the seller was about to cancel an offer fell from the sky and it sold.

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