How long does it take to sell a house?

How long does it take to sell a house



When contemplating selling your home you will soon enough ask the question, how long does it take to sell a house? Location, condition, pricing, economic conditions and even seasons can affect that answer.

It mostly depends on your micro-market. The typical number of days it should take to sell your house is rather specific to the market conditions of your neighborhood.

National statistics of days on the market is not an accurate indicator of how long it would take to sell your home. Studying the normal market time that most homes sell within in your immediate area is a better indicator.


What does days on market (DOM) mean?

Average days on market

The number of day that it takes for a home to sell as reported in the local multiple listings service (MLS) is referred to as the “Days on Market”.  This critical piece of information is intertwined with the sales price.

Studying the days on market of recently sold properties that are like yours can give you a good idea of how long it will take to sell your house.

Buyers equate longer days on market with issues with the property or that it is overpriced and can become skeptical and shy away from making an offer.

Most often, higher days on market is due to overpricing.  As soon as the price is corrected to reflect the accurate market value the property will start to see activity and receive offers.

Cumulative days on market is another factor to understand when determining how long it takes to sell a house.  When a listing is cancelled, expires or terminated and is subsequently relisted within a short period the days on market is reset for the new listing. The cumulative days on market or CDOM however is a total of the number of days a property has been listed through all of its listings. This is a more accurate reflection of the marketing time for a neighborhood.


How long does it take to sell a house on average?

Various sources will cite national statistics for the average number of days it takes to sell a house. These have little relevance to the time it will take for your home to sell.

In 2019, the average days on the market for single family homes in the Greater Houston area was 204 days.  Is this how long it should take to sell any house in Houston?  Not really.  The time it takes to sell a home varies significantly between neighborhoods.  For example, in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood the average days on the market was only 57 days, while in the Rivercrest neighborhood the average time to sell a home in 2019 was 174 days.

The correct approach is to study marketing time for properties like yours in the immediate neighborhood during various seasons.  This would give you a good idea of how long it should take for your home to sell as long as you price it accurately in tandem with its true market value.


How can I sell my house quickly?

There are occasions you may need to move on from your house as fast as possible.  While not ideal, there are options to help during times like this by selling your home to investors or ibuyers.  However, you will likely lose a lot of your equity.  Read An Honest Review of Opendoor.


To sell your home quickly or in a timely manner within the normal selling time for your neighborhood here are some tips:


  • Price it slightly below market value. This can give your property increased attention when buyers are comparing homes within a certain criteria similar to your property within the neighborhood.
  • Hire a team of trustworthy Professionals that include an appraiser, stager and handyman along with the best agent you can find.
  • Clean, repair, declutter, minimize and stage. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color can transform a room or a house.

For some things to do to sell a house quickly, read 5 Killer Secrets to Selling your Home at the Highest Price.


How long should a house be on the market before you reduce the price?

Knowing the typical time frame that similar homes are selling in your neighborhood is key.  This can help you monitor and evaluate your listing and correct issues with your sales price, before it goes stale.  If homes in your neighborhood are selling relatively quickly and your home isn’t getting much action its time to make a decisive reduction.

During the summer months while the market is hot, sellers feel inclined to price higher than the market.   This strategy can price your home right out of the bestselling months of the year and right into the slower fall and winter season.  If your home isn’t getting the attention it deserves, reevaluate your pricing strategy to determine the accurate market value of your home and make the required correction necessary to price it right as soon as possible.  You don’t want to miss out on this selling season and then must either wait till next year or make a significant reduction to price it for the slower months.

On the other side, by knowing that the marketing time in your neighborhood is say six to nine months and that your pricing is competitive with similar listings and recently sold homes you can remain calm and realize there is no panic reaction warranted even though your property may be on the market for three or four months with little activity or no offers yet.  This is normal for your market.


What is the best time to sell a house?

Spring and summer consistently show the highest residential real estate activity for most anywhere in the country.  With kids out of school and better weather conditions for moving, buyers busily work with their agents to try to find and settle into their new homes.

For sellers this equates to the best time to sell their home to realize the maximum value within the shortest marketing time when priced right.

The following table of the Houston market in 2019 easily describes the seasonal pattern of residential real estate.



what is the best time to sell a house



As can be seen in the above graph, between May and July the prices are at the highest while the days on market are at the lowest making it the optimal time for sellers to profit.


What are the chances of selling a house in winter?

While prices and volume decrease in the fall winter months there is still plenty of residential real estate units purchased and sold throughout the country.  While it is optimal to buy and move while the weather is warmer, and kids are out of school there are circumstances when your only option is to buy and sell in the off season.

The following table depicts the sales volume in the Houston market during the 2019 annual cycle.


seasonal home sales volume



While sales are lower than the spring and summer months there are still a large volume of transactions that occur in the fall/winter.  Read 4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Fall/Winter.


What to fix before selling a house?

Taking care of all repairs allows your home to show well and buyers perceive that your home was properly maintained over the course of its lifetime.  This will affect its time on the market.  Prior to working on any updates to improve the home make sure that the minor repairs are completed.  This could include items like broken tile, dripping faucet or old water stains on wall or ceiling that were repaired but not cosmetically restored.  Whether its holes in the wall, loose banister or any other items, have it repaired or replaced so it won’t interfere with the marketing time of your home.

To effectively sell your home within the typical time frame you must obtain either a pre-listing appraisal or an accurate CMA from an analytical agent.  These will provide you with the market value of your home and the average time it takes for similar type homes to sell in your neighborhood.

How long does it take to sell a house? It’s apparent that several factors are to be analyzed to effectively answer that question.  Cumulative days on market, seasons, accurate pricing and condition are some of the main considerations. To have an effective sales campaign for your home knowing the market time is critical.





Gynell Vestal

Certified Residential Appraiser, Gynell has a diverse appraisal background covering Commercial, Residential, Rural, Complex and Luxury Properties as well as National Appraisal Review work in the secondary Market. She began her Appraisal training in Oklahoma in 2001 covering Rural and Commercial Properties. With several years as a National Review Appraiser at Fannie Mae and other big banks, Gynell has keen insight into the secondary market guidelines and requirements.

Recent Content