What is the Typical Amount of Time Needed to Sell a House?
6 minute read
November 19, 2019


With so many variables, it can be complicated to predict how long it takes to sell a home. Houses can sell in as quickly as one week or take several months to sell.

Factors include updating the home to list it on the market, determining the method to sell it and an appropriate price, waiting to connect with a buyer and finally closing the sale.

These variables are also juggled with the homeowner’s reasons for selling the house, such as their timing for moving out or needing financing for their next home.

By knowing which variables have a stronger impact on a sale, based on the local market and comparable homes sold in the area, a seller can estimate a timeline for their situation.

Learn the typical steps to sell a home, along with flexible factors that speed up the timeline:

  • Average Time from Listing to Close
  • Variables That Affect Timing to Sell a House
  • How to Speed Up the Sale of a House

Average Time from Listing to Close

On average, a home spends 65 days on the market. This timeline varies greatly, especially depending on the market’s condition where it’s being sold. Keep in mind, this estimate doesn’t account for the time a homeowner spends preparing the home prior to listing it. It could take several more weeks for the homeowner to make needed repairs, clean, declutter, and stage the house to satisfy potential buyers.

Outside of the many variables that affect this timeline, there are steps in the selling process that take a consistent range of time. Clever breaks this down from listing to closing in a traditional real estate transaction:

  1. Listing to Offer: This will vary depending on the seller’s local market condition. On average, nationally, a home is listed for about one month before receiving a viable offer.
  2. Offer and Negotiations: After receiving an offer, the seller responds within a few days, and negotiations can take about two days before agreeing to move forward.
  3. Inspection: It can then take a few days up to a week to schedule the home inspection and receive the inspector’s report.
  4. Final Negotiations: If any adjustments are needed after the inspection, the buyer and seller usually take a couple of days to reach an agreement.
  5. Closing: On average, it takes three to four weeks from agreeing on an offer to closing, which includes preparing all necessary legal documentation.

Variables That Affect Timing to Sell a House

The following factors have a major impact on the timeline for selling a home and can be better understood by running comparisons to nearby houses that sold recently:

  • Price: A house needs to be priced competitively based on fair market value. Lower-priced homes can sell faster than higher-priced ones, but a house priced too low could signal something is wrong.
  • Market: In a hot market, there are usually more buyers than sellers, meaning people are willing to pay more and act quickly on securing a sale. In a cooler market, buyers can take their time and choose from multiple houses, so this could slow the sale of the home.
  • Location: Proximity to conveniences, as well as inconveniences, can affect how desirable a home is. A highway nearby might be a turn-off, so the seller will need to wait for the right buyer, or compromise on the price.
  • Condition: Simple aspects can be customized after purchasing but knowing the house is generally safe and functional is valuable to most buyers looking for a move-in ready home.
  • Time of Year: Depending on location, common sense can guide when buyers generally want to close and move into their new home. In the midwest, the warmth of summer makes moving easier than snowy winter months. A family might schedule their move around children’s school schedules or holidays.

How to Speed Up the Sale of a House

Knowing the market can be the best guide to predict the timeline for selling a home. If the market is hot or cold, what type of houses are selling, how long it took them to sell and for what price, can all be discovered through researching the market. Each of these factors can guide the steps a seller takes.

From there, a seller can decide how much time and effort to invest to sell the home.

  • Adjust Price

One option is to adjust the price to meet potential buyers’ expectations, while ideally still meeting the seller’s needs. The price needs to be fair based on the market value of the home. For example, if updates are needed compared to other homes sold in the area, the seller could provide a discount for the buyer to cover those expenses. 

  • Improve Condition

If the seller has resources to do renovations, priority should be put on improving the home’s safety and functionality before listing the home. Finding comparable homes in the area and understanding their condition can guide what renovations are worthwhile. If a home’s condition isn’t up to the market’s standards, renovating before listing it can ensure it’s move-in ready.

  • Selling Options

Sellers who need convenience or speed, possibly above selling their home for the optimized value, could benefit from researching instant offer companies

Also known as iBuyers, instant offer companies are tech-based home investors that buy and sell houses, primarily to streamline the process, both for themselves and homeowners.

When selling to an iBuyer, the seller doesn’t put their home on the market, do showings or negotiate an offer. Instead, they sell directly to the company who will resell the home. Although the cost can be slightly higher, the time saved and the convenience is worth it to many sellers.

Estimating a Seller’s Timeline

The steps to sell, along with the value determined by local markets and variables the seller can control, all affect the home-selling timeline.

Before deciding to sell a home, local market research can help prepare a seller for the current real estate landscape, allowing them to see what actions lead to an optimized timeline for their personal needs when selling a house.

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