How Long Does it Take to Sell a House, Typically?
Updated: Aug 11
The moment you decide to sell your house, the clock starts ticking. The approximate time needed to sell a home depends on various factors like the demand, seasonality, and market conditions. However, seasonality is not the biggest factor as it is inconsistent and keeps on varying. These are the external factors, but internal factors include your home's condition, price, and locality. But sometimes your house might take a longer period or can be sold out within 15 days0-9, you never know as luck can also be a huge factor. To give you a better perspective, we have elaborately listed down some of the important factors that influence the duration of which you sell the house.
The condition of your home:
This is probably one of the biggest influencing factors. If your home's condition is great, everyone's interested in buying it. To make your home's condition great, invest in minor renovations and repairs that would fetch you more returns. Focus on renovations that improve the curb appeal of your home. For instance, you can minor electrical and plumbing issues in the kitchen, bathroom, repaint interiors, spruce up the landscape and do a lot more if you have the budget and right guidance.
A home inspection is another way to find out the potential defect of your home. Fix all the major issues that you notice in a home inspection report. A home inspection report with no repairs and complaints would increase the demand for your home as people can see that the house is in great condition. A home inspection is a great investment as it's all worth your money. A typical home inspection would cost you somewhere around $300 to $500 but can vary a bit depending on the size of the home and the location.
If your home is filled with your belongings and is messy, then it would become difficult for the buyer to envision their belongings and themselves in your home. Thus, always ensure your home is almost empty when potential buyers visit your home. You can consider storing your belongings in a storage unit so that your home makes you look more spacious than usual.
Pricing also plays a huge role in the time taken to sell your home. If your home is overpriced, it's hard for you to get leads and even harder to convert them. If your pricing is too low, then the potential buyers think that there are some hidden defects in the home. That's why it's being sold for less money. Also, if you are selling it for a lower price, you would incur some loss.
If you even manage a contract at a high price, there might be issues during the appraisal. If the accepted offer is higher than the appraised value, the bank might reject the loan. To overcome this issue, you might either need the seller to make huge amounts of down payment, or you should decrease the price.
If your house is below $200,000, it has a higher chance of getting sold within 30 days, considering it's being marketed and staged correctly. The homes with higher prices would usually stay on markets for a longer time.
To set the right price for your home, ensure you do enough research. Find out the prices of the houses in your locality with the same area and condition. You can even consider hiring a real estate agent who can help you set up a competitive price that can help you sell your house as early as possible.
Real estate sales are very inconsistent and influenced by varying factors. Selling a home in a hot market is easy, but in a cold market, it's very tough. Hot markets are usually characterized by low supply, high demand, rising prices, and waived contingencies. Hot markets are usually seller-biased because the conditions are completely favorable to them. On the other side, cold markets indicate low demand, seller concessions, short sales, etc. So, we can say that cold markets are buyer-biased as the conditions are completely favorable to them. However, the market is very inconsistent and changes quickly. If your local market is on the rise, you can sell your house for a higher price than you would expect.
Conversely, if the market is on the downward hill, you may need to be a little conservative with your pricing. The worst possible scenario is you overprice your home in a cold market and then have to decrease the selling price drastically as there is no demand in the market. Chances are you will sell your house for a piece much below its worth if you set the initial selling price very high. Thus, always be wary of the market and set a price that is competitive but not under or overpriced.
To find out whether it's a hot or cold market, find out how many days that houses are being sold currently. If the house takes a long time to be sold, then it is a cold market and vice-versa. The longer time is above 60 days, and the shorter time is around 30 to 40 days. This hot and cold market varies from one market to the other.
Location of your home:
The location of your home is the other important factor that can influence the time it takes for you to sell your home. If your home is in a prime location, then it doesn't take long to sell your house. However, even though it's in a prime location, if you overprice it, then buyers might not be willing to buy it. If you price it according to the demand and it's in a prime location, irrespective of the market conditions, it will be sold out quickly.
On the other hand, if your home is in a not-so-prime location, you can still sell your home quickly, provided you price it according to the demand. Thus, location can be a key factor but not the only factor.
The other important parameter that influences is the seasonal patterns. The usual market trend is that lots of homes sell in the spring season, and the winter season is when the sale dips. This is because most people want to move to a new house during the summer when school is out. However, this trend doesn't apply to every location. The best time to sell a house in Minnesota is not the same as in Florida.
If you live in a market that is highly influenced by seasons, then you need to sell your house during the prime selling time. But, if your market is not so influenced by seasons, then timing your sale might not make much of a difference.
How to sell your home quickly?
Till now, we have discussed the external factors mostly, but some internal factors are in your control that influence the time needed to sell your home. Let's have a look at a few of them:
Find the right real estate agent:
The first thing you need to do is to hire a real estate agent to list your home. You might think that it is optional, but in most cases, it's a necessary step. Most sellers who sell their homes are not well-versed with the trends of real estate markets, and the majority of them are first or second-time sellers who are very new to this industry. For them, real estate is a blessing in disguise. A real estate agent is worth your money because they provide great value. They help you to spend wisely on renovations to improve curb appeal, market your house, set the appropriate price, and sell your house quickly. All in all, a real estate agent is worth your money if you find the best one.
Invest in low-budget repairs:
Invest in low-budget repairs or renovations which would help to improve the curb appeal of your home. But before that, fix all the major issues that have been found out in a home inspection report. If you haven't done a home inspection yet, get it done as it can help you know the real condition of your home so that you can spend your repairs accordingly.
Spruce up your entire home:
You need to do whatever it takes to make your home look neat and clean. Clean, declutter and depersonalize your home. Clear your closets and rent out a storage unit to store all your belongings and big-sized items. You also need to get rid of all your stuff from your home as it would be easier for the buyer to envision them and their belongings if your home is empty. Consider deep cleaning and power washing which would help your house look neat and clean.
Market your home:
Once you fix the minor repairs and spruce up the entire home, it's time to market your home. Take professional pictures of your home and upload them to famous listing platforms. Usually, the real estate agent looks after all this if you hire one, or else you have to do it on your own. You can also consider marketing it on social media, advertising in local publications, and hosting an open house.
Show it to as many buyers as possible:
Once you market your home, it's time for you to allow buyers to visit your home. Most real estate agents use online scheduling tools that allow the potential buyers to show the bookings online. You will set fixed timings in which you can allow your buyers. During the showings, ensure you have all your belongings and personal stuff wrapped up somewhere or kept safely with you. Show your home to as many potential buyers as possible. If you turn down the showings, it might take longer for you to sell your home.
Go through the offers:
If everything goes according to your plan, you will get offers from potential buyers within the first two to three weeks of marketing your home. You need to consider various factors while going through these offers. The price that buyers are offering and their closing date with the contingencies, offer letters, and some other details. Ensure you look at other aspects along with the pricing, whether the offer allows you to sell your home in your preferred timeline, and some other factors that would be specific to you. Also, if you want to spend the least time and effort in this process, tell your agent the least price you can accept the deal and any other red flags you might have. This will help you to filter the majority of the offers and land into the appropriate one quickly.
How long do most houses take to sell?
Several factors depend on the time needed to sell a house. Some of the factors are discussed below.
Your home's price should neither be too high nor too low. It should be at a competitive price. To land at the appropriate price, you either need to hire a real estate agent or do the research by yourself. The latter one might be a little time-consuming. To do it by yourself, you need to find out the prices of the houses in your locality with similar conditions and areas of yours and then decide the price of your home. Along with these, you need to consider the demand, market conditions, and various other factors as well.
This is the other factor that decides the time needed to sell a house. Markets are usually hot or cold markets. Hot markets are when the demand for houses is high, which means that the ball is in the seller's court. Sellers can dictate the terms and sell their houses for the prices they want in most cases. Hot markets are influenced by various factors like low supply, high demand, rising prices, and waived contingencies. On the other hand, cold markets are when the demand for houses is a bit low. The factors that influence cold markets are low demand, seller concessions, short sales, etc.
Location and condition of your home:
Location of house matters irrespective of the market conditions and seasons. Along with this, the condition of your home matters a lot. If the condition of the home is great with little to no repairs and it is clean and neat, the demand for your home goes up, and you can expect your house to be sold out quickly.
How fast can someone sell a house?
Typically it takes 35 to 45 days to sell your house in a hot market. But if you want to sell it even faster, there are a few ways.
Sell it to a wholesaler:
If the transaction between you and the buyer doesn't involve the need for any bank and is done with only cash, then you can expect it to be completed much earlier. Wholesalers usually have clients who are cash buyers, so the process will be much faster. Although you get less money comparatively, it's worth it because you will get a fair amount in the end. All you need to do is find wholesalers. You can find them online or contact your friends and family, through which you can get some authentic referrals.
Find a real estate agent:
The other way to do this is to find a good real estate agent. But here's the tricky part. Most often, it's hard to find good realtors because most of them are too busy that they cannot offer personalized service or they are not credible enough. You are spending around 6% of your home's selling price on the realtor, so ensure they are authentic and have decent amounts of experience.
Reduce the price:
This might sound obvious but if this is the only option left, then go for it. If you can dramatically reduce the price, your house will be sold in no time. It means that you need to reduce the price by a big margin. For instance, your listing price is $500000, if you drop it to $450000, then it would be a dramatic drop. But if you reduce it by $5000, it doesn't fetch you anything.
How long does the sale of a house take?
The sale of a house usually takes around 40 to 50 days. The paperwork might add another 15 to 20 days, so it can take more than two months, to be precise. But it can vary depending on the market conditions, location of your home, condition of your home, pricing, and marketing tactics.
What's the quickest time to sell a house?
The quickest time to sell a house would be a minimum of 20 days. But for that to happen, you need to put in lots of effort. You can hire a real estate agent, reduce the house price, renovate your home, fix all the major repairs and go aggressively in marketing. If you do all this, your house can be sold quickly, but sometimes it's based purely out of luck. Without any investment in hiring an agent or marketing, your house will be sold, but this happens very rarely.