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.