How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?

Any remotely seasoned real estate agent will tell you that one of the first questions they get asked is “how long will it take to sell my house?” It’s a commonsensical question that all brokers would love to answer for you—if only they had a crystal ball.

Unfortunately, they don’t.

average days on the market

Image source: Active Rain

However, what we at SellMyHouseDallas do have are statistics and formulas, which can act as pretty accurate predictors. We’re going to discuss all the facts, figures, and information you need in order to determine for how long your home will be on the market.

How long does it take to sell a house

In an ideal scenario for sellers, i.e. one in which the home has been accurately priced, it could sell in 10 to 21 days. This, however, only applies to high demand markets, which is clearly not the case in the U.S. as of this writing.

While market conditions have been improving of late, they are still nowhere near pre-recession levels. In September 2015, the average time required to sell a home in the United States stood at 49 days, significantly down from 56 days the same month in 2014. Add to this 41 days, on average, to close the deal.

What the housing bubble did to real home prices in the U.S., from a historic perspective.


how long does it take to sell a houseImage source: Maclean

This being the situation, no real estate agent, no matter how experienced or good at what they do, will be able to promise you a sale in 10 to 21 days. They might, however, use one or several of the following terms to make an educated guesstimate.

Average days on market

Your real estate agent should be able to tell you the average days on market in your area. This represents the number of days for which the listing has been active until the seller took up one of the offers and delisted the property from the MLS, averaged for the total number of similar local homes up for sale.

If your property broker doesn’t know this number by heart you have a couple of options. The first one should be to consider working with a different agent, since this one doesn’t seem worth his salt. The second one, which is also an option for people who choose to try and sell their own homes, is to count the number of days manually for each home, add them all up, and then divide this sum by the total number of homes on the market.

Months’ supply

Some economy experts prefer looking at the total inventory of homes on the market and then, based on average days on market, work out the number of months it would take to deplete it completely.

Age of inventory

Another useful term that relates to the total inventory of homes is age. This is calculated as the median of the ages of all the homes listed for sale on a given market.

Local variations

As you’ve probably already figured out for yourself, the average number of days on market will vary widely between states, counties, and even neighborhoods. In Washington DC, where the housing inventory is notoriously low, it only takes 14 days to sell a home on average. But cross the Potomac River and try to sell a house in Arlington, Virginia. It will still take you less than the national average (30 days), but twice as long as it would in DC.

Seasonal variations

The number of average days on market also varies amply because of seasonal patterns. For instance, spring and the beginning of the summer typically see a surge in both supply and demand—so homes tend to sell quicker around this time of the year.

As the year progresses, demand slowly declines to its lowest levels in winter, while the beginning of the year brings about newly increased supply. Demand is usually very low then—and stays low until the renewed surge in spring.


to every home there is a seasonImage source: Bloomberg View

The seasonal fluctuations above can increase the median number of market days by as many as 30 days during the slower times of the year. For this reason, a lot of owners choose to list their homes early in spring. They thus manage to sell them faster, but not always for the best prices. These are usually recorded in mid-spring and mid-fall.

Factors that can make your home sell faster

Aside from location and seasonality, SellMyHouseDallas experts can tell you tha the speed at which you manage to sell your home will also vary based on several other factors:

  • The type of home. Low price range homes in markets with numerous Millennial first time buyers are selling very quickly. Such markets include San Jose, San Francisco, Dallas, and Denver. The situation couldn’t be more different for high-end luxury estates, whose average days on market are influenced by foreign currency exchange rates and even stock market fluctuations.
  • Though it’s difficult to get a precise profile for contemporary buyers, one can still safely say that they are looking for several characteristics. These include open spaces, which comprise both the living room and the dining room, as well as the number and size of bathrooms, plus the size of the kitchen. This, for instance, is one reason why newer homes tend to sell somewhat quicker: it’s difficult to upgrade to a larger kitchen in older homes.
  • Upgrading, renovating, fixing up, and staging a home can all improve the salability of a home. While it’s not always necessary to spend dozens of thousands of dollars on these things, it’s still true that potential buyers will notice the lengths you go to for getting a home ready for the sale. If you can afford to, invest in professional photographers, stagers, and brokers, to charm would-be buyers from the first second they lay eyes on your home. It will definitely help sell your home faster.

What if my home isn’t selling?

Generally speaking, a house shouldn’t spend more than 90 days on the market. If you don’t see that many offers during that window of time, it’s probably a good idea to reconsider your selling strategy – and perhaps work with a fast home seller like SellMyHouseDallas! Here are some other things you can do:

Run more research on local market trends. Consider shaving a few points off your initial price, especially if it takes you under a psychological threshold of $400,000 or $500,000. If, for instance, your home is listed online, think about the fact that many users looking to buy have email alerts set up for specific $50,000 or $100,000 brackets.

Call SellMyHouseDallas and see how we can help!

Over the years, we’ve sold every kind of property on the Dallas and North Texas market. We’ve helped owners sell their homes quick, irrespective of the kind of tough times they were going through. Situations included divorces, falling behind on mortgage payments, bad tenants, relocations, estate settlements, and more.

Give us a call today, to find out how easy it can be to sell your home quickly. We know a home sale can be a difficult process – but it doesn’t have to be this way, with SellMyHouseDallas. We’ve got the expertise and resources to help you out and make the sale profitable for you!


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