How long does it take to sell a house?

Picture of a house made out of puzzle pieces

A question that is often asked in the real estate world is, “How long does it take to sell a house.” As with most things in life, we must consider a world of variables. Such as the following:



How have you priced your home? Some sellers and agents price their homes below market value in an attempt to garner multiple offers, as more buyers can afford lower-priced homes. But in other markets buyers assume the list price is nothing but a jumping-off point for negotiations. This leads to the next variable.


Location, Location, Location:

Take a look at the area and neighborhood in which your home is located. How are the schools? Are there any parks or other family-centric neighborhood amenities nearby? What about highly-desirable stores like Whole Foods? What about any negative attributes? Are you right next to a pig rendering plant or railroad tracks?


According to homes.com: In Washington DC in September (2015), the median time on market was 14 days, but directly across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA, houses were sellingin 30 days, more than twice as long. Your home’s physical space in the world can lead to a complicated, slow sell, or to it being sold fast before you even advertise that it’s available.



This one is a no-brainer, right? Has your home been updated and is it outfitted with modern appliances and fixtures? Your home’s condition, from the flowerbeds to the ceiling fans, plays a major role in the speed of the sale. Also, potential buyers need to be able to imagine how the home will look once it’s theirs, so personal affects should be cleared away during showings.



No one likes packing and lugging boxes around town – especially in unpleasant weather. Also, families tend to wait until the end of a school year to move, in an effort to lessen the upending of their children’s education and social lives. These factors make spring and summer the high season for home sales.



If there is an abundance of available housing, interest rates are high and home prices are steady, the average time it may take to sell could be extended greatly. You can consider this the perfect economic storm.


Another question we see from time to time is, “Have I run out of time and should I lower the asking price of my home?”


If your home has been listed for at least ninety days and you’ve seen little to no interest, it may be time to reassess your pricing strategy. Start by doing some fresh research on fast home sales and trends in your area and the surrounding areas. Maybe the benchmarks and expectations you made when you initially set the price of the home have changed, and it’s never a bad idea to reevaluate your situation.


No matter what, you’ll always run into that house that sells fast, and that other house that sits on the market, ignored for years. Sometimes there is no noticeable cause for the time it takes to sell your home, and the only logical explanation is that old adage of being in “the right place at the right time”.

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