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How Long Does it Take to Sell a House?


house for sale with for sale sign

Over the past year, the real estate market has been in flux as Americans grapple with the changing economy and other life-affecting factors. What will become of the real estate market over the course of 2021?

Experts are predicting that while sales will slowly rise, so will housing prices and mortgage rates. This may be a market that works well for luxury housing and high-income families, but will everyone find it a hospitable market to buy or sell a home?

As always, sellers want to know: how long does it take to sell a house? The reality is that because there are so many circumstances that affect the sale of a house, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

That being said, we’re going to take a look at what those circumstances are so that you can make a reasonable assessment on how long selling a house will take for you. Read on to learn everything you need to know.

How Long Do Most Houses Take to Sell?

Establishing an average for home sales can be difficult. For example, the National Association of Realtors noted that it took the typical home three weeks on the market before a buyer jumped on the opportunity. However, even this statistic raises questions.

For starters, what is NAR considering a typical home? Average square footage, number of rooms, amenities, and even style will vary widely from region to region. 

In addition, this three week period marks the time from the moment the house was listed until a buyer entered into a contract to purchase it. It doesn’t include the amount of time the buyer spent seeking mortgage approval, negotiating over price or renovations, and more. 

The reality is that even if your property listing is only up for a week or two, it can take months before you walk away with money in hand.  

How Do You Plan on Selling Your House?

One reason that it can be so difficult to determine how long it takes to sell a house on average is that there are many different ways that you can go about selling your house. Let’s take a look at a few of the options that are available to you, as well as their pros and cons.

The Traditional Market and Sales Tactics

Oftentimes, when people ask, “How long should it take to sell a house?” they’re thinking about the traditional market and sales tactics. What does that mean?

A traditional way to sell your house is to prepare it first, making cost-effective repairs and renovations in order to maximize the value. Then, you might hire a real estate agent who can market it online and in-person, hosting open houses and entering into discussions with a variety of potential buyers. 

If you’re looking to turn a significant profit, this is often the way to go. However, turning the biggest profit possible almost always requires upfront investments. Plus, you may find that it’s harder to find a buyer who will pay the price you’re asking for.

Selling As-Is

You can also sell your house as-is, which simply means that you aren’t going to make any changes to the property before listing it. It is possible to sell a house as-is on the traditional market, although you’ll find your pool of interested buyers is on the narrow side. Plus, while you won’t have to make those upfront investments, you will need to accept a lower asking price.

In fact, some buyers won’t just expect a lower price in relation to any necessary repairs or renovations. When buyers purchase as-is homes on the traditional market, they may also expect you to lower the price to reflect the inconvenience of buying a home that may not be move-in ready.

For Sale By Owner

When we talk about properties that are for sale by owner, we’re referring to situations where the owner takes care of all marketing, communications, and negotiations without the help of a third party. You can tackle the sale without an agent whether you are making cost-effective changes to your property or selling it as-is.

Some sellers don’t have any issue going this route, but it should be noted that this method is often the one that takes the longest. Why? Agents and other third parties understand the market and how to reach interested buyers, whereas someone outside of real estate may find that the process comes with a steep learning curve.

What Can Impact Your Selling Timeline?

Regardless of how you choose to sell, there are a variety of factors that can still impact your selling time. What are they and how do they apply to you? Let’s take a look.

The State of the Real Estate Market

Earlier, we mentioned that the real estate market is expected to slowly pick up. What, exactly, does this mean?

The real estate market goes through highs and lows in terms of sales, prices, and mortgage rates. We also talk about the real estate market in the context of buyer’s markets and seller’s markets.

In a seller’s market, demand exceeds supply. That means that buyers are in competition with one another to find housing and sellers are often able to ask for a higher price and get their house off of the market quickly. Because mortgage rates were at a record low in 2020, some regions entered into a strong seller’s market as more and more people found that they could afford a larger mortgage than normal. 

The flip side is that buyer’s markets also exist, and they often follow seller’s markets. Ultimately, in a buyer’s market, supply exceeds demand, making it harder for sellers to find a buyer and get a larger price for their property. 

The Economy

The economy and the real estate market go hand in hand, but it’s still worth discussing them separately, especially when economic conditions can vary from region to region.

In order to have home purchasing power, buyers generally need to be making enough money to build up a substantial savings account. While predictions show that the unemployment rate should fall steadily in 2021, we are coming off of a year marked by financial setbacks for many Americans. This could mean that many of the people who were considering buying a home in the near future may have to wait a few more years in order to do so.

The Region Your Selling In

Where you live can make a huge difference to your selling time. The demand for housing tends to be highest in high-population areas with plenty of job opportunities. In other words, it may take less time to sell your home in an urban or metropolitan area than a rural area.

The Condition of Your Property

As we mentioned earlier, it can be harder to find a buyer when you’re selling a home that needs a lot of work. Although you’re asking less money for an as-is property, buyers recognize that they’ll still need hundreds or thousands of dollars to get the property in shape.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may find that selling a luxury property isn’t always easy, either, as the pool of buyers for luxury properties is similarly small.

Negotiations With Your Buyer

Negotiations can eat up quite a bit of time, especially if you and your buyer can’t reach an agreement. Some buyers may consider the property lower in value than you do. Others may want you to take on a few more renovations before they agree to close the sale. 

Most of the time, negotiations are reasonable and easy to navigate. However, this isn’t always the case.

When’s the Best Time to Sell a House?

How long does it take for a house to sell in summer versus winter? Is spring better than fall? Many sellers want to know the best time to put their property up for sale.

It’s not uncommon to find more interested buyers in the spring and summer. Summer is often a transitional time for people, and many families across the country aim to move into a new home before the fall season sets in.

As a result, you’re more likely to enter into a seller’s market in the spring or summer than in the fall or winter. The more interested buyers you can appeal to, the better.

However, it’s worth noting that things aren’t always so simple. Why? You may find that a lot more sellers are looking to relocate during the summer months, too, leading to a flood of houses for sale (and a potential buyer’s market).

Top Tips For a Fast Sale

As you can see, selling a house quickly can get a little bit complicated. There’s no exact formula to the process, and even promising listings can sit on the market for months. Let’s talk about a few ways that you can speed up the process and sell your house fast.

Know Your Market

Make sure that you know your market well. How does your home compare to others in your region? How much are those properties selling for and is it fair to say that your property is worth the same amount?

The closer you can get to a reasonable asking price, the less likely it is that you’ll scare away buyers who feel like they can find a better deal.

Stay Open to Negotiations

We talked briefly about negotiations and the effect they can have on sales times. If you’re working with a buyer who wants to negotiate and you don’t want things to drag out, go with what they want. You may not get the same price you were hoping for, but if selling quickly is your biggest priority, it may be worth it.

How Long Does It Take to Sell Your House Online?

What’s the absolute fastest and easiest way to sell your home? Let us match you with an iBuyer.

To get started, we ask you to tell us about your property. We can then provide you with a property valuation in as little as 24 hours.

Once we’re happy with a property valuation, we can start seeking out the best iBuyer for your needs. You never have to work with a real estate agent, host a showing, or enter into a drawn-out negotiation process. 

In a matter of weeks or even days, we’ll match you with one of our trusted iBuyers or investors who can provide an instant offer and a seamless closing deal. 

The best part? You can sell your house as-is without worrying about buyers who want compensation for their time and effort. iBuyers are fully prepared to handle all renovations on their own and never ask sellers to change a thing before closing.

If you want to get a fair price and sell your house fast without worrying about all of the factors we’ve discussed in this guide, letting us find your perfect iBuyer is the way to go.

Know Before You List: How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?

Before you decide when and how to sell your house, it’s a good idea to ask, how long does it take to sell a house? For some sellers, leaving the process up to all of the chances that come with traditional sales simply isn’t an option.

If you’re ready to sell your house the fastest and easiest way possible, we’re here to help. To get started, head to our free iValuation tool and find out how much your house is currently worth. 

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