How Long Should I Sign A Contract With A Real Estate Agent?

Posted in General Blog | 11/09/2012

Windsor House For Sale

Windsor House For Sale

This is a question I always here:  How long should my contract be with a real estate agent?  In Windsor, the Real Estate Board has a minimum 60 day listing contract and will not accept anything less.  Also, keep in mind that any contract longer than 180 days (6 months) means the sellers must acknowledge and sign a separate agreement so they absolutely know that are signing. My listings are for 6 months.  There are several reasons for this:

Economic conditions

In a buyer’s market, it can take longer to sell a home.  As frustrating as it is, this is the simple truth.  Homes that were often sold within a day can now sit much longer. Buyers are taking their time, being more selective and determined to find the best possible deal on a home.  In fact, many buyers are under the assumption that sellers are desperate.  While some are, many are not, but many buyers put everyone in the same group and believe that time is on their side.  Many times, when getting feedback on a showing, we will hear an agent say, “My clients loved the home and it’s exactly what they want!  But they just want to make sure and look around some more.”

Marketing Program

Even before the sign goes up in your front yard, a professional real estate agent hopefully will have created a specific marketing program to sell your home.  It’s not just enough to have an open house and put an ad in the local paper.  A home needs to be showcased through virtual tours and linked to all social media outlets.  It needs a strong online presence, via websites and heavy promoting within the real estate industry.  This takes time, hard work and yes, it is expensive for a real estate agent.  A home must have excellent photography, a clear-cut message with accurate descriptions, as well as all information about the surrounding area, schools, shops, businesses, etc.  Keep in mind also that no two homes are the same.  Yes, they may be in the same neighborhood, but each home requires their own marketing plan addressing their target audience.  The goal?  How can we make your home stand apart from the rest?

Super Fair 90 Day Guarantee

This is what I offer my clients.  Listen, it’s no good for anyone to be in a contract if it’s not working out.  So this guarantee lets clients out of any listing unconditionally, if not happy for any reason.  But it works two ways.  Because of the expense, if your listing is over 60 days and a proper repairs or reluctance in being available or home is not ready for showings, then we will initiate a release.  It’s just too costly for both the agent and client to continue working together if someone is not doing their job.  In today’s market, our average sale time has been 52.75 days for a home to sell.  By the time the 90 days comes up, a home is usually sold.

Short listings backfire.  Oftentimes, a seller will think they are doing themselves a favor by signing a short contract, but find me an agent who agrees to a short-term contract, and I will show you an agent that will not market your property.  Most agents will not go to the expense of marketing a home if it only has the listing for 60 or 90 days.  There is nothing in it for them, particularly in this economic climate where homes have a longer sales cycle.

What’s interesting is that listings with signed contracts over a longer period of time end up SELLING QUICKER than those with shorter contracts?  Why?  Because an agent knows that have time on their side to do their job well and will invest a lot more effort in marketing a home.  This results in higher traffic.  When you have higher traffic you have an excellent chance at a sale.  So I would be very wary of an agent that promises you a smaller commission, a shorter contract, or worse of all, both.  Commission and terms of the listing contact are always an issue only in the absence of value.  An agent has nothing to lose if they don’t put any marketing program behind your home.  It’s time and money they haven’t spent, while your home sits and waits for a buyer.

Chances are if you are researched and done your homework, you will be happy that you have chosen the right broker to sell your home.  But again, things happen, so before signing the paperwork, make sure you know your “outs” in case you are not satisfied.

Selling a home is stressful, there is no doubt about it.  But when you put your Windsor home for sale in today’s market, you want to know that a talented, professional and committed Windsor real estate agent is representing you.  It’s just one less thing to worry about.

Next Stop:  The “Do’s and Don’ts” of marketing your home.  It’s not as easy as you think.

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