Good question. How long does it take to sell a house? The short answer: it depends. Many factors impact the duration a listing remains unsold, and that average time varies from market to market, neighborhood to neighborhood, and even street to street. Some elements are beyond your control, but some items you can control, or at least influence. Find out what will impact how long it takes to sell your house, and learn how to shorten the time your home remains unsold.
The process of selling a house usually begins before the property actually is listed for sale. Once you decide to sell your house, you likely will spend time finding the right real estate agent, cleaning your home, and other prep work that can add days or even months to the timeline.
But the key metric is the average number of days on the market (DOM). This metric measures the time between the day it is listed and the day the seller accepts an offer. In February 2020, the national average for selling a house was 80 days, which is three days less than the prior year. However, DOM varies widely by market.
In markets with inventory that does not meet the demand, the DOM is significantly lower. For example, in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward market, the median DOM in February was 18 days. In the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington market, the DOM was 69 days.
Knowing the average time to sell a house in your market provides a helpful benchmark, but other factors should be considered when trying to estimate how long it should take for your home to sell. A good approachwould be to study the DOM for similar properties in the immediate neighborhood during the same season.
According to data from the National Association of Realtors, four out of 10 home sales each year take place from May through August. This data is supported by financial findings from ATTOM Data Solutions, whose research determined that the seller’s premium is highest in June. The seller’s premium is the difference between the median actual sales price upon closing and the median automated value for that property. Sales data for more than 28 million single family home and condo sales from 2011 to 2018 found that the seller’s premium was highest in June, at 9.2 percent, and lowest in October and December, at 3.3 percent. Of the nine days of the year when the seller’s premium exceeded 10 percent, eight of those days are in the summer months.
The day of the week a home is listed might not affect how quickly the home sells, but it does impact the closing price. Analysis of data from more than 2 million sales across the country in 2018 revealed that homes listed on Thursday sold for an average of $3,015 more than homes listed on Monday. Wednesday home listings resulted in an average of $2,620 more. For example, a home listed at $500,000 on a Thursday might result in a final sales price of $3,700 more than if listed on Monday.
Bottom line: Under typical circumstances, a house sells more quickly during the summer months, with a higher sales price if listed on a Wednesday or Thursday.
You have some control over some of the factors, such as the asking price and your home’s condition, that affect how quickly your house sells, while other factors, like your property’s location and current market conditions, are entirely outside of your control.
- Asking Price: One of the most significant influences on a house’s DOM is asking price. Higher priced homes have fewer potential buyers who can afford the purchase. Average priced homes with inflated asking prices have fewer interested buyers. Determining an appropriate asking price should involve consideration of many factors. Your real estate agent can help in setting a reasonable price.
- Home Condition: Unless your home is going to be marketed as a “fixer-upper,” basic repairs should be made. Taking care of repairs helps your home to show better and gives buyers the impression that the home has been properly maintained. Minor repairs could include a dripping faucet, a broken tile, a loose railing, or a hole in a wall. If not repaired, these small items could interfere with your marketing time.
- Location: Location is one of the most critical components to a property, and it is a factor you cannot change. Houses not easily accessible by transportation, situated next to a noisy freeway, or located in an inferior school district might extend the time your house remains on the market.
- Market Conditions: The economy certainly influences the DOM. A strong economy with low unemployment and low mortgage rates increases buyer confidence and increases the demand for housing. A recession or a global health crisis lowers the number of interested buyers and increases the time it might take to sell a house. But if your property is in a market with high demand and low supply of houses on the market, you might still be able to sell quickly, despite larger economic conditions.
Some real estate agents are better than others. Some might have more experience in your neighborhood. It’s important to partner with a real estate agent you trust who will dedicate time and attention to marketing your property and taking you through the process from listing to closing. Connect with the right real estate agent through LemonBrew.
At minimum, your home should be cleared of clutter and thoroughly cleaned. Remove personal items like photographs on the walls. Minor repairs should be completed. You might consider investing in one or more renovations that could increase your home’s marketability. For example, replacing carpeting with hardwood flooring tends to bring a return on investment of 106 percent.
Hire a professional to stage your home, or do it yourself. According to some experts, a staged property sells 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more than a property that is not staged.
Listing photographs usually are the first impression interested buyers will have of your home. Invest in hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your property from all angles. One study found that houses with high-quality photographs sold about a third faster than those low-quality images.
A seller’s inspection will identify possible repairs and improvements to be made in advance of listing. Not only could this justify a higher listing price, but you shouldn’t have to worry about inspection contingencies later in the process.
How your property is listed and marketed matters. This is where partnering with a real estate agent helps. Find an agent who is in touch with the community, has social media savvy, and is experienced in selling houses similar to yours. Perhaps more importantly, find a listing agent motivated and ready to sell with you.
Ready to sell? Our proprietary algorithm finds available agents in your area best suited and motivated to move your property. Let LemonBrew match you with a real estate agent perfect for you!