When a seller signs a listing agreement with a real estate agent, they’re giving the agent exclusive rights to sell the home for the duration of the contract. Because agents and their brokers bear the cost of marketing the seller’s listing, most listing contracts run between six months and as long as a year.
The listing agent is required to make the listing public by putting it into the multiple listing service (MLS) where the agent and agent’s broker are members, usually, three days or so after the listing contract is signed. The MLS provides the most exposure to homebuyers, often through agreements with real estate franchises such as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and third-party listing sites such as Realtor.com to carry the MLS’s listings on their websites.
Sometimes marketing doesn’t help a listing to sell if it isn’t priced attractively for its age, condition and location or it requires too much “work.” According to Realtor.com, other reasons for expired listings are minimal marketing, lack of staging, or an oversupply of similar homes.
Expired listings can be prevented. The listing can be “withdrawn” from the MLS while the seller makes updates and repairs. Once the home is ready to be remarketed, the listing is reentered into the MLS at a new price point. If the listing is allowed to expire, the seller is released from the contract. They have the choice to relist with their agent, to find a new agent, or take the home off the market.