How Long Does It Take To Sell A House?

by | Jul 19, 2021 | Selling

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Just how long does it take to sell your home anyway? You might think it shouldn’t really take all that long to make a home sale, right? Well even if that’s the case, that’s often just the time the house is listed on the market to the time the seller accepted an offer. 

Don’t forget also that you need to prepare the house to sell, and then you need to work through all the closing processes after you sell. All told, your average number of days selling a house can definitely add up. 

What factors affect the selling of a house? 

Many different things can affect the selling of a house from location to asking price, and here are a few of the more important ones:

Building up the nerve

Should I list my home, should I not list my home? You finally making the decision to sell your house is often the biggest delay to selling a house. It’s a difficult decision to make, which is why it takes so long to decide to do it. Nothing slows down the house selling process more than you. What are you waiting for? The water’s fine! 

Price point 

You need to price the home correctly from the get-go. If you set your home price too high for the size, location, and local market, you could find yourself waiting longer than normal to sell it. Some people are okay with that though. Just be advised that if you price your home too high, you may be waiting a long time. Sometimes seemingly forever to find potential buyers.  

Setting your sales price too high, not being able to sell it, and then reducing the price. Buyers can think a couple of things:  

  • You don’t know what you’re doing. If you couldn’t price your house correctly in the first place (who knows if the price you landed on now is an accurate price either).
  • There is something wrong with the house, if it didn’t sell and you had to reduce the price.

Condition 

There are a few aspects of this one that can affect how people view your house.

  1. Clutter/Cleanliness – Make sure you clean your house thoroughly and declutter everything before showing it. Nobody wants to see junk. They also want to imagine what it would be like for them to live there, not see how you live there now.
  2. Renovations – Make sure you get repairs done, if necessary, that are big ticket items. These include roof, furnace, air conditioning, foundation, mold, sewer lines, etc. If you don’t do these things and aren’t selling your house “as is,” this could cause a customer’s inspection to fail and your house may take a long time to sell.
  3. Curb appeal – Does the inside of your house look immaculate and yet the front yard and fence look like you haven’t been to your house in years? This could cause serious issues with getting your house sold. Do yourself a favor – first impressions are a big deal. Spend some time on the front of the house, so that you can sell your house more quickly. 

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Seasonality

Many factors come into play around the country for when it’s best to sell your house. In Arizona, it’s not easy to sell a house in the summertime. However, often times that’s the best time of year to sell your house in Seattle. In Colorado,  for example, February and spring are the best times of year. 

Whatever time of year you choose, there can be definite challenges. Pick a popular time to list, and sometimes with the increased inventory, buyers will not find you right away. Even if they do, they might not offer you full price because of all the other options they have. Pick a non-popular time to list, and you might be the pick of the litter. But, you could also be waiting for the right serious buyer. 

Location

Naturally of course, where your house is in relation to schools, entertainment venues, and parks are all important to buyers. There’s not much you can do to change where you are. It benefits you to have your agent promote the better aspects of your neighborhood and downplay shortcomings. 

But in truth, hot neighborhoods, hot cities, and even hot states will definitely help you sell your house. So will access to good schools and plentiful amenities within walking distance. Neighborhoods without those obvious features may slow down your house from selling. 

Time it takes to sell a house by market

Below are the five fastest and the five slowest average days on market per market during 2020. Time between the initial listing of a property and when an offer is accepted or taken off the market defines average days on market (DOM). 

Average days for a listed house to get an accepted offer in the entire US for 2020 was 25 days. After an offer is accepted, home sales typically require an additional 30 to 45 day closing period before they are officially sold. Therefore, it took an average of 55-70 days to sell a house in the US in 2020.

Top five 

  • Columbus, OH 8 days
  • Denver 9 days
  • Raleigh 10 days
  • Seattle 10 days
  • Boise 11 days

Bottom five

  • Little Rock 41 days
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL 42 days
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale 42 days
  • Allentown, PA 43 days
  • El Paso 47 days

How long does each step of the home-selling process take? 

Besides everything above being a factor, from price point to house condition to seasonality to fast markets, there are a few other factors that may impact the speed of selling a house. 

Listing and showing 

In the US during 2020, the time period from when you first put your house on the market to when you closed was roughly 2-3 months. But for an average of 25 days, your experienced real estate agent is conducting multiple open houses, hopefully also entertaining multiple offers, and generally marketing your home as best they can. 

Accepting an offer

In a hot buyer’s market, your agent should be responding as quickly as possible to the offers you’re receiving to ensure you close with the best offer. If it’s a hot seller’s market, and there are possible multiple offers, work through the best offer with your agent and maybe set a decision time when no more offers will be accepted, so you can draw a line in the sand for your choice. 

Home inspection

This shouldn’t take up time during the closing, as this time period is usually factored into the magical 30 days, but this will depend on the contract. Generally the buyer has a week to 2 weeks after offer acceptance to complete a home inspection. The inspection itself will not take long, maybe a few hours at your house and then a max of 2 days to process all the paperwork. 

Counteroffer

The results of the home inspection will drive this next period of time, again hopefully within the 30 days, where the buyer and the seller negotiate pricing changes and/or repairs to be made, typically within the closing time. This negotiation shouldn’t take more than 48 hours and is usually quicker. It’s the repairs that might take up some time. 

Closing

While all this inspection and counteroffer stuff is going on, the buyer’s lender, the title company and the local records keepers are processing everything else in order to get your closing within the 30 day period. It should all come together at the end of the 30 days when all documents are signed, sealed and delivered. And then of course you need to hand over your keys. 

What makes a house sell faster? 

Taking into account everything discussed above, if you and your agent execute all of these things expertly and efficiently, you will sell your house quickly for the best possible offer. But be patient with yourself, your agent and the process, even if you execute everything perfectly, the process can still take a matter of months to accomplish. But by the end, you’ll have successfully and satisfactorily sold your house. 

Thinking About Buying Or Selling A Home?

Get the best real estate advice from local experts in your inbox.

Thinking about buying or selling a home?

Get the best real estate advice from local experts in your inbox.